September 24, 2014
A Music Venue That Delivers, Asheville’s Orange Peel
Posted by: Doniel Winter
Asheville has a storied music tradition and a vibrant music scene, and over the years I’ve been surprised by how many great national and internationally recognized acts make Asheville a stop-over on tours. The Orange Peel Social Aid and Pleasure Club (no one calls it that, Orange Peel is sufficient) has hosted many of them, among them Bob Dylan, Smashing Pumpkins, Beastie Boys, Black Keys, Ice Cube, Citizen Cope and Skrillex.
Over the years I’ve seen everything from a Halloween burlesque show to Irish troubadour Damian Rice at the Orange Peel. This summer I had the ultimate pleasure, for a second time, of watching Neko Case belt out her classics including two of my favorites “Margaret vs Pauline” and “Maybe Sparrow”. The show, like last time, had to have been sold out.
It’s a wonderful venue and an ideal size (accommodating about a thousand people) if you like a small venue that feels big. The room can feel a bit cavernous at times, which doesn’t always lend itself to great sound if the audience is small and the music is loud. It definitely depends on where you are standing. For Neko Case we stood on the far right side, close to the stage, because it was a bit roomier and captured a breeze from a door that was open to the outside – a welcome relief during the summer. One thing you can count on, the Orange Peel gets hot in the summer. But a sweet spot opened up beneath a giant fan in the center of the room that stirs the air, and we’re talking a monstrous fan.
The members only bar downstairs is a nice respite from the crowd, and the bartender served me a delicious (and generous) Negroni, with those great robust ice cubes that look like perfect over-sized dice. The overall vibe is resoundingly relaxed and positive. The bathrooms at the venue are big and clean and never too crowded, which is a big plus. Parking is available in the newish parking structure a few doors down on Biltmore Avenue.
Next door to Orange Peel is the impressive Wicked Weed Brewing, and I made a note to myself that next time I come to Orange Peel, I will grab a beer or appetizer at this place and enjoy the outdoor fire-pits! Maybe October 8th, 2014, when Joseph Arthur – one of my favorites — opens for the Afghan Whigs.
If you are staying with us at Asia Bed and Breakfast Spa, The Orange Peel is just a 5 minute drive or a nice 15 minute walk to the far side of downtown Asheville.