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Old school hip hop @Johnny Mercer

Carl Gilliard wears many hats — he is president of the Georgia Coastal Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and pastor at the Life Center in Savannah.

He is a playwright, an author, a musician and a radio host, and so full of community spirit it's coming out of his pores. For one thing, he co-founded the youth organizations Project L.OV.E. and Operation L.OV.E.

Gilliard is also the CEO of Savannah Feed the Hungry, Inc., a non-for-profit charity that has been providing fresh food to the homeless in Savannah since 2009.

Feed the Hungry has a major fundraiser Saturday, July 6 in the Johnny Mercer Theatre. For those who love hip hop history, '90s rhythm 'n' blues and/or gospel, it won't get any better than Summerfest 2013.

The headliner is Kurtis Blow, the very first rapper signed to a major label (in 1979). Among his many accomplishments, the erstwhile Kurtis Walker was the first hip hop artist to earn a gold single, for 1980's "The Breaks." He is also an ordained minister.

Maxine Jones was a founding member of the oh-so-smooth singing and dancing quartet En Vogue (the original funky divas, that's right), and was right there (doing many of the leads) on "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)," "Don't Let Go (Love)," "Whatta Man" and so many others.

Although En Vogue ostensibly still exists, Jones decamped in 2012 and is doing the solo thing. She has an impressive four-octave vocal range.

The show also features Allure, the New York girl group that recorded with Nas ("Head Over Heels"), LL Cool J ("No Question") and 112 ("All Cried Out").

Wait, there's more! Old school hip hop will be further represented by Whodini ("Friends," "One Love," "The Freaks Come Out at Night"), UTFO ("Roxanne, Roxanne') and rapper MC Shan ("The Bridge"). Gospel singer Faith Crystal is also on the bill, along with a talent show and some other stuff.

Tickets for the show, which starts at 6 p.m., are $19.50 at, or by calling (912) 257-2699.

Happy anniversary

Elev8ted Urban Supply Company celebrates its one-year anniversary with an all-music blowout Friday (July 5) at Southern Pine Co. Starting at 5 p.m., and changing on the hour, here's the lineup: Without, Crazy Bag Lady, Sauna Heat, Doc Oc, SuperToine, Cecil, Pay Up, K.P./Carmine.

It's an all-ages show.

There'll be a skate ramp, natch, along with food and drink vendors. Advance tickets ($5) are available at the boutique, 404 W. Broughton. St. They'll be $8 at the door.

Music and fireworks

Before you ask, the Tybee Pier fireworks go off Wednesday night (July 3), and the fireworks over River Street will fly Friday night (the 4th). There.

River Street Savannah has a four-day Independence Day fest going on Thursday through Sunday, with a nice cross-section of local bands participating. Here's the lineup:

Thursday, July 4, 8:30 p.m.: The Accomplices; Friday, July 5, 3 p.m.: Keith & Ross, 6 p.m.: Damon and the Shitkickers, 8:30 p.m.: Chuck Courtenay; Saturday, July 6, 3:30 p.m.: The Positions, 6 p.m.: Domino Effect, 8:30 p.m.: A Nickel Bag of Funk; Sunday, July 7, 1 p.m.: The Magic Rocks.


• There's a new band in town this weekend, with some familiar faces: American Hologram, July 4 at Huc-a-Poos, and the next night at the Tybee Island Social Club, consists of Britt Scott, Eric Britt, Craig Tanner and Eric Dunn. "Think Neil Young/Ray Lamontagne with Stevie Nicks guest starring," says Scott with a wink.

• After way too long without live music, Hang Fire has begun creeping back into the fray as of late. This long holiday weekend sees some pretty serious action at the venerable hangout on Whitaker.

To wit: Atlanta's phenomenal funk band Baby Baby will tear the roof off the sucka Wednesday (July 3) with support from Creepoid. On Thursday, it's the five-headed hip hop monster we all know and love as KidSyc@Brandywine, along with the wonderful electronic-based Electric Grandma and DAMS, a relatively new funk/rock band out of Atlanta, featuring Fine Peduncle vocalist Cole Murphy.