Well, shit. I’m not too sure where to even begin this weekend. Let’s start in the River Arts District with RADfest.
Haven’t heard of it? That’s because this is the first year of what promises to be a long-standing tradition in the River Arts District. Hosted by The Grey Eagle, RADfest spans Saturday and Sunday and has a well curated line-up of both local and national acts.
“This festival is going to be amazing,” local photographer Rudy Aguilar tells me. I can’t really argue. The Grey Eagle has put together a two-day event full of bands and musicians that’s diverse while still having a common thread running through both evenings.
The first evening is dominated by female-driven indie rock, with patio and indoor shows that include locals Kitty Tsunami, Indigo De Souza, and national headliners Diet Cig. What better place to smash the gender gap than the River Arts District. RAD is the long-standing heart of Asheville’s artistic and creative movements, many of them female-driven, and it’s fitting to see a line-up heavy on talented women in a place like this.
RADfest runs until almost midnight, but don’t sleep too long because the doors open again on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. for another night of beautifully curated music. The second night includes back-to-back patio sets from local hip-hop stalwarts Siyah and Spaceman Jones, before turning a corner into psychadelia, culminating with the headlining act LSD and the Search for God.
Furthermore, with their new, attractive patio stage, The Grey Eagle has the ability to switch from platform to platform, never having two bands on at the same time. Even with a two-day lineup of more than 20 bands and performers, if you work hard you can see every single one.
And if you get hungry? Well don’t you know the Taqueria has the best tacos in town?
Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band at Salvage Station, Opening for The Motet
Friday night, if indie music isn’t your thing, I have good news for you. The Salvage Station is throwing a hip-shaking, booty-quaking helluva party featuring Colorado boys and national funk machine The Motet with an undercard of Brooklyn’s Moon Hooch and Asheville’s own, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band.
The Booty Band isn’t touring these days, all of them engrossed in other (and sometimes Grammy winning) projects, so this is a special treat indeed to have them together for a hometown show.
I also need to tell you that if you haven’t seen The Motet, and shaking your ass is a hobby, then you may want to go ahead and get on top of this. These cats are truly one of the most exciting live experiences on the circuit today. Mixing jam, funk, heavy rock, and EDM, they take nothing for granted and give nothing away for free. You either buy the ticket and take the ride, or stand to the side confused.
Saturday Night Showdown: The Fritz versus Emma’s Lounge
What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? I guess we find out Saturday night as, sadly, Emma’s Lounge and The Fritz square off for a large chunk of the same fan base at Asheville Music Hall and The Salvage Station, respectively. I know these are first-world problems, but the idea of these two bands both playing Asheville on the same night, but in different venues, makes me a very specific kind of anxious.
Both of them are pushing the limits, both of them put on an incredible live show, and both are playing in support of new music. For The Fritz, it will be their second release in as many years, while Emma’s Lounge, only a few years old, is dropping their second record, and first truly collaborative album, the day before their show.
There really is no going wrong choosing between these two. No matter what you decide, I can guarantee you back will be sore and your feet tired from dancing when you wake up on Sunday morning.