This weekend brings Bele Chere around again. Which pretty much everyone knows and revels in/avoids accordingly. Being that the downtown Asheville street festival is all free all the time this year, it seems almost superfluous to compile a Weekend on a Shoestring missive … and yet, there’s something compelling about the challenge. Beyond the snarl of festival crowds and hawkers, what sort of free or low-cost happenings can be found? Here are our budget-friendly suggestions:
Friday, July 24
• Don’t let the name dissuade you: Brother Fatback is not a butcher collective but rather a “pig-chasin’ Gypsy blues” quartet. The fiery-fierce group takes it to the streets this weekend. According to the band’s MySpace page, they “will once again be featured street performers during the 3-day Bele Chere Festival in downtown Asheville. We can be found at the corner of Patton and Biltmore Avenues near Pack Square throughout the weekend.” Showtimes are Friday, noon-3 p.m. and 6-9 p.m., Saturday 2-6 p.m. and Sunday noon-4 p.m.
• Get away from the heat and/or possible thunder storms, buy an oversized slice of pizza and take in a bluegrass set by Brushfire Stankgrass at Barley’s (42 Biltmore Ave., Asheville, 255-0504). 8 p.m., no cover.
• The Back Row Baptists (country-rock from Birmingham) join Asheville’s Brian McGee & The Hollow Speed (pictured; photo by Sandlin Gaither) with Sarah Green for an 8 p.m. show at Mo Daddy’s (77-B Biltmore Ave., Asheville, 258-1550). $5.
• The Back Room (Flat Rock Wine Shop, 2702 Greenville Hwy., Suite C, Flat Rock, 697-6828) hosts blues act The Shane Pruitt Band. 9 p.m.
• Wax Poets bring experimental rock to The Boiler Room (11 Grove St., Asheville, 505-1612) at 10 p.m. $5.
• And then there’s this lovingly-writ ode to Ruby’s BBQ (8 Beverly Rd., Haw Creek, 299-3511) by vintage-blues artist Woody Pines: “Located in the heart of Haw Creek, Asheville, lies the best BBQ WNC has to offer. If the hub of this aspiring mini-metropolis of Haw Creek is, as some claim, Ruby’s Tap House,then its heart must be the merrily puffing barbecue drum-smoker. The device sits near the parking area that the bar shares with several other small businesses, busily infusing various cuts of meat– not to mention passersby – with the heavenly flavor and aroma of wood smoke. There’s a reason why Ruby’s is the best BBQ in WNC. Come find out why.” Do just that and check out Pines as well. 10 p.m.
Saturday, July 15
• HellChere, the punk/rock music event that might be more anti than the the anti Bele Chere event at Stella Blue, kicks off at noon, 61 Hill St., behind the Chamber of Commerce building in Montford. Bands on the bills include Charlie’s On Acid, Gut Wrenching Terror, Cardinal Death Match, Soft Opening and Project Lounge Core.
• Firestorm Cafe (48 Commerce St., Asheville, 255-8115) hosts a Bele Chere Jam featuring Lyndsay Wojcik at 6p.m., Iridescent at 7:15 p.m., Nikki Talley at 8:30 p.m., Rorey Carroll at 10:15 p.m. and Shift at 11 p.m. B.Y.O.B; cover is $5.
• The Leigh Glass Band puts in an appearance at French Broad Brewery (101 Fairview Rd., Asheville, 277-0222). 6 p.m., free.
• The Space Heaters play vintage swing for the dinner crowd at The Lobster Trap (35 Patton Ave., Asheville, 350-0505). 7 p.m., no cover.
• Pop-piano man Aaron LaFalce performs a “Bele Chere Party” set with Bobby Sullivan at Vincenzo’s (10 Market St., Asheville, 254-4698). 8 p.m., no cover.
• Shelby/Forest City-based King Sized Killers share a “3 Bands for 3 Bucks” bill with Greasy Kitty and The Letdowns at Mike’s Side Pocket (375 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 281-3096). 8 p.m.
• Country + blues = The Honeycutters. At The Rootbar (1410 Tunnel Rd., Asheville, 299-7597). With Alex Krug. And … (wait for it) … local hot dogs! 8:30 p.m., $4.
• Late night: The Secret B-Sides bring funk and soul to Barley’s (42 Biltmore Ave., Asheville, 255-0504). 10 p.m., no cover.
• Wrap up the night at the Moog Foundation benefit show with The Moog Foundation House Band at Mo Daddy’s (77-B Biltmore Ave., Asheville, 258-1550). 10 p.m.-2 a.m., $5 (proceeds benefit the construction of the Moogseum in Asheville).
—Alli Marshall, A&E reporter