One reader asked for some Thursday picks: Turns out this is a perfect week to start the weekend early. Loads of exciting music is happening in and around Asheville all weekend and Thursday is a nice primer for all of that. From nationally touring indie rock and sweet country and soul to ballistic punk and wildly experimental sounds, you can take in live music for four days straight. (All at budget cover prices, of course.)
Thursday, Sept. 24
• Even if you’re not up for a late night out during the week, these two singer/songwriter acts make for good listening and and early evening. Valorie Miller plays Pisgah Brewing Company (50 Eastside Dr., Black Mountain, 669-2491) and Patrick Fitzsimons (pictured) plays Blue Mountain Pizza (55 N Main St., Weaverville, 658-8777). Both shows are at 7 p.m.
• Cambridge, Mass.-based indie-acoustic trio The And Company comes to Hookah Joe’s (50 Commerce St., Asheville, 252-1522). 8 p.m., $5.
• The Sweetback Sisters (not to be confused with Asheville’s The Swayback Sisters) perform country tunes in matching dresses. There are dudes in the band, too, for whatever that’s worth. Catch these sibs at Jack of the Wood (95 Patton Ave., Asheville, 252-5445). 9 p.m., $5.
• Local rocker John Wilkes Booth & the Black Toothe (pictured; sounding rather like a garage-y version of The Zombies) joins Now You See Them at Glass house next to the UNCA Library (1 University Heights, Asheville). 9 p.m., free.
• Round out the night with mysterious but quirky-excellent Neapolitan Children. They play a free show at Mike’s Sidepocket (375 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 281-3096). 10 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 25
• Knock off work early: Tennessee’s Stillhouse Hollow (pictured) plays a very early and very free show at BoBo Gallery (22 Lexington Ave., Asheville, 254-3426). Can’t make this show and don’t want to miss out on the lanky, swinging roots this band performs? They’ll be at The Back Room (2701 C Greenville Hwy., Flat Rock, 697-6828) on Thursday night and The Boiler Room (11 Grove St., Asheville, 505-1612) later on Friday.
• Experimental act Hank Jones Ghost plays Ed Fest (no,. not the Edinburgh, Scotland Festival, but the Fairview, N.C. one on Emma’s Grove Rd.) at 6 p.m. $5.
• Catch Americana band FreeGrass Revival at new listening venue Straight Away Cafe (1722 Hwy. 9, Black Mountain, 669-8856). 6 p.m., free.
• Hendersonville’s punk quartet Restrict This (pictured) proffers this catchy slogan: “We might not see tomorrow… let’s f**k s**t up today.” Hard-hitting, anthemic (and often catchy) numbers like “Killing Time” and “A New Hope” live up to that kind of life-wisdom. Check ‘em out at Club Pulse in Hendersonville. 7:30 p.m., $2.
• Also in Hendersonville: World-touring shoegaze/indie-pop group Arms & Sleepers performs (unbelievably!) at Black Bear Coffee (318 N Main Street, Hendersonville, 692-6333). Collaborations With Sound, Joe Flash and Portico featuring Raphael also perform. 8 p.m. $5.
• Retro-fantastic Brit-pop act The Cheeksters will be at Pisgah Brewing Company (50 Eastside Dr., Black Mountain, 669-2491) starting at 8 p.m. Says singer/bassist Shannon Casson, “Come on down as this will be one of our last performances in Asheville for 2009!”
• Who knew great country soul could come out of Orlando, Fla.? Matt Butcher (pictured) possesses the doe-eyed prettiness and hooky sadness of a tuneful Connor Oberst. He’ll be at the Root Bar (1410 Tunnel Rd., Asheville, 299-7597) with Chelsea Lynn La Bate at 8 p.m. (Hint: You can also catch his Me & My Friends CD release at the free 4 p.m. show at BoBo Gallery).
• This week brings rash of bands who list “USA” as their homebase on their Myspace pages. Such is the case with the addictively syncopated and poppy Clifton Williams & The Blue James Band. But hey, if we all get to claim these guys as being from our neck of the woods, that’s a good thing, right? They’ll be at Mo Daddy’s (77 Biltmore Ave., Asheville, 258-1550) 9 p.m., $5.
Saturday, Sept. 26
• Make the drive to Cullowhee for Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Festival. The free, day-long event runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with mountain music and dance, shape note singing, living history demos, crafts, food and contests. Performers include: Stoney Creek Boys, Laura Boosinger, Sheila Kay Adams, Balsam Range (pictured), Whitewater Bluegrass Co., Mountain Top Travelers, Pirates of the Tuckaseigee, Stoney Creek Boys, and many others.
• In the mood for more festivities? The True Nature Fair runs all weekend (10 a.m.-6 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday) at the Big Ivy Communnity Center in Barnardsville. The fair focuses on all things local, organic and sustainable. $5 entry for adults, $3 children ages 3-12.
• Free during the day: Spatsfest, Asheville’s own SteamPunk event, kicks off at noon at Firestorm Cafe (48 Commerce St., Asheville, 255-8115). SteamPunk is a fantasy genre that celebrates the steam powered world of the 19th Century/Victorian era. Events include a discussion panel, crafts and costume contest and a Victorian sing-a-long.
• Americana act Riyen Roots puts in an appearance at the Americana Roadhouse Show at the Garage (101 Fairview Rd., Asheville, 505-2663). Anvil Thunderhead, Turbo Pro Project and Erika Jane & Remember the Bees share the bill. 8 p.m., $5.
• Barrel House Mamas off-shoot Habibigy (pictured) fires up the blues/soul/jazz at Westville Pub (777 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 225-9782). 9 p.m., $5.
• Here’s something to do with your evening: Temple of Boom Bass Invaderz just moved to a larger venue. Says promoter/performer Selector Cleofus: “For $5 you can get crunk with the Boom crew with block rockin’ set by Portland-based Blue Spectral Monkey, Charleston’s king of dubstep Pericles, as well as local friends Medisin (pictured), Selector Cleofus, and Quetzatl. Galax C will hook up the visuals on three massive screens!” It’s all happening at the Hookah Bar (50 Commerce St., Asheville, 252-1522). 9 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 27
• Razcal’s holds a Bill Monroe Night and open jam starting around 7 p.m. No cover.
• The Consultants of Swing play jazz at Barley’s (42 Biltmore Ave., Asheville, 255-0504) at 7:30 p.m. Free.
—Alli Marshall, A&E reporter