Editor’s note: The following story, unlike the rest of Mountain Xpress’s award-winning coverage of local news and events throughout the rest of the year, is 100% fake.
The Asheville music community will unite on Saturday, Jan. 4, at The Orange Peel to honor one of its shining stars in his time of need. The benefit concert will help pay medical costs for noted vocalist and producer Ryan Barber, who was tragically blinded during his Dec. 14 show at Everydamnvenueinthecity when a concertgoer took a picture of him with the flash turned on.
Upon the light reaching his eyes, Barber instantly covered his face and yelled, “Who brought the Bat Signal?” Fellow attendees promptly bum-rushed the individual and gave him a bruise or two. Fans who stayed by the walls reported hearing the phrase, “OK, boomer,” repeated multiple times from the site of the melee as well as the stage.
At the benefit show, Barber’s tourmates Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and Debrissa McKinney will serve as co-masters of ceremony with his bandmates from BoogiTherapi and McKinney’s Empire Strikes Brass trying not to knock into one another as the backing ensemble.
“I’ll play suspended from wires like Peter Pan if I have to,” says ESB keyboardist Lenny Pettinelli. “I just won’t let Ryan check the harness. What, too soon?”
The evening’s setlist will be composed of songs by Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Doc Watson, Ronnie Milsap and José Feliciano, plus half of Sigur Rós’ “Starálfur” to honor Jónsi’s right eye.
Attendees will have their cellphone camera settings checked after receiving the venue’s standard friendly full-cavity search and pat-down, and anyone caught taking a photo with the high beams on will face the wrath of Skidoo’s daughter Saki’s roller skates.
Busker learns second song
After what feels like three nonstop years of playing John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” at the corner of Haywood and College streets just outside Mayfel’s (buzzkills claim the time frame is closer to three days) local busker Dore Mifasolati has added a second song to her repertoire.
“People from the third floor of the building that used to have the wig shop started throwing tomatoes at me — real big ones, too,” she says. “I guess they really don’t like West Virginia or mountain mamas.”
The introduction of what the ukulelist/vocalist refers to as “that song the guy in the marijuana suit plays on repeat” proved popular with a group of tourists from Pawnee, Ind., who recorded videos of the performance and whisked them into Instagram stories.
“Y’all act like you never seen a busker before,” says Michigan transplant and downtown personality Marshall Mathers. When asked by the visitors if he could do better, Mathers flipped the hood of his sweatshirt over his head and walked away.
Mifasolati encouraged the crowd of five to check out her Facebook page and follow along on Twitter, Soundcloud, TikTok and MySpace.
Brothers from the same mother
Simon Thomas George is known for his impressive work with the Marcus King Band, The Digs and as part of the house band for the Tuesday Night Funk Jam. The prolific Asheville-based keyboardist is in so many different projects that the phrase “How does he do it?” frequently wafts in the air at his shows — and now music fans have an answer.
The instrumentalist has been revealed to actually be three different people: identical triplets Simon, Thomas and George Maclunkey. The proverbial beans were spilled when all three brothers were spotted at the Dec. 14 Ryan Barber show.
“This explains so much,” says Josh Blake, who performs with Thomas Maclunkey in the Josh Blake Organ Trio (aka JBOT) and the Funk Jam band. “I’d see him with Marcus, and he’d do some riff I’d never seen, then I’d grill him about bringing it into our groups and he’d get all coy, then act like he didn’t know what I was talking about at the next practice. I just thought he was being an asshole, but I guess I owe him an apology.”
Simon Maclunkey reveals that tracking devices the triplets had played a key role in avoiding being in the same place at the same time, along with regular group grooming sessions and group texts.
“Frequent viewings of The Prestige have also proved extremely informative,” he says. “But those guys had it easy.”
George Maclunkey claims that all three family members will continue to play with their respective groups on the condition that they buy a “somewhat offended” King a fruit basket and a baby cactus. While the youngest (by seven minutes) Maclunkey is excited to not have to “run [himself] ragged keeping up this ruse,” he’s even more jazzed for the siblings’ “wildly innovative” accordion trio work to finally be heard.
Siamese Sound Club bandmate CaroMia Tiller — girlfriend of presumably one of the brothers back when everyone assumed it was one guy — declined to comment for this article, though a friend who wishes to remain anonymous has suggested that Xpress put a tail on Tiller’s Goldie and the Screamers frontwoman “persona.”