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 you to the show.
This month, there’s an embarrassment of musical riches. September is traditionally “festival month” in WNC, and 2014 is no exception, with Biltmore Park’s Town Square concert Series and Asheville’s Downtown After Five both wrapping up their seasons, and next week’s Goombay Festival. But there’s plenty happening in the clubs, too, including these four shows (all of which I’d file under Do Not Miss).
Venue: Town Pump Tavern
Date: Saturday, Sept. 6, 9 p.m.
Power pop of the 1980s didn’t come much better than Mississippi-based The Windbreakers; that group was led by the duo of Bobby Sutliff and Tim Lee. Though the group folded after six highly regarded albums (and a 2002 posthumously issued live set from the mid ’80s), both men went on to musical careers of their own. Lee went on to work with former members of Rain Parade and Half Japanese. These days, TimLee3 includes spouse Susan (“letting you know where 1 & 3 are”) Bauer Lee on bass, and drummer Chris Bratta. If you like the music of The dB’s and Big Star, TimLee3 might just be your next big discovery. It’s tonight. Go. Local fave Laura Blackley opens.
Artist: Vieux Farka Touré
Venue: New Mountain
Date: Sunday, Sept. 14, 8 p.m.
Door: $12 advance / $15 day of show
Though the Malian guitarist is the son of the late, celebrated guitarist/vocalist Ali Farka Touré, the younger man doesn’t trade on his father’s name. Nor does he need to. Across seven albums — including one live set and one with The Touré-Rachel Collective — he’s charted a path all his own. Drawing from music of his native country and continent as well as from North and Central American forms including blues, reggae and soul, Touré is always a compelling performer. And his set at one of Asheville’s newest live music venues, New Mountain, should please fans of those styles as well as aficionados of jam-band and world music. Mande Foly opens.
Artist: OK Go
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Wednesday, Sept. 24, 9 p.m.
Door: $14 advance / $16 day of show
The music of this band founded at the end of the last century in Chicago is proof positive that alternative rock can be imbued with a classic sense of melody while still sounding fresh and new. The band’s reputation for unique videos shouldn’t make you think they’re a product of the studio. Their latest album, Hungry Ghosts, will be out next month, though some tracks have already been previewed online to great acclaim. If you lived in a bigger city, you’d have to go see them in a larger (and likely pricier-ticketed) venue; the intimate setting of The Grey Eagle all but guarantees a fun experience. At press time, the opening act hadn’t been announced.
Artist: Sun Ra Arkestra
Venue: Asheville Music Hall
Date: Friday, Sept. 26, 9 p.m.
Door: $18 advance / $22 day of show
The late Sun Ra may have been born Herman Blount, but most everything about the man (who claimed to have been born on the planet Saturn) was otherworldly. A jazz pioneer, he was one of the first to introduce electronics and electric keyboards into jazz, and his boundary-pushing music presaged the free jazz and fusion movements. But it always swung, too. Though Sun Ra left this planet in 1993, saxophonist Marshall Allen — member of Sun Ra’s Arkestra since 1958 — is the official curator of the man’s musical legacy. And under Allen’s direction, the Arkestra continues to amaze to this very day, with its polyrhythmic sound that paved the way for James Brown and countless others in jazz, soul, r&b and rock. They tour the world incessantly; don’t pass up this rare Asheville date.
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