Ramseur Records Night at Looking Glass features Bombadil, Paleface

  • Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 7:43 p.m.

Were you one of the lucky ones who saw the Avett Brothers way back when in Salisbury? Formerly with Ramseur Records, the Concord band now packs coliseums, so it's unlikely that you'll see them again in Salisbury - though we can hope.
But don't despair. You can see two other great Ramseur Records acts -Paleface and Bombadil - Dec. 1 at the Looking Glass Artists Center. Imagine yourself, four or five years from now saying, like a true hipster, "Yeah, I saw Paleface and Bombadil at this little black box theatre in Salisbury. You know, before they were famous."
Actually, in North Carolina music circles, these two acts are well-known and respected. Both Bombadil and Paleface have faced some challenges that have altered the arc of their career trajectories, but they've survived and are still doing what they love.
I'm familiar with both these bands, and I'm convinced each is deserving of a larger audience than it has. I'd love to be able to grab everybody I know and say, "Please take that five-dollar bill out of your wallet and buy a ticket for this show."
I'll admit, I am invested in whether or not people go to shows like this when they come to Salisbury.
I'm invested because like a number of other people I know, I'd love to see Salisbury become a place where great bands that don't yet have big name recognition can come and find an enthusiastic audience that is interested in them as something more than background noise for drinking. Because the more that happens, the more bands will want to travel here and the more entertainment options our town will have. In recent years, at places like Looking Glass Artists Center and The Blue Vine, Salisbury has played host to acts like Holy Ghost Tent Revival and Pokey LaFarge that have since probably gotten too popular to play small gigs in Salisbury.
Bands may view playing to a tiny crowd in Salisbury as simply paying their dues. But we here in Rowan County should see such visits as a gift, and take advantage when we can.
We should seize the day and catch the band.
It still amazes me that there are people who will pay a lot of money and drive a lot of miles to see Rod Stewart or Billy Joel and not be open to driving down the street and paying the price of a cup of (good) coffee to discover something new.
Why is that?
What's the worst that can happen? A group isn't your cup of chai and you're out a few bucks. The best that can happen? You feel blessed to hear incredible original music, played live, and maybe get a chance to meet the artist.
That's how I felt when I saw Paleface a few months ago during a performance in Spencer.
Paleface the guy - the driving force behind a duo of the same name that has recently been performing as a trio - proved to be remarkably charismatic, even in front of a small audience at a small venue.
Paleface the man (nobody seems to have any idea what his real name is) has been making music since the 1990s, when he was discovered by the legendary Danny Fields (who managed the Ramones) at an NYC open mic. He had early success, signed in 1991 by Polydor Records. Unfortunately, some destructive habits led to liver failure and almost killed him. He pulled it back together, and in 2007, with the encouragement of his friends the Avett Brothers, he moved from New York City to Concord with his drummer girlfriend Mo Samalot (an architect before she taught herself to play drums). They began touring as a indie folk duo.
Their performance in Spencer - somewhat of a house concert - was a great mix of moods. They played the ebullient and infectious "The Show is on the Road," an unadulterated celebration of the touring life from their 2009 Ramseur Records debut. It's the kind of song that will quickly imprint in that part of your brain whose sole purpose is to lay down catchy music for you to randomly hum for the rest of your life.
They also played the beautifully contemplative "Traveling from North Carolina" and the hilarious "Put Down the Styrofoam," which pokes fun at our fast food fixations.
Paleface is currently performing in support of their Ramseur Records album "One Big Party."
Avett Brothers fans may know Paleface for his collaborations with them - he's performed on three of their albums, including the concert favorite "Go to Sleep" from "Emotionalism."
Paleface's Salisbury performance wraps up an exhibit of his music-themed paintings at the Looking Glass Artist Center.
The band Bombadil will also be playing for Ramseur Records night at Looking Glass.
Formed in Durham in 2005, Bombadil is made up of four cerebral young men sometimes described as "genteel rock nerds" who make intelligent and catchy folk/pop music together. To date they've released an EP and three LPs: A Buzz, A Buzz (2008), "Tarpits and Canyonlands" (2009) and "All That the Rain Promises (2011).
I have not seen them perform yet, but I have listened to their CDs and can't wait to see them live.
In 2006, when they opened for the Avett Brothers they impressed Dolph Ramseur and joined the Ramseur Records label.
They hit the ground running and were soon playing festivals like Bonnaroo, Shakori Hills and FloydFest. They were derailed a bit when they were forced to go on a two-year hiatus in 2009 when bass player Daniel Michalak was plagued by a debilitating nerve injury. Bombadil has only recently started playing shows again. A new album, "Metrics of Affection," will come out in February or March of 2013.
Although the Bombi boys fit into the neo-folk movement, they are memorable for their quirky uniqueness. And while "genteel" does accurately describe them, these guys can also rock. You should check out their video on Youtube for the song "So Many Ways to Die" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_U4ybU1KVcQ), which features all kinds of cool vintage clips of people doing dangerous but funny things.
Fun fact: Bombadil memberStuart Robinson lived in a Salisbury basement for a while.
While lots of people are used to hearing their music in a noisy bar, some people, like me, will prefer a venue like Looking Glass with fewer distractions, where the music is the focus.
Saturday's show is sponsored by Cheerwine, whose connection to the Ramseur label started with a partnership with the Avett Brothers.Bombadil and Paleface will be at the Looking Glass Artists Center, 405 N. Lee St., Saturday, Dec. 1.Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; the music will start at 8 p.m. with Eric and the DiMarzios. Concessions, including Cheerwine, will be available. Tickets are $5 in advance $7 at the door.
Tickets are now on sale in Salisbury at Tastebuds Coffee and Tea at 106 N. Main St., Looking Glass Artists Center, 405 N. Lee St., Music N' More at 706 Church St. N in Concord.

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