Thursday, July 21, 2011

East Coast Tour - Asheville, NC 5.10.11

After a night of yurt sleep in GA, Maxi cooked up some breakfast for the dudes before we hit the road for Asheville, NC. We had about a 5 hour drive, and the weather was nice. We saw some of the devastation of tornadoes that had ripped through the area a week before. Houses were in splinters on one side of the street, and untouched on the other. Powerlines were down in every direction. The whole thing looked like a movie set. It was very humbling, to say the least.We eventually arrived at the house of our longtime friend and colleague Sam Katz in Asheville during the early afternoon. Sam had just returned from a game of pickup hoop down at the local courts. He reported that it was a grueling game, and though his shot was off a little, he had a number of good assists, and his team won. As Sam described the game, I got to thinking about how hoop trash talking in Asheville must differ from that of a court in say… the Bronx. As you may know, Asheville, NC is a beautiful mountain town known to many as the hippy Mecca of the East Coast… only rivaled by perhaps Burlington, VT. Instead of street gangs in this city, there are bike gangs, and those bikes are not motorcycles. The guns that these gangs fight with are Super Soakers, and when rival bike gangs clash, the encounters usually culminate with both gangs converging on a local brewery to toast IPAs together. Needless to say, low brow basketball court smack talk in this town is more likely to involve insulting someone’s closet hydroponic growing process, rather than their mama.After Sam was all dolled up, and we got Precious unlocked, we made our way to The Bywater where we were sharing an evening bill with The Archrivals. The Bywater is an excellent establishment on the shores of the French Broad River (first pic above). As you walk in, there is a traditional wooden bar setup and 18 local area beers on tap to enjoy. I immediately grabbed a pint of Green Man Ale and made my way out to the backyard to scope the landscape of the place.



As you look off the back porch to the left, the high volume of the French Broad River is immediately apparent. The subtle rush of the river water in the background continually reminds you of its presence, and helps to create a cool unique setting. The wide open backyard at The Bywater is a drinking sport enthusiast’s heaven. There were horseshoe pits, volleyball nets, frisbee golf goals, fire pits and barrel BBQs in every direction. Anything you could want to do with a beer in your hand was available, and Foss and I quickly took to one of the horseshoe pits with our pints.


The timetable for the gig was nice and relaxed. After another pint, we casually started to setup an outdoor bandstand under the back awning of The Bywater. I was happy to have lots of light placement options for our light rig, and ended up with a very tasteful, well lit stage after it was all done.


As we started playing, I took survey over the yard and enjoyed the sight of the many patrons enjoying their beers at the various sets of tree log tables and chairs scattered along the river bank. The outdoor setting allowed the sound of the bands to push out over the open air. I could hear my amp really well, and the band’s stage mix was great. As the evening set in, the lights really started to show up and a cool little atmosphere started to take shape. After our set, we passed the baton to The Archrivals, who completely killed it. I loved their style and flow. As evening fell on The Bywater, the stage looked great, and the whole backyard was partying. I was all into the music and the scene, and at one point reminded myself that this was a random Tuesday in May. Not bad. After The Archrivals wrapped, both bands hit a cool place called Universal Joint for some afterhours food and beers.

During our time at UJ, a crazy electric storm blew threw and lit the sky up for a few solid minutes. When we returned to Sam’s to crash that evening, we found that the power was out in the house. We lit some candles and told ghost stories. Max was truly in his element again when it came to the ghost stories, and he would hold the candle to his face each time he reached the scariest parts of his stories. During his last ghost tale, he was building up suspense that had everyone in a frenzy. Then, just as he was about to raise the candle to his face for effect one last time at the climax, the power came back on. Everyone immediately shifted their attention to the TV and started playing Nintendo. The next morning we said our goodbyes to Katz and were back on the road.






jim

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