Twice monthly, my 30 Days Out column 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 to the show.
This time it’s a nearly-all-locals roundup, featuring Western N.C.-based experimental/improvisational music, jump blues/swing jazz and indie rock. The other act is an intriguing and original touring outfit.
Artist: Con Brio
Venue: Asheville Music Hall
Date: Thursday, May 9, 9 p.m.
Door: $12 advance / $15 day of show
In musical notation, “con brio” is a direction that means “with spirit.” That’s an apt name and shorthand description for this San Francisco-based band. Its music folds in elements of soul, funk, rhythm and blues and plain old rock ‘n’ roll; the result is indeed spirited. Lead vocalist Ziek McCarter can reach for the highest notes, but generally prefers the soulful vibe to vocal gymnastics. With an EP and two albums to its credit, Con Brio’s good-time, often socially conscious music offers a light antidote to the day’s worries. The song titles telegraph the band’s collective attitude: “United State of Mind,” “High Spirits,” “Feel Good.” You get the idea. Asheville-based April B. and the Cool opens.
Artist: Virginia and the Slims
Venue: 185 King St.
Date: Saturday, May 4, 8 p.m.
A style of music that came into being just after WWII, jump blues and swing is seen by musical historians as a kind of missing link that connected blues and jazz with the rock ‘n’ roll that followed. If that description suggests to you an uptempo, energetic music just right for dancing, you’re right on the money. This Asheville group recently saw the departure of founding member Sean Anderson; the guitar role is now filled by Don Pasqualini. Even though the lineup has changed over almost completely since the group’s 2013 launch, the musical values are the same.
Artist: Day & Dream
Venue: The Mothlight
Date: Wednesday, May 8, 9 p.m.
Just this February, Asheville-based dream pop-shoegaze group Day & Dream released its first album, With Every Breath You Die. The fatalistic tone of the album’s title is leavened by a sonic approach that manages to be both gauzy and sharply defined. Put another way, the music is soft-focus yet melodic. As I wrote in my review of the album, Day & Dream has a musical perspective that suggests the influence of ’80s acts like Shelleyan Orphan and Jesus & Mary Chain, but the local band’s music bears some stylistic similarities to current acts like Beach House. Luxury Club and Wyla are also on the bill.
Artist: Tomato Calculator
Venue: Noble Kava
Date: Friday, May 10, 9 p.m.
Creating freeform instrumental electronica and manipulating it through the Ableton Live software platform isn’t, in and of itself, groundbreaking or remarkable in 2019. Ableton Live has established itself as the go-to choice for creative artists who value spontaneity. And Tomato Calculator would merely be yet another such act were it not for the fact that the duo — Will Little on guitar, synths and loops with Brad Boughton on (real) drums and triggered samples — creates something with a strong foundation in melody. Asheville-based Tomato Calculator is a heady and successful combination of indeterminacy and structure.
You may also enjoy: With 3000 entries and nearly 700 interviews, my Musoscribe blog features new content — features, reviews and more — every single day. A proud tradition, celebrating its 10 year anniversary this June. My first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon, published by Rowman & Littlefield, is available now.