Friday, October 1, 2010

2010 Bele Chere Festival Photos - Downtown Asheville, NC

Bele Chere Festival is a free street festival held each summer in the city of Asheville, North Carolina.  With 32 years under it's belt, Bele Chere Festival has grown to become the largest and most rockin free street festival in the southeast.
(Click photos for large view)
Bele Chere Festival attracts hundreds of thousands of people each summer to see the music and art attractions that comprise most of downtown.  The city blocked vehicle traffic for the weekend to make way for hundreds of food and vending booths and four stages set up in the city streets.

More Bele Chere Festival photos and view the Bele Chere Festival slide show at Asheville event photography company, Performance Impressions. 

Bele Chere Festival has a active committee permitting only the finest in craft and vendors.  One of Asheville's most popular bands, Toubab Krewe, a gifted group of Afropop musicians, drew one of the biggest crowds in the street that Asheville has ever seen in front of the Battery Park Stage on Saturday evening.

People filled the street and sidewalks wall-to-wall all the way up the street.  The parking garage besides the stage had people lining the edges on all levels catching an aerial view of the performance.  Justin Perkins of Toubab Krewe can wail on native African instruments the kora and the kamelengoni as well as the electric guitar.  The sunset performance summed up why many live in the Asheville area and the reason Bele Chere Festival brings up to 350,000 people to the festive mountain city each recent summer.

Also performing on Saturday evening at Bele Chere was Grace Potter and The Nocturnals.  There was also a huge crowd gathered for Grace Potter's performance.  The talented, sexy and statuesque musician and vocalist rocked past the sunset alternating between guitar, her piano and her Hammond B3 organ.

The long awaited new city park brought comfort from the heat with the amusing Splasheville water fountain.  Kids of all ages beat the midday swelter in the water fountain which consists of many water jets flush mounted in the ground.  Columns of water shot off in a seemingly random patterns, leaving trails of cool water for the kids to chase.

Another one of Asheville's most talented performers is Laura Reed.  Formally with Laura Reed and Deep Pocket, Laura Reed has gone on to perform with various musical projects including recent collaborations with Yonrico Scott and also Kofi Burbridge.  Laura Reed has the energy and passion of Janis Joplin mixed with the spirit of Bob Marley; seeing her perform is always a treat and an uplifting experience.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

LCD Soundsystem Philadelphia 2010

LCD Soundsystem at The Naval Yard Terminal, Philadelphia, PA. September 24, 2010.


For all intents and purposes, LCD Soundsystem (the brainchild of writer / composer / producer / lead singer James Murphy) should be one of those bands that permanently reside in the exclusive realm of the alt. music ghetto, playing small celeb-packed clubs while garnering love letters from the media cognoscenti who fancy themselves the gatekeepers of all that is worth listening to. The music is a pastiche of simple electronic beats married with introspective, melancholia drenched witticisms decrying the state of the world in Mr. Murphy's distinctive, scream-laden vocal stylings. Tracks from the group's new album "This Is Happening" and from their previous 2 full-length albums can stretch into the 8-10 minute run times, leaving the listener exhausted yet oddly exhilarated at the same time. In other words, this shit isn't simple!

Yet at Friday night's show at the Philadelphia Naval Yard celebrating the 10th anniversary of the "Making Time" party event, Mr. Murphy and all his friends (bandmates Pat Mahoney, Phil Mossman, Tyler Pope, Nancy Whang, and assorted others) laid to rest any sort of argument that electronic-based music is virtually impossible to replicate in a concert setting. Taking the stage after a rather jarring opening set from electro-noise rockers Sleigh Bells, LCD completely owned the place, opening with "Dance Yourself Clean", easily one of the best songs released this past year. Blasting through tracks from the new album as well as select favorites from past releases such as "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House" and "Get Innocuous", the soldout, glowstick-laden crowd went narcotic-induced apeshit while I retreated to the relative safety of the back of the venue to better observe the general nuttiness of it all. Having seen the band play before, I understand the power of this group live. Incorporating a full band that has an amazing rhythm section combined with a frontman who knows how to nuance his shrill vocals into crescendo induced agita packs a mighty fine wallop in a live setting. It might not be pretty. But it damn sure is powerful!

There have been hints from Mr. Murphy that this may be his last album under the LCD moniker, retreating into relative obscurity to think it all up again after this tour closes out in Japan at the end of the year. Considering the passion this group's fans have combined with their growing popularity (they are headlining the Hollywood Bowl later this year), I sincerely hope more people have a chance to see this extraordinary band live before the DFA label head calls it quits. Unfortunately if that is not to be the case, then indeed, to paraphrase one of the groups songs, I might be losing my edge but I was there!

Dance Yourself Clean
Drunk Girls
Get Innocuous
Yr City's A Sucker
Daft Punk
I Can Change
All My Friends
You Wanted A Hit

Someone Great
Losing My Edge

Gourds in Philadelphia 2010

The Gourds performing at the North Star Bar in Philadelphia, PA on September 20, 2010.
Photography by Joe Ryan/

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More