Downtown After 5 lineup is announced

Last night, Asheville Downtown Association held a volunteer orientation meeting at The Orange Peel — but this wasn’t just any do-gooder get-together.

It was also a kickoff for Downtown After 5, the monthly free block party that takes place the third Friday of the month every May through September on North Lexington Avenue (between Hiawassee and the I-240 overpass) from a little after 5 p.m. until about 9 p.m. Along with live music, there’s food and beer. (Sales of wristbands for beer benefit a different charity each month. For 2011, those are Asheville Greenworks, YWCA of Asheville, Asheville Grown Business Alliance, Homeward Bound and the Asheville Design Center.)

The bands are:

May 20 is the start of the season, setting the tone with Asheville Horns (above) and Black Mountain-based cajun/zydeco band Bayou Diesel.

Head back downtown on June 17 for Americana/country rock band The Blue Dogs (below – from Charleston), who share the stage with w/ The New Familiars.

On July 15, Jonathan Scales Fourchestra (below) performs at an all-local evening, along with Bonnaroo-bound Aaron Woody Wood.

August 19 brings Miami-based funk/gospel sacred steel collective The Lee Boys with Lubriphonic, a funk and soul band from Chicago.

September 16 wraps up with local bluegrass group Town Mountain (above).

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts writer and editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs.

51 thoughts on “Downtown After 5 lineup is announced

  1. [b]This thing is in front of my store every month… can I pick one next time??? [/b]

    I don’t think Starland Vocal Band performs anymore.

  2. LOKEL

    I just don’t understand why the events are being held on Lexington Ave. is it a “pissing contest” between the ADA and the Pack Park people ….

  3. And I guarantee you that the Starland Vocal Band performs in some capacity (with one original member). Perfect for Bele Chere.

  4. Frinkazoid

    Yet another disappointing line up of music for a culturally rich city…some day we’ll find somebody to book bands you don’t see 3-4 times (or more) a year around here. Please, please, please stop the madness.

  5. dpewen

    Sounds like it … perhaps Frink should list some bands we should be booking!!

  6. frinkazoid

    Actually, I’m not in or affiliated with any band. I AM a native of this fair city. And been around long enough to get tired of seeing the same bands every year for Bele Chere and DTA5. Look at “sundown in the city” in Knoxville (yes i realize it’s a larger market)Warren Haynes Band (avl native), Drive By Truckers, Umphrey’s McGee, etc…Nationally known acts. I love our local music scene, but variety is really not that bad…I’d like to see more variety, funk’s been done to death as well as bluegrass…there’s so much out there, but we’re stuck on the same old BS

  7. Gaines

    so i decided to change my screen name (Frinkazoid) so I can address the folks who want to take issue with me for pointing out the fact that whomever books the music for our downtown festivals needs to be replaced. Almost all of the above bands have played in Asheville in the past 3 months, I simply believe we need to broaden our horizons on music. I am neither in nor affiliated with any band local or otherwise. I AM however a native of this city and fed up with the same bands being used repeatedly. There is a multitude of talent both locally and nationally that we have never seen invited to either DTA5 or Bele Chere…

  8. ashevillain7

    I have to partially agree with Gaines/Frinkazoid.

    There are a handful of bands/artists who are saturating the scene and it’s unfortunate for those others that don’t get the same exposure. It is a fact that at least 6 of those bands have played shows in town within the past month.

    I think that there should be some guidelines put in place (or at least discussed). For example, if a band has played a show in Asheville in the previous few months then they shouldn’t be booked for one of these festivals. Or if they get booked for one festival then they are exempt from playing any others in the same calendar year.

    There are problems with my ideas though. For one these events have a budget (DA5 has a relatively low budget) and the promoters need to take into account who they can afford. Second, most (if not all) of the festivals around town are booked by different people. It’s not the same people booking the same bands. It’s different people booking the same bands. So I don’t know how it would even be possible to have the cohesion/cooperation amongst many different people all booking talent at different times of the year for events that are spread out over 6-8 months. Sometimes the bands just can’t commit that far in advance and other times they need to commit that far in advance.

    It should not be a case of well “who would you book?” [if you're so unhappy with the scene...] That’s just silly and sounds to me like a schoolyard retort.

  9. boatrocker

    I’m so glad we’re flexing our “music lineup sucks” muscles in order to prepare for the eventual Bele Chere lineup press release.

    Let’s see, we have a funky horn-based band, a Zydeco band, Americana mush rock, a steel drum band, a guy who’s a brand name in town though 90% of his fans never heard him in the Blue Rags, a gospel group with James Brown’s fiery delivery a la that scene in the “Blues Brothers” and a bluegrass group that easily stole the Rocky Grass crown from the hippified West coast newgrassers. Yeah, no variety here.

    As with DA5, Bele Chere, etc, if’n you don’t like it, don’t go. Meanwhile, start your own festival, do the legwork to book, promote, hire decent sound/stage crews and don’t forget to pay a semi- living wage to the bands too. Unlike certain other local festivals, I’m sure DA5’s checks don’t bounce.

