All Go West, West Asheville’s daylong music festival, returns for its third year. But the home-grown fete, which skipped 2012, comes back with a few updates.
First, it moves into West Asheville’s walking district, according to director Arieh Samson. Centered around Isis Restaurant and Music Hall, an outdoor stage will host performances until 10 p.m., while an indoor stage will be programmed from noon to 2 a.m. (percussionist Ryan Oslance returns from California to help Ahleuchatistas close out the night).
Secondly, for 2013, the lineup is set to include not just local favorites, but a select group of regional acts and one special performance by British-born, South America-based producer Quantic. “I’m constantly looking for and listening to new music,” says Samson. “I wanted to book bands from the past that have grown over the years, and a couple of bands have played every single year.”
Those include RBTS WIN, who are about to release a gorgeous new album, Palm Sunday (they’ll play tracks from that forthcoming release at All Go West); Kovacs & the Polar Bear (who played an enchanting set inside the now-defunct Rocket Club during a rainstorm at the first All Go West); and the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra (who count the festival among their spring tour dates as they ramp up to release a new self-titled album).
Samson has discovered a number of groups while on the road with Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, whom he represents. “I was able to pull some interesting bands from the region, that Asheville might not know about,” says Samson. Nashville-based DeRobert & the Half-Truths (think funk and soul, Daptones style, and signed to Music City’s G.E.D. Soul Records) and Demon Waffle (a ska band from Johnson City, Tenn.) are two that caught his attention. “It’s a great opportunity to put them on the stage, because I know they’re just going to bring it.”
As for Quantic, the stage name of Will Holland, he’s is currently living in Cali, Colombia (and at work on a new album that fuzes Ethiopian jazz, Haitian Compas, Salsa Dura from his Colombian homestead and Detroit techno). Samson had been hoping to get Holland to Asheville at some point, but attempts to book the musician proved fruitless, until Samson realized that Quantic was represented in the U.S. by the same agency handling Asheville-based performer Marley Carroll.
Carroll played the first All Go West festival with his band, Melanaster. Soon after, he disbanded the group and went solo, playing DJ sets from coast to coast. Similarly, Holland is taking a break from his full-band performances to do a DJ tour.
Another addition to the festival: a poll. And not just any poll — one that helped Samson plan the local part of his lineup. Samuel Robbins of indie-rock band Comet West says that a friend texted him about the poll where people could suggest bands for All Go West. “We got our close friends to suggest us,” says Robbins. Comet West is a relatively new group — the current lineup has been together for about a year. But all of its members attended Reynolds High School, and they have a lot of family and former classmates to count as supporters. Plus, Robbins’ previous band, Elkmont Place, had a following.
The 15-day poll started as recommendations-only and evolved into a voting forum. Samson says that, in the beginning, he was concerned about the element of competition. But, as the list grew (from four bands, initially, to around 100), Samson found it to be supportive rather than combative.
And, although Robbins says his group got nervous as other bands amassed votes, the poll proved beneficial. Comet West ranked No. 1 among Asheville-area indie-scene bands on ReverbNation during the All Go West poll, and attracted many new views to their Andrew Anderson-directed “Bear Trap” video. Even better: When the votes were tallied, Robins and his bandmates had won a slot at the festival.
Need a break from the music? Local company Ashevillain hosts a skateboarding competition, with a final round at 8 p.m. And there’s also Savor the Westside, a VIP ticketed event that includes food from West Asheville’s restaurants, beer from Altamont Brewing Company and wine from Hops and Vines. (Stay tuned to mountainx.com on Thursday, April 25 for a chance to win tickets to the culinary celebration.)
— Alli Marshall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
who: All Go West
where: Isis Restaurant and Music Hall
when: Saturday, April 27 (noon-2 a.m., free. http://allgowest.com; tickets to Savor the Westside are $40)