30 Days Out, August 2023 #2: Phuncle Sam, tu-NER, Tangerine Dream, The Nude Party

There’s never any shortage of fantastic live music on offer in Asheville. Highlights over the next 30 days include a beloved Dead-flavored local band, another local band often mentioned among the hottest new acts, a prog supergroup par excellence, and a legendary krautrock/ambient/synth group. Check ‘em all out; you’re unlikely to be disappointed.

Artist: Phuncle Sam
Venue: Pisgah Brewing
Date: Saturday, Aug. 26, 6 p.m.
Door: $free
Love them or loathe them, the Grateful Dead are a musical institution like no other. And their fan base is among the most ardent. The group seemed to throw in the towel when Jerry Garcia passed, but in truth the group merely mutated into other configurations. Widespread love for the Dead seems eternal. And while this long-running Asheville-based group has no direct connection (of which I’m aware) to the GD, they use the Dead’s music as a launching point for their own musical explorations.

Artist: tu-NER
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Thursday, Aug. 31, 9 p.m.
Door: $25
Speaking of beloved aqcts that are no more, King Crimson almost certainly played its final dates 2021. The staggeringly adventurous and groundbreaking group had an on-again, off-again history, and the lineup was characterized not only by constant change but by a series of fraKctals, side-projects designed to take the Crim ethos in other directions (direKctions, if you like). And while tu-NER isn’t technically one of those, it may as well be: drummer Pat Mastelotto was in the band through all of its activity from 1994 onward; touch guitarist Markus Reuter is a former Fripp student and longtime Mastelotto associate (see Stick Men); newest member Trey Gunn was in Crim 1994-2003. his group sometimes works King Crimson material into its own set as well. Click for more on Trey Gunn, Markus Reuter, Pat Mastelotto.

Artist: Tangerine Dream
Venue: The Orange Peel
Date: Monday, Sep. 11, 8 p.m.
Door: $35
If one seeks to understand the origins of space rock, ambient music, krautrock and/or other related forms, an exploration of Tangerine Dream in absolutely necessary. Building (at least in part) on the early (but post-Syd Barrett) era Pink Floyd approach, this German group wordlessly created a style all its own. Amazingly prolific and influential, TD dove deep into the waters of soundtrack work, a direxciton that suited its evocative instrumental music wonderfully. None of the original members is in the group any longer (see also: Soft Machine, Yes, etc.) but the spirit is ably carried forth by the present-day lineup. The group last played Asheville (then with founding member Edgar Froese) during Moogfest, way back in 2011.

Artist: The Nude Party
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Thursday, Sep. 14, 9 p.m.
Door: $20
At one of my recent Music to Your Ears events, the subject was the music of Tom Petty. Near the end of the discussion, the conversation came around to current-day artists who embody a similar spirit (even if they don’t sound at all like Petty). Many excellent artists were named: I suggested Jonathan Wilson, who happens to be from nearby Spindale (and who also happens to be Roger Waters’ lead guitarist). Another well-informed attendee suggested The Nude Party, who also happen to be from Asheville. Check them out now so you can say you knew about them before they made it big. Lady Apple Tree and Good Trauma are also on the bill.

See you at the show!