Tag Archives: North Carolina

The New Mastersounds December 17th 2016 Orange Peel

downtown Asheville copyright The AtlanticBack in November I planned on seeing WSP in Asheville but that fell through.  As I was looking for my next travel adventure I saw the The New Mastersounds were playing the Orange Peel as their tour closer in Asheville and I was in.  As I started doing my research on the town I was getting more excited.

For years I have been a fan of The New Mastersounds and their particular brand of funk.  Many years ago I saw them at the 8×10 and later that same year at the State Theatre.  At both shows I was blown away by the rhythm and soul of the band.  As soon as they started playing I just couldn’t help but get up and dance, it was infections.  The show at the Orange Peel was similar but also a lot different.  It had been almost 8 years since I last saw them and the band has definitely evolved.  I have kept up with their new albums over the years and for the most part they are all darn good.

The back entrance to Bhramari. Nice place with some good beer. Food looked good but I didn’t eat here.

Tonight’s show was a co-headline with Turkuaz who opened the show that night.  I have heard a few of their songs on Jam On and they played this years Lockn’ Festival which I caught most of and it was pretty good.  Not exactly my thing but the crowd was eating it up.  Throughout The New Mastersounds set various members of Turkuaz sat in to lend a hand.  They had vocalists and in particular they had members from the horn section laying down the beats.  What truly blew me away was that Alan Evans from Soulive was the drummer all night.  Not exactly sure what happened to the original drummer or if Alan was covering all tour but it was awesome to see him again.

This was not just a trip to see The New Mastersounds but also to see what Asheville had to offer.  I have heard this town is great for hippies and is very open and welcoming.  North Carolina I don’t really think of as progressive but Asheville is certainly leaps and bounds ahead of the most of the state.  The whole time I was there I felt very at home and at ease.  This is certainly a town where I fit in.  One thing in particular that struck me was the number of breweries.  I swear there must be a law but there seemed to be a brewery on every block, sometimes two.  There are so many some are tucked down dead end allies.

It was an interesting show that night. This was during the encore the band snapped a photo with the crowd in the background.

I had already scoped out a few places to drink before coming down.  When I checked in at the hotel they wanted to hand me a guide but I told her I was all prepared.  I even talked beer with a very sweet old lady at a craft shop who was selling me on going to the Asheville Brewing Company for beer and pizza.  Doing my research I certainly wanted to hit up the Funkatorium which specializes in sour/wild ales.  I have been a fan of this style for many years so when I found they had 20+ beers on tap of nothing but sour I was excited.  The brewery is run by Wicked Weed Brewing which coincidentally has their main brewery right next to the Orange Peel which was awesome in it own right.

After arriving to Asheville I walked around the city for a while and stopped by Bhramari Brewing Company as my first brewery.  Like many of the breweries they have a great outdoor patio with ample seating on the inside.  Here I sat down for a glass of Street Busker and Molly’s Lips.  Both of which I thought were excellent.  I kinda screwed myself by going directly to the bar to get my first drink so the servers avoided me like the plaque.  So I skipped this place to order food and headed to find something to eat.

I stumbled across The Blackbird and their burger which was amazing.  After reading the description I was excited to try it but all I could find on their menu was wine and this was a beer trip.  I should have looked at the bar first but when I finally did I noticed the beer taps.  The food was great, service excellent and the atmosphere was swanky which was a change of pace for me.  After finishing my meal it was off to Wicked Weed for a quick beer before the show.  I was surprised at how busy the place was.  There were several bouncers outside and when I first passed by they had a line waiting to get into the place.  You would think it was a night club but they just serve beer.  The top level was busy as shit so I went down to the tap room and got my beer there, hanging outside while I people watched and enjoyed my Pillow Talker.  She was so good to me that night.

Ah! One of the samples after our tour. Very informative and great beer.

The next morning I did my normal thing of finding a local coffee shop and sitting down to write some letters to friends and family about my adventure.  High Five a few blocks from the hotel was the perfect spot to collect my thoughts and kill some time before the Funkatorium opened a noon.  I got the Cubano which all I really got from the barista was it had a crap ton of espresso.  Still with some time to kill I walked around downtown in the light rain visiting several art shops and a chocolatier I found.

