By Caleb Calhoun
Friday night at Altamont Theater promises to be a weird one. Kicking things off is Dr. Bacon, a punk, prog, rowdy jam-band who, although starting out in Boone, have made Asheville their home for a little over a year now.
Dr. Bacon is a local favorite who has made their name on a constantly evolving sound. They’ve gained a cult following with their raucous and exciting performances. Their music is influenced by everyone from Modest Mouse to Carlos Santana to Lyle Lovett, and it’s all delivered with the gusto of a late ’80’s punk band. They bring an underlying message of acceptance and love to their music, which should be the perfect compliment both musically, and philosophically, to the band they will be sharing the stage with, Emma’s Lounge.
Emma’s Lounge is not a band to mince words when it comes to their message of love and open-mindedness. In fact, one of the main draws for lead singer Logan Venderlic when he was considering a move to Asheville was the city’s progressive vibe.
“I got married in September and my then fiancee and I moved here a little before that,” Venderlic tells me. “We were living in Charleston and we really liked it but we felt that we wanted to make a change. To go to a more progressive area and get back to the mountains.”
The West Virginia native pauses for a minute and continues. “Asheville makes me think of West Virginia if West Virginia kind of got it’s shit together.”
Venderlic, who had enjoyed quite a bit of success as a solo indie rocker in the years leading up to the move, decided that it was time to go in a new direction musically as well.
“Wolf Zimmerman of Brave Baby recommended that I think about forming a band. I had been playing with backing bands and it was always kind of a struggle,” Venderlick tells me. I was going through all kinds of crazy stuff in my life and had been going to some music festivals, using that as like a happiness reset button. That kind of shaped the style of music I wanted to play.”
He began trying to find others with the same drive and musical versatility, hoping to put together something completely different than he had been playing previously. The band began to fill out but the final piece was Meg Heathman. Straight out of the break-up of her original band, The Petticoat Government, and in spite of obvious chemistry, she wasn’t convinced.
“We played together a few times and it was really fun. I could tell that Logan was really passionate, and I didn’t want to let him down,” Heathman says. “So I told Logan like, yeah, I think I really want to move on and start my own project. I was just hell-bent on doing my own thing.”
That might have been that but for violinist Kenan Hopkins. “He kind of talked some sense into me and I stuck around,” chuckles Heathman.
Both Heathman and Emma’s Lounge are glad she did. Her presence both musically and spiritually turned out to be the perfect compliment to Logan and the final piece to bring their folky, punky, groovy sound together.
“Meg is kind of the spirit guide of the band,” Venderlic expounds. “The message that she wants to get out there (and Emma’s Lounge strongly supports) is to be kind to others and the ripple effect of goodness that it can make.”
They are hoping that this Friday’s show with Dr. Bacon at Altamont Theater can be an extension of that message. They will be shooting a music video and releasing their new album but what they are most excited about is having a free-spirited, open-minded crowd out.
Venderlic puts it this way. “It’s sort of like, be open minded, be down for whatever, and be kind. You can do whatever you want but the main message is to be loving and kind to others. I guess that is really the kind of atmosphere we are trying to create for the show.”
Between their message of love for all types and Dr. Bacon’s unabashed weirdness, this show looks to be about the craziest place to be, on Friday night, in the kookiest city on the east coast. Sounds like a party to me, I hope to see you there.
Asheville’s vibrant local music scene is on full display this weekend. For this reason Ashvegas is offering a pair of companion pieces covering two shows that both take place Friday night. Emma’s Lounge and Dr. Bacon will be playing at Altamont Theater while Window Cat and Dynamo (Nashville) will be playing at Isis Music Hall. Click here for the sister story.
Dr. Bacon and Emma’s Lounge play at The Altamont Theater on Friday, March 3 at 8pm. Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 D.O.S.
Caleb Calhoun studied writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and music at a plethora of clubs and bars across the southeast. He is the author and publisher of Rosman City Blues and currently resides outside of Asheville with his dog and best friend, Dr. Gonzo.