30 Days Out, Sep. 2022 #1: Black Midi, King Khan & BBQ, Steel Pulse, Sylvia Rose Novak

Touring is back in full swing. Looking at the concert calendar, save for an occasional canceled date, you’d never know that a pandemic had been raging for two-plus years. Four touring outfits – two veteran acts, two comparatively new ones – are the spotlight shows in Asheville over the next 30 days.

Artist: Black Midi
Venue: The Orange Peel
Date: Friday, Sep. 9, 9 p.m.
Door: $25
Perhaps the most difficult-to-classify band in recent memory, Black Midi combines prog, lounge, free jazz, electronica and who-knows-what-else into a heady mix. Imagine an aggressive, amped-up Radiohead and you’ll have a slight sense of what this UK-based outfit can do. Fascinating, often difficult, and unfailingly creative.

Artist: The King Khan & BBQ Show
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Friday, Sep. 16, 9 p.m.
Door: $17
King Khan is best-known for his large garage-soul band The Shrines, but his longtime musical associate Mark Sultan (aka BBQ) and he have been working together for many years as well. They perform as a duo, and the pared-down garage aesthetic is a durable one. To wit: I interviewed them fourteen years ago.

Artist: Steel Pulse
Venue: Salvage Station
Date: Tuesday, Sep. 20, 8 p.m.
Door: $30 advance / $35 day of show
The real deal. Steel Pulse began in 1975, and though they’re from from Birmingham, England (not Kingston, Jamaica) this group has carried the banner of authentic reggae for nearly a half century. The music features intellgent lyrics with an undercurrent of both humor and a social conscience. Though nearly 30 players have come and gone form the band’s ranks, David Hinds and Selwyn Brown have appeared on every one of the group’s albums, and keyboardist Sidney Mills has been on board nearly 35 years.

Artist: Sylvia Rose Novak
Venue: Isis Music Hall
Date: Friday, Sep. 30, 8:30 p.m.
Door: $15
There’s been a trend for sometime now: rock artists crossing over to Americana. While some certainly make the move with creative/artistic motives, there’s a whiff of bandwagon-jumping about the whole thing. But here’s an example of the opposite: Athens-based Novak started labeled as Americana, and has made the move – and a convincing one at that – to all-out rock and roll. If her new album A Miss/ A Masterpiece is your introduction to this compelling artist, you’d never suspect her past. Great stuff.

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