Finally noon came and the Funkatorium was open.  They use a special yeast to give the beer a sour flavor and it requires some aging in wooden barrels to get the flavors right.  Generally 12 to 18 months of aging and as a bonus when bottle you can age them for several more years.  Because of aging there is a significant investment in time and money when making sour beers.  I believe this is one reason it hasn’t yet taken off in the country but the Funkatorium had some foresight and started their operations years ago to get ahead of the craze.

A better picture of their barrel room. Just an amazing amount of beer here.

For me this place was a mecca.  I booked a brewery tour for 1pm but arrived early to get one drink in before we got down to serious business.  I have been on brewery tours before but this was the first one dedicated to the wild ale craft.  I was simply blown away by our guide Jessie and his knowledge of the process.  Wild ales are also know as lambics but just like champagne, they can only come from a certain area in Belgium to be called lambic.  Produced in any other area they are simple sour or wild ales.  When you walk into the back of the warehouse you will be shocked at the number of barrels they have aging beer.  The warehouse is stacked floor to ceiling with barrels of all types.  They have grown so much they are working on building a dedicated brewing facility for distribution but the Funkatorium will remain open for small batch and experimental beers.

With the finally brewery under my belt it was time to head home.  The weather was still crappy but thankfully only rained a little on my way out of town, no ice this time.  Asheville was a great place to visit and catch a show.  The restaurants are great and if you are a beer lover, this is certainly the place.  I found out it is the water that makes the beer here so good.  No special processing or filtration required.  Just get a connection to the city water supply and start brewing.  I will definitely have to come back to do a tour of more local breweries.

The New Mastersounds
Saturday, December 17th 2016
The Orange Peel – Asheville, NC

Set 1 (starts at 11:05pm)
1. Monday Meters
2. Way Out West
3. MRG
4. In the Middle
5. Flimsy Lewis
6. Sitting On My Knees
7. Will it Go Round in Circles#
8. I am Somebody%
9. Turn this Thing Around^
10. Jan Jan&
11. Never Did I Ever@
12. Expressway!
13. One Note Brown
Set over at 12:24am

14. On the Border*
15.The Rules**
house lights at 12:44am

Alan Evans on drums all night.

# – with horns from Turkuaz and Josh on vocals
% – with Greg from Turkuaz
^ – with Sammi and horns
& – with Michelangelo Carubba on drums and Turkuaz horns
@ – with Shira and horns
! – with both Sammi and Shira and horns
* – with Turkuaz and with bass player & drummer from Turkuaz
** – with Turkuaz and with bass player & drummer from New Mastersounds


Phish PNC Music Pavilion July 25th 2014

Phish_Poster_Charlotte_2014_Justin_ SantoraFirst show of a five show summer tour run. It has been a long time since I have done a tour this long so I was excited to get back int the swing of things. As I got older with more responsibilities, long tours like this became more difficult. While I make more money, getting the time off is harder.

Friday was an earlier morning because of the 7:30 hour drive. It had been a long time since I have driven so far to see a show but I was excited. I bought some new albums so I had plenty of driving music to keep me company. Another nice thing about getting older and seeing shows, I stopped at the hotel and checked in before heading to the venue. No more sleeping in my car or a camp sites, Marriott all the way!

This was the only show I had a pavilion seat for.  Not that I would be doing much sitting but during the set breaks it is always nice to have a place to sit down.  Show started with Mike’s > Train > Weekapaug which was something different to open the show up. Tube > My Friend, My Friend was another good highlight. David Bowie also had a good jam in the middle.  Unfortunately Trey on Golgi had so many errors on guitar, making it almost impossible to listen to really.  The flow was just so off.  Not a very good way to end the set.

My actual seat
My actual seat

Like all summer shows the sun set behind the lawn before the second set started.  All the songs from the new album are great so starting off the set with 555 > Chalkdust > Fuego was a good combo.  Both the new songs were extended and Chalkdust fit right in between the two new additions.  Reba was a good one and I thought Character Zero was an ok way to end the set.  Unfortunately I thought Loving Cup was a poor choice to end the show but I guess it does have some good lyrics to end a show with.

Show ended at a very reasonable hour, 11pm.  With my hotel only 20 minutes away the hardest part was getting out of the venue which was not that bad.  It felt good to be on tour and have a nice comfy bed to crash in after the show.  One down, four more to go.

