Twice monthly, my column 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.
In this entry, I’ll preview four touring acts coming to Asheville. Styles include wide-eyed acoustic-pop, Texas dream-gaze, folk history with a pop sensibility and stand-up comedy.
Artist: Moving Panoramas
Venue: “>The Mothlight
Date: Monday, April 11, 9 p.m.
The Austin, Tex.-based group Moving Panoramas describes itself as “an all-gal dream-gaze trio.” But that doesn’t begin to describe the trio’s strengths. There are deeply catchy hooks within the songs on the debut album One. The video of the title track is highly recommended, as it gives a good overview of Moving Panoramas’ appeal, full of soaring yet gentle harmonies set again a hypnotic (but decidedly rocking) backing. Singer/guitarist Leslie Sisson has an impressive musical history and connections with some of today’s most intriguing musical acts. Her travels brought bassist Rozie Castoe and drummer Karen Skloss to her attention, and the trio released One last October. As this piece goes online, Moving Panoramas is — like so many of the group’s musical peers — at the SXSW music featival/showcase in Austin. Doc Aquatic opens.
Artist: Jonathan Richman
Venue: The Altamont Theatre
Date: Saturday, April 9, 7 p.m.
Door: $17 advance / $20 day of show
Jonathan Richman is nothing if not a curious character. His reputation was based originally on a rather obscure Boston band called The Modern Lovers; recorded 1971-72 (but not released until ’76), their debut album was an early example of proto-punk, and featured keyboardist Jerry Harrison (later of Talking Heads) and David Robinson (later of The Cars). “Road Runner” became and remains a classic. But on his own, the quirky Richman headed in a different direction, characterized by a playful, childlike sense of wonder. You may remember him as the equivalent of a Greek chorus in the Farrelly Brothers’ 1998 film, There’s Something About Mary. There’s something about Jonathan, too.
Artist: Plainsongpresents “Reinventing Richard: The Songs of Richard Fariña”
Venue: The Altamont Theatre
Date: Thursday, April 14, 8 p.m.
Door: $20 advance / $25 day of show
Back in the early 1960s, in the days of the Greenwich Village folk scene, three of the biggest names were Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and the husband-and-wife duo Richard and Mimi Fariña. You almost certainly know those first two names; Richard Fariña remains less well-known. But his music was an important part of that folk movement, and its influence far outweighs its commercial impact. Singer/guitarist Iain Matthews, an early member of British folk group Fairport Convention, is among those who have long appreciated the music of Fariña, and so his latest project was to have his group Plainsong record an album of the long-departed folksinger’s songs. But rather than deliver them in the somewhat stiff style of the original arrangements, Matthews has recast the songs in a decidedly more pop-accessible style, one that reveals heretofore unheard charms in the music. Plainsong has very few dates on their tour — I lobbied hard to get them to come to Asheville — so don’t miss this rare treat.
Artist: Eugene Mirman
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date:Saturday, April 16, 8 p.m.
Door: $22 advance / $25 day of show
Even if you’ve never seen comic Eugene Mirman, you might have heard him. He’s the voice of Gene Belcher on the FOX animated series “Bob’s Burgers.” He also played the Russian would-be assassin Yvgeny Mirminsky on Comedy Central’s “Delocated.” And if you were lucky enough to attend Yep Roc Records’ multi-day 15th anniversary party/festival in Chapel Hill back in 2012, you got to see Mirman share master of ceremonies duties with John Wesley Harding. Mirman’s a quirky guy with a rumpled, ill-at-ease demeanor, and he’s very funny. In a somewhat unusual pairing of comedy and music, Mirman opens the show for the equally (but quite differently) idiosyncractic Cambridge, England singer-guitarist Robyn Hitchcock.
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