    Perhaps a few DJs and turntable heroes are a bit miffed? Nothing against our electronic brothers in arms, but my only question to anyone who could choose better acts is this-

    “Would you really want to sit in a room with Chamber of Commerce type squares (aka music selection committees) for a few hours every day for a week or so listening to every single act’s demo album in order to choose a few acts?” I’d take a few hours of being waterboarded any day as opposed to that.

  10. Gaines

    to my dearest “boatrocker” (ironic, I rock the boat and you get your panties in a twist) I would relish the opportunity to face the committee who books the music for these festivals (I’m sure they appreciate being referred to as squares). I work a full time job and manage to discover new music almost daily, and I’m simply stating that all of the bands you or whomever booked are getting tired. It seems as if this all came together at the last minute and you scrambled to fill the slots. There is wealth of talent that is reasonably priced available if you open your eyes and ears. I’m not stating that I hate all the local music, it’s one of the many things that has kept me in my hometown for 36 years. I just think it would be nice to see a few newer acts. If you would like a list I’d be glad to send one your way. And my last point is that knocking other festivals and implying that their checks bounce is pretty childish and lame. just because you are backed by the city doesn’t give you the right to be some high and mighty.

  11. Gaines

    to my dearest dpewen…if I just went local: Nikki Talley,The Cheeksters,Uncle Mountain, Reigning Sound, Floating Action,Peace Jones,Paper Tiger, Sonmi Suite, Duende Mountain Duo, Do It To Julia, RBTS Win, Chalwa, Mystic Vibrations, The Honey Cutters, The Krecktones, Snake Oil medicine Show, anything involving Jeff Sipe, Brushfire Stankgrass, Bloodroot Orkastarr, Mac Arnold, Kovacks and the Polar Bear, Kung Fu Dynamite, One Leg Up…I could go on if you like.

  12. homer

    glad to see i am not the only one who feels this line up is LAME. Time to shake up the dta5 crew that picks these acts.

  13. bill smith

    I agree with boatrocker.

    Although I have to wonder which DA5 bad he’s in.

  14. dpewen

    Yes, sounds like sour grapes to me … if they cannot answer who would you book then they are just being mean.

  15. The Cheeksters played two years ago I believe.

    I don’t hate the lineup, but it caters to the WNCW crowd, which I know a lot of people love in the area.

    It’s hard for us to speculate who could play without knowing the budget, but The Krektones and Reigning Sound would be a great double bill, especially since you don’t have to tear down the instruments.

  16. dpewen

    I love WNCW and have to disagree … there would be more bluegrass, which is fine with me.
    At least they are not going after the Kiss country crowd!

  17. boatrocker

    Nope Mr. Smith, I don’t play in any of those bands.

    As for Mr. Gaines’ follow up comments, I’m pretty sure whichever choices DA5 or other local festivals will elicit sour grapes comments on being lame, etc.

    From your list, by the way, Mac Arnold is a great performer but not local. Quite a few of your choices are bands that play in “side projects” with most of the same members under a different name- they know who they are and there side projects are also on your list.

    Many of the local bands you listed also have recently played local festivals, so would booking them for DA5 be redundant?

    Yeah, the WNCW type bands are the flavor of the week, for better or for worse. Dpewen’s comment about avoiding the cliche Kiss country crowd is right on the money too.

    As for “implying” that certain other festivals/events have bounced checks to bands, it’s a fact, not an implication. Look up last Fourth of July’s debaucle in the archives here (local bands got burned for pay), or ask any bands that have played at a smaller festival named after the Norse God of mischief if you think I bother to sit around making this stuff up.
    I don’t, by the way.

    My point being that no matter who is booked for a local festival, people will complain. Experts abound in terms of who should book for what festival, so no ulterior agenda here other than simply to point that out. Be careful with those “panties in a wad” comments, by the way as they usually require facts to back them up.

  18. I used to love bluegrass until I moved here. Go figure.

    Everything pretty much caters to the WNCW crowd. Why not mix it up a little? The demographics in Asheville have changed since the 90s.

  19. bill smith

    @Orbitz “WNCW crowd”-Yeah, but WNC is still trying to milk the residuals from the “Oh Brother” soundtrack. It’s good for the WNC image.

  20. dpewen

    Wow … people dissing the DTA5 lineup and WNCW … looks like some miserable folks here

  21. Wow … people dissing the DTA5 lineup and WNCW … looks like some miserable folks here

    Like I posted earlier, I’m ok with the lineup. I would love to book one of them since they all make me work at TV Eye during DTA5. How about Damo Suzuki from Can?

    I didn’t abandon WNCW. WNCW abandoned me.

  22. suncub

    I think the comments have been fairly accurate about the lineup this year. In fact the last two years have been somewhat non-interesting in that they are bands that seem to play frequently around the area. Don’t get me wrong, local bands are great and supporting them is important. Very, very important. We have some incredible talent here. However, it seems the Downtown After Five event lost something in the last two years, there used to be a great mix of local and out of town talent with a variety of styles. Anyone remember the Pimps of Joytime show? King Johnson? Big Sam’s Funky Nation? Those guys in the orange jumpsuits? There used to be a great mix of music, both in style and the location of where the bands came from. I really liked not knowing every band every time and seeing something new at the event. Wasn’t there a time when there were three bands that played? The event seemed to be on a great roll but fizzed out. What happened?

