Twice monthly, my online 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.
A nationally-touring act, a couple bands successfully keeping alive the sounds of old, and a band that — for a very long time —looked like it was finished, are all spotlighted in this installment.
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Wednesday, Sept. 14, 8 p.m.
The irresistibly catchy retro-surf vibe of new single “Shangri La La” belies the somewhat tortured history of this formerly Asheville-based group. Though the details are a bit sketchy, phrases like “serious drug addiction” are part of the group’s surprisingly forthright press kit bio. After a promising run of albums, SeepeopleS disappeared from the scene without explanation around 2011. They even shut down their website. But all current reports suggest a happier, more “together” SeepeopleS in 2016, and if their new LOVE EP — purportedly the first in a trilogy of releases — is any indication, they’re back, with their sense of melody and adventurousness as sharp as ever. Dropin Pickup is on after SeepeopleS.
Artist: The Blacktop Rockets
Venue: 185 King St.
Date: Saturday, Sept. 3, 8 p.m.
If rock ‘n’ roll had never strayed from its roots as a high-energy hybrid of country, blues and r&b, the Blacktop Rockets would quite possibly be at the forefront of the scene. As it is, this four-piece from Atlanta still does what it does very well, and the group’s sound is delightfully reminiscent of the Blasters. They’ve been at it for more than 20 years, and have earned the right to back up some serious legends including Wanda Jackson, a rockabilly treasure if there ever was one.
Artist: Andrew Bird
Venue: The Orange Peel
Date: Tuesday, Sept. 13, 8 p.m.
It’s tough to describe Andrew Bird’s music to someone who hasn’t heard it. This multi-instrumentalist is well-known for his skills on the violin, and he was an early member of Squirrel Nut Zippers. But none of those offer clues to the sound of “Capsized,” the opening track on his latest, Are You Serious. “Capsized” sounds bit like what might result if Beck and Bill Withers got together; in fact the tune bears some resemblance to Withers’ 1972 hit, “Use Me.” Pop sensibility, stunning musical chops and an appealing voice all come together for what should be a great show, right on the heels of Bird’s date at Raleigh’s Hopscotch Festival.
Artist: Stolen Rhodes
Venue: Jack of the Wood
Date: Friday, Sept. 23, 9 p.m.
Though the group’s name might conjure images of a purloined electric piano, what this Southern rock band from New Jersey is about is much more straightforward. The musicians wanna party like it’s 1975. Unashamedly claiming the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd among its influences, the foursome rocks out in an unadorned, no-b.s. fashion. The band’s arrangements — as showcased on 2012’s Falling off the Edge and the more recent Slow Horse EP — swing for the fences with anthemic choruses and sturdy songwriting. Here’s a prediction: It’s gonna get loud at Jack of the Wood.
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