Another month brings another showcase for some of Asheville’s most exciting local bands at The Orange Peel. While last month’s show displayed the softer and more psychedelic sides of Asheville’s rock scene, January’s offering serves up some of the best and most humable artists that Asheville has to offer. Here’s a look at the groups playing this month’s offering.
If You Wannas: When listening to the If You Wannas, the most immediately noticeable thing isn’t what they do well, but how they manage to click all cylinders at once. This band is a tight rock ‘n’ roll machine which takes its nods from both Fugazi and My Morning Jacket, the rhythm section of Trevor Stoia and Jacob Baumann create a level of tension and terseness that simultaneously grates against and gels with guitarists Ryan Cox and Gavin Conner’s laconic country infused strum and whine. It’s a cacophony that you can sing and dance along with, and it’s all by design.
“We go for hooks,” says Cox. “I try to write what I would want to listen to, and that’s a three-minute-long song. We want people to go home and remember something on the way home.”
Erika Jane & Remember the Bees: At first listen, Erika Jane may be the odd girl out at the showcase. With a sound that is both more quiet and more stylistically refined than the others on the ticket, Jane’s gorgeous take on pop music is the perfect stuff for a rainy day. The stories that Erika songs tell are relatable, accessible and—most importantly—humable. It may be easy to ignore the quiet girl with her guitar and the big voice, but to do so would be a crime.
“I think every song should tell a story,” Jane says. “Sometimes they tell stories through music, and sometimes they tell stories with words. A hook is a good thing if it’s done the right way.”
The Broomstars: The Broomstars have a sound that is instantly recognizable and yet not derivative, representing the sum of their collective influences: the stomp and volume of ‘90s rock with the Moog infused whimsy of the ‘80s, all wrapped in some of the most endearing boy/girl harmonies this side of Frankie and Annette. But don’t expect The Broomstars to be leaving town chasing that perfect wave anytime soon. Instead, they are more focused on refining their songs and leading Asheville’s music scene into a pop utopia of sorts.
“This town is really saturated in progressive thought, and pure pop music is a really easy way of bridging the gap of all genres and all types of music to get your message out,” says bassist Jared White.
The Goodies: The Goodies are an Asheville institution. Fronted by the incomparable Holiday Childress, the band has spent the last 15 years walking the tightrope between Judy Garland–by-the-way-of-Tom Waits-influenced caberet pop and a muscular Van Halen-influenced rock.
“We grew up on [rock and roll],” says Childress. “We love Van Halen. Whenever I get together with Mike [Allen, drummer] he just lays it down because he’s such a hard hitter. It’s such a definitive sound of the Goodies’ career, and over the years I’ve tried to rein it in and refine it. The Goodies are an athletic kind of rock show.”
— Jason Bugg is a writer based in Asheville.
Click here for ticket and show information.