upcoming shows you should check out
Twenty-five years of MerleFest
MerleFest hits a milestone this weekend, but don’t go making a big fuss about it or anything, and certainly don’t bring a gift. All Doc wants is your ears and your time for a lineup that has some really excellent acts in some of the least obvious times, starting on Thursday with the pride of Saskatchewan, alt-country quintet the Deep Dark Woods, who recall Uncle Tupelo from their March 16-20, 1992 sessions, and culminating in an evening with Vince Gill. The Deep Dark Woods return on Friday, but if you only see one band off the main stage, make it Asheville’s the Honeycutters. The Watson Stage is where it’s at though, with the Original Flecktones and Los Lobos holding it down. On Saturday, Assembly of Dust play the token jam-band part, and Casey Driessen returns to host the midnight jam, which should certainly have a band theme. It seems the Waybacks have discovered this thing called the internet that makes it easier for people to guess the pick for their Hillside Album Hour, so this year’s clues are a speculative dead end, but that won’t stop me from going all-in on Steely Dan’s Pretzel Logic. Come Sunday, it’s all about Marty Stuart, kid. Ticket info and the full lineup can be found at merlefest.org.
Game, dames and turntable thangs
Not now nor ever will there be a shortage of rappers jockeying for status as the face of hip hop, but there’s always a trough after the crest for even the best, and maintaining a consistent presence is a rare feat for emcees. It doesn’t matter anyway, because the face of hip hop is an artist who rarely says a word on stage, yet is also one of its greatest communicators. Philly’s native son ?uestlove is uber-talented drummer for the Roots crew, Late Night bandleader, music historian, social-media documentarian, all-around ambassador of all things funky and, in his visit to the Blind Tiger this Sunday, DJ extraordinaire. Like the man behind the kit, DJ ?uestlove is an auteur of hip-hop history. When he posts up behind the ones and twos, it’s a funk and soul review starting from the earliest days to the present. His show, presented by the fine folks of Psyoptic Records, comes on the birth date of one of Philadelphia’s all-time great and gone-too-soon voices, Tammi Terrell, so maybe an extra dose of pop-soul mixes will be in order. Tickets for the show are $27.50 in advance and $32 at the door, with support by Doby, N’DangR Species, Miss Eaves, DJ J. Lone and DJ84.
You say no to drugs — Juicy J can’t
The last time Wiz Khalifa played Winston-Salem, it was literally on the tipping point of the Taylor Gang head’s transition from slightly underground mixtape master to way overground (and overexposed, to an extent) headline maker. This was mostly thanks to a hugely publicized pot bust the night before at East Carolina University that sent tickets sales for his LJVM show, and his national profile, through the roof. When Wiz and the Taylors return to the LJVM this Tuesday, May 1, he’ll have cover from the narcos thanks to the supporting artist and Taylor Gang’s newest (and oldest) addition: Juicy J of Three 6 Mafia. If there’s a twopoint to take away from any of Juicy J’s often bizarre mixtapes, it’s that he deserves higher billing in your office’s celebrity death pool, because no human being can pop beans and guzzle drank at the rate that he claims and keep a pulse. Even Anton Newcombe thinks he should slow down. He comes off like a straight-up reprobate on record, but in a funloving, hyoermasculine kind of way. Like his mantra goes, “We trippy, mane!” Tickets are $30 before fees and the show starts at 8 p.m. with DJ Bonics and Chevy Woods opening.