upcoming shows you should check out
At this very moment, anyone in the greater Piedmont area with a guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin or upright bass and a love of that old-timey music is polishing the wood and tuning the strings in preparation for one of the most exciting weekends in string music. The people who bring us the Shakori Hills Festival twice a year throw one heck of a weekend of music workshops, dances and cook-offs as a precursor to the fall edition of Shakori. The third annual Hoppin’ John Old-Time and Bluegrass Fiddlers’ Convention (www.hoppinjohn.org) will take place on Friday and Saturday in Silk Hope and promises to bring in some of the finest pickers from all over. The festival itself isn’t built around band performances per se, but there will be plenty of foot-stomping at the numerous dances held over the course of the weekend. There will still be music to be heard at every turn, so don’t be shy about attending even if you don’t play an instrument. There’ll be plenty of food as well, as the Hoppin’ John Cook-off features variations of the festival’s namesake: that tasty Southern dish of greens and black-eyed peas. Tickets are $8 for Friday and $10 for Saturday and the fun begins at 11 a.m. on Friday.
THE ‘WHEEL IN THE SKY’ WON’T STOP PLAYING
Few names in music can evoke the kind of uncontrollable cringe that the name “Journey” is capable of doing. Sure, the chunks start rising in my throat at the mention of Nickelback and Three Doors Down, but are still decades away from being as entrenched in critical ignominy as Journey has become. People forget that the band was originally started as a jazz-rock band by exiles of Santana’s touring band and Journey was to be a lighter version of just that. While they released several mildly praised albums in that incarnation, it wasn’t until the face of the band became that of Steve Perry’s own perpetually-pained mug that mainstream radio started to shove their over-the-top love shtick and cheesy motivationals into heavy rotay. Well, if you love this band, and God help you, you can see them at the Greensboro Coliseum this Friday with their ’80s-hitmaking partners-incrime Night Ranger. While Night Ranger has actually had the fortitude to keep their original lineup in tact, only Neil Schon and Ross Valory remain in Journey. Steve Perry is long gone, but his specter remains in the form of Arnel Pineda, a guy Schon found on YouTube. Seriously. Tickets run from $29.50 to $65.00 and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.
WUAG PRESENTS: DESOLATION WILDERNESS
Taking their name from one of the most breath-taking and underappreciated protected lands in the United States, Desolation Wilderness (www.myspace.com/desolationwilderness) sounds pretty much like their name suggests: rich layers of vaguely-cheery melody stretched out to give it an earthy, ambient feel. Throw in some beachy underpinnings and you basically have the Beach Boys meets the Stone Roses. They’ll be playing a gig at the Green Bean this Saturday with local folkster Reed Benjamin (www.myspace.com/reedbenjamin) in an evening presented by the fine musical auteurs at UNCG’s home station, WUAG. For those interested in fine amateur travel photography, the guys in Desolation Wilderness have a pretty neat blog that chronicles the details of their current tour to support their second album New Universe. Check it out at desolation-wilderness. blogspot.com. The show starts at 8 p.m. and as is the accepted decorum for Green Bean shows, you should provide a donation of about five dollars at the door.