Random acts

Of note

Asheville resident and musical trailblazer Robert Moog recently received a Technical Grammy Award for his contributions to recording. Moog is the inventor of the Moog Synthesizer, which has revolutionized music since its introduction in 1965. Moog’s company, Big Briar Instruments, is based locally. For more information, visit www.bigbriar.com. (Look for a feature story on Moog’s win in the March 13 issue of Xpress.)

Onion Music has recently announced the official release date for the new The Makeout Room CD. Fans will be able to pick up copies of the album at the band’s farewell show at Vincent’s Ear on Friday, March 8. For more information, visit www.onionmusic.com.

Local heavy-metal band Estedy has announced the group’s new “clothing sponsor.” In addition to their new release, External Auditory, the band will now be selling Slut Tease brand merchandise at their shows. For more on the group, visit www.estedy.com.

Front-row reviews

What: Collapseable Studios Presents …

Where: Stella Blue

When: Friday, Feb. 22

Diderot once wrote, “Greatness is usually the result of a natural equilibrium among opposite qualities.” By that standard, it would be hard to imagine a show any greater than the one recently hosted by Collapseable Studios. Country met grunge. Ragtime jazz met pop-powered Latin groove. And at the center of it all was a top-form Jr. James & The Late Guitar.

The evening began with a set by Gavra Lynn & The Crop Dusters. Her sound here was more somber than her earlier efforts with The Unholy Trio, but the change worked in her favor, bringing a more classic feel to her alt-country style.

Tyler Ramsey followed with a short set that ranged from ragtime-era jazz to a bluesy cover of Paul McCartney’s “Silly Love Songs,” with Bill Reynolds and Aaron Price joining in.

Next up was Drug Money. Theirs was the first hard-edged set, and the heavier beat brought droves of Stella Blue patrons to the dance floor.

But the biggest surprise of the night was an incredibly high-energy set of Afro-Latin-tinged pop songs from Jr. James & The Late Guitar. Their line-up now stretched to include eight musicians (including a guest percussionist from Mandorico), the octet rocked the house — and most of the block.

Local vocals

The three young men in Send for August are a little concerned. In the last year, the band has changed its name (they were known as Syntax till just last month), their lineup, and, most significantly, their music. They aren’t too worried about the quality of their new sound, though they’ve made a hefty leap from a hardcore heavy-rock band to an experimental fusion of reggae and heavy metal. Instead, they’re consumed with practical matters — like what their friends and fans will think of the change. They spoke with Xpress about their past, their present and why they aren’t a “boy band.”

Mountain Xpress: You’ve played with a lot of the heavier local acts, like MiniVoid. How has your new sound affected the crowd response?

Travis Moss: They’re surprised.

Jared Hooker: The main reason that we’re playing shows with those bands is because we used to be heavy. Then, all the sudden, we kind of disappear from the scene for almost a year. We come back and everybody is expecting us to be [playing] the old sound, and then we just came out and surprised everybody with our new stuff.

MX: Do you still feel like the new guys on the scene?

JH: We feel very welcome, so I don’t guess you could say that we feel like the new guys. I guess, right now we kind of do, because we took a year off from playing. It’s still kind of fresh for us.

MX: Are you nervous?

JH: Yeah. Pretty nervous. But we’re confident at the same time, I guess. A lot of the fans that are into the heavier stuff are welcoming us just the same. It’s kind of a matter of reaching out to new people that are more open to what we’re playing.

MX: Someone told me that you would make a good “boy band,” because you are all so young. Do you see yourselves like that?

Brad Gaddy: We didn’t really mean it to come out that way. That’s flattering, I guess, but I don’t want to be seen that way. … we’re not about image. We want people to see our dedication to music, and the overall talent that we possess.

TM: Keep that in mind. [We’ll] do a Backstreet Boys cover.

Top threes

Top-three anagrams of local bands recently featured in Random Acts:

• Hoard Oil Day — Holiday Road

• Freshman Son Atop Jet — The Monsters of Japan

• Hello James — Les Jamehlo

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