One to Watch – Grace Potter at the Orange Peel October 13th and 14th

Grace Potter: Some Things Change and Some Things Stay the Same

Grace GPN Day 1 - 1-2

Grace Potter at Grand Point North – Burlington, VT – September 12, 2015 – Photo Courtesy of Robert Forte – 40_Photography

Not unlike many musicians Grace Potter’s ascendancy to super stardom may seem to have blossomed over night, however, the reality is the mistress of the magical midnight road show began paying her dues to the rock & roll gods over a decade ago.

Long before sharing the stage with the likes of Mick Jagger or singing duets with Kenny Chesney, Potter and her band the Nocturnals earned their stripes by playing upwards of 200 live shows per year while attempting to literally gig themselves into relevancy.

The band released four studio albums from 2005-2012 including 2010’s self titled Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, which spawned more radio recognizable hits such as “Paris (Ohh La La)” and “Medicine”, as well as the critically well received 2012’s The Lion the Beast the Beat.

The Nocturnals aforementioned last two releases on Hollywood Records began to see the band’s sound sway more toward the mainstream rock pendulum versus the Americana and jam band oriented sound the band had crafted on their earlier releases.

Changes have continued for Potter in 2015 as she’s now touring on her recently released solo record Midnight.  Many long time fans of Potter expecting her first effort sans the Nocturnals to be sonically aligned with her past may be in for a bit of a surprise.

Midnight still features, if not showcases, Potter’s powerhouse vocals but the songs and ultimately the sonic palate of the record itself is vastly different than anything the Nocturnals ever churned out.

Midnight has turned up the pop, the synths, the dance beats and the funk in ways that would get most anyone grooving and dancing in the streets.  That being the case I’m certainly willing to concede some of Potter’s fans may not immediately connect with the new material.

Potter has been criticized in some rock critic circles as attempting to craft herself into the rock version of Katie Perry.   I scoff at this notion and instead choose to believe that Potter is simply a sublimely talented song writer, vocalist and musician that wanted to write songs from a different place and perspective as well as to challenge herself to produce something unfamiliar and well fun.  If those were indeed her goals in regards to Midnight, I’d say she knocked them out of the park.

Although the Nocturnals all played on Midnight founding member Scott Tournet as well as most recent Nocturnal bassist Michael Libramento aren’t part of Potter’s current touring band that she’s dubbed the “Magical Midnight Roadshow.”

Long time Nocturnals guitar player Benny Yurco and original drummer Matt Burr are still along for the ride with Yurco proving he’s more than capable of helming the interstellar guitar solos he once shared with Tournet.

Potter’s new touring band additions, Ben Alleman (keys/guitar), Tim Deaux (bass), Daiki Hirano (percussion) and Eliza Jones (keys) seem to have been brought into the fold to accent Midnight’s more pop oriented feel but the result the new band creates live is a much weightier sonic wall that adds punch, albeit in a different form, to any Nocturnal’s classics they attempt to tackle on stage.

Having attended Potter’s Grand Point North music festival last month, now in it’s fifth year, I had the opportunity to see and more importantly hear her new band perform songs from the past as well as cuts off the current record.

Let me attempt to put some of her longtime fans fears to rest and state that above all else Potter has and continues to be a ferocious no holds bar live performer that’s capable of channeling the soul of Janis Joplin, the whimsy and romance of Stevie Nicks and the heart and grit of Chrissy Hynde at any given moment.   Potter’s live shows from the beginning of her career have always been a tour de force and I assure you this hasn’t changed in 2015.

The verdict is an easy one as whether it be hard charging rock guitar oriented Nocturnals favorites such as “Stop the Bus” or more recent solo tracks like “Alive Tonight”, Potter and her bandmates both old and new deliver one of the most wildly delirious, exciting and engaging rock and roll shows anyone would be lucky enough to experience first hand.

Should you have the inclination to have your doors blown off musically, to dance, to sing and to connect with one of the greatest female rock performers of our generation, come join me both nights this week at the Orange Peel. I feel supremely confident you’ll be shaking, grooving and smiling from first note to last.

Who:         Grace Potter

Where:     The Orange Peel / 101 Biltmore Avenue

When:       Tuesday October 13th / Wednesday October 14th

Cost:          $35 advance / 38 day of show

Buy Tickets For Tuesday October 13th

Buy Tickets For Wednesday October 14th

One to Watch – Twiddle at New Mountain Asheville Oct. 12th

Twiddle:  Jam Band Virtuosos Set to Light Up New Mountain

Photo by Dylan Langille © ontheDL Photo All Rights Reserved 2015

Twiddle performs Monday October 12th at New Mountain Asheville / 6:30 PM

One of the rising stars of the jam band world these past few years, Twiddle, brings their eclectic and explosive live performance to New Mountain’s stage this evening.

