One to Attend – 14th Annual Benefit Concert for Make-A-Wish @ the Orange Peel

Asheville concert goers make sure to get out to the Orange Peel tonight to see a night of amazing music that will include the likes Dorsey’s Asheville All-Star Benefit Band, Log Noggins, Travers Brothership, Porch 40 and the soon to be globally known Marcus King Band.

As importantly the show this evening will serve as the 14th Annual benefit concert for the Make-A-Wish foundation, so not only will you be able to witness some unbelievable live musical performances, all proceeds from your ticket price and the silent auction will benefit an extremely important cause.

When:  Thursday December 3, 2015 / Doors 5:30 / Show: 6:30 / All-ages

Where:  Orange Peel / 101 Biltmore Avenue

Cost:        $15



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One for the Road – King Diamond / Exodus – Tabernacle – Atlanta, GA

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King Diamond performing at the Tabernacle in Atlanta, GA on November 16, 12015

Should there be only one takeaway allowed to be reported on regarding the King Diamond and Exodus show at the Tabernacle in Atlanta, GA this past Monday it should be the fact that despite the horrific and just plain senseless events that recently transpired in Paris, metal heads proved that they will not be deterred nor denied their right to flash the devil horns, mosh and thrash with one other.

The spirit of this sentiment, although not specifically touched upon by either band, seemed to take other forms in both a ferociously up tempo performance by Exodus and a literally time warp inducing set by the legendary Danish black metal icon, King Diamond.

San Francisco Bay Area thrash outfit Exodus opened up the night’s festivities with a bone crunching set that had the mob head banging mercilessly from the second the first chords ripped from the amps and dispersed into the crowd.

Long time vocalist Steve Souza, who recently came back into the fold to record 2014’s excellent Blood in, Blood Out and to tour with the band, was in fine vocal form.  Souza’s upbeat energy and genuine excitement to be on stage with the band again was evident throughout the entirety of Exodus’s performance.

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Exodus – Tabernacle – Atlanta, GA 11/16/2015

The audience response for Exodus was beyond enthusiastic as the band tore through a brief but brutal eight song set that featured three tracks of 2014’s Blood In, Blood Out in addition to Exodus classics such as “Strike of the Beast” and “Exodus” off of the band’s 1984 debut LP Bonded by Blood as well as the always crowd pleasing, “Toxic Waltz” from the band’s most mainstream successful LP, 1989’s “Fabulous Disaster”.

Although long time lead guitar player Gary Holt is absent from this year’s tour cycle, as Holt is currently over in Europe manning axe duties for west coast thrash brothers Slayer, Exodus delivered a blistering opening salvo that was more than welcomed with open arms by the throngs of metal heads in attendance as they awaited King Diamond to descend from the rafters or ascend from the bowels of the Tabernacle.

The lack of explosive moshing on the night, especially throughout Exodus’s opening set, induced a moment of pause. It made me stop and think for a second that the mean age of these two bands’ audiences may have reached the point where crashing into one another violently may present more of a danger to making it to work the next day than it’s worth.

I guess some things change and some things stay the same.  In this instance what definitely remained from days gone by was both bands giving the crowd their sonic best and audience members taking that energy and throwing it right back up to the stage.

Shortly after 9:00 PM the instrumental intro to King Diamond’s 1988 LP Them, “Out from the Asylum” began to play over the Tabernacle’s PA as individual band members slowly but deliberately sauntered onto the stage.  Finally Kim Bendix Petersen, a.k.a. King Diamond, appeared from the shadows in near simultaneous unison with the rotting grandma character from Them as she was being wheeled into the fray.

Seasoned fans of the band immediately knew what was to come as King Diamond began singing in his trademark falsetto the first few lyrics of “Welcome Home” while he devilishly crept up to wheelchair bound decrepit grandmother to launch into his first evil serenade of the evening.

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King Diamond performing “Welcome Home” – Tabernacle- Atlanta, GA – 11/16/15

King Diamond, whose been recognized the world over for his vocally crazy highs and bludgeoning lows for going on three plus decades now, also brings other tools to his particular brand of dark metal. These mechanisms include the band’s insanely ominous theatrical antics as well as the sublime musicianship that’s become a guaranteed aspect of any live King Diamond performance.

