This is a new segment I’m starting called “Turn it Up, Turn Me On” in which I share a song or album that’s just really doin’ it for me right now (that’s pretty much what this blog is made up of anyway, but now it’s called a “segment” so it’s official). The band/artist could be from anywhere at any time, so it may not have anything to do with anything other than it’s currently tickling my happy bones. I need something to do in between stalking local bands.
Photos by Lydia Vilt
My mission, and of course I chose to accept it, was to create an outfit from any combination of stores at the Asheville Outlets for $100 or less and then shake my blog thing about it. Oh hello, some kinda dream come true. Let’s jam.
I knew immediately what kind of look I would go for: a sassy concert ensemble (duh!) with enough versatility to adjust to the impending weather changes. What I didn’t realize when narrowing my focus was that I was perhaps up against an even greater challenge; I had cornered myself into a relatively small market at the outlets, that of chic nighttime attire for a woman about town. But I remained optimistic because with so many fresh shows coming up this fall, there really is no other type of gear on my mind right now. I basically work, play, eat, and sleep in band t-shirts, so I’m all set on other fashion fronts.
The music is booming, the soundsystem in The Millroom pleasingly righteous. But I’m not here for a gig or to have drinks with some hot drummer I just met. It’s Asheville’s nascent Fashion Week, four days of runway shows representing a select group of local couturiers. If ya didn’t know it, I like clothes, too.
The term “Asheville fashion” could bring to mind any number of things: hippie clothes, for one, from the incense-scented Deadhead threads found in the touristy import shops to the truly skilled leather- and lace work held down by the fine foxes of Royal Peasantry. For all the slick professionals who can afford $100 blouses, the Lexington Ave boutiques got you, but most of that stuff isn’t designed or manufactured locally (Royal Peasantry excluded!). And then of course there’s that amusing upcycled thing, but let’s not pretend that it’s particularly wearable to most of us.
I turn down the hideaway alley to find a line of prospective patrons waiting outside the venue. I’ve never encountered a line here before. I ask the guy ahead of me if they’re at capacity or if this is just a smoker’s circle.
“Yes, we are waiting,” he says in a subtle lilt. Buttoned up and tucked in, I surmise he’s not from around here.
“Guess it’s a busy night,” I say. “In Plain Sight is playing.” He offers a blank stare.
“Local house DJs.”
“Oh! We are from Ukraine. House music is in our blood.” I take this as a good sign for the night.
Last Saturday was a particularly potent music night in Asheville. Holy Ghost Tent Revival was covering Beck’s 1999 album Midnite Vultures in its entirety at the Mothlight (fuck!) while Marley Carroll entertained the Christmas theme-loving drunks at the Holiday Liquor & Dance Luau Party. But amongst all this temptation I knew I was on the path to righteousness, for I was seeing RBTS WIN for the first time at Isis.
A simple stage set supported the black-clad trio, who don’t need mind-melting visuals or even color in their clothes to spread their message of universal love, peace, and good times. Imagine that, Asheville!
I first became aware of RBTS WIN through a remix of their original “Mountain Child.” That strong, pulsing melody, those silky, beckoning vocals swimming through an unmistakable Marley Carroll filter. Now, being of the mind that Carroll doesn’t remix shitty songs, I had to know who this RBTS WIN was. I went straight to their SoundCloud.
RBTS WIN is the sonic lovechild of Javier Bolea and Cliff B. Worsham, Miami and Asheville natives respectively, who in 2008 got together and soon found a groove that reflected both their shared musical interests as well as their distinctive origins.
So, tomorrow’s my birthday. You’ve probably heard. But on top of that, my boys BomBassic are headlining at The Mothlight for another installment of Beat Life, brought to us by the Asheville Beat Tape Collective. Weeeee
Cpt Hyperdrive and Brucey B of BomBassic are on fire these days. I’ve been seeing them on the regular for nearly two years now, and in their last few shows in AVL alone there’s been an intangible shift in their presence, a sense of greater connectedness between themselves as well as the audience. Maybe it has something to do with their Kinnection experience last month (everyone came back all ONE LOVE and whatnot), or maybe it’s because they’re best friends and play music all the time and are and sinking into both their individual and combined crafts harder than ever. Whatever it is, they gellin. Love those guys.
I love Peter Gabriel. I listen to and think a lot about him. I just finished his biography Without Frontiers: The Life and Music of Peter Gabriel. What a brain-tickling babe.
For a couple years now I’ve been keeping my ear out for great PG remixes. Just found this dark, synthy version of “Mercy Street” by Virgin Magnetic Material via Soundcloud, which pleases me. I just don’t want to stop at his most well-known songs. I want to go deeper.
Of all his beautiful material, he’s got this song I can’t shake called “No Way Out” from his 2002 album Up. From first listen I envisioned this minimally powerful song remixed into a dance track. That guitar riff, that chorus! That’s all you need. Now I suppose this is what a DJ feels when s/he makes a remix. But I don’t do that. I do this.
So I’m flipping through a book Bette Midler wrote about her first world tour in 1980. In it there is a page entitled “Dear Diary,” in which she discusses her initial discomfort with her groupies (in this case, a pair of young sisters from Idaho) and ultimately her realization that the relationship is a symbiotic one, one that is necessary for her as a performer and a person:
“I guess it’s always troubling to be faced with that kind of devotion. Like most performers, I deal with intense adulation from the multitudes, but as soon as it comes from a focused source…well, that’s another matter altogether. Maybe that’s why so many performer friends of mine refuse to have any dealings with even their most ardent fans…But in some strange way, they give–to me–meaning. I always feel more solid, more real when they’re around. They make me think that maybe there is more to me than I know.”
Let’s be clear: this is not a documentary about The Who. If you don’t already know the history of the band, you don’t want to start with this movie.
But that’s not “Lambert and Stamp”s job. And it’s not to say it couldn’t be enjoyed by someone who doesn’t know or particularly like The Who, though it is at times a fucking mess to watch (we’ll get to that). No, this film’s focus is on a creative force we don’t otherwise hear about, which is a shame because they have more personality than certain band members (*ahem Roger Daltrey ahem*): Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, two charming young cinephiles who in 1963 took the fledgling band The High Numbers (as they were known at the time) under their wings in order to make an art film about managing a rock ‘n roll band. Art imitating life and all that. But again these were filmmakers, and with little to no knowledge of the music industry, my guess is they didn’t realize how successful they’d be at it.