The Cannonball Jars • The Mothlight • June 19, 2017

The Cannonball Jars brought their super-fun blend of “Punk Street Power Pop” to The Mothlight Monday night. Truly electric and alive, the band blazed through nine originals at fast speeds. When I closed my eyes it felt as if I was attending the headliner at this year’s Warped Tour. I met with lead singer and guitarist Benjamin Hatch after the gig, “It’s Fun, heartfelt music with a healthy dose of mischief. Honest, genuine lyrics that don’t take the protagonist too seriously. All ages are welcome, but like all truly great rock and roll, it is dangerous. We’re gearing up to record a full-length in September. It’s gonna be a doozy. We want this record to be mischievous and fun. It’s genuine, poetic energy and it explodes in your brain when you hear it!” Matt Evans called it a “Pop punk version of The Beatles playing The Beach Boys covers, on a Lookout! Records compilation.” Their music is both familiar and fresh, and that is a healthy achievement. I can only see this band getting bigger and bigger, be on the lookout and catch their next show!

– Joshua Marc Levy, Asheville Art Family

Photography By Libby Gamble Photography

Setlist:
1. New 1+2
2. Alright
3. Go On
4. Hey Betty
5. Ghost Castle
6. Roam
7. Plant Song
8. More Time
9. Beds

 

Dose • The Mothlight • June 19, 2017

“When you look down in the rose and it’s empty, listen to us” – Eli Raymer

AVL’s DOSE blew my mind. A young and spirited duo consisting of Carter Herren Sanders on guitar and trippy echoing vocals, with Eli Raymer as the insane madman on drums. Kind of like if Col. Claypool ate too much acid, played guitar and joined Nirvana. These kids are talented, check ‘em out soon!

– Joshua Marc Levy, Asheville Art Family

Photography by Libby Gamble Photography

Setlist:
Good Morning & Goodbye
Another Day
Ephogie
Fearless (Pink Floyd cover)
Minor
Workweek
Blue lips

 

 

 

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

The Mike Dillon Band • Salvage Station • May 18, 2017

I arrived at the venue early and had the pleasure of hanging out with local AVL drummer Claude Coleman Jr. of Ween and The Mike Dillon Band, weirdos, doppelgängers, and a friend who was down and out. I said to my friend, “Maybe you’ll find a hundred dollars on the ground!” Just a few songs into the set, Mike bursts into his own song “Maybe you’ll find 100 dollars on the ground!” (which I had previously not heard… I swear!) Synchronicity was in the air, and similar life stories and duplicated local plot lines in conversation with the doppelgängers, made it obvious this concert was an AVL “Westworld” hub! Whaaaat? What do these cats sound like? This band is like an acid trip with punk rockers at an amusement park. Picture cartoon circus elephants blowing their trunks in unison, side-to-side, with looney musical jazz accompaniment. Picture crazy clowns escaping the asylum to mass percussion. Part jazz concert with vibraphone, part raging and “Primus / Fantomas-like”, with spoken-word stories that reminisce of The Dead Milkmen and even Frank Zappa. Annnnd I can’t help but think of Iggy Pop during the new cut “Iggy Iggy!” off their newest album release (it’s off the charts!) So many great influences, and such an original sound. Headliner Karl Denson made a guest appearance mid-set on some swinging jazz, belting it out on the sax. Claude Coleman Jr. obliterates on the drums, he is a machine, we love you Claude! Just when the music gets too heavy to handle, it calms at just the right moment, and morphs into hilarious ecstasy. “Is today National Viking Day?” Mike asked the crowd… A super fun story about how Mike went to a Grateful Dead concert and tripped out too hard was the icing on the cake of this perfect set of live music and psychedelic comedy. I love this band, this was super fun, do not miss them when they come to your town. Thank you!

– Joshua Marc Levy, Asheville Art Family

Photography by Libby Gamble Photography

Marcus King & Friends • Asheville Music Hall • May 15, 2017

You’re gonna have to face the music sooner or later, nobody can escape the blues! Marcus King absolutely shined tonight, supported by an all-star cast of characters from bands including: The Travers Brothership, The Broadcast and John Stickley Trio. The MVP of the jam goes to keyboard player Alex Taub who just killed it across the map, on fire all night, lighting up my brain in just the right ways. Marcus is a young guy, but an old soul. He rips it up on the electric guitar, belting raspy vocals that soothe your mind and body. The majority of the songs and covers selected for tonight were different from previous Marcus King Band shows I have experienced, and our hometown heroes give it their all-time best when in Mr. King’s presence. Set one was very powerful, with themes of lost love, blues reflections, learning and growing. Set two was filled with more sped-up electric rock boogie, into greater positive realms, and blasted off into the stratosphere. Songs included “Bemsha Swing,” “Port Arthur,” “For My Brother,” “Watermelon Man,” and “Where’s Sly?” At one point there was an emotional dedication to the late great Col. Bruce Hampton on “Compared To What.” Long running jams and covers such as “Born Under A Bad Sign” kept the party moving into later hours. Marcus proclaimed, “Let’s allll be late for work tomorrow!” Special thanks to Asheville Music Hall for hosting this last minute jam, the community appreciates you. Sound was excellent, and I love the fans above cooling down this venue. The room was filled with many musicians from other bands, always a great sign, and other local big players on the AVL scene. Josh Blake of “Tuesday Night Funk Jam” and “Granola Funk Express” fame said, “It was a high energy affair, with Marcus leading a bunch of us local cats though a maze of musical mastery…His vibe on stage is always very welcoming, attentive, and humble…a true servant of the music. I’m already looking forward to the next one!” I was lucky to get hugs from power soul vocalist Caitlin Krisko, Caleb at Ashvegas, a lady wearing a “Hard Working Americans” flowered fedora, and a bunch of the members of local crew Dr. Bacon in attendance. Most importantly I got a hug from a close friend I thought I may have lost. Time heals, music heals, I love you all. You can replay this mind-blowing show and others via the local free live music streaming service iamavl at http://iamavl.com/videos. Thank You!

– Joshua Marc Levy, Asheville Art Family

Photography By Libby Gamble Photography

 

Aaron Austin Trio • Salvage Station • May 9, 2017

Left the house for a few hours, discovered a timeless showing of electric psychedelic jazz-rock exploration. Led by the guitarist from the well-known local band, The Broadcast, Aaron Austin absolutely shines on the electric guitar. Gifted with the knowledge of jazz history, he is also immersed in the true spirit of rock and roll. Ted Marks was dropping bombs left and right, all over the Station, into the parking lot, and beyond into space…Man can play the bass. Drummer Phil Bronson, a bad motherf$%^#r on the drums, filled the room with the right amount of chaos and beautifully broken beats. They killed it on covers of the following bands, all played with a fresh take and on the edge: Original Meters, Bill Frisell, John Scofield, J.J.Cale’s “After Midnight” and a great take on “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” by Tears For Fears. This two set show was awesome! You do not want to miss these cats next time. Thanks to Salvage Station. Grabbed a tasty burger, tots and a local Pisgah Pale Ale and all were amazing. Thank you!

-Joshua Marc Levy, Asheville Art Family

SET 1:: Groan Man, Hottentot, Song For Bilbao, Egg Radio, Tides • Set 2: Everybody Wants to Rule The World, Boozer, Red Baron, Jan Jan, Roll Out, After Midnight, Funky Miracle, Green Tea, Get Back

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