Twice monthly, my blog 30 Days Out spotlights upcoming music shows and events of note, shining a light into some less well-lit corners, where some fascinating artists schedule performances. I do my best to give ample advance notice so that you can adjust your budget and calendar in a way that lets you get you to the show.
This time around, I take a quick look at four groups — two local, two national. What all have in common is the relative infrequency of live dates in Asheville. But in the next 30 days, you can avail yourself of the opportunity to see them all, in the intimate setting of Asheville’s music venues.
Artist: Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel
Venue: Jack of the Wood
Date: Saturday, June 7, 9 p.m.
Pause for a moment and remind yourself what The Black Angels sound like. Now, if you can, imagine that sound with the Velvet Underground influence and tribal-psych elements jettisoned (or at least dialed way back) in favor of a greater emphasis on the garage-pop-psych style found on Nuggets. And if all that seems like too much work, listen instead to Nico & Her Psychedelic Subconscious, the latest album from Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel. For fans of Elephant Stone, The Allah-Las, Tame Impala, and other like-minded acts who offer a fresh take on a nearly 50-year-old style of rock. And for those who want even more popsike goodness, the group will be playing earlier the same day at the All Go West Festival, then taking a break before hitting the JOTW stage ’round midnight. Todd Day Waits Pigpen opens earlier in the evening.
Artist: The Broadcast
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Friday, June 13, 9 p.m.
Door: $10 advance, $12 day of show
This modern rock band relocated to Asheville a few years ago, and has been busy touring and recording ever since. Their album Dodge the Arrow was released last September, and this Grey Eagle date represents one of the few opportunities to catch the band here at home. Describing the group’s sound is difficult, but if you can imagine a soulful, updated cross between The Allman Brothers Band and Heart, that at least gets you within a stone’s throw of their style. The Heritage and Anna Haas each do a set before The Broadcast takes the stage.
Artist: Asheville Jazz Orchestra
Venue: White Horse Black Mountain
Date: Sunday, June 15, 7:30 p.m.
Rock-oriented music fans occasionally make the wry/sarcastic observation that orchestras are just extra-large cover bands. Of course, the flipside of that argument is that composers, arrangers and band leaders like Duke Ellington and Stan Kenton developed their music to be played. And since neither Ellington nor Count Basie is likely to raise from the dead and tour through Asheville, an evening with the AJO is the next best thing. They swing in that timeless, inimitable big-band way, with chops that thrill close listening yet provide a great soundtrack for dancing (should you be so inclined).
Artist: The Slide Brothers
Venue: Asheville Music Hall
Date: Saturday, July 5, 10 p.m.
Door: $20 advance, $25 day of show
Even though I immerse myself in music and its history nearly nonstop, I was wholly unaware of a style of music known as “sacred steel.” As it happens, employing the pedal steel guitar within the idiom of sacred (i.e. religiously-themed) music is a tradition that dates back 80 years or more within African American church services. Calvin Cooke and Aubrey Ghent are billed as the Slide Brothers, and they’ve generated a lot of buzz, being championed by no less than Robert Randolph and Buddy Guy. The group tours neither heavily nor widely, so catch ’em while you can. Local act The Blood Gypsies opens.
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