Speaking of which, the level of musicianship within King Diamond is beyond superlative. Whether you enjoy the band’s particular flavor of dark metal or metal music at all, no one could possibly deny the players in the band, which include Andy LaRoque (guitar), Mike Wead (guitar), Pontus Egberg (bass) and Matt Thompson (drums), are some of the most talented at their crafts above ground or beneath the remains.

The band’s technical acumen was on full display throughout the performance with each member proving that they are but a handful of musicians within the metal world worthy as well as capable of sharing the stage with King Diamond.

The band’s show at the Tabernacle this past Monday proved these constants to still be intact as the first act of the evening’s performance saw the band brilliantly tackle King Diamond classics such as “Sleepless Nights” and Halloween” as well as the back-to-back and crowd pleasing Mercyful Fate covers, “Evil” and “Melissa”.

The remainder of the evening’s show was dedicated to a performance of King Diamond’s celebrated 1987 sophomore release Abigail in it’s entirety.  For those not familiar with King Diamond’s music, each of the band’s records are conceptual in nature regularly touching on themes such as the after world, magic, the occult and bizarre family dysfunction.  Abigail is wrought with these very leitmotifs throughout proving it to be the perfect set piece to dissect and present musically to the masses in this format.

After 90 minutes of sheer dark metal bliss guitarists Andy LaRoque and Mike Wead began to strum the notes to “The Black Horseman,” the acoustic swan song to Abigail, signaling to most that an exhilarating night of thrash and black metal bliss would soon come to close.

Contrary to popular belief the reports of metal’s demise seem to be have been greatly exaggerated. Considering the age of most band and audience members, as well as the the fact that it was a Monday evening, one may have expected the venue to be half full with a slew of mostly nostalgia seeking fans attempting to see two of their beloved metal acts play live one last time.

This past Monday I found myself instead within the belly of a near capacity venue, surrounded by over 2,000 of my metal brothers and sisters in arms, most seeming more than grateful for the opportunity to have shared a unique metal experience with one another.

As the band made their way from the stage and the house lights brightened I personally felt an overwhelming sense of pride as well as fortune to have bore witness to a such a resplendent show of metal force by two of the genres most well respected icons and proud torch bearers.

Exodus and King Diamond both more than proved on the evening that neither are anywhere near close to their career ends and I assure you that this fact alone is more than music to the ears to the entire world of metal.

Finally to the cowards across the globe who have the audacity and coldness in their hearts to commit heinous acts against our rock and metal brethren, I have a feeling King Diamond is watching and taking notes.  You’ve been warned.

All photos and writing by Robert Forte: 

Instagram:  40_Photography / Twitter:  @bruins7140 / Facebook:  Bob Forte (Robert)

KD CThe crowd – King Diamond and Exodus – Tabernacle – Atlanta, GA – 11/16/15











One for the Road – Puscifer – Ovens Auditorium – Charlotte, NC


Carina Round and Maynard James Keenan of Puscifer performing at the Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte, NC

Puscifer’s music cannot easily be defined nor categorized.  Call them alternative, progressive, electro-rock or for that matter whatever you want to, as I have a strong inclination that the band could care less about what label anyone would attempt to slap on to them.

All you really need to know about Puscifer is that they have produced more incredibly unique and thought provoking music over these past eight years than most bands would be capable of delivering if given fifty years to generate.

Maynard James Keenan, who admonishes the idea of Puscifer being a side project to the outfits he is more often associated with, Tool and A Perfect Circle, has referred to Puscifer as being his, “creative subconscious.”

This seems about right as perhaps the only things more compelling than the band’s music is their penchant for absurdity, dark humor, theatrical antics, over the top visuals and the superb musicianship that are par for the course as they pertain to any Puscifer live performance.  All of this and more was on full display as Puscifer brought their current production, in support of their most recent studio release Money Shot, to the Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Puscifer is well known for wrapping their live performance within bizarre themes and this tour cycle proved to be much of same.  Eschewing a band to serve as the opening act, Kennan and company this time around have chosen to enlist the talents of Luchafer, a Mexican wrestling Lucha libre troupe that not only provides the appetizer for the main performance but one that sticks around for Puscifer’s entire set.

Luchafer’s antics are wildly entertaining, particularly their interaction with the band as they performed. Their inclusion throughout the duration of the concert not only provided context to the show’s overall theme, their presence ended up a creating a show within a show feel that helped to keep the audience guessing and entertained from beginning to end.

