30 Days Out: a look at upcoming concerts

Free Planet Radio bring their locally-based world music to ISIS on Friday, Aug. 28, sharing the adventurous bill with the Opal String Quartet. Photo by Sandlin Gaither.

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.

For only $36 bucks — assuming you take advantage of presale discounts — you can take in all four of these fine shows. Two feature touring acts from out of town; two spotlight locally based artists whose renown extends far beyond Western North Carolina.

Artist: Free Planet Radio
Venue: Isis Restaurant & Music Hall
Date: Friday, Aug. 28, 8:30 p.m.
Door: $12 advance / $15 door
Featuring three highly in-demand musicians, FPR makes music that draws from traditions across the globe. Percussionist River Guerguerian weaves complex yet hypnotic and accessible rhythms. He’s joined by virtuoso bassist Eliot Wadopian and multi-instrumentalst Chris Rosser. Guerguerian travels his music extensively, and recently wrapped this year’s Asheville Percussion Festival. Opal String Quartet shares the bill, celebrating the release of a new recording and performing a newly commissioned piece titled “Ecstatic Verses.”

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Artist: Fly Golden Eagle
Venue: The Mothlight
Date: Thursday, Aug. 6, 9:30 p.m.
Door: $8
“Nashville by way of Detroit” is as good a description as any of the sound Fly Golden Eagle makes. Distilling his hometown influences of Motown and hard-edged rock, the band’s Ben Trimble adds elements of blues, psych and glam rock to the music of his quartet. They call it “downriver Detroit gospel twang.” Go hear it for yourself and decide what you’d call it. Fly Golden Eagle’s latest album, Quartz, follows 2012’s debut, Swagger. Ranch Ghost opens.

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Artist: The Low Counts
Venue: Jack of the Wood
Date: Friday, Aug. 7, 9 p.m.
Door: $4
The Low Counts spell it right out for ya on their website: they’re no fans of bandwagon-jumping Americana, blues lawyers or “lame rockabilly” acts. For themselves, they claim “no gimmicks,” and since the guitar-and-drum setup has been done countless times (White Stripes, JEFF the Brotherhood, Black Keys, Local H, Flat Duo Jets, The Kills … I could go on) I’m inclined to believe that they make music this way because they want to, not because it’s unique or clever to do so. Straight from down yonder on the Piedmont (specifically High Point, N.C.), Matt Walsh plays guitar, and Austin Hicks holds down the backbeat.

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Artist: Weather Report Tribute
Venue: White Horse Black Mountain
Date: Saturday, Aug. 8, 8 p.m.
Door: $12 advance / $15 door
White Horse Black Mountain hosted a similarly themed event in early 2014, and response was so positive that the venue is doing it again. A collective of accomplished musicians (because any other kind couldn’t tackle this music) from around WNC pays tribute to one of jazz fusion’s greatest and most important acts. Weather Report released 13 studio albums during its 15-year run (1971-1986) and in the course of doing so, redefined the genre. It’s a rare adventurous bassist who doesn’t claim Jaco Pastorius as an influence, and keyboardist Josef Zawinul‘s compositions combined the freewheeling, exploratory nature of jazz with a pop songwriter’s knack for hook and melody. With both Jaco and Zawinul having passed on, there will never be any more Weather Report music. So this concert may just be the next best thing.

You may also enjoy: Now with over 2000 entries, my Musoscribe blog features new content — interviews, reviews and more — every business day. A proud tradition since 2009.

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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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