Flint Eastwood – Asheville, NC – 12.08.2018
Asheville, NC – 12.08.2018
Words and photos by Lynn Roy
On the weekend of December 8, a snowstorm rolled across the southern US, blanketing Asheville, NC and the surrounding area with as much as eighteen inches of snow. We joined the small group of those who braved the weather that Saturday to come to The Mothlight and got to experience an amazing evening. What could have been a disaster turned into a one-of-a-kind event connecting the small group of fans present with each other and the artists they came to see play.
Flickering power from power surges made it unsafe to keep the main stage lights up, so the stage was lit almost entirely by Vesperteen’s vertical light bars and the lighted drum set played by singer Colin Rigsby. The show opened with fan favorite “What We Could Have Been”, and those who had been hanging back quickly came forward to join those already front and center to enjoy the performance. As usual, Vesperteen did not fail to impress, multitasking by singing, playing drums, and moving around the stage to engage the audience. In addition to older songs, there were tracks off the May 2018 EP The Hype is Dead, including “Speed of Light”, and the just-released single “Operate”. The set ended with another energetic fan favorite “Shatter in the Night”. With the crowd fully hyped for the next performance, Vesperteen departed the stage, leaving the lighted drum set on stage to create a warm glow in the darkness as people drifted back towards seats at tables or the bar.
The set break ran on for an unexpectedly long time, particularly given that very little equipment got moved onstage during that time. Those present hardly noticed, though, taking time to meet each other and talk with people who had come from as far as Charleston, SC, a drive of over three hours. Finally, Flint Eastwood came onstage alone, with no microphone, and asked everyone to come forward and sit near the stage for a chat. Sitting on the edge of the low stage, she explained that the ongoing power surges made it dangerous to plug in any instruments or sound equipment and that they could not endanger their ability to keep touring by attempting to perform her planned setlist. The show as planned was canceled.
However, Flint Eastwood is far too creative to be outdone by a snowstorm. Before anyone even had a chance to feel disappointed, she offered an entirely different musical experience. She had recordings of unreleased songs on her phone and offered to play them and do an open Q&A session. Everyone present excitedly agreed to this idea, to her apparent relief.
The audience jammed to all four songs - as much as one can while seated on a hardwood floor.
While the performance powerhouse that is Flint Eastwood was not on display, her everyday self Jax Anderson was equally fascinating and inspiring. Joking that she is bad with technology and might take a minute to get things going, Jax encouraged the group to chat and meet each other. A short time later, the first song blasted through the speakers. The audience jammed to all four songs - as much as one can while seated on a hardwood floor - and Jax joined them, clearly pleased with her completed work. Between each song, she spoke about how she came to write that particular piece and her intentions behind them. The self-deprecating jokes also continued between songs, encouraging people to find someone else new to talk to or to discuss their favorite animal while she cued up the next track. She also spoke about her support for the transgender community and the need for true equality for all people, the artist community at Assemble Sound and the collaborations that happen there, and her experience at the 2018 South by Southwest festival. In the middle of all this, her crew surprised her with a birthday cake and the audience sang “Happy Birthday” to her.
Finally, her tour manager and the venue declared that time had run out. Still wanting to make sure no one was disappointed with the way the night had gone, Flint Eastwood had one last surprise in store. Everyone received a free beanie from the merch table to remember the night by. Wishing each other safe travels in the snow, the small crowd all went their separate ways, warmed by the unique experience shared with new friends and by their stylish new hats.
While this night can never be duplicated, both artists present an outstanding show regardless of circumstances. With new music in the works for both, announcements for more unforgettable shows are likely to be on the horizon. Vesperteen is done touring for 2018, but you can still catch Flint Eastwood December 31 at Hi-Fi in Indianapolis, IN.
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