The Vermont based foursome consists of Mihali Savoulidis (lead vocals/guitar), Ryan Dempsey (keys/organ/synth/vocals), Brook Jordan (drums/percussion/vocals) and Zdenek Gubb (bass/vocals).

Hailing from the green mountain state and appealing to a similar fan base, the comparisons to Phish are almost unavoidable, however Twiddle’s music is quite divergent from that of the Trey Anastasio led legends.

Twiddle weave sounds ranging from reggae, funk, jazz, progressive rock and even classical into their music to create something that has become more and more rare in the genre in which they exist, something unique.

The level of musical IQ that resides within Twiddle is off the charts. The band’s live performances are filled with moments where at times each member of the quartet showcases their immense talents via distinct solos while throughout continuing to come together in unison to launch elaborate jams that slowly build tension and eventually transform into interstellar sonic masterpieces.

Any fan of bands such as Kung Fu, Papadosio, String Cheese Incident and of course Phish would be remiss, well to miss Twiddle’s first live performance in Asheville in over a year this evening along with The Werks, Cabinet and Fruition.

There are reasons Twiddle is being asked to play at more and more festivals year after year and to tour along side some of the giants in the jam band world.  Come see it and more importantly hear and experience it for yourself tonight.

Who:                  Twiddle with the Werks, Cabinet & Fruition

Where:               New Mountain Asheville / 38 N. French Broad Road

When:                Monday August 12, 2015 Doors 6:00 PM – Show 6:30 PM

How Much:      $15 day-of-show

One for The Road: Motörhead – Fillmore – Charlotte, NC – September 23, 2015

Photos and writing courtesy of AskAsheville Music Correspondent Robert Forte.


One for The Road: Motörhead – Fillmore – Charlotte, NC – September 23, 2015

Motörhead is the band that would break out of a state prison to play at an outlaw biker rally, only to blast through the wrought iron gates of the same penitentiary to lock themselves back up.

Their music is the living breathing soundtrack to the zombie apocalypse and the throngs of black t-shirt wearing, chain wallet carrying, tattoo scar barring disciples that lined up early outside the Fillmore in Charlotte only furthered proved that demise of their savior Lemmy has been greatly exaggerated.

Motörhead masterfully ripped through a brisk but hard charging 13 song set that included classics such as Bomber, Ace of Spades, Doctor Rock and Overkill.   The band however curiously chose to refrain from playing any cuts off of their recently released 22nd studio recorded effort Bad Magic.

Instead the show leaned more heavily on tracks from classic era Motörhead releases with just a single song being played from the last decade of music they’ve put out, “Lost Woman Blues” off of the modern Motörhead classic, 2013’s Aftershock.

What often gets overlooked when it comes to the band is the expert level of musicianship that exists within the confines of the three headed musical beast known as Motörhead.

Lemmy himself is probably one of the most unsung all-time great rock n’ roll bassists however his talent puts him right up there with the likes of often more recognized bass legends such as John Paul Jones, Les Claypool and Jaco Pastorius.

Mikkey Dee’s, previously of King Diamond fame, speed and power behind the drum kit has influenced generations of metal drummers.

And the not to be overlooked Phil “Wizzo” Campbell would be asked to play lead guitar in dozens of hard rock and metal outfits literally the second he chose to make himself available for hire outside of Motörhead.

Blasting what felt like 50-caliber shells of bombast out of the largest stack of Marshall cabinets that I think may have ever been assembled on any stage in North Carolina, Motörhead ultimately delivered a show that most twenty-something acts would consider themselves lucky to emulate let alone actually pull off.

Lemmy was once quoted as saying he wanted to make music “so loud that if we moved in next door to you, your lawn would die.”  I didn’t inspect the grounds outside of the Fillmore when I exited through the venue’s metal doors upon show’s end but I’m 100 percent certain more than a few blades of grass met their demise on the evening.

They are Motörhead and they play rock ‘n’ roll.   Truer words have never been spoken.



Stay Clean


Over the Top

The Chase is Better Than the Catch

Rock It

Lost Woman Blues

Doctor Rock

Ace of Spades

Jus Cos’ You Got the Power

No Class


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One to Watch: The T-Sisters at the Grey Eagle

Photos and writing courtesy of AskAsheville Music Correspondent Robert Forte.


One to Watch:  The T-Sisters at the Grey Eagle – Thursday September 17, 2015 8pm

The Tietjan Sisters, or the T-Sisters as they are referred to within contemporary folk music circles, are coming to Asheville and they’re brining their distinctive brand of harmonies, talented song writing and exceptional musicianship with them.

To categorize the T-Sisters as strictly a folk trio would literally be selling these adroit siblings far beyond short.   Sonic elements of bluegrass, jazz, a cappella, soul, gospel, country and even swing all seem to be more than omnipresent within Erika, Rachel and Chloe’s musical DNA.

