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.
This time around I’ll take a quick look at four acts, each with a substantial body of work to its credit. Genre-wise, they’re all over the place: experimental, psychedelic-leaning rock, revved-up indie rock with classic influences and post-punk/new wave. What they share is a serious commitment to quality. Asheville’s unique character means that these artists come here to play; few other cities this size can claim the sort of musical offerings we can enjoy. So, enjoy.
Artist: Peter Hook & the Light
Venue: The Orange Peel
Date: Monday, Nov. 21, 8 p.m.
Door: $21 advance/$24 day of show
Peter Hook earned his claim to fame with the founding of Joy Division, one of England’s landmark post-punk outfits. When that group collapsed in the wake of singer Ian Curtis’ suicide, Hook and his bandmates could have gone in a number of directions; the one they chose was to change their name (and musical approach), becoming New Order, one of synthpop/new wave’s most important groups. Hook left the group in 2006 (the band continues without him) and formed Peter Hook and the Light. While that group released an EP (2011’s 1102 | 2011), the current tour instead takes a trip back in time, performing Substance, a late 1980s compilation of Joy Division singles, as well as songs from New Order’s catalog.
Artist: My Morning Jacket
Venue: Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
Date: Thursday, Oct. 27, 8 p.m.
Though on their earliest releases, Kentucky-based My Morning Jacket displayed a Southern rock, almost country-influenced sound, the band switched gears for 2008’s Evil Urges. Many older fans were confounded by the more rhythm and blues textures of the disc, but the breakthrough record gained MMJ new fans. Since then, the group has only released three albums, with members busying themselves in countless side projects. Leader Jim James (he also likes to be known as Yim Yames) brought the band back together for 2015’s generally well-received The Waterfall, and an as-yet-untitled follow-up is due out “soon.”
Venue: Streamside Concerts
Date: Thursday, Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m.
Door: $20 suggested donation
Asheville is a hotbed for electronic improvisation. With instrumental and technological breakthroughs like Moog Music’s innovations and Paul Vo’s Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer for guitar, ambitious musicians have an array of homegrown tools. And for those interested in what’s going on in the field beyond Asheville, one of the best places to look is in the direction of centrozoon. Guitarist Markus Reuter (Robert Fripp’s Guitar Craft, Stick Men, The Crimson ProjeKct, etc.) and Bernhard Wöstheinrich embark on all manner of musical excursions. They often bring in guest musicians such as Tim Bowness (no-man) and Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson). For their current run of dates, they’re joined by Tobias Reber. There are few more delightfully intimate venues than Streamside Concerts; it’s worth the short and scenic drive from Asheville to enjoy the exploratory experience of centrozoon.
Artist: Guided by Voices
Venue: Grey Eagle
Date: Friday, Nov. 11, 9 p.m.
Door: $22 advance/$25 day of show
Bob Pollard is the impossibly prolific grand old man of indie-rock. Since forming Guided by Voices in 1986, Pollard has written well in excess of 1,500 songs, and released nearly two dozen official studio albums; that total doesn’t count unofficial releases, and/or side projects, of which there have been many. Guided by Voices is known for several things, all of which unfortunately tend to overshadow the high quality of the group’s best material. One, the lineup changes a lot: Pollard is the sole constant member. Two, Pollard’s high volume of output seems to lack a quality filter; one must wade through a certain amount of filler (detractors might call it garbage) to find the numerous gems. Three, many GbV members past and present do, as the saying goes, like the drink. Again, a lot. But the band’s high-energy shows are rightly acclaimed, and few indie bands can claim as ardent a fan base as the one for Guided by Voices. So if you’re new to their music, go, but expect a packed room full of fans who know all the words. Surfer Blood opens.
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