Set 1 (starts at 7:35pm)
01. Mike’s Song >
02. Back on the Train >
03. Weekapaug Groove
04. Wingsuit >
05. Possum
06. Tube >
07. My Friend, My Friend
08. Winterqueen
09. Beauty of a Broken Heart
10. David Bowie
11. Golgi Apparatus
8:59pm stop

Set 2 (stars at 9:29pm)
01. 555 >
02. Chalk Dust Torture[1] >
03. Fuego >
04. Twist >
05. When the Circus Comes >
06. Piper >
07. Rift
08. Waiting All Night >
09. Reba >
10. Character Zero
10:51pm stop

Encore (starts at 10:53)
11. Loving Cup
show over at 10:59pm

[1] Unfinished
Bowie contained a Beauty of a Broken Heart tease from Trey. Chalk Dust was unfinished. Twist, Reba, and Character Zero included Fuego teases. Character Zero also contained a Wingsuit tease from Trey.

Cuatro’s First Birthday

2013-03-09 16.38.43The newest member of the Clouston Clan had his first birthday this past Saturday.  He is technically the William Clouston IV but we have nicknamed him Cuatro.  I have always thought of first birthdays as a milestone and in many cultures they still are.  I remember my niece Ellie’s first birthday, that was a freaking huge production.  Her father is Filipino and they went all out on her first birthday.  She was the first grandchild and it was her first birthday, they had an entire smoked pig and close to 100 people showed up.

For Cuatro, a similar effort was made by the parents.  We got word to hold March 9th open months in advance.  Like I said, first birthdays are import so we made the 4 hour drive from our house to Pikeville just for the party.  We didn’t even plan to spend the night, just leave, enjoy the party, and head back the same day.  There were balloons everywhere, tons of tables and chairs for everyone to sit, games, a moon bounce and TONS of food.  I felt bad because we ate on the way down and I didn’t get to enjoy much of the cooking.  Thankfully Nancy and I stayed really late so I got my dinner meal in by eating leftovers.

Get it killer!
Get it killer!

It was great seeing them, we don’t meet up often because of the distance between us so when we do meet there is lots to talk about.  I think the last time we saw them was the family vacation in Nags Head which was awesome.  Today Greg, Maggie, Yolanda and the kids split early, around 5.  I think the kids where getting bored and they wanted to get home before it was too late.  Nancy and I stayed and shut the party down at 9pm.  Cuatro was in bed and the parents where obviously tired as well.  At the end of the party we got to really catch up with them and enjoy some peace and quite.

By 9:30 we said our good buys, grabbed our goodie bag, took a picture and I started driving back.  As soon as we got onto 95 Nancy was passed out and slept the entire trip home.  I was tired but managed to get us some safely by 1am.  I would normally stay up for a while but I went right to sleep when we got home.

Family Trip to Nags Head

Photo Gallery

Nancy and I have done family trips with my family plenty of time (Hilton Head, Orlando, Wisconsin) but rarely with Nancy’s family. We went one year to Panama with Maggie and Greg to visit their father which was awesome, but never more than that. Her family is rather spread out and it is hard to get everyone together in one place. Even when Nancy and I got married her mother, brother, and Saundra couldn’t make it.

When Greg was planning a family trip to Nags Head and invited everyone in the family to come along, I was excited. He and Maggie were picking up the tab for the house, they were going to get it whether anyone showed up or not. Everyone else just had to get there, so Nancy and I were in. Jaye was a little whissy washy but ended up coming. Will and Saundra got the time off and were bringing the baby. Even Yolanda was coming for the week. She would get to spend a lot of time with her new grandson.

Living along 95, Nancy and I know exactly how horrible the traffic can be on the weekends during the summer. Everyone is headed south to the beaches and the highway is smashed with traffic. I later talked to a guy who came from Pittsburgh and he said the backup at the HOV merge was 19 miles. Nancy and I avoided most of that living further south. The only serious traffic we ran across was the bridge into the Outer Banks. All in all, it was only 6 hours on the road for us.  Much less than the 10 hours for Greg and about the same for Maggie.

family photo
family photo

All week was packed with activities and some of them I didn’t even take advantage of. Several times I just stayed at the house in the afternoon and either read my book, smoked a cigar, or gasp, took a nap!  Several times I was reading outside, got sleepy and just decided to nap on the bench. Only on vacation do I have even the opportunity to take naps.  I love that I can do everything or nothing on vacation.

