ryan’s forecast

by Ryan Snyder

Upcoming shows you should check out

GroovinG for a Good cause at shakori hills

If the acute devastation of summit flora and fauna that accompanies the mountaintop removal method of coal mining isn’t enough to turn people against it, how about the resultant sludge ponds that have historically shown to be even more damaging to the surroundings? What if one of those sludge ponds, which is permitted to hold 2.8 billion gallons of waste, sits a mere 400 yards above an elementary school that your children attend? That’s the case with Marsh Fork Elementary in West Virginia, which sits in the line of fire of an allegedly leaking pond (according to CorpWatch) that is 21 times larger than the one that killed 125 people in the 1972 Buffalo Creek accident. It’s a grave situation, yes, but what does this have to do with music and our state as a whole? North Carolina is the nation’s second biggest consumer of mountaintop coal and the Mountain Aid Festival, happening Friday and Saturday, is here to raise money for Pennies of Promise, a fund designed to build a new school in a safer location for those students. The festival’s two days and nights of music include Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and West Virginia native Kathy Mattea (, who will celebrate her 50th birthday by headlining and emceeing the weekend. Other performers include cellist Ben Sollee (, who has performed with Sparrow Quarter, B’la Fleck and was named one of NPR’s Top Ten Unknown Artists of the Year in 2007; Shakori staples Donna the Buffalo (; roots rockers the Sim Redmond Band (www.; and local hip-hop favorite the Beast (; among several others. Advance tickets for Mountain Aid are on sale now for $22.50 and will be $30 at the gate. On-site camping, food and craft vendors will also be available. For more details, visit and

this has nothinG to do with ‘sesame street’

Festival season is in full swing and though this one doesn’t exactly have a noble cause propelling it like Mountain Aid (other than the pursuit of a really good time), it’s still highly worthy of consideration. The 3rd Annual GroverFest is going down in Davidson on Friday and Saturday and carries with it a highly diversified lineup of bands that will play well into the wee hours. Did I say wee hours? I meant until the next morning. Starting with a Friday afternoon set by Charlotte’s 5 Finger Discount (, the first day’s lineup includes sets by industrial band the Omega Cell (, Southern rockers Matter of Fact (, Near Gravity (, Raleigh fusionists Zegg ( and Greensboro’s own late-night mavens the Mantras ( themantras) doing their thing starting at 1:45 a.m. It continues Saturday with a full day of music, includes the fantastic NC reggae band Hope Massive ( and a full onslaught of the jammy-type bands that includes Yesterday’s Gravy (www.myspace. com/yesterdaysgravy1), Duk Tan ( and the finale, an allnighter by psychedelic rockers Kinetic ( Tickets for the weekend are $20 and include camping. Children’s tickets are free. For more details, visit

not a Beatles cover Band, But they still have nothinG to hide

In case you can’t skip town for a festival weekend, but still want some good music in your life, consider one band that’ll be around town for a bit. It’s not hard to tell where Me & My Monkey ( draw their influences: The band is steeped in the bluesy classic rock of the ’70s and the current improvisational scene. Everyone from Hendrix to the North Mississippi Allstars to Gov’t Mule can be heard in their grinding, soulful sets. Micah McCravey fronts the trio on guitar and vocals and though his voice lags a little bit behind his skillful playing, he more than makes up for it with sheer effort and charisma. The band will be playing a couple of shows around Greensboro this weekend, starting with a Thursday show at the Green Burro at 11 p.m. and a Saturday gig at the Flatiron at 10 p.m. Standard cover, if any, applies for both dates.