Start the weekend early. Thursday has a ton of not-to-be-missed events, from a local short film festival to Vendetta Creme in Saluda. Then ease on into the weekend. Got 5 bucks? Catch a punk show at the Boiler room or a rock band at Mo Daddy’s. Got 3 bucks? Check out a gospel festival or a Dead cover band. Got nothin’? Relax: there’s plenty to do for free, too.
Thursday, Aug. 13
• Cabaret sweetheart Vendetta Creme (pictured below) returns to the stage, accompanied by Aaron Price, at the Purple Onion (16 Main St., Saluda, 749-1179). Press says, “The duo have scoured the globe for the BEST of the timeless cabaret songs, from Noel Coward’s farcical songs of jungle safari to Edith Piaf’s classic ‘La Vie en Rose,’ and everything in between.” 7:30 p.m., free.
• Freestyle/hip-hop artist Young Ayto will be at the Courtyard Gallery (9 Walnut St., Asheville, 273-3332). 7:45 p.m., free.
• Love films? Check out the Local Artist Short Film Showcase, held at the Hookah Bar (38 N. French Broad Ave., Asheville, 252-1522). Organizers expect to screen 15-20 shorts, each film running under 15 minutes. The event also includes a DJ and live music following the screenings. 8 p.m., free.
• Singer-songwriter Valorie Miller (pictured) puts on a free show at Westville Pub (777 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 225-9782). 9 p.m.
• And, for those of you attending the “Thirsty Thursday” Asheville Tourists vs. Kannapolis game at Memorial Stadium; r&b act A Social Function plays the after-party at Magnolia’s (26 Walnut St., Asheville, 251-5211). 9:30 p.m., free.
• Boone’s funk-rock quartet The Native Sway ends the evening with a 10 p.m. set at The Boiler Room (11 Grove St., Asheville, 505-1612). $4.
Friday, Aug. 14
• Asks youth music-oriented music fest Barnaroo (839 Old Marshall Hwy., Asheville), “Who wants to see a f**kin show?” The third installment in this every other month event gets started at 7:30 p.m. Thrash band Severed Martyr plays. Free.
• New venue to check out: Eatery Tod’s Tasties & Togos (102 Montford Ave., Asheville, 505-3701) hosts an acoustic show with Americana act The Leigh Glass Band. 8 p.m.
• Prog-punk trio The Machiavillains (pictured below), pop trio The Spandrels (who cheerfully attest, “This is bitter, hateful music you can dance to!”) and punk duo Solito triple-team The Boiler Room (11 Grove St., Asheville, 505-1612). 9 p.m., $5.
• Just after the 14th anniversary of Jerry Garcia’s passing, Phuncle Sam gets all Grateful Dead-trippy at College Street Pub (4 College St., Asheville, 232-0809). 9:30 p.m., $3.
Saturday, Aug. 15
• The First Asheville Gospel Blues Jam is billed as “one part festival,one part house concert” with a mission to “spread the ‘Good News’ through gospel based blues, bluegrass, country, soul and folk music.” Held at 2 East Indiana Ave., West Asheville. The featured artist is Americana act Riyen Roots 3 p.m., cost is $3 plus a canned food donation.
• The very danceable Kelley and the Cowboys sway into the Westville Pub on Saturday, bringing their terrific blend of swingin’ honky-tonk accentuated by lead singer Kelley Breiding’s lovely voice. $5.
• Sci-Fi soul band Secret B-Sides (pictured) plays Never Blue (119 South Main Street, Hendersonville) of which the band says, “Delicious food, beautiful waitresses and a water feature…” 7 p.m., free.
• The Blue Dragons (with Xpress Ad Director James Fisher on bass) rock out Mo Daddy’s (77-B Biltmore Ave., Asheville, 258-1550). 9 p.m., $5.
• Irreverent indie-pop quartet The If You Wannas (or simply, The Ifs—pictured below) bring what they call “stage-less rock ‘n roll” to the New French Bar (12 Biltmore Ave., Asheville, 225-6445). Diacon-Panthers from Nashville open. Then, “The If You Wannas will close out the night with new material from their upcoming album, Island Diplomacy. It sounds the way Super 8 footage looks.” 10 p.m., $5.