July 21, 2010 12:00

ryan's forecast

upcoming shows you should check out

FloydFest 9 breaks ground with band drummer at the helm

It makes no difference what else is going on in the region this weekend; you’re going to be crying tears of rage from the weight of missing out on FloydFest if it isn’t on your agenda. The four-day music fest, starting on Thursday a short trip up the road in Floyd, Va. is arguably the finest annual festival in the Blue Ridge region, and this year’s lineup is going to ensure another stellar year. The headliners for this year look a lot like last year, only shuffled around a bit. one major upgrade from last year is the top billing of the Band’s beloved drummer Levon Helm over the mediocre Blues Traveler. Helm’s sets include longtime Band guitarist (even longer than Robbie Robertson) Jim Weider and are rife with the best of the Band, his Grammy-winning solo material and select covers from Band contemporaries like Dr. John and the Grateful Dead. The rest of the headliners look a lot like last year, and that’s a good thing. The cannon-voiced Grace Potter returns with the Nocturnals, but instead of headlining Friday night, she’s switched with last year’s Sunday festival ender Railroad earth. You’re going to want to get there for the Thursday sets, however, as New Orleans funk machine Galactic takes the main stage with special guest, young-un corey Henry on trombone. If you’re a fan of Treme on HBo, you’ve undoubtedly seen both at their best. shortly after, soulive guitarist eric krasno kicks off the festival’s amazing late night scene with his hip-hop tinged chapter 2. Friday’s highlights will include the electrifying Brooklyn afro-soul and deep funk outfit Budos Band in an unfortunate mid-afternoon set, unfortunate because this 10-piece is built for late-night. Afro-beat fans with daytime jobs never fear, because legendary Congolese group konono No. 1 warms up the stage for Railroad earth early in the night. later on, krasno cooks up some more funk with soulive proper, and the Pimps of Joytime take the party into the early morning. saturday just gets better, as rockers JJ Grey & mofro and the low Anthem lead the charge into the evening after another full day of music. old crow medicine show set up levon Helm and indie-folksters Deer Tick play their second set in as many days. late night? You’ve got none other than karl Denson’s Tiny Universe sitting atop the plethora of funk on this year’s lineup. Don’t miss out on the set of Alexis P. sutter, who’s featuring an unnamed special guest. sutter has been heavily involved in levon Helm’s midnight Rambles in the past. Just sayin’. Sunday slows down a little bit with Tift merritt holding down the main stage before Grace & the Nocs bring it to a screaming conclusion. Weekend passes are $140 and single day tickets are available at www.floydfest.com.

Triad stage presents three nights of EMFfringe

The eastern music Festival offers a trio of performances at Triad stage that are more than solid alternatives if a four-day throwdown isn’t in your future. most know them from their star-studded, always anticipated Hillside Album Hour at Merle Fest, but the Waybacks are a fine band and still rock just as hard when they aren’t playing bluegrass covers of Beatles, Floyd or Zeppelin. They’ll play on Thursday at 8 p.m. for $25 with steel magnolia in support. on Friday, brilliant folk fiddler mark o’connor will show why he’s considered one of the greatest improvisational players alive across a mind-numbing spectrum of styles. Tickets are $35 and his performance starts at 8 p.m. Having toured with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson in the past, Austin-based trio the Greencards (named because none of them are American-born) bring their Grammy-nominated mix of Americana, blues and country to town on Saturday night. All are adept multi instrumentalists and quality vocalists. They’ll perform at 8 p.m., and tickets are $24.

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