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.
Two of the shows previewed here won’t cost you a cent (tipping is always welcome, of course). And if you buy tickets in advance, the other two don’t cost much, either. As always, live music in Asheville is a great value for your entertainment dollar.
Artist: Mac Sabbath
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Wednesday, Mar. 16, 9 p.m.
Door: $12 advance / $15 day of show
You deserve a break today from all of the by-the-numbers tribute bands traveling the concert circuit. Sandwiched among them is perhaps the tastiest high-concept tribute band of all: Mac Sabbath. Yes, you’ve seen Weird Al Yankovic‘s musical takeoffs. And you’re familiar with Dread Zeppelin‘s suspicion-minded reggae. But you’ve never seen or heard anything like this on your late-night rock ‘n’ roll drive-thrus. More than a cheesy one-joke musical happy meal, Mac Sabbath is a wickedly funny musical pastiche of Ozzy and his pals, crossed with a knowing critique of fast-food culture; the music from these guys is beefy enough to sustain an entire evening’s worth of especially saucy entertainment. Nest Egg (not Egg McMuffin) opens.
Artist: Zuzu Welsh Band
Venue: The Mothlight
Date: Monday, Feb. 22, 9 p.m.
Anyone who plays music in or around Asheville knows how difficult it is to eke out a living as a working musician. Years ago I met some players who had moved here from Sylva “to make the big time.” They were quickly and unceremoniously disabused of such folly: There are a lot of musicians in these parts, all jockeying for a limited number of stages on a finite number of dates. So it says something when a locally based act has a full schedule. That’s the case with the Zuzu Welsh Band, whose current set includes tunes from its coming-soon (but as-yet-untitled) album. Originals are informed by the classic rock aesthetic; that’s what I hear. Straw Man and Paul Alcohol are also on the bill.
Artist: BJ Leiderman’s Birthday Party
Venue: White Horse Black Mountain
Date: Saturday, Feb. 27, 9 p.m.
Door: $15 advance / $18 day of show
BJ Leiderman is a familiar name to anyone who listens to NPR. Near the end of programs, announcers sometimes credit the composer of the musical theme. Leiderman’s written several of ’em. And anyone who frequents some of Asheville’s more upscale music venues will likely recognize the man-about-town in his signature high-tops and glasses. He’s hard at work on his upcoming Natural Public Leiderman album, but is taking time out to attend a special “surprise” musical birthday party in honor of his 60th. The lineup includes a number of popular local acts, all paying tribute to BJ. The birthday boy may or may not join them onstage.
Venue: The One Stop
Date: Thursday, March 3, 10 p.m.
I stumbled across the debut album from this Chicago-based progressive jazz-rock quartet a few years ago, and I’ve made a point of reviewing each successive Marbin release (they’re up to three). Aggressive Hippies is the band’s latest, and it continues the group’s approach of combining peerless chops with the ability to write actual songs (not just canvases for pyrotechnical solos). The interplay between the players suggests jazz, but the heaviness of the playing feels like rock. And Marbin has another winning quality that’s too often in short supply from bands of the same ilk: subtlety.
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