POPAsheville Kicks Off Thursday!

 

 

 

 

Indie rockers unite! Four
days, thirty bands, numerous panels, workshops and parties – all for only 15
bucks. What’s not to like?

 

 

By Fred Mills

 

 

Taking place this Thursday through Sunday, January 15-19, in
Asheville, NC:
POPAsheville, featuring 30 regional North Carolina,
South Carolina, Tennessee
and Georgia
indie-rock bands along with a slew of other music-related events, including a
very special keynote address by none other than Dave Allen from the mighty Gang
Of Four and Shriekback. BLURT is proud to be one of the co-sponsors of the
event as an official “POPAsheville Partner,” and we’ve got the scoop right here
for ya.

 

First off, go to the official website or the event’s MySpace
page, where you can dig up all the specific info (ticketing, daily and nighttime events schedules, links
to bands, etc.) you might require. The main site also has a very cool
compilation featuring MP3s of all the bands that you can download for free.
Those links:

 

 www.popasheville.com

 

www.myspace.com/popasheville

 

 

(Did I mention that tickets for the entire weekend are only
$15?)

 

 

So what is POPAsheville? Well, a bit like SXSW, a little
like CMJ, just scaled down to the local level – but no less interesting, and
with no shortage of musical discoveries whether you’re musician yourself, a
journalist, a publicist, a label person looking for fresh, uh, meat, or even
just an interested civilian who wants to check out some top quality bands and
hit some intriguing workshops and panels. (More on that in a sec.)

 

It was started a few years ago, in 2003, by Stephanie
Morgan, of Asheville
outfit stephaniesid, and at the time it was called IdFest and featured five
bands performing one evening at a club. Since then the event has steadily grown
– and changed its name, obviously – to become a 4-day, 30-band bash held at
three of the top Asheville music venues, the Grey Eagle, Stella Blue and the
Rocket Club. Certainly the spotlight is shining on Asheville groups, but this
year’s POPAsheville will also have guests from Nashville, Chapel Hill, Charlotte,
Athens, Atlanta and South Carolina, and with the 2008 gathering nearly selling
out, it’s almost a given that the clubs will be stuffed to the gills with
revelers. As the three clubs are scattered around the city, a free shuttle bus
will be making the rounds to transport ticketholders safely and efficiently
(good for drinkers, yo).

 

See the full list of artists, below.

 

According to the POPAsheville mission statement,
“POPAsheville supports a thriving scene for modern touring bands and recognizes
the importance of community and information-sharing within this scene and
within the surrounding region. In the midst of a highly transitional music
industry, POPAsheville seeks to bolster partnerships between touring bands and
to amplify Asheville’s
presence on the national modern music map.”

 

Indeed, to that end, in addition to the showcases, POPAsheville
will be featuring a kickoff party, workshops, a music business panel
discussion, tours of local recording studios, and the aforementioned Dave Allen
keynote address. The workshops in particular look interesting, among them:
musician William F. Gibbs will be hosting one called “Sound Design: The
Relevant Rock Star”; the Future of Music Coalition’s Alex Maiolo (also a member
of Violet Vector & the Lovely Lovelies) takes on “Insurance and the Indie
Musician”; songwriter Chuck Lichtenberger instructs on “Put Your Songs On
Paper: Writing Simple Song Charts”; and noted rock critic Wayne Robins holds
forth on “Rock Criticism and the Artist” plus “A Brief History of Rock”.

 

There’s also to be a panel discussion, moderated by Maiolo
and featuring journalists, producers and studio experts on the panel, with the
somewhat unwieldy but self-explanatory title “Your Future in Music: What you
can do in the next 12 months to help your career as an indie musician.” It’s
billed as a “multi-angled look at the ever-shifting business world that
musicians work within… the nuts-and-bolts of the career of the indie musician,
working through pictures of foreseeable daily life.”

 

On a personal note, I’ve lived in Asheville since early 2002, and while that’s
probably not a very long time compared to the tenures of some of the musicians
here, I have seen a lot of changes in my seven years, almost all of them for
the better, music community-wise. This lifestyle-tolerant mountain city seems
to attract the creative class, and there are scores of talented people here – I
see ‘em in the clubs all the time, onstage and in the audience, and that’s what
always provides the underpinning of a classic music scene. I wish I had the
time and energy to go out several nights a week, for there’s literally never a
blackout evening on the musical calendar in Asheville. More than once I’ve heard people
compare it to a cross between Austin and Portland, Oregon, and it also reminds
me at times of the early ‘80s in the Chapel Hill area when so many bands were
starting to crawl out of the woodwork. Funnily enough, nowadays punters
regularly travel to Asheville from as far away
as Chapel Hill or Atlanta
to catch some of the national acts that bypass those cities in order to play
this one.