Nancy and I went parasailing with the kids one afternoon. Neither of us had been and the beach is a perfect time to try something like this. Greg found a coupon so it was a good deal. We went out onto the sound and climbed to 1200 feet. That high it was real peaceful with beautiful views of the barrier islands and sound.

Another group activity was fishing. Greg put together a fishing trip to the sound for all the guys. It was an early morning but a good trip and worth getting up before the sun. We went out to Wright Memorial Bridge for some fishing with Capt. Buzz on the Jawfly. We started with minnows and caught rock fish for the first 45 minutes or so. I didn’t catch the most fish that day, but I caught the biggest. Buzz literally put the pole in the water and as he was handing it to me, I caught a 16-18” rock fish. To bad they were not in season, all the rock fish we caught we had to throw back. Joey was the only one to catch a fish worth keeping, a 14” trout.  It was our mission to catch dinner for that night, we failed miserably and ended up going out to eat instead.

fishing and smoking
fishing and smoking

The ladies went crabbing on Thursday with Buzz. Fortunately they caught more than enough to feed everyone.  For dinner Greg steamed the crabs and we ate like kings. It was crazy to see the table covered in paper and by the time we finished, dozens of carcasses. I most have eaten 10 crabs myself, there were sides but I hardly touch them. There is something about working for you food that I just loved. If I was not full I could have finished all the crabs.  Even steaming just the males we had more than enough to feed everyone.  We ended up throwing a least a dozen away.

Speaking of eating, each family was responsible for a breakfast and dinner during the week. Nancy and I were up first on Monday. We cooked breakfast bowls in the morning and did my famous smoked maple glazed ribs for dinner. I used an old school Webber grill and the late afternoon thunderstorm proved a challenge, but nothing I couldn’t overcome. Greg and Maggie did chicken cordon blue and Saundra and Will did homemade tacos to close the week out. Saundra used her family recipe that uses mashed potatoes, sounds weird but it was really good. I ate five tacos that night and could have eaten more if I didn’t fill up on her guacamole.  Everyone cooked a fantastic meal, we were certainly not wanting for food that week.

With the entire family on vacation we managed one night out just for the adults. We tried one large family dinner out but that turned into a disaster. First our timing was horrible, we left the house at 6 for dinner like the rest of town.  The two places we went to had waits over 1 hour for a large party like ours. Eventually we just headed back to the house because the kids were hungry and Jaye was freaking out about the lightning storm. I had the idea to just feed the kids and all the adults go out. None of us where hungry yet and wouldn’t mind the wait.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

With all the group activities I did manage a day to myself. Every time I travel I try to go hiking at a local wildlife refuge, state park or national park. I have hiked the trails around my house numerous times and I love the change of scenery when visiting other states. I found Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge just to the south of our rental house. When the ladies went crabbing I hit the park for its 4.5 mile loop around a birding sanctuary pond. Unfortunately I didn’t realize how bad the mosquitoes were at the pond, I was eaten alive out there. They managed to bit through my shirt and pants, including the limited areas of exposed skins. To top it all off, most of the trail was closed to the public. What a disaster that turned out to be.

My backup plan was to see Bodie Lighthouse but it was closed for construction, the entire structure was covered in scaffolding. I was not going to be deterred from doing something in the time I had so I quickly came up with plan C, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. It was 30 miles south from my current location and 50 miles form the house. I had come to far to be turned away with nothing to show for it. At least the drive south was a scenic one. I passed through Cape Hatteras National Seashore which was beautiful. The weather turned and it started to rain, but luckily it cleared by the time I made it to the lighthouse. I have to say, I got some really good shots of the lighthouse that morning.

fresh crabs
fresh crabs

We found a local place, Mulligan’s which like many places, was a sea food place. We were hoping for some karaoke but were a day early. I for one didn’t miss it at all, but I know Nancy and Greg were upset. The food was ok, nothing special, I don’t think I would go back again if I had other options available to me.  But let me tell you it was nice just having just the adults out for dinner.

The list of things we didn’t do was just as long as what we did. I could certainly see coming back here for another week long vacation to do everything we skipped on this trip (Jockey’s Ridge, Wright Brothers National Memorial, deep see fishing, etc…).  There is also the beach which I could spend many hours just lounging on.  I will admit that during the hight of summer the sand gets really freaking hot.  When the wind blows off the ocean on a nice sunny day, nothing is better.

What a great week with the family.  When everyone gets along like we do, family vacations are really fun.