As an observer of all things live music, especially in Hendersonville, I get the feeling that after suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, people are ready to party and dance.
I’ve noticed more party bands in the local venues – bands such as newcomer Local Gossip, which will perform Saturday at Point Lookout Vineyards. Let’s just hope what health officials are calling the COVID “fourth wave” is just a trickle in WNC.
When I mentioned my observation to Allen Wittman, drummer and spokesman for Local Gossip, he agreed.
“I think you’re correct,” he said, adding, “We all like the bigger rock shows of the ‘80s. So we spend extra time bringing in a light show and big speakers that pump out the bass. People like a big show in a small space!”
Local Gossip formed in December 2019, when Allen was in a holding pattern after his band of five years – Vintage Vinyl – was on an indefinite pause. With time on his hands and needing deck work done, Allen called upon Tripp Jeter with Tripp’s Renovations.
Tripp had been a singer with another band, Justified Vibe, which had just broken up. Allen had been thinking about starting a party band, and Tripp liked the idea, too, and Local Gossip was born.
“Tripp and I were talking about the band on the phone,” Allen said. “He mentioned his neighbors were already asking when we were going to play. I asked how they knew, and he said it was already the ‘local gossip’ in Hendersonville. I said maybe that should be the name!”
Like a lot of startup bands, the members of Local Gossip have musical history and day jobs. In addition to playing drums for Vintage Vinyl, Allen was an electrical engineer in Fort Wayne, Indiana. These days, he enjoys selling his invention Liquid Ass, a novelty fart spray.
Eric Alston plays keyboards for the band, but he, too, is an ex-Vintage Vinyl member. He works at Chimney Rock State Park.
Rich Hendrix plays the guitar and has a long list of bands that he has played with. He’s also a freelance IT specialist.
Darren Stepehns plays bass. His previous band was Kalus, but you might know him better as the owner of Amazing Pizza Company in Mills River.
“We get along great,” Allen proclaimed. “Every rehearsal is like walking into a locker room!”
That camaraderie is evident in the Facebook posts and pictures where creative graphics depict the band members at play with their mascot – a sasquatch – which is said to be roaming the band’s base in Mills River.
“I had to learn graphic design software to create labels and web design elements for liquidass.com, so I used that to create our promotional posters. The guys in the band never know what the next poster will look like until it’s posted,” Allen said.
Together, these wild and crazy guys play the popular and danceable music from the ‘70s forward, including tunes from Bon Jovi, INXS, Journey, Outfield, Boston and Fleetwood Mac.
“When you come to see Local Gossip party band, expect to see a high-energy band playing danceable covers from your favorite bands,” Allen said. “Expect exceptional sound and an awesome laser-light show.”
You’ll also see the band’s logo/mascot standing by. “The squatch with a guitar was created based on the local gossip of sasquatch in the area. Plus, sasquatches are pretty cool especially when playing a flying V!” Allen said.
“Darren and I decided to cut an 8-foot-tall squatch on my home-built router. This sasquatch silhouette is also a chalkboard that we encourage our fans to draw on and sign their names. At the end of the night we take a picture of it and post it on our Facebook page. Each show starts off with a clean squatch ready to party!”
So far, Local Gossip has played locally at Bold Rock, D9 Brewing and Greenhouse Moto Café.
“We’re excited to hear nothing but good feedback,” he said. “It’s nice to know we are onto something big. Each show gets bigger and better.
“We’re just having a great time here in WNC and excited to be able to play in a vacation hot spot,” Allen continued and wants people to know “We accept tips and beer. Dancing shoes are required! No parking on the dance floor!”