  23. boatrocker

    Can you feel it coming in the air tonight? This whole thread is a warm up excercise for the eventual listing for Bele Chere. I’ve hired a rickshaw driver to shuttle me around downtown to see and hear only the music that I want to hear.

    People will mistake me for royalty now and I’ll be tossing $20 bills in my wake. Counterfeit of course.

  24. John

    It really is a shame that the Downtown Association got away from letting very music savvy locals help in the line-up selection. I was part of this a few years back and the acts were a very strong mix of national/regional acts coupled with local acts each time. Both last year’s and this year’s line-up reflect a real lack of concern for the strength of the musicians booked knowing that the public will show up regardless (weather permitting). This is Asheville and we deserve a line-up that is as eclectic, creative and strong as the population itself!

  25. bill smith

    [b]People will mistake me for royalty now and I’ll be tossing $20 bills in my wake. Counterfeit of course. [/b]

    Oh, you mean Liberty Dollars.

  26. I liked The Merle. I saw them once at Warren Wilson. I have no idea why. I think BFO or somebody else played that night.

    Good times.

  27. Brian McGee

    So much for “diversity” on the Kiss country crowd. I’m not exactly a fan of Kiss country but there are lots of residents of this town, county and surrounding counties that are. And local businesses could benefit from having people come downtown who might not usually come downtown. And what about The Ville Boys? Where’s all the local hip-hop? This is a very safe line-up. It’s time for a town who boasts cultural diversity to take some risks.

  28. WestAVLokel

    Nobody goes down there for the music anyway…so who cares? People go down there because it’s Friday and they want to drink beer, hang out with friends, and eat. The music is just something to amuse you. I seriously doubt that anybody is going to see the list of artist and actually plan to go just for the music. Enjoy it for what it is…cold beer, hot eats, and music.

  29. ashevillain7

    @ Brian McGee – The Ville Boys are awful. AWFUL. Not a good representation of local hip-hop. GFE or RBTS Win (kinda hip-hop) would be a much better suggestion.

    @ WestAVLokel – You are wrong. There are plenty of people that go just for the music. I do it regularly. I’ve attended DA5 in just about every fashion that’s possible. I’ve volunteered, I’ve gone just to drink/socialize and I’ve gone stone cold sober just to enjoy the music. I actually prefer the latter.

  30. paul_randall

    All that time and money spent reconstructing Pack Square and we still have DTA5 on Lexington Ave.? Pathetic.

  31. sandwich

    It’s been way too long since someone used the word “lame” on this thread. May be “lame” had already been booked this year so it wouldn’t have been fair to rebook it until other, lessor known adjectives could be given a fair shot at DT5 or BC. It’s just not fair I tell ya’… all the hard work a word has to put in just for a little attention in this town. Man, I’d hate to be lame.

  32. Jonathan Scales

    I’m honored to have been asked to play this year. I’ve never done Downtown After 5, and I’m not doing Bele Chere this year. My job is to be a musician and I only do a formal performance in Asheville a few times a year. I’m honor that an off-the-wall, out-in-left-field, obscure and absurdist jazz/rock steel drummer with a background in neo-classical music theory & composition was invited to perform for our fair city’s public gathering. It’s hilarious that “boatrocker” called me a steel drum band though! wow. Anyways…come out on July 15th for a mind melting set of my originals that won’t be confused with your grandma’s retirement home cruise ship ‘entertainment’. I’m certain you all have never been to my show.

  33. avl_music_lover

    It’s time for a town who boasts cultural diversity to take some risks.

    Check out the free event All Go West in West AVL next year. It will be edgier.

  34. boatrocker

    Guilty as charged, Mr. Scales. As I’ve seen you play twice (and enjoyed what I heard), I really wasn’t sure how to refer to the music. Yes, there is a steel drum in it, no, it’s not Jamaican steel drum ensemble type stuff. Your description seems a bit more accurate as you’re the guy making the noise. Good luck playing and all.

    Ironically, I had a post deleted here recently for pointing out the absurdity of posters calling any festival “lame” when their friend’s band isn’t picked to play, yet crying “meany!” when their friend’s band is picked to play and other posters don’t like the choices for music line-up.

    As you aren’t my friend (yet-I’ve never personally met you), I’d go hear you play, but maybe my attitude is the minority.

    Ahh, the arts. Only politics and religion can arouse such white hot passions.

    “Edgier”? I’m glad I base decisions to go hear live music on whether I like the music instead of using some edge-o-meter. Carry on.

  35. Jonathan Scales

    Hey boatrocker, i like your attitude! we would get along! I like your ‘Apr 28, 2011 at 12:19 PM’ comment

  36. dpewen

    I look forward to seeing and hearing you again Jonathan. I also enjoyed the 1st DTA5 bands … great music!

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