Their new EP Ready for Love continues the strong foundation the ladies laid down on their first full length album, 2014’s Kindred Lines, produced by Grammy-winning musician Laurie Lewis.

From the uplifting feel-good opener, “Ready For Love” to their inspired and bewitching cover of the Grateful Dead’s, “Attics Of My Life”, the T-Sisters continue to prove that their ascendancy to national recognition is more of a forgone conclusion than simply the hopeful dream of three sisters growing up in the bay area of Oakland, California.

Revered for their “sassy” live performances where the sisters are often joined by upright bassist Steve Height and mandolinist/guitar player Andrew Allen on stage, audiences can expect to hear a set of frolicsome originals and rousing covers as the band opens up for both the hilarious and talented self described “bluegrass hip-pop fusion” family band, The Cleverlys.

The T-Sisters w/ The Cleverlys @ The Grey Eagle

Thursday September 17, 2015 8pm

$15 advance / $18 day of show

All ages / seated performance

Unique Night of Music at Isis Music Hall

Photos and writing courtesy of AskAsheville Music Correspondent Robert Forte.

Unique Night of Music at Isis Music Hall Featuring Dangermuffin, Weather & Waves (featuring Brock Butler of Perpetual Groove), Les Amis and More Thursday September 3rd 



The true litmus test regarding any live music venue should rest solely in the metric that sits atop most avid concert goers’ checklists, how does the venue actually sound?

Although I have individual soft spots for the litany of live music hamlets within the greater Asheville area, if I were to be asked to rank each of them by the dulcet barometer alone there would be a clear champion, ISIS Music Hall and Restaurant in West Asheville.

Despite being a known commodity in Asheville, ISIS Music Hall may be miscast as being dedicated more towards an older demographic versus being one of the only locales in the city that has a 450 seat capacity, offers distinct dining experiences, hosts music of all varieties and provides a listening experience that is second to none.

Justin Perkins and Drew

Justin Perkins and Drew Heiler of Les Amis

On Thursday September 3rd the ISIS Music Hall will host a unique night of music featuring Dangermuffin, Weather and Waves (featuring Brock Butler, front man for Perpetual Groove) and Les Amis (featuring members of Toubab Krewe and Zansa).

Les Amis, a collective of globally inspired musicians whose members include players from West African- and Appalachian-influenced outfit Toubab Krewe as well as Afropop and African folk music band Zansa, will start things off at ISIS’s upstairs lounge at 7:00 PM.

ISIS’s upstairs lounge offer patrons an intimate space to dine as well as to take in one-of-a kind musical performances.   Only 50 tickets will be sold to this portion of the evening. Reservations are recommended should you plan on attending and taking in a meal from the venue’s superb restaurant, Kitchen 743.

Beginning at 9 PM the ISIS Music Hall will host Dangermuffin, a self described “organic, sand blasted roots-rock band with a sweet jam spread”, as well as Weather and Waves.

Brock Butler Scott Shrader

Weather and Waves’ front man Brock Butler

Weather and Waves, Brock Butler’s Perpetual Groove side project originally called P-Grass, will serve as the downstairs show opener. The band will be making their Asheville live music debut on the evening.

Listeners familiar with Perpetual Groove can expect to hear some of P-Groove’s music but with a more traditional “new-grass” spin to it as the band spurns electric instruments in favor of acoustic guitars, stand up bass and the banjo. Sonically and improvisational driven Weather and Waves will quench the thirsts of most any fan of jam band and blue grass music alike.

Show headliner and feel-good trio Dangermuffin offers up a mellow combination of both folk and jam band sounds. Dangermuffin, who recently put on a sublime performance earlier this summer at the inaugural LEAF Downtown festival, takes the blue print their studio material provides and injects new life into it via many of their trade mark extended jams.  The band also isn’t afraid to tackle inspired covers of other artists’ music ranging from the reggae sounds of Bob Marley to the psychedelic grooves of Pink Floyd.

On the ISIS outdoor patio starting at 6 PM, modern jazz will fill the air with the sounds of bassist Danny Iannucci and drummer Micah Thomas, both of Asheville-based Brushfire Stankgrass.

Amazing sound quality, check.  Superlative dining options, check.  World-class music, check.  ISIS Music Hall and Restaurant in West Asheville knocks all of these criterion out the park and then some.   Come judge for yourself this Thursday September 3rd.

When: Thursday September 3, 2015

Where: Isis Music Hall and Restaurant 743 Haywood Road, Asheville

Who: Les Amis / 7:00 PM – Upstairs Lounge / Dinner Available / $7

Dangermuffin & Weather and Waves / 9:00 PM – ISIS Music Hall / $10 advance – $12 day of show