WHAT: Blue Dragons’ benefit show with Fritz Beer and the Crooked Beat and DJ Molly Parti
WHEN: Friday, Jan. 15, at 8 p.m.
WHERE: The Grey Eagle
WHY: “The LEAF connection is interesting with Blue Dragons,” says bassist James Fisher, who is also the advertising manager for Asheville Scene. “Our first real gig as a band was playing LEAF way back when.” Since then, Fisher and his bandmates — plus family and friends — have made a tradition of colonizing their own massive camp at the overnight festival.
As the chair of the nonprofit’s board of directors, Fisher points out that LEAF Community Arts is made up of three main programs, including the widely known festival; arts education effort LEAF Schools and Streets; and LEAF International, which aims to preserve cultural traditions worldwide. One goal of LEAF’s current capital campaign, Fisher explains, is to rely less on the festival for funding all three divisions, so that event income “can be a layer on top of an already stable financing [situation] for the other programs.”
Fisher will further that cause later this week, when his band, Blue Dragons, plays a benefit show for the nonprofit. The show is doubly important for the musician, who will celebrate his 50th birthday with attendees.
“I just thought, ‘It’s my birthday. I don’t really need anything. What’s a good way to celebrate?'” he says. “There are a lot of great causes out there, but LEAF is near to the heart.”
Before the Dragons unleash their funk- and Americana-inspired jams, fans can warm up with opening act Fritz Beer and the Crooked Beat, which “came to Asheville by way of New Orleans, courtesy of Hurricane Katrina,” according to an online bio. Like Blue Dragons, they’ll bring a lively mix of originals and “choice covers,” Fisher says, also alluding to surprise guests and giveaways from LEAF and Dynamite Coffee throughout the night.
“When we’re done,” Fisher adds, “it’s going to be a DJ Molly Parti funk fest.”
Visit thegreyeagle.com for information and tickets, which cost $7/$10.