Golden Dawn Arkestra • Asheville Music Hall • May 20, 2017

As last Saturday night grew near, I became a bit excited about a band I knew nothing about. I was a fan of Sun Ra many years ago and my interest was sparked by an Arkestra coming to my little city. Thoughts of funk, costumes, and interstellar vibrations filled my head as the day progressed; and as I stood impatiently waiting for this band to take the stage, my curiosity was delightfully satisfied by costumed performers entering the Asheville Music Hall — parade style. Masks, paints, and wigs hid the identities of this band of love and light creating a festival-like blend of creepiness and fun. They played instruments, carried cans of sage, and smudged members of their audience as they made their way around the room. It was at this point that I knew that we were in for a treat. Sounds from the vibraphone, synthesizers, guitars, keys, drums, and percussion instruments along with a horn section filled the room and the audience was held captive. The Golden Dawn Arkestra delivered a funky and jazzy musical journey into the cosmos which was candy for both my eyes and my ears. The night flew by quickly as the avant-garde ensemble of nine mesmerized the crowd with theatrical performances and magically danceable music. There were moments when I was simultaneously reminded of James Brown and Sun Ra, yet  Golden Dawn Arkestra definitely has a sound of its own — and I look forward to making the intergalactic voyage with them again soon.

Review and Photography By Libby Gamble Photography

Larry Keel Experience • Asheville Music Hall • April 15, 2017

The Asheville Music Hall hosted one hell of a bluegrass “Soul Shakedown Party” with The Larry Keel Experience as the source. LKE has been lighting fires within their hardcore fans for the past 20 years, and it was felt throughout the night as warm smiles, hoots and hollers, and all around good vibes were shared by everyone. The combination of Larry Keel’s unmatched acoustic flat-picking talents, his wife Jenny Keel’s sweet voice contrasted by her rich bass, and Jared Pool’s ability to shred on his mandolin like nobody’s business, equals the best bluegrass experience to date. The setlist included a dreamy mix of bust-outs and original favorites such as “Ophelia” and “One”, which set the stage for what we like to call a barn-burner! One of the highlights was watching a friend’s face light up as they went into “Russian Lullaby.” A new fan was born. Larry kept us on our toes as usual when he switched it up during “Whirly Pig,” “Asheville Police and we all fall down!” In keeping with tradition, The Sufi Brothers who warmed us up for the LKE, shared the stage and treated the crowd to a jam that took us off into the mountains where the roots run deep. One of my all-time favorite bands performing at the most beloved “cheers” venue in town, surrounded by hometown buddies that have been on the LKE train from the beginning; an absolutely stellar evening of bluegrass indeed. Larry urged Asheville to bring it on and we sure as hell did! Hurry on back now. We are impatiently waiting for the next train!
– Heidi Rowell
Setlist:
Miles Voodoo
Soul Shakedown Party
Ophelia
One
Pickin Wind
Guitar Man
Russian Lullaby
Miles
Rollin Tumblin
Internet
Lil Green Warrior
Fireline
Jerry’s Trance
Callin Wind
Southern Nights
Stoney
Miss Ferris
Whirly Pig
Woodchuck

Consider The Source • Asheville Music Hall • April 14, 2017

 

Consider The Source brought their blend of ‘sci-fi middle eastern fusion’ to the Asheville Music Hall on Friday. Having not seen this band previously live, I was expecting a more trance-like mellow trip, based on the bands artwork, OM (aum) logo, and known hippie fan base. What we heard and felt was far more intense. With an obvious background in metal, these guys do not let up, morphing high speed chases through foreign lands and abstractly warped back into the present tense. The Asheville Music Hall is perfect for a band like this, melding impeccable sound with a seamless flow throughout the crowd, who were all in good spirits.”

– Joshua Marc Levy, Asheville Art Family

Photos by Libby Gamble Photography

Holly Bowling • Isis Music Hall • April 2, 2017

Holly Bowling plays the songs of the Grateful Dead and Phish on piano, often combining the two.  In addition to traditional playing, Holly explores unconventional parts of the piano to create original experimental sounds and landscapes. The instrument is opened up with all working parts exposed. At times she uses a small wand in the upper sections, and later a string which turns the piano into a violin at the base. Bowling has the knowledge to combine full band Dead and Phish song compositions, into a stripped-down medium without losing any emotion, only adding more love to the music. Everyone had tears pouring down their face at one point or another. The “Wharf Rat” really got me good. Our memories of Jerry, the Dead and that feeling you got when they came to town are ingrained within, and a lot of us really miss the good ol’ days. It feels good to reflect while these piano compositions are flowing and layered up into the air. Husband and tour manager, Jeffrey Bowling, does an amazing job projecting fluid water themes, rays of light and other psychedelic effects over a video screen close-up of Holly’s keys. Part of the fun of this concert experience is guessing what song is being played. We recognize the music, but then have to marry the lyrics in our heads in order to solve the puzzle,  it becomes a really fun game. Sometimes the teases are over before we can realize which of the 100’s of Dead and Phish songs we are inside of, other times it’s our favorite songs which we know immediately by the opening notes. The show features endless segues and combinations of songs. Highlights for me were: Free > Estimated > Free; Wharf Rat; China Cat > Taste > Cryptical > Other One > Piper > Rockets > Other One > Cryptical > Rider…Let’s face it, the entire show was brilliant. This is the 3rd time I have seen Bowling play, and we will be back. Thank You!