 

Plus, the ever-important infrastructure is present in Asheville – several top-notch recording studios; three radio
stations (AAA, low-power and commercial) that consistently play local
recordings; a bunch of indie record stores; two proximate colleges, two
Interstates and an airport; more clubs, bars and java huts than you can shake a
caveman at – and that combined with what everyone agrees is a vibrant nightlife
in general makes this burg one of the potentially most promising musical hubs
in the Southeast.

 

Okay, that’s enough cheerleading. My point is this: the rise
of any proverbial music “scene” is inevitably localized until such time as the
national media catches wind or some local band achieves breakout status.
Sometimes said “scenes” attain status and become the stuff of legend – Athens, Minneapolis, Seattle, etc. – and
sometimes they fizzle out and fade away. But while it’s actually happening, it
can be one of the most exciting things in the world to be a part of if you’re a
true fan of rock ‘n’ roll.

 

Wouldn’t you like to take a chance and be, in some way,
shape or form, a part of this one?

 

I’ll see ya this weekend at POPAsheville. ‘Nuf said.

 

 

 

 

BAND SCHEDULE FRIDAY
NIGHT:

 

 

8:00 pm           Nevada            The
Grey Eagle / WNC Magazine Stage

8:20 pm           Dancer
vs. Politician   The Rocket Club / Echo Mountain
Stage

8:40 pm           On
The Take   Stella Blue / Mountain Xpress
Stage

9:00 pm           William
F. Gibbs         The Grey Eagle / WNC
Magazine Stage

9:20 pm           Umbrella
Tree             The Rocket Club / Echo Mountain
Stage

9:40 pm           The Houstons Stella Blue / Mountain Xpress Stage

10:00 pm         Jen and
the Juice         The Grey Eagle / WNC
Magazine Stage

10:20 pm         RubySlippers
& MINGLE      The Rocket Club / Echo Mountain
Stage

10:40 pm         Bandazian
      Stella Blue / Mountain Xpress Stage

11:00 pm         Warm
in the Wake      The Grey Eagle / WNC
Magazine Stage

11:20 pm         Tallest
Trees    The Rocket Club / Echo Mountain
Stage

11:40 pm         Casper and the Cookies          Stella Blue / Mountain Xpress Stage

12:00 am         Mad
Tea Party            The Grey Eagle / WNC
Magazine Stage

12:20 am         Jar-e     The Rocket Club / Echo Mountain
Stage

12:40 am         Arizona Stella Blue /
Mountain Xpress Stage

 

 

BAND SCHEDULE
SATURDAY NIGHT:

 

 

8:00 pm           The
Baker Family Band          The Grey Eagle / WNC Magazine Stage

8:20 pm           The
Cheeksters            The Rocket Club / Echo Mountain
Stage

8:40 pm           Bugs
Multiply             Stella Blue /
Mountain Xpress Stage

9:00 pm           Holiday Childress       The
Grey Eagle / WNC Magazine Stage

9:20 pm           Violet
Vector and the Lovely Lovelies          The
Rocket Club / Echo
Mountain Stage

9:40 pm           Nerd
Parade    Stella Blue / Mountain Xpress
Stage

10:00 pm         The
Champion and his Burning Flame           The
Grey Eagle / WNC Magazine Stage

10:20 pm         Speedsquare
   The Rocket Club / Echo Mountain
Stage

10:40 pm         The
Poles         Stella Blue / Mountain
Xpress Stage

11:00 pm         Heypenny
       The Grey Eagle / WNC Magazine Stage

11:20 pm         Parachute
Musical       The Rocket Club / Echo Mountain
Stage

11:40 pm         Howlies
          Stella Blue / Mountain Xpress
Stage

12:00 am         stephaniesid
   The Grey Eagle / WNC Magazine Stage

12:20 am         SeepeopleS
     The Rocket Club / Echo Mountain
Stage

12:40 am         If
You Wannas           Stella Blue /
Mountain

 

 

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