May 17 - Big Sam's Funky Nation with Empire Strikes Brass
Big Sam’s Funky Nation is a driving force of urban funk straight out of New Orleans. Between the band’s solos and Big Sam’s signature dance moves and trombone rifts, the energy level is sky high. This stellar group of world-class musicians masterfully combines a rock sensibility with improv-style jazz and a horn-heavy sound. Big Sam has shared the stage with Widespread Panic, Elvis Costello, U2 and Green Day. bigsamsfunkynation.com
Opener: From right here in Asheville, Empire Strikes Brass has the force. With their 10-piece stage band and second line parade, they're the most versatile band in the land. Artists include members from Squirrel Nut Zippers, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and Big Ol’ Nasty Getdown. empirestrikesbrass.com
June 21 - Shonna Tucker & Eye Candy
Shonna Tucker & Eye Candy hail from Athens, Ga. Shonna, formerly of the Drive-By Truckers, and her new band epitomize the phrase “a little bit country, a little bit rock n’ roll,” with a healthy dose of soul and twang. The band showcased their Southern soul sound to great response at this year’s South by Southwest Festival. shonnatucker.net
July 19 - Asheville All-Stars with Pleasure Chest
Asheville All-Stars brings together many of the musicians that make up Asheville’s eclectic music scene. With Josh Blake, Woody Wood, Kellin Watson, Caitlin Krisko, Adam Strange, Jeff Knorr and many more, the All-Stars feature members of iconic Asheville bands like Granola Funk Express, The Broadcast, Secret B-Sides and more.
Opener: Pleasure Chest has quickly become a favorite Asheville band. Their raucous mix of blues and gritty soul with a dash of rockabilly makes for a not-to-be-missed live show. reverbnation.com/pleasurechest
August 16 - The Revivalists with Lyric
The Revivalists are the next breakout band from the music capital of New Orleans. The group’s blend of soulful, syncopated rock and earnest songwriting comes to life through a meticulously crafted and ever-evolving live performance. In 2011, they were named Best Emerging Artist at Gambit Magazine’s Big Easy Awards, and were nominated for Best Rock Act in 2012. therevivalists.com
Opener: Lyric started out as street musicians filling downtown with their unique mix of rock, funk and soul. Having played Bele Chere, Lexington Avenue Arts & Fun Fest and Goombay, Lyric has quickly become a festival favorite and has opened for Grammy winner Liz White. reverbnation.com/lyricfans
September 20 - Truth & Salvage Co. and The Blue Rags
Truth & Salvage Co.’s music sits comfortably between two musical genres, country and rock. Their live show is highly energetic and stacked with four-part harmonies, hot and tight. The singers effortlessly trade the role of “lead” throughout the set, keeping the show fresh and the listener dying to hear what’s next. The band has shared the stage with The Levon Helm Band, The Avett Brothers, Gov’t Mule and Lynryd Skynryd to name a few. truthandsalvageco.com
The Blue Rags reunite to bring their volatile blend of ragtime, rockabilly, blues, jazz, bluegrass, honky tonk and rock back to the Downtown After 5 stage. Frenetic live shows mixed with top-notch musicianship endeared the band first to Asheville and then to the entire nation. subpop.com/artists/the_blue_rags
Downtown After 5 celebrates its 25th season of free summer concerts in Downtown Asheville and is a production of the Asheville Downtown Association.