Point Lookout Vineyards
408 Appleola Rd., Hendersonville
Friday, July 30, 7:30-10 p.m., The Tams, classic beach music, $30 cover
Saturday, July 31, 6-9 p.m., Local Gossip Party Band, ‘80s and ‘90s hits
Sunday, Aug. 1, 2-5 p.m., Patty M, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, eclectic, originals, covers
305 Lounge & Eatery
305 N. Main St., Hendersonville
Every Tuesday and Thursday, 1-3 p.m., Bob Sherrill, singer, songwriter, guitarist
Every first and third Friday night, 5-7 p.m., Geriatric Jukebox, husband and wife sing oldies but goodies
Every Wednesday, 1-3 p.m., Mark Fisher, classic country, southern rock, oldies rock
Appalachian Ridge Artisan Hard Cider
749 Chestnut Gap Rd., Hendersonville
Friday, July 30, 6-9 p.m. Scott Moss and the $100 Handshakes, Americana
Saturday, July 31, 3-6 p.m. Hummingtree Band, three-man string band
Sunday, Aug. 1, 2:30-5:30 p.m., Myron Hyman, acoustic soloist, singer, guitarist, eclectic
Block Party on Main
201 S. Main St., Hendersonville (Visitors Center)
Saturday, July 31, 7 p.m., husband and wife Joe Lasher and Kaitlyn Baker, country music; party band Commodore Fox opens with Motown, classic rock and country, (part of Ingles’ Down Home Series); free, but please donate nonperishable food for those in need
2695 Sugarloaf Rd., Hendersonville
Friday, July 30, 3-6 p.m., LyriSmith, Florida duo, acouist, singers, songwriters, originals, covers
D9 Brewing Company
425 N. Main St, Hendersonville
Friday, July 30, 7 p.m., Andrew Wakefield, folk, rock
Dry Falls Brewing Co.
425 Kanuga Rd., Hendersonville
Friday, July 30, 7-10 p.m., 28 Pages, rock ‘n’ roll
Etowah Valley Golf & Resort
470 Brickyard Rd., Etowah
Thursday, July 29, 6-9 p.m. Howie Johnson, classic rock
Saturday, July 31, 6-9 p.m., Country, acoustic Americana
Guidon Brewing Co.
415 8th Ave. E., Hendersonville
Thursday, July 29, 7 p.m., drum circle, bring your drum, bells, maracas and make some noise
Friday, July 30, 7 p.m., Tim Lee, guitarist
Saturday, July 31, 7 p.m., Collin Cheek, soft rock, alt rock, acoustic, singer, guitarist
Hendersonville Farmers Market
650 Maple St., Hendersonville
Saturday, July 31, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Apple Country String Band, bluegrass
Monday Night Live series
Main St., Hendersonville Visitors Center
Mondays, 7-9 p.m., Free
Aug. 2, Johnnie Blackwell Band
Music on Main series
201 S. Main St., Hendersonville
Fridays, 7-9 p.m., Free
July 30, The Rewind House Band
Oklawaha Brewing Company
147 1st Ave. E. Hendersonville
Thursday, July 29, 7-9 p.m., Izzi Hughes, popular Hendo songstress, eclectic
Friday, July 30, 8-11 p.m., Blue Ridge Pistols, classic rock filtered through WNC
Saturday, July 31, 8-11p.m., Abbey Elmore Band, blend of pop and classic rock
Sunday, Aug. 1, 3 p.m., Blues Brunch Concert Series, Ron Hoeben, blues
Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards
588 Chestnut Gap Rd., Hendersonville
Saturday, July 31, 3-6 p.m., The Last Full Measure, Jamie Gorsuch and karen Corn, singers, folk, blues, covers, originals
Sunday, Aug. 1, 2:30-5:30 p.m., David Payne, soloist, guitarist, eclectic
Sawyer Springs Vineyard
124 Sandy Hill Ln., Hendersonville
Friday, July 30, 2:30-5:30 p.m., Myron Hyman, singer, guitarist, soloist, eclectic
Saturday, July 31, 2:30-5:30 p.m., Threee (sic) Hour Tour, solo acoustic ‘70s music
Southern Appalachian Brewery
822 Locust St., Ste. 100, Hendersonville
Thursday, July 29, 6-8 p.m., Carver, Carmody, and McