Rockabilly Riot at Asheville Music Hall

I was overjoyed to find out about the rare self-proclaimed rockabilly show at The Asheville Music Hall.  The show featured three bands, dipping into most of the rockabilly sub-genres: psychobilly, hellbilly, American roots, country blues, and southern gothic. This was also quite a treat since most concerts are sub-genre specific.  I thought this was a great tactic for bringing in a more diverse group of people.

The crowds at Asheville shows can be hit or miss, and I’ve never figured out why this happens.  We were very hopeful for a packed crowd because of the distance these bands traveled to play this event.  The buzz around town about ticket sells were quite discouraging though.

Since Stella’s/ Stella Blue moved out of the space several years ago I had only been back to the location once.  Asheville Music Hall now focuses more on Jam and Funk bands, whereas Stella’s focused more on Metal, Punk, and Alternative. I can appreciate the music they feature now, I just can’t tolerate the audience that comes along with it.  Trust me, I’m speaking from experience!

We ran into Stacey from Asheville’s own Bootleggers Car Club, who was helping to promote the event.  The Bootleggers are the hosts for my favorite yearly Asheville event, The Hellbilly Hootenanny!  They also help promote/encourage any other Rockabilly/Vintage Lifestyle happenings in the area.

Because of my hiatus from The Asheville Music Hall I had no idea that there was a restaurant, Mojo Kitchen, in the lower level.  Girlfriends in tow, we arrived early to get some food and drinks in before the party started.  Tracy and I split nachos (big surprise) and Crystal had plantain tacos.  The food was to die for!  Both entrees came with the “signature mojo” on it, which includes: pineapple black bean salsa, citrus-cumin slaw, mango sauce and zesty ranch. Whoa! Definitely going back, everything that came out of the kitchen looked fantastic!  The only downside was that there wasn’t much seating, this was due to rude customers sitting one person at a four top though, not the restaurant’s fault.

The Delta Bombers

I had never heard anything by the Delta Bombers before and wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  I heard that they hailed from Las Vegas, home of the world-famous rockabilly weekender Viva Las Vegas.  So I had pictured some very traditional rockabilly styled cats possibly wearing some western wear, a la Bloodshot Bill.  Boy was I wrong!

On looks alone they could have doubled for a biker gang, which I found rather refreshing.  The sound of The Delta Bombers really blew me away! Their music was raw, obviously delta blues inspired and had some guitar riffs in there that really spoke to my southern roots.  I thought they were a perfect intro band, it seemed necessary to hear more good music from that point on.  I am a hard gal to keep awake, so I’m always stoked to hear a fun and talented opening band.

Each song seemed to dig a little deeper into a different genre of music, which was another thing that really kept my interest in their set. One song might have some really strong blues influence, while the next would be classic rockabilly or country.  The vocalist seamlessly growled and crooned across genres with ease.  They closed with a cover of the Howlin’ Wolf classic Smokestack Lightening! What a treat, I went nuts! I officially became: the first lady dancing alone.


The Brains

I had full intentions of writing about The Brains’ set, but I honestly don’t feel like I can.  It has absolutely nothing to do with their musical ability or their performance.  From what I could tell they did a great job.  They actually traveled from Montreal, so I feel really bad about the lack of attention I paid them.  We did walk in on the bassist doing his hair in the women’s bathroom if that counts for anything. *shrugs*

I love people watching! I’m a very introspective person and I love studying all the crazy things we do as humans.  Needless to say, when an inebriated older man on hallucinogenic drugs wound up in front of me, that was my only focus for an hour.  It made me feel like I had taken something!  Just the way this guy was wobbling and jerking…he looked like he was speaking in tongues!  I could go on about it all day really, but that’s not why we’re here.

For those of you who do want to check out this great psychobilly band you can visit their website at


JD Wilkes & Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers

I have now lost count of the number of times I’ve seen Col. JD Wilkes perform.  Personally, I can watch a top-notch performer even if their music style isn’t my favorite.  I can always appreciate a talented musician, but it is rare to find someone who also has the rare charisma to be an excellent frontman.  JD Wilkes is one of those people.  He has the ability to hypnotize his audience with an improvised comedic performance and unruly “chicken house rock” (as I’ve heard it called). JD Wilkes & Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers seem possessed by their own music at times. Are they in control of the music, or are we all in some bizarre southern gothic voodoo ritual? Regardless of the answer, I love the experience while it lasts!

By the time all was said and done I think the turn out for the show exceeded everyone’s expectations.  We saw friends who had driven in from out-of-town: Hickory, Winston, and Greenville SC.  I hope that the packed house will encourage Asheville Music Hall to host similar shows in the future.  Even if they don’t, I will definitely be going back to the Mojo Kitchen!

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