by Pat Moran
Crowfield's Americana veers from the heartland-on-sleeve pop of John Mellencamp to gritty guitar workouts to smooth atmospherics resembling countrified Coldplay. It's Crowfield's sweeping rock 'n' roll saga, seesawing between giddy heights and gut-wrenching lows, that packs the real dramatic punch. In retrospect, their story had to end in either heartbreak or break-up, and Charleston City Paper's best rock band of 2012 has experienced both. The group's core, Tyler Mechem and Joe Giant, landed in Charleston in 2005. Adding members and accolades, the band released two LPs and signed with a major label. In rapid succession, the label dumped Crowfield and cofounder Giant jumped ship. Mechem rebounded, hooking up with Charleston mentor and manager Johnny Diamond. Recording for a third LP was underway when Diamond unexpectedly passed away. Given Crowfield's dramatic story arc, it's fitting that their third act kicks off with the bittersweet announcement that Mechem and crew are calling it quits. The Visulite show is one of three final gigs that Mechem says will be "celebrations, not funerals." It's a statement much like Crowfield's output: Direct, simple, maybe even mawkish, but it connects emotionally. With Heyrocco. $12-$14. Jan. 26, 8 p.m. Visulite Theatre, 1615 Elizabeth Ave. 704-358-9200.