Puscifer’s performance on the evening was delivered in three acts much as if it were being performed as an actual play.  Considering the band is playing a multitude of venues on this tour that often host theater and ballet oriented events, this approach actually made sense.

The set list on the evening leaned heavily on the Puscifer’s recently released third studio LP Money Shot, as the band essentially performed the record it’s entirely minus the iTunes exclusive track, “Flippant”.

The band also wasn’t afraid to dip into tracks from their sophomore LP Conditions of my Parole , as they performed “Telling Ghosts,” “Toma,” “Horizons,” and a track that co-vocalist Carina Round truly shined on, “Man Overboard”.

Round herself proved to be the perfect match for Kennan himself.  Her vocals both blended in nicely with Keenan’s to create a rich and overpowering sound while also at times providing haunting backdrops and sonic depth to other songs throughout the evening.

Unlike in recent years with Tool, where Kennan is often set back on stage remaining largely still, with Puscifer the unpredictable front man was completely engaged.

One moment Keenan was crab walking and stomping in the Lucha libre’s makeshift wrestling ring and the next he’s beyond animated as he lead the pack in rooting on a mock cock fight going on close to the front of the stage.  And yes if you’re wondering there was a faux chicken battle and an actual human with a chicken head darting about stage at times.

The band’s sophomore release, the excellent 2007’s “V” for Vagina,” was also represented on the evening as the band broke out three stand out tracks from the record including “Vagina Mine,” “The Undertaker” and “REV 22:20.”

Much like Keenan’s more universally well known project Tool and to a lesser extent A Perfect Circle, Puscifer’s music is layered, dark and quite intricate.

Consider the complexity it requires to bring this type of music to the lighted stage in order to fully capture it properly, it’s no surprise Kennan would enlist sublimely talented musicians such as band main stays Mat Mitchell (guitar) and Jeff Friedel (drums) as well as new touring members Ministry’s Paul Barker (bass) and Juliette Commegere (keys/guitar) to help pull off Puscifer’s live performance.

Without question Puscifer’s performance on the evening was beyond engrossing from first note to last.  Keenan and company aren’t afraid to take chances and make their live audiences actually think.  To be honest, how many bands out there are even capable of doing this let alone actually pulling it off competently?

Should you have the fortune of Puscifer playing within you traveling vicinity radius I’d highly advice you spend the time and the money to attend.  Following their performance I feel strongly you will be laughing and smiling, while also being a bit confused and wondering for a least a moment, what the hell just happened?

The Soul of Asheville – CaroMia Tiller sat down recently with one of the city’s most beloved sirens, CaroMia Tiller, to discuss her many projects and her one of a kind musical journey.

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Goldie and the Screamers performing at the Asheville Music Hall – July 11, 2015

Step out onto the streets of Asheville on any given night and it would not be entirely uncommon for you to walk past one of the city’s seemingly countless music venues to hear a sultry and seductive voice you’d swear you’d only heard dotting the landscape of your dreams.

If you by chance had this experience previously it’s possible that you were either within the midst of an enchanted symphonic reverie or more likely just fortuitous enough to be within earshot of one of the many musical performances of the one and only CaroMia Tiller.

The 29-year-old songstress may literally be the most talented vocalist, female or otherwise, plying her musical wares throughout our fair city on a regular basis.

Whether it be as a solo artist or fronting one of her other musical projects, which include the bands Goldie and the Screamers, Siamese Jazz Club or the Feels, Tiller rarely goes too many weeks without providing the residents of Asheville the opportunity to come see and more importantly experience her music in live setting.

I met up with Tiller recently at the Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar downtown and as I walked through the doors of the establishment it quickly dawned on me that this location, which Tiller had personally chosen for our sit down, actually kind of mirrored in essence the singer herself.

The part book store, part coffee shop and part bar is elegantly laid out with wrought iron stair cases throughout, furniture that looks as though it was plucked out East Indian Company catalog, if that actually ever existed, and shelves lined with hundreds of books, some of which appear to be hundreds of years old.

Tiller herself comes off wise beyond her years; a venerable soul whose presence immediately puts anyone within her immediate radius at ease.  She’s graceful, intelligent and would seem to be the exact type of woman who normally wouldn’t want anything to do with this reporter.

