upcoming shows you should check out
THE REVENGE OF SMILEFEST
In a world where overzealous cops are always harshing your buzz, man, and you will get tazed, bro, one fearless music festival is the final hope of the unwashed masses in desperate need of a groove. SmileFest returns after it inexplicably fell into hiatus after the 2006 event, but those who were there the last time around probably have at least some idea why. Actual smiles were in short supply, as an unwelcoming police presence made life miserable for many. FrownFest, it has since been dubbed, saw Transylvania County authorities reaping the cash cow of wholesale, warrantless search-and-seizures, sting operations and flipping tents at the slightest hint of ganja smoke. Shakedown Street didn’t have that charming red-light feel to it; heads were really getting shaken down. Now that it’s back this weekend, things are just a little different. It’s now taking place in the Jomeoke Campground in Pinnacle, at the base of Pilot Mountain, but the fest is now billed as a private event with an invitation required to buy tickets. As of press time, the cutoff to request an invitation has elapsed. After the deadline was extended a couple of times, you kind of get the feeling that you can still e-mail ‘firstname.lastname@example.org‘ and get access. The headliners, however, look markedly similar to those in 2006. Michael Franti & Spearhead head up a bill that includes Keller Williams, Acoustic Syndicate, Cornmeal, MaGraw Gap, the Yonrico Scott band with guest Laura Reed and Greensboro’s own David Via, who will head up the campfire jams. Fitting right into the festival’s reunion theme, Barefoot Manner makes their return to performing after four years. The act to see this year, however, is the amazing Jeff Coffin Mut’et, also known as the man behind the saxophone in the Flecktones as well as the Dave Matthews Band since the death of LeRoi Moore. His band features the great Kofi Burbridge and Brevard native Jeff Sipe, who’s made his name as the drummer for Leftover Salmon and Aquarium Rescue Unit. SmileFest kicks off Friday afternoon in Pinnacle and runs through Sunday morning. Tickets are $105 if you can still snag one.
SUPREMES NO. 2 TAKES CENTER STAGE AT STEVENS CENTER
Even in the pay-for-play era of Motown soul, one gets the feeling that the Supremes string of 12 No. 1 hits in the ’60s were no fluke. “You Keep Me Hanging On,” “Love is Here and Now You’re Gone” and “You Can’t Hurry Love” were solid gold, even if Berry Gordy was running around paying station owners to play them. Most dubious about them, however, are the songwriting credits for most of their highest-charting songs, however. Gordy’s intentions to keep Diana Ross as the face of the Supremes for extra-musical reasons cast a little bit off doubt on her role as chief songwriter of the group, particularly in an era when studios kept teams of writers on their payrolls. Most still remember Diana Ross as the Supreme, but Mary Wilson had just as much — if not more — talent than the sultry Ross, and anyone who’s seen Dreamgirls would realize. You can see for yourself this Saturday at the Stevens Center in Winston-Salem, as Wilson gives an intimate performance as a part of the “Something for Everyone Series.” Tickets for the event are $38 and $42, with an optional dinner served from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. for $23. Wilson will perform at 8 p.m.
HIGH POINT THEATRE WRAPS UP ITS SEASON ON A BLUE NOTE
If it’s smooth and soulful you’re looking for this weekend, you’re covered between Mary Wilson and Philly jazz-fusionists Pieces of a Dream at the High Point Theatre. Jazz-fusion is what they’re billed as, but the truth is that there’s a good chance you might need to put the straw directly into the coffee pot for this one. At least if their inclusion into the album The Weather Channel Presents: Best of Smooth Jazz gives any indication. They have been known to funk out (see their cover of WHAM!’s “Careless Whisper”), so this should be a great way for the High Point Theatre to wrap up their performance season regardless. Doors open at 8 p.m. and tickets are $25 orchestra and $20 balcony, available through www.highpointtheatre.com or at the box office.