[road to sxsw] Day 3, Friday 3.13, Quilt in Asheville, NC


So far on this tour, every space we’ve visited has been a house. Sunday, we encountered a typical roadblock for these sorts of DIY environments, but it didn’t ruin our experience in North Carolina.

Over the eight-hour drive from Fredericksburg to Asheville, all of the QUILT-curated mixtapes continued to ‘kill it.’ One of my favorite things that they introduced me to is Mississippi Records. After crossing the state border from Virginia to North Carolina, we stopped on the side of the road, and stumbled upon the remains of a burned down house, which was pretty strange and sad, oddly juxtaposed to how nice it was to feel a blanket of southern warmth on our skin.

Around 3 pm, Shane’s friend in Asheville texted saying the venue screwed them over and canceled the show, but it could easily move to a house instead, thus eliminating Quilt's only bar show on this trek to SXSW. We drove straight to the new location – a forest green house with yellow borders, and a big lawn of punks sitting in circles, grilling, and hanging with their pit bulls. As we walked to a corner store to buy some beers, we passed huge lawns, pastel houses with big porches, and a handful of elaborate Victorian-style Inns. This is exactly what I expected Asheville to look like. We all agreed.

Back at “The Pearson House” – a staple in Asheville’s DIY show scene – a circle of kids played banjo, spoons, and washtub bass. One girl gave free haircuts, which apparently followed free tattoos earlier. In a corner of the lawn, we sat down with our cooler and backpacks and set up shop, laying out all of Quilt’s tapes, 7-inches, and hand-sewn quilted t-shirts.

Inside, Reptar from Athens, GA were playing – another of my many “the world is so small” coincidences on this tour. I once interviewed their singer for an article about college radio, but had never met them before. They were also en route to SXSW.

During their power-pop set – which had a packed living room of kids bopping and jumping and one even crowd-surfing – the cops showed up and stopped the show. (It doesn’t just happen in Allston, y’all.) A girl named Faith, who plays in Neopolitan Children, offered to move the show to her garage. The night before, Sore Eros had mentioned they’d be in Asheville the next night with an open slot on their bar show. After some scrambling and phone calls, Quilt decided to play both.

The garage show was small, but insanely awesome. Quilt sounded great on the tour’s first night in Philly, but while watching their set in Asheville, I realized the truth in what people say about tours making bands sound tighter. Even just on the third night, the songs seemed to be growing stronger and tighter and more hypnotic. This was the smallest crowd yet – only 14 or 15 people – but everyone seemed ecstatic, and reacted with an unmatched energy, dancing and insisting on an “encore.” Some kids were there all the way from Greensboro (four hours away) because Matt Northrup was playing after Quilt. We also met a bunch of kids who work for WUAG, which was fun. Northrup played his seated set solo – creating layered jams and solos with loopers and various pedals. I picked up his tape afterwards, which you can hear here.

After packing up the van, we headed to a bar a few minutes away. It was pretty empty, but a crowd started to filter in later, after the Sharon Jones show next door ended. Quilt played a quicker, punkier set than usual. We watched Sore Eros play and then called it a night. It was a lot of running around, but an awesome snapshot of Asheville nonetheless.

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