Yet Tiller is another Asheville musical transplant that welcomes me as though we have been life long friends and someone who actually seems enthusiastic about speaking with me on the day.

Literally thousands of millenials have found their way to the mountain town we call home in recent years, however, Tiller’s musical odyssey and what ultimately lead her to the Appalachian oasis we know as Asheville is as unique and eclectic as the woman herself.

Originally hailing from Michigan, Tiller was not raised nor surrounded by musicians in her immediate family or within her inner circle.

I was a bit surprised to learn of this fact because it’s somewhat common for individuals that possess the vocal and instrumental talents of someone like Tiller to often be influenced at a young age by people close to them that are musically inclined themselves.

“I come from a family that loves music and appreciates the arts but no one actually played music,” said Tiller.  I just somehow knew I wanted a keyboard when I was eight years-old and I think I just started writing songs immediately.”

It’s more than apparent when speaking with Tiller for even a short amount of time that she’s beyond astute and that she’s an individual that will continue throughout the course of her life to pursue new experiences and to seek to broaden her knowledge whenever presented the opportunity to do so.

Thus it came as no surprise to me when Tiller mentioned that high school graduation came early for her and that she decided to take a path most people at such a young age would likely never have chosen to pursue.

“I graduated from high school at 16 and my step mother worked for an airline, so the deal was before I turned 18 I could get free plane tickets anywhere in the world,” Tiller said.

She further goes on to explain, “At that point I had already traveled Europe and I wanted to go somewhere different and exotic but my parents weren’t comfortable with the idea of South America so I decided on India.”

Tiller goes on to expound on her journey to southern India to study music with a gleam of fondness in her eyes, however this would turn out to be short lived as after just a few months she would end up leaving school, instead deciding to continue her travels to unique destinations such as Thailand, Egypt and Morocco.

Eventually Tiller made her way to and through Europe supporting herself with street performances with her travels eventually winding to an end after almost two years of wandering the globe solo.

“I kind of had enough at that point so I decided to go home to Michigan and I ended up applying to music school,” Tiller said laughingly.

“Besides the couple of months I had spent in India I never had any formal music training so I enrolled in the McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minnesota.”

Like her time in India Tiller wouldn’t stay stationary for too long as after two years in St. Paul she moved back to Michigan for a brief time, eventually making her way to of all places Asheville.

“I had never been to Asheville and I didn’t know anyone that lived there.  I think I just heard that there was a good music scene and that it may be the right size city for me,” said Tiller.

Having already traveled the world, attended college to study music and then choosing Asheville as a destination one would think upon arrival Tiller would have immediately embedded herself into the city’s thriving musical climate.

“I was a little bit burned out on performing when I got to Asheville so I just took a few years off from gigging out when I first moved here,” Tiller said.

Then with a slight smile and while unsuccessfully attempting to hold back some laughter Tiller goes on to provide insight into how she attempted to financially support herself during this time period, “I actually discovered that you can buy used computers from government auctions and resell them, so I did that and just tried to continue to do anything else I could do to avoid getting a real job.”

Following a stint as veterinary assistant Tiller found herself working in massage therapy but was eventually lead back to music kind of organically.

A friend of Tiller’s at some point ended up showing the folks over at 5 Walnut Wine and Bar a video of her signing, which in turn had the establishment eventually asking her if she would like to perform at the venue.

“So 5 Walnut asked me to come play and they just kept asking me back, so I ended up performing there every Monday night for something like two years,” said Tiller.  She continued, “It was at that point I really got excited about performing and pursuing music as a career again.”

Tiller’s music palate is quite diverse.  Her solo efforts are more roots and Americana based while her band oriented music is more closely tied to soul, jazz and R&B soundscapes.

After mostly working in town as a solo musician Tiller eventually decided to get together with a group of friends to try something different.   This effort, which started out as an attempt at just a fun side project, would eventually become local R&B and soul outfit, Goldie and the Screamers.

“I feel I have a lot of different faces of music and personalities and they can’t all fit into that “rootsy” or Americana sound so I wanted to do something more electrified that was also more soul and R&B based, so I asked some close friends if they wanted to do something like that,” Tiller said.

Tiller further goes on to explain, “It (Goldie and the Screamers) kind of evolved on its own. People liked it and were excited about it and I think that was because we were playing music that had a sound that wasn’t necessarily all that prevalent in Asheville.”