– Joshua Marc Levy, Asheville Art Family

Photography By Libby Gamble Photography

SETLIST:
Unbroken Chain
Sage& Spirit
Horn
Free >
Estimated >
Free
Wharf Rat >
Hood
China Cat >
Taste
Cryptical Envelopment >
The Other One >
Piper >
Rocket’s Theme >
The Other One >
Cryptical Envelopment >
I Know You Rider
E: Cassidy >
Squirming Coil (with Cassidy teases)

The Paper Crowns Band • Pisgah Brewing Company • April 1, 2017

“The next great ‘triple fire’ electric guitar player, Spiro Nicolopoulos, is by far the best in the Asheville Rock and Americana scene. This is the cat to look out for. Married with equally talented guitar-slingin’, soul-singin’ Nicole Nicolopoulos, and an electric backing band consisting of the areas finest: Steve Kemble on Drums, David Mulder on Keys, JD Smith on bass, with guest spots by Bill GD Evans and Saxy Dave Blair. Saxy Dave makes everything sound better, every local band can benefit by having him as a guest. I love jumping up and down to Steve’s drums and connecting with this band while they are playing. There is a great vibe building a family around this band, people from all kinds of backgrounds and talents, all smiling, all having a really good time, all different ages. The first set was blistering on fire, a timeless jam that went over 2 hours. Soooo good. The 2nd set, with an equal amount of songs, ran about 45 minutes. There is no better venue in the area, Pisgah Brewing Company is worth the drive to Black Mountain. It features inside and outside spaces, food trucks, a fire pit, picnic benches, a tasting room and plenty of space. Additionally, the staff is friendly, great sound, mostly organic tasty beers, local root beer and super easy access to pour your own waters from a tap. Pisgah gets an A+. Check out the Paper Crowns Band next time they play, you will not be disappointed.”
– Joshua Marc Levy, Asheville Art Family

Photos by Libby Gamble Photography

Event Poster By Joshua Marc Levy, Asheville Art Family

Set 1
1. Give and Take* w/ Dave Blair
2. Time On a Roll* w/ Dave Blair
3. River Song* w/ Dave Blair
4. Building on a Stone* w/ Dave Blair
5. Birdsong w/ Bill Evans
6. Little Bit More* w/ Dave Blair
7. Biscuit Roller Blues* w/ Dave Blair 8. Cats Under the Stars w/ Dave Blair
9. Virginia Caine*
10. Jump in the Line w/ Dave Blair

Set 2
11. Realize Yourself*
12. Ain’t Going Back* w/ Dave Blair
13. The Creeper* w/ Dave Blair
14. Mockingbird*
15. Eyes of the World w/ Dave Blair & Bill Evans
16. Willin’ w/ Dave Blair & Bill Evans (Bill sings)
17. Can’t Hang Out with you no More* w/ Dave Blair & Bill Evans
Original song =*

Paper Crowns Levy 25x19 REDUX color

George Porter Jr. & Runnin’ Pardners • The Salvage Station • March 18, 2017

Foundation father of funk and Original Meter, George Porter Jr., blew us away at this year’s Christmas Jam downtown at the arena. Just 3 months later we are blessed with another more intimate appearance, this time at AVL’s The Salvage Station. George and his Runnin’ Pardners guided us through an emotionally charged and often timeless set of songs. Subjects of love, uncertainty and the future are sung with real heart in a raspy and mature voice. “Where are we going? Let me take you to a place of peace and love.” “I need more Time for ME to come through!” Their funky blend of New Orleans style funk is highlighted with trippy keys, unconventional jazzy drum solos, and an over-all harmonic vibe. Across the room the audience had contagious smiles. Long-time fan Heidi proclaimed “This is fucking awesome!” …and it Was. They played my personal favorite song, “He Bite Me (The Dragon)” which is funky and fierce, and had this fire dragon reporter letting loose on the dance floor. George and band ended this perfect set with a tasty cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Sugaree” which had our photographer dancing. Let’s just say everyone at Salvage was moving at some point, because you can’t escape this groove. It’s just that good.

– Joshua Marc Levy, Asheville Art Family

Photos by Libby Gamble Photography

Everyone Orchestra • The Salvage Station • March 9, 2017

The Everyone Orchestra is a one-of-a-kind, unique show experience. The Orchestra has featured over 940 artists since it’s inception in 1994, selected from some of the greatest bands of all-time. Thursday’s Sold Out performance at The Salvage Station, Asheville North Carolina’s newest riverfront music venue, featured Oteil Burbridge (Aquarium Rescue Unit, The Allman Brothers, Dead & Co.), Claude Coleman Jr. (Ween), Holly Bowling, Ian Neville (Dumstaphunk), Natalie Cressman (Trey Anastasio Band), and Wallace Mullinax (Dead 27’s). The Orchestra is conducted by the highly animated Mike Quinn, dressed in a beautifully designed white coat featuring colorful psychedelic embroidered imagery. The band improvises the show including the lyrics. One song preached “Take the high road, it’s all about love,” while the next jam “Freedom Of The Press, freedom of information! A choice to make our own decisions” rang true in today’s political climate. This show had a high mix of New Orleans style funk, interlaced with underwater Phish-like jams, electric blues, and easily digestible beautiful vocals. There was a very positive vibe tonight which merged the band and audience as one. Mike uses a digital tablet to write messages to both the band and the audience while the show progresses. When instructed to sing the audience was in full participation. The Salvage Station features it’s own restaurant, multiple bars both inside and outdoors with local brews, and fire pits. After 20 years of seeing live jam band music in hundreds of venues, I have to say this show was a great experience all around. I can’t speak highly enough about the band and the venue, check them both out.

– Joshua Marc Levy, Asheville Art Family

Photos by Libby Gamble Photography