If this column were a city block, it might have a boutique hotel next to a yurt. If this column were a dinner, it might be mashed potatoes with a side of blueberries. Our point? Spork is often a mix of disparate stuff that doesn't necessarily go together. This week, we hop from the upcoming Oktoberfest in downtown Asheville, to the annual Fiesta Latina at the WNC Ag Center, to the already-happened Gonerfest in Memphis (which we dispatched music writer Whitney Shroyer to investigate because of the Asheville connections). All fests, yes, but quite different from each other.
The Asheville Downtown Association has revived Oktoberfest in town, and many thanks to 'em. Because we love beer. We love yodeling. We love chicken dancing. And we really love The Goodies, who'll be performing a rare gig at the Saturday, Oct. 10, event. Starting at 1 p.m. when the kegs will be tapped, Ashevilleans, hopefully wearing lederhosen, will descend on Wall Street for the day-long beer-brat-stravaganza.
Local brews will include Highland, Asheville Brewing, Pisgah, Green Man and French Broad. Cucina 24, Jack of the Wood and Laughing Seed will be serving up authentic German fare, and a hearty helping of local Lusty Monk mustard (we also love that mustard. Love it!). The Stratton Mountain Boys will be cranking out the polkas and shoe-slappers at 2 p.m., and The Goodies will bring their gypsy-funk-vaudeville at 4:15 p.m. Tickets are $25, and include a commemorative glass. More info at www.ashevilledowntown.org.
Also on Saturday, Oct. 10, is the 12th annual Fiesta Latina, a celebration of Latin American culture in Western North Carolina. Featuring performances from Flamenco jazz outfit Cabo Verde (3:15 to 4 p.m.), Cuban ensemble Ahora Si (4:30 to 5:15 p.m.), Sin Fronteras traditional Mexican dance (5:45 to 6 p.m.) and spicy-hot salsa orchestra Nuevo Montuno (7 to 8 p.m.). There will be plenty of Latin food, and niñoville for the kids. Fiesta Latina runs from noon to 8 p.m. at the WNC Agricultural Center in Fletcher.
As for Gonerfest, we'll let Shroyer handle that one:
"There are three categories of bands that performed at Gonerfest 6 over the Sept. 24-27 weekend in Memphis: bands I saw, bands I didn't see and bands I don't remember. One of the best bands I saw was San Francisco's Thee Oh Sees. Led by veteran rock-and-roller John Dwyer, whose former bands include the Coachwhips and the Hospitals, Thee Oh Sees are a band-of-the-moment on the modern rock 'n' roll scene, with their In the Red album Help getting a lot of 'best of the year' buzzings, and all of their older releases coming out on vinyl.
"Actually, now that I think about it, Thee Oh Sees qualify as a band I didn't really see, because they didn't set up on stage but in front of it, down in the crowd, who surrounded them. This created a rowdy house-rockin' vibe that intensified the already communal aspect of Gonerfest. The show was great for me, even though I was in the back and couldn't see them, because their wild, heavily reverbed, absurdist stomp-pop — which kind of sounds like Animal Collective throwing a dance party over at Spaceman 3's practice space — feels like it's piped in from another dimension anyway, so it made sense that you couldn't see the people playing it.
"Thee Oh Sees are going to be playing at the Grey Eagle on Tuesday, Oct. 13, with California dance-noise-psychers Static Static, who are gaining some cache among rock-and-roll hipsters, and Asheville's Burning Bus, who played their best set yet at Gonerfest on Saturday afternoon. Show starts at 9 p.m. and is $8. This promises to be a great show – Asheville + Oh Sees strikes me as a perfect combination for joyous, exuberant fun. Bring your dancing shoes – I think this qualifies as a 'don't miss.'"
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