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Brett Barest on The Upstate Music Scene: There Is Too Much Music To Write About

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When iOnGreenville’s Chris Bizzell and I first talked about a weekly music column for the website, I knew two things. The first was that I wanted to be a part of iOnGreenville and all that it contributes to the Upstate’s entertainment scene. The second was that I was tired of following the same formula of picking out one single show every week to put a spotlight on. He agreed without hesitation and I have been having a blast ever since.

As much as I enjoyed writing about the Upstate music scene in that capacity, it was (at times) challenging at a minimum and disingenuous at worst. Some weeks there simply was not a show that I felt passionate enough to write about but I had to talk up something anyway. Other weeks, the band that I most wanted to share with the reader was playing at a venue I had just covered two weeks in a row and I felt a need to shift things around to spread the love. Sometimes I would write about a show that I knew needed some attention instead of the sold out show featuring a band that was really worth talking about, whether they needed the press or not.

The long and short of all this is that now I have a bit more flexibility at my disposal and I love that about this gig. If there is not a show that I am really into over the next seven days, I can tell you that and talk about something else. Heck, last week my music feature was about a standup comedy show which actually wound up being the most fun I had all weekend, even though there were some pretty good concerts happening as well.

This week, however, I am dealing with quite the opposite issue.

When I perused the iOnGreenville calendar this week, I lost track of the number of shows that I wanted to write about. At a glance, there were at least six shows happening in the Upstate between Friday and Monday that were worth 700-800 words on this space to tell you about. Being that I do not have the time, energy, or budget to properly give each of these shows (and probably a handful of others) their due, consider this a Cliffs Note’s version of the upcoming week in music…

Friday

Bombay Gasoline & Mourning Dove @ Eighth State Brewing, 7pm: Eighth State has been doing some band pairings as unique as their beers as of late, and this one is no different. Bombay Gasoline is an electro rock power duo (read: really great drums and keyboard) from Asheville while Mourning Dove is one of the Upstate’s best folk/Americana acts. Each band is creating some really fascinating music and is more than worth your time and dime so seeing them on the same evening is a great opportunity for a wonderful night of music.

Saturday (This is where it gets tricky)

Lionzfest @ Quest Brewing Company, 4pm: I cannot say enough good things about The LOZ Band and their off-shoot music collective The Local Green Family Band. This Saturday LOZ celebrates their fourth annual LionzFest complete with two full sets of music, the return of their collaboration with Quest – Lion on the Beach Lager – and food courtesy of Resident Dogs with, hands down, the tastiest and most creative hot dogs in Greenville (and possibly Nashville, or so I’m told).

BBQ & Bluegrass @ Greenbrier Farms, 5:30pm: This one requires a small schlep out to Dacusville which is actually way closer to Greenville than it sounds. The annual celebration of all things BBQ and bluegrass features pasture raised pork and seasonal sides from Greenbrier Farms and an evening of bluegrass courtesy of The West End String Band. I don’t know whether to tell you to go for the music or the food because they both stand to be outstanding.

Blood on the Harp @ Gottrocks, 8pm: I do not know when “Southern Gothic” became a legitimate genre of both music and literature but I do know that I cannot get enough of it lately.  Blood on the Harp takes old time Appalachian music, dresses it all in black for their best friend’s funeral, and gives new meaning to the word “haunting”. The Atlanta six piece band is perfectly suited for Gottrocks on a Saturday night and, if I did have to pick just one, this could be the show of the weekend.

Sunday

Kristina Murray, Riley Downing, & Darby Wilcox @ The Velo Fellow, 3pm: If there is one thing Darby Wilcox does as well as writing and performing badass music, it is luring fellow badasses from cities near and far to share their talents with the Greenville audience. This Sunday, wash down brunch with a cold one or three at The Velo Fellow when Nashville’s Kristina Murray and New Orleans’ Riley Downing join Darby for a three band set that will make for the best Sunday you have enjoyed in quite some time.

Monday

Sarah Shook & the Disarmers @ The Radio Room, 8pm: Speaking of Darby and badasses, she is also opening up for Sarah Shook & the Disarmers at The Radio Room Monday Night. Shook’s brand of outlaw country celebrates whiskey, hard living, and bad decisions so, for a man of my tastes, what is there possibly not to love about her? I know, Monday night shows are tough when you have to get the kids to school Tuesday morning (if you have such beasts) but this one is totally worth it.

And there you have it. Six shows I could have spent an evening listening to and writing about but that would have been a disservice to the other five. Each of these shows and events is a gift to the local music scene and the fact that they are all happening in the next five days is a testament to the quality of what we have going on, despite what anyone might tell you when they whine about Asheville and The Orange Peel. Get out and see a show… there’s at least one or six that you will absolutely love.

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