30 Days Out: a look at upcoming concerts

LIFE IS A CABARET: Puddles Pity Party may feature a forlorn-looking giant clown, but Mike Geier's baritone voice coveys a much wider range of emotion. Puddles Pity Party plays the Diana Wortham Theatre November 20. Photo courtesy of the artist

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.

Two of the acts previewed in this edition have histories reaching back many years; the other two are newer projects from established artists.

Artist: Puddles Pity Party
Venue: Diana Wortham Theatre
Date: Monday, Nov. 20, 8 p.m.
Door: $36-$50
Puddles Pity Party is an extremely high-concept act, but it’s also a highly effective one. A nearly seven-foot-tall man made up to look like a sad clown is at best odd, and at worst a bit unsettling. But when Puddles (also known as Mike Geier, leader of Atlanta band Kingsized) opens his mouth to sing, the gimmicks fall away. Geier has performed on America’s Got Talent and recorded with another superb high-concept act, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox.


Artist: Airpark
Venue: Pisgah Brewing
Date: Saturday, Nov. 18, 9 p.m.
Door: $7 advance / $10 day of show
Brothers Ben Ford and Michael Ford, Jr. were both members of Apache Relay, a Nashville based folk/country/rock band with three albums to its credit. That band’s “Katie Queen of Tennessee” combined the influences of SMiLE-era Beach Boys and Fleet Foxes. With Airpark, the Ford Brothers hang onto their old band’s strong sense of melody, but wrap it in more indie-rock flavored arrangements. Strange Avenues opens.


Artist: Gin Blossoms
Venue: The Orange Peel
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 5, 8 p.m.
Door: $27
Gin Blossoms enjoyed serious success in the 1990s with the band’s first major-label album, New Miserable Experience. That record’s success was bittersweet, as the group would soon dismiss one of its founding members. He commited suicide shortly thereafter. Still, the band rallied and went on to additional (if more modest) success, but broke up near the end of the decade. Back together since 2002, Gin Blossoms are touring in celebration of the quarter-century anniversary of the group’s breakthrough album.


Artist: Squirrel Nut Zippers
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Wednesday, Dec. 6, 8 p.m.
Door: $20 advance / $25 day of show
If you were aware of pop music in 1996, you knew “Hot.” The Squirrel Nut Zippers song was inescapable. More than two decades later, this versatile group is still at it. While leader Jimbo Mathus has gone on to establish a highly-regarded (and stylistically very different) career on his own, he still fronts SNZ. He’s a very busy guy, producing other artists as well. This run of dates is billed as the band’s inaugural “Christmas Caravan Tour,” and while the details aren’t fully known, fun is surely in store.

You may also enjoy: With nearly 2500 entries and nearly 500 interviews, my Musoscribe blog features new content — features, reviews and more — every business day. A proud tradition since 2009, now in its ninth year. My first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon, will be published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018.


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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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