The Best Music Venues in Asheville—A Local’s Perspective
Back when I was writing about the Best Things to do in West Asheville, I mentioned the Isis Music Hall. This got me thinking that out of all the fine and fancy things to do in Asheville, a lot people must come here for the music scene. What’s more, I realized I haven’t yet fully addressed this key component of Ashevillean culture.
Now when I say, “Best Music Venues in Asheville,” you got to remember that Asheville’s got a heck of a lot of place to catch live music, and I wouldn’t call any of them bad. Truthfully, I’d just like to take a moment to go over some of the more vibrant venues that I don’t believe I’ve mentioned before and that you, as a savvy visitor, ought to know of. So, without further ado, here’s five of the best music venues in Asheville.
1: The Orange Peel Social Aid & Pleasure Club
In my hometown, the Orange Peel is practically synonymous with good live music. Its one of the largest venues in all of Asheville, lying near the famous South Slope brewing district. They bear a long history as a soul-club, discotheque, and briefly, an auto-parts warehouse. Since then, the Orange Peel’s gone on to win multiple awards and host such national names as Bob Dylan, Post Malone, and the Beastie Boys.
All that is to say that the Orange Peel is the big time, and if you’re new to the Asheville music scene, you’ll probably find yourself catching your first show or two right here. For added entertainment value, their downstairs club, PULP, hosts rotating displays of local art, a full bar, and solo acoustic performances on nights when the upstairs stage lies quiet.
If you visit and find yourself falling in love with this place, note that you can rent them for receptions, parties, and the like.
Upcoming Performances: As of your reading of this article, you may find these events have already come and gone. Still, I’d like to mention them as a taste of what each music venue has to offer. The Orange Peel’s current line up includes Woody Platt & Graham Sharp of the Steep Canyon Rangers, the Company Stores (Folk-Funk), and PYLETRIBE (Southern Rock)
Now I understand that headline concerts may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and certainly even the hardest-core music fan prefers a more low-key venue from time to time. For that reason I’d like to suggest Jack of the Wood, a local Irish pub, lying at the end of downtown’s Patton Avenue.
Come around on a Thursday, grab some fish and chips or shepherd’s pie, pair it with a local draft brew, and listen to Western North Carolina’s signature Bluegrass, live. If you’re too wrapped up on the weekdays, they also play Bluegrass on what they call their “Sunday Brunch,” although it is held in the afternoon, making it—in my opinion—more of a Linner.
Upcoming Performances: The Sons of Ralph (Bluegrass) and the Resonant Rogues (Folk).
Let’s dial things up again. Do you want to know why they say: “Keep Asheville Weird?” Just visit West Asheville’s Odditorium and you’ll find out for sure.
This self-described “neighborhood dive bar” screams with eccentric style, bedecked in all manner of inexplicable curios, and their stage hosts some of the most avant-garde live acts that you can catch anywhere in Asheville. Throw in community flea markets, poetry nights, trivia nights, and all other manner of happenings, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for not only one of the best music venues in Asheville but the kind of place you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere else.
Upcoming Performances: The Weirdo Rippers (Post-Punk), playing every Friday until the end of December.
Back on the other side of the French Broad, amidst the colorful River Arts District, Asheville Guitar Bar takes a specialist approach to live music.
Just as the name suggests, guitar takes center stage here, with a side of local beer and import wine. The venue is intimate and smoothly decorated, making it perfect for going out with friends, dates, and family; people you’d like to have a laid-back conversation with.
Their performers most often come from the ranks of gypsy jazz, classic guitar, Blues, Rock, and Swing. If you like the sound of any of that, even if you aren’t all too familiar with genre, Asheville Guitar Bar is the music venue in Asheville for you.
Upcoming Performances: Mr. Jimmy’s Big City Blues Jam, featuring “Chicago” Don Pasqualani,
Just up the road from Asheville Guitar Bar, bearing close to the banks of the French Broad River, this former scrap yard’s been converted into a sprawling outdoor music venue and eatery. As the weather here takes a turn for the warmer, I can already feel that cool fresh air, punctuated by Salvages Station’s formidable sound-system.
What’s more, the Salvage Station is no mere dabbler in the realm of vittles, but indeed a full-fledged soul-food restaurant in its own right. I’m talking gumbo, I’m talking hog jowl chicharrones and fried pork chomp sandwiches. That’s just this week’s menu, folks.
If you want to simultaneously enjoy some splendid weather as well as one of the best music venues in Asheville, then look no further than the Salvage Station. Please note however, that their musical events are most all for those aged twenty-one and older, assumedly on account of the plentiful libations.
Upcoming Performances: Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers (Americana), Eric Gales (Blues/Rock), and the Traver’s Brothership (Soul/Funk).
The Orange Peel
101 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Jack of the Wood
95 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
1045 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806
Asheville Guitar Bar
122 Riverside Dr, Asheville, NC 28801
468 Riverside Dr, Asheville, NC 28801