This upcoming Saturday November 21st Goldie and the Screamers will be taking the stage at the Asheville Music Hall supporting locally based groove, funk and rock outfit the Fritz.  The evening’s performance will be somewhat distinct as the band has chosen to use the show as an opportunity to record a live album.

“We knew we wanted to do a live album because we need some kind of recording to sell and to promote ourselves.  It will also be a lot less expensive to do it this way and we think it will come out better than anything we might have tried to quickly put together in the studio,” said Tiller.

Success in the current age of free music downloads and file sharing is far from guaranteed.  It seems as though if one chooses to pursue music as a career these days your goals almost have to be more rooted in something else beyond any elusive financial windfall.

I’ve spoken with quite a few musicians and bands in Asheville and all of them surprisingly have given the same kind of response when I’ve asked them to talk about what success would mean to each of them.  Tiller’s answer to my “success” query yielded a very similar response.

“You always want to keep developing as an artist and developing your fan base and hopefully I’ll be able to do that while also being able to become more financially stable.”

Humble, introspective and soulful CaroMia Tiller has already inspired countless Asheville locals and tourists alike with her extraordinary talents.

If you haven’t had the chance to see and hear why Tiller’s voice literally has stopped traffic and created throngs of crowds at venues such as 5 Walnut come be a part of it yourself this upcoming Saturday November 21st as her band Goldie and the Screamers will take to the Asheville Music Hall stage to record their very first live album.

Who:        Goldie and the Screamers

Where:    Asheville Music Hall / 31 Patton Avenue

When:      Saturday November 21, 2015 / 9:00 PM (doors) – 10:00 PM (show)

Cost:         $7 (advance) / $10 (day of show)

Also catch CaroMia Tiller performing with Jason Kenny on Thanksgiving Eve:

Who:       CaroMia Tiller with Jason Kenny

Where:   White Horse Tavern / 105 Montreat Road Black Mountain, NC

When:     Wednesday November 25, 2015 / 7:30 PM

Cost:        $10 (advance) / $12 (day of show)

One on the Rise – The Marcus King Band – ISIS Music Hall

The Marcus King Band performing at ISIS Music Hall on November 7, 2015

The Marcus King Band performing at the ISIS Music Hall in West Asheville, NC on November 7, 2015

Hailing from Greenville, South Carolina, the Marcus King Band, led by 19 year-old wunderkind and guitar virtuoso Marcus King, brought their twist on southern rock to the ISIS Music Hall in West Asheville this past Saturday.

It would be grossly inaccurate to categorize MKB’s music as solely being southern rock as elements of blues, jazz and even psychedelia are clearly embedded within the band’s musical DNA, even if these sonic overtures get overpowered at times by King’s raspy southern drawl vocals as well as Warren Haynes and Stevie Ray Vaughn inspired guitar licks.

The band’s unique sonic palate was on full display as MKB played to a near sold out crowd delivering a mind bending performance that featured cuts off of their recently re-released debut LP Soul Insight  in addition to their takes on the Beatles’s “Dear Prudence” as well as Black Sabbath’s, “War Pigs.”

At one point during their set and to the delight of the crowd, MKB welcomed up to the stage Eric Travers (harmonica/vocals), Alex Bradley (trumpet) and Dean Mitchell (saxophone) all of local music outfit Travers Brothership, to join in on the fun.

Local guitar hero himself, Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers/Gov’t Mule) certainly has taken notice of MKB as Haynes not only has signed the band to his record label Evil Teen Records, he’s also invited them to take part in this year’s Christmas Jam by Day being held on at the One Stop and Asheville Music Hall on Saturday December 12th.

When it comes to their performance MKB is serious about melting faces and ensuring audience members are either wildly dancing and grooving along or simply left shocked and awed by the sheer musical force they propel into the crowd from first note to last.

MKB’s show this past weekend at ISIS spoke strongly to these facts as well as to the notion that Asheville locals would be wise to take in one of the their somewhat frequent local performances, as it’s becoming more and more clear it won’t be too long before the band is performing on much larger stages in towns and cities far, far away.

The Marcus King Band:

Marcus King (Guitar/Vocals), Jack Ryan (drums), Stephen Campbell (Bass), Justin “JJ” Johnson (Trumpet/Trombone) and Matt Jennings (Organ/Keyboards)