First things first. As economist types know, getting a good deal means looking at the unit price, not just the sticker price. That brings us to this weekend’s POPAsheville festival, which, when you do the math, is cheap like buying a case of toilet paper because, roll for roll, it’s a great bargain. 30+ bands play three venues (The Grey Eagle, The Rocket Club and Stella Blue) over four nights (Thursday, Jan. 15, through Sunday, Jan. 18) for a mere $15. (And there are panel discussions and a keynote speaker to boot.) The unit price comes out to about 50-cents per band: that’s less than it costs to sponsor one of those kids Sally Struthers is always parading across your TV set — and everyone knows you can a save a kid in a third world country for less than the price of your morning take-out coffee. (Buy tickets here.)
And, because you may (or may not) have just shelled out 15 bucks for the best of regional pop, the rest of this week’s round-up is all free at last, free at last.
Friday, Jan. 16 :
• Acoustic outfit Brushfire Stankgrass (pictured) plays a happy hour show at French Broad Brewery (101 Fairview Rd., Asheville, 277-0222), 6 p.m.
• A Social Function brings R&B and rock to Magnolia’s (26 Walnut St., Asheville, 251-5211), 10 p.m.
• Valdosta, Ga.-based R&B, soul and pop group The Notion takes the stage at Wild Wing Cafe (161 Biltmore Ave., Asheville, 253-3066), 10 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 17
• Brittany Reily with the Almost Acoustic Band headlines the Well Bred Bakery (26 N. Main St., Weaverville, 645-9300), 7 p.m.
• Fingerstyle guitar maverick Patrick Fitzsimons is at Blue Mountain Pizza (55 Main St.,Weaverville, 658-8777), 7 p.m.
• Cabo Verde shows off its Latin jazz chops at Zambra (85 Walnut St., Asheville, 232-1060), 8 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 18
• Round out the weekend with beer, pizza and The Chuck Lichtenberger Collective at Barley’s (42 Biltmore Ave., Asheville, 255-0504), 7:30 p.m.
— Alli Marshall, A&E reporter