Twice monthly, my 30 Days Out column 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 collective of local musicians coming together to help support a good cause, an uncompromising hard rock trio, an intriguing post-rock outfit from Asheville, and an iconoclastic rapper: those are the highlights on the local music schedule over the next 30 days.
Artist: Dorsey Parker’s Big Benefit Band Celebrates UN World Water Day
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Wednesday, March 21, 9 p.m.
Door: Donations accepted
March 21 is the United Nations World Water Day, an occasion to reflect on just how precious that commodity truly is. In the U.S. we can (and often do) take clean water for granted; for much of the planet that luxury isn’t even an option. This event — featuring Dorsey Parker leading an all-star lineup of local artists who are volunteering their talents — aims to raise funds to provide water filtration systems for villages in Tanzania. Remember this when you decide how much to donate; each dollar raised provides clean drinking water for one person for an entire year.
Artist: Thelma and the Sleaze
Venue: The Mothlight
Date: Friday, March 23, 9 p.m.
Door: $10 advance / $12 day of show
There are some bands whose album titles telegraph a lot of what you need to know about them; you’ll either be won over or warned off before you hear even a note of their music. Nashville’s Thelma and the Sleaze are such a trio. The group’s 2012 debut EP was titled Pillage; 2013’s These Boots Won’t Lick Themselves provided further clues to its attitude, as did the title of its 2014 EP: Heart Like a Fist. The latter sported a cover featuring the band members stark naked, with the naughty bits blacked out. If you’re still reading, know that this band rocks really hard — the musicians name-check Thin Lizzy as an influence — and its does so with a sense of humor. The band’s first full-length, the tamely-titled Somebody’s Doin’ Somethin, came out on trendy Burger Records in 2017. Also on the bill: Craig Brown Band, Kitty Tsunami and Bad Molly.
Venue: Ambrose West
Date: Thursday, March 29, 8 p.m.
Not the most prolific of groups, Asheville-based Betaplane hasn’t built up a deep catalog of recorded works. But what the trio has done, apparently, is focus squarely on quality over quantity. The group spent time at Echo Mountain Studios in 2016, and the sessions yielded three tracks that the band released sequentially over the next several months. “Horizons” and “Worlds of Motion” came out in 2016; those tracks display a kind of tension between kinetic and ambient aesthetics — with some heaviness dialed in — that’s quite mesmerizing. Think of it as New Age crossed with instrumental post-rock. Last year saw the release of “Day on the Water,” which steers the band back toward the dreamy sonic ether.
Artist: Lupe Fiasco
Venue: Salvage Station
Date: Saturday, March 21, 9 p.m.
Supremely articulate rapper-songwriter-entrepreneur Lupe Fiasco has never shied away from controversy; he’s made headlines as much for his anti-government (and generally anti-establishment) views expressed in interviews (and his run-ins with his record labels) as he has for his music. That’s unfortunate in a way, as his true strength is as one of the most sophisticated and nuanced lyricists working in modern-day hip hop. And that music — six albums since 2006, with 2017’s Drogas Light his latest — is well-regarded, even revered in some circles. Booking him at Salvage Station is something of a coup, and demonstrates just how seriously the venue is taking its entertainment lineup.
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