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 to the show.
Punk, experimental, classic-minded rock and old-school jump blues: those are the genres represented by the four acts spotlighted in the current issue of 30 Days Out. The vast array of music available to Asheville concertgoers continues to amaze. Show your support for live music and for the club owners and booking agents who continue to bring fascinating and edgy musical content to town.
Artist: Howlin Rain
Venue: New Mountain
Date: Tuesday, April 14, 8:00 p.m.
Door: $8 advance/$10 day of show
It’s easy to compare the emotionally-charged hard-rocking sound of Howlin Rain to such greats as The Allman Brothers, but there’s a modern sensibility to the songs that Ethan Miller writes for his band. Since their self-titled 2006 debut, Howlin Rain has built upon and expanded their musical foundation. Their 2012 release, The Russian Wilds, may be their best, folding a peerless array of influences into something traditional yet original. But after a major-label run, Miller found himself without a record deal, and he rebuilt the band from the ground up. Released at the start of this year, Mansion Songs is the first in a planned trilogy of albums.
Artist: Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington DC (1980-90)
Venue: Grey Eagle
Date: Wednesday, April 8, 7:00 p.m.
Door: $7 advance/$10 day of show
The Washington, DC hardcore punk scene gave rise to a number of legendary figures; pals Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat, Fugazi) and Henry Rollins (Black Flag, Rollins Band) are the most prominent figures, but there are many others of note. And while when it comes to hardcore it’s safe to say that loud and fast rules, the intelligent DC variant always had a bit more nuance and (dare I say) subtlety than its Los Angeles counterpart. This new documentary film explores the early DIY punk scene that thrived in our nation’s capital. Since its world premiere last November in NYC, Scott Crawford‘s film has screened in venues around the country. The Grey Eagle screening is one of the last currently scheduled screenings, and no plans have yet been announced for DVD release, so don’t miss your opportunity.
Artist: Sir Richard Bishop
Date: Tuesday, April 14, 9:00 p.m.
Door: $8 advance/$10 day of show
If a former child star can wake up one day and suddenly decide he’s The King of Pop, then why shouldn’t guitar wizard Richard Bishop self-anoint himself with the decidedly less-presumptuous honorific of knighthood? The Arizona-born Bishop is a composer whose work displays a strong affinity with what’s now called “world music” (a catch-all term that futilely seeks to define all nonrock, non-Western music). His decidedly quirky and improvisational/experimental style was perfectly suited for last year’s Transfigurations II Festival in Marshall; with its intimate setting and superb house sound, The Mothlight should prove an ideal indoor venue in which to appreciate Bishop’s unique talents. Openers are Robert Millis and Shane Parris.
Artist: Virginia and The Slims
Venue: Altamont Brewing
Date: Saturday, April 18, 9:30 p.m.
Many claims have been made as to the murky origins of the musical mongrel we call rock ‘n’ roll. But a very strong case can be made that all of the elements (save one: electric guitar) that would form the basis of rock ‘n’ roll were in place with a post-WWII musical form known as jump blues. Louis Jordan (“Caldonia”), Louis Prima (“Jump, Jive an’ Wail”) and The Treniers (“Poontang”) were three of the genre’s prime movers. It’s a thrilling, uptempo, dance-oriented style that grew out of the financial need to trim down the “big bands” of the day. For all its value, jump blues remains underappreciated and largely unknown by modern audiences. Asheville’s Virginia and the Slims appreciate and understand the form, and if you see them perform it onstage, you might too.
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