30 Days Out, August 2022 #1: Eleanor Underhill, Interpol, Qwanqwa, Neko Case

One beloved local artist, two top-quality touring and the North American debut of a fascinating group from Addis Ababa: those are the highlights in live music over the coming 30 days in Asheville, North Carolina.

Artist: Eleanor Underhill and Friends
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Wednesday, Aug. 31, 5 p.m.
Door: $12
As a solo artist and as half of a duo with Molly Rose, Asheville-based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Eleanor Underhill has successfully blurred – no, erased – the lines between genres. Often (and misleadingly) pigeonholed as an Americana artist, her muse is far more expansive than even that big-umbrella label suggests. And as fine and compelling a songwriter as she is, her arranging skills are another major asset. For her latest album Got it Covered, Underhill applies those specific talents to her arrangements the music of other songwriters. (Wait until you hear her reading of Radiohead’s “Creep.”) Underhill demonstrates that banjos, looping and stuttering electronica/trip-hop beats can creatively coexist. This outdoor show is an album release party for the new record.

Artist: Interpol
Venue: Rabbit Rabbit
Date: Saturday, Sep. 3, 6 p.m.
Door: $45
Seven albums in 20 years doesn’t earn an artist the “prolific” descriptor. But for NYC-based Interpol, it’s more about quality than quantity. The post-punk trio (formerly a quartet) has consistently earned critical praise for their work, characterized by a moody, slinky sound. The well-curated lineup for this show features two other acts sure to appeal to Interpol fans: Spoon and Water FromYour Eyes.

Artist: Qwanqwa
Venue: White Horse Black Mountain
Date: Sunday, Sep. 4, 7:30 p.m.
Door: $20 advance / $22 day of show
This African ensemble is billed as a supergroup because all of its members have impressive musical pedigrees. The music of Qwanqwa is farm ore imaginative than the group’s album titles – Volume One, Volume Two, Volume Three – would suggest. While African textures are at the core of Qwanqwa’s music, there’s something highly accessible and relatable within; Western ears will find it having just the right amount of exotic character. The music is in turns contemplative, celebratory and life-affirming. Highly recommended.

Artist: Neko Case
Venue: The Orange Peel
Date: Monday, Sep. 12, 8 p.m.
Door: $36
Thew acclaimed singer-songwriter made her name concurrently as a solo artist and as a member of the highly admired collective New Pornographers. You’d give yourself a headache trying to pin Case down stylewise, and ultimately there’s no compelling reason to bother. Just enjoy her rich vocals, sharp lyrics and wonderfully evocative arrangements. Sean Rowe opens.

See you at the show!