30 Days Out: a look at upcoming concerts

IT AIN'T WHAT THEY CALL ROCK 'N' ROLL: Toronto-based instrumental ensemble Sultans of String concocts a heady mix of musical styles that draws from gypsy jazz, Spanish flamenco, Celtic reels, Arabic folk and Afro-Cuban rhythms. A duo version of the group comes to Ambrose West on May 31.

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.

Funky get-down soul, flamenco gypsy jazz, hometown Americana and theatrical, unholy rock: those are the musical styles showcased in this roundup of Asheville concerts.

Artist: Sultans of String
Venue: Ambrose West
Date: Thursday, May 31, 8 p.m.
Door: $12 advance / $15 day of show
Award-winning Sultans of String successfully combine all manner of world music traditions into a densely layered style all their own. The band is massively popular in its home country of Canada, and Sultans of Swing’s five albums have earned critical acclaim. The versatile group reinvents itself in a variety of configurations, sometimes adding guest musicians as well. In the group’s music, tradition meets modern electronics and a pop sensibility. The Gypsy Swingers open.


Artist: James Brown Dance Party
Venue: Asheville Music Hall
Date: Friday, May 18, 10 p.m.
Door: $15
James Brown certainly didn’t invent polyrhythms, but he was among the first to incorporate the sub-Saharan musical tradition into music with widespread commercial success. The Godfather of Soul developed his own singular style, one that influenced countless artists who would follow in his wake. This all-star tribute to the man also known as “Mr. Dynamite” and “Soul Brother Number One” features a rotating lineup including members of Snarky Puppy, Lettuce, Dopapod, The Dap Kings and many others. DJ Williams’ Shots Fired is also on the bill.


Artist: Ghost
Venue: Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
Date: Tuesday, May 22, 7 p.m.
Door: $43
There’s a long and proud tradition of theatricality in rock music, exemplified by Alice Cooper, The Tubes, Nine Inch Nails and many others. And the concept of evil — real or imagined — has fired the imaginations of artists like Black Sabbath and Kiss. From Sweden comes Ghost, a group that stays in character while playing its surprisingly mainstream and melodic metal. Looking like a netherworld pontiff, the lead singer is called Papa Emeritus, and the rest of the band are Nameless Ones. Ghost is guaranteed fun for the whole family!


Artist: The Rough and Tumble
Venue: Isis Music Hall
Date: Saturday, May 26, 7 p.m.
Door: $10
Folk-Americana duo Mallory Graham and Scott Tyler are the Rough and Tumble. Their latest album (reviewed in Mountain Xpress) is We Made Ourselves a Home When We Didn’t Know. That collection showcases their winning combination of traditional music and modern pop values. Graham and Tyler are on the road nearly non-stop; this Isis Music Hall show brings them back to the place they used to call home.

You may also enjoy: With way more than 2500 entries and more than 550 interviews, my Musoscribe blog features new content — features, reviews and more — every business day. A proud tradition, now in its 10th year. My book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon, published by Rowman & Littlefield, is available now.


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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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