by Ryan Snyder

Upcoming shows you should check out


The year is 1988. The day is any given Saturday afternoon at Aladdin’s Castle. You plunk a few quarters into the Contra machine and before you’ve even reached the Waterfall Base, a looky-loo of questionable employ is hovering over your shoulder, silently and mindlessly watching you spray unlimited ammo at 8-bit aliens. Game over, and he’s gone like the kid in Cop and a Half. Twenty-five years later, and monetizes the inexplicable vidja game voyeur phenomenon. Before they ever made millions off of bored people, members of Cinemechanica and We Versus the Shark were making art out of it as Bit Brigade. They churn out epic, Rush-ian soundtracks in real time to old-school Nintendo favorites while master gamer Noah McCarthy makes precision time trial runs on a giant projection screen. Having previously conquered Mega Man as Megaband, Contra as Contraband and the impossibly hard Ninja Gaiden as Ninjaband in previous visits to Greensboro, they’ve shown that they’ve mastered some of the hardest video games ever made for the original Nintendo, but Wednesday at the Blind Tiger, they’re going to one-up themselves. Bit Brigade will take on blistering technical-metal speed runs through the original Castlevania and Contra consecutively, it’s probably going to sound a lot like the last times’ through, but maybe he’ll die this time. The opening salvo comes courtesy Trioscapes, the Bronzed Chorus, Lower Cases & Capitals and the Hi-Rollers. The show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are $8 at the door.


Anyone who likes baseball or LSD will likely be familiar with the sordid tale of Dock Ellis, the man who threw the shakiest no-hitter ever while in the grips of that devil ergoline. At least a half-dozen songwriters have put the day Ellis woke up on his off day, only to be called on to pitch, to song, but only Todd Snider’s version can be called canon. The gangly Portlandian’s song “America’s Favorite Pastime” sums up the absurdity of the event rather nicely, but it is how Snider sets the table for it that transforms it from a simple ballad of the unlikely into a fully transporting sagas. A great storyteller has a way of making good stories into whoppers and whoppers into legend, and Todd Snider is a great storyteller. His current tour — which finds him in a Dylanesque embrace of an electric guitar after over a decade as acoustic-only — will stop at the Orange Peel in Asheville this Saturday with another great storyteller in tow. Bobby Bare, Jr.’s commercial career might’ve peaked when he was 8 years old on Bobby Sr.’s “Daddy What If,”, but the Nashville singer has dug out a nice little niche as the living embodiment of Music City’s runoff. Tickets for the show are $20 in advance and $22 at the door, and the show starts at 9 p.m.