Eight acts that should play the Triad (but probably never will)

by Ryan Snyder

Might Faith No More return to Greensboro later this year? Maybe, maybe not.

LCD Soundsystem: If there’s any act that can challenge Radiohead for the title of the most pretentiously hip band in the world, it’s James Murphy’s brilliant LCD Soundsystem. The paroxysmical dance-punk of their second release Sound of Silver won them recognition for the best album of the 2000s by NPR and despite their uber-hip coterie, Murphy routinely lampoons their pomp on songs like “Losing My Edge” and “North American Scum.” You’d think he’d never heard of the South, as the furthest his current tour travels below the Mason-Dixon line is the upcoming Bonnaroo Music Festival.

Solomon Burke: Of all the classic purveyors of pure soul, so few of the greats still remain. Solomon Burke is not only the biggest name of them, but literally the biggest of them all. Weighing in at more than 300 pounds, the girthy Burke tours only sporadically, though his current trek takes him across Japan and all throughout Europe until the end of the summer. With 21 children and 78 grandchildren to keep him occupied in his downtime, the 70-year old Burke has little incentive to play anything but the most lucrative gigs.

Yard Dogs Road Show: We get quite a few burlesque shows coming through town, but nothing quite like the mind-bending naughtiness of the Yard Dogs Road Show. The 13-member vaudeville, magic, acid rock, and striptease troupe played two (late) nights at last summer’s FloydFest 8, with word spreading quickly about their awesomeness, though the group is playing it close to the West Coast while it develops its latest act.

Bill Laswell: Forget playing in the Triad; it would be a start if the preeminent producer of avant-garde dub and one of the most mezmerizing players ever to pick up the bass would just play in the United States on occasion. Laswell’s plethora of otherworldly creations has obsessive followings stateside, but it can’t match the European hunger for the increasingly rare performances by Material, Praxis and Method of Defiance.

Manu Chao: Another to file under “too big worldwide to play a mid-sized American metropolis,” Manu Chao does frequent festivals throughout the US and when he hits the rare amphitheatre, his French-Arabic blend of Latin, ska, rock and punk is a guaranteed sell-out.

Alpha Blondy: Of all the great protest singers, Ivorian reggae artist Alpha Blondy is one of the few that bridges the gap to real humanitarian. A noted critic of authority, the child of a Muslim and Christian spends most of his earnings on his crusades against everything from racial and political injustice in C’te D’Ivoire to the removal of antipersonnel mines. He sings his passionate mix of ska, rocksteady and African in as many as five languages, making him beloved all over the world.

Faith No More: This one might not actually be so far off. After breaking up in 1998, Faith No More reformed for a run of European gigs in 2009 and are playing their first American shows at the Warfield in their hometown of San Francisco and the forthcoming Coachella Music Festival. The next logical step would be a fullblown tour. A stop at the Greensboro Coliseum would be a familiar destination for the godlike Mike Patton to once again scream through a megaphone and expose himself to a crowd of ravenous metalheads.

James Blood Ulmer

With the number of dedicated blues fans in and around the Triad, it’s a wonder that none of the associated promoters have picked up on one of the most ferocious and ragged voices of them all. With a guitar style that stings like a wet hornet, James Blood Ulmer might offend the sensibilities of the ordinary blues consumer, but the more daring listener will surely appreciate the fire which the St. Matthews, SC native breathes vocally and instrumentally. Need a pedigree? He was only the first electric guitarist of Ornette Coleman.