30 Days Out: a look at upcoming concerts

BRETT HARRIS TAKES FLIGHT: Touring in support of his superb album Up in the Air, North Carolinian Brett Harris steps out from his activities with Big Star Third and The dB's. June 29 at The Grey Eagle. Photo by Audrey Hermon Kopp

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.

Summer’s here, and local, regional and national acts are on the menu for this installment of 30 Days Out. Customarily I cover four shows in each edition, but one of the nights is so special that I’m giving space to two acts sharing a bill.

Artist: Brett Harris
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Wednesday, June 29, 8 p.m.
Door: $10 advance / $12 day of show
Nominally, Brett Harris is opening for The Explorers Club (see below). But really, this evening’s music should be thought of as a co-billing. With Up in the Air, Harris had crafted one of 2016’s best albums. He has toured as part of Chris Stamey‘s band, played as an auxiliary member of North Carolina’s beloved indie rockers The dB’s, and has been a linchpin of the Big Star Third live performances. But it’s with his original material that he truly shines. He earned a high-profile spot on the 2013 Hopscotch Festival lineup, and Harris has only improved with time. Don’t miss this rare Asheville date. (Also on the bill: Jay Gonzales and The Explorers Club.)

Artist: Explorers Club
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Wednesday, June 29, 8 p.m.
Door: $10 advance / $12 day of show
The quickest, easiest way to describe the Explorers Club is to tell you that they sound like The Beach Boys. Top-notch melodies with breathtaking vocal arrangements and careful but not-quite-fussy arrangements are hallmarks of the sound of this Nashville group (formerly based in Charleston). But that only begins to scratch the surface. Leader/songwriter Jason Brewer has a deep understanding of what made late ’60s and early ’70s AM radio pop so appealing. In the group’s original songs you’ll hear echoes of The Association, Harry Nilsson, Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass, B.J. Thomas, and other radio-friendly fare of yesteryear. But the band excels live onstage, too: the musicians can pull off intricate melodic lines while keeping those creamy vocals way out front. And the occasional Beach Boys covers will leave you slack-jawed. The band’s third album, Together, is due out soon. (Also on the bill: Jay Gonzales and Brett Harris.)

Artist: The Get Right Band
Venue: Smoky Park Supper Club
Date: Thursday, June 23, 8 p.m.
Door: no cover
The Get Right Band is Asheville-based, but the trio’s momentum is building. They were the musical highlight of an already music-filled evening’s entertainment at the 2016 Music Video Asheville awards program, and no less a figure than former Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre gave them the opening spot on his recent Asheville date. They’re hard to classify, combining elements of jazz and funk into a rock-based sound, but they’re too tight and melodic for the “jam band” tag to fit them. Here’s an opportunity to see them for free (and in a classy setting, no less).

Artist: Universal Sigh
Venue: Tiger Mountain
Date: Wednesday, July 6, 9 p.m.
Door: info unavailable at press time
For whatever reason, hot weather seems to bring out the jam bands. Universal Sigh is just such an aggregation: The Athens-based group counts Phish among its influences. But the musicians also balance the indulgent tendencies implied by Phish-fandom with a Radiohead influence. Moreover, the players have a beefy horn section, so Universal Sigh has the goods to take things in most any direction it cares to. The band’s debut album, Atoms & Void, was released in May. Live onstage, the album’s concise arrangements are given over to a more exploratory approach, but then you probably saw that coming.

Artist: Dr. Dog
Venue: Pisgah Brewing
Date: Monday, July 18, 7:30 p.m.
Door: $25 advance / $30 day of show
Dr. Dog is among the hardest-working band touring today. It fits loosely into the jam category, but is more song-based than most, putting the focus on catchy and memorable tunes. For those who care about such things, the groups also has some serious prog-rock cred in its drummer, Eric Slick, who’s toured with Adrian Belew and Asheville’s own Project Object. Don’t hold it against the band that Dr. Dog’s bio page on its website hasn’t been updated since 2012; these guys are all about the music. With eight studio albums and a live set to their credit, they have a deep catalog from which to draw. A big hit at one of the last Bele Chere Festivals, the group plays Asheville pretty regularly. But that doesn’t mean you should ever miss an opportunity to see them. Bright Light Social Hour opens.

You may also enjoy: With over 2000 entries and more than 300 interviews, my Musoscribe blog features new content — features, reviews and more — every business day. A proud tradition since 2009, now in its eighth year.


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About Bill Kopp
Author, music journalist, historian, collector, and musician. His first book, "Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon," published by Rowman & Littlefield, is available now. Follow me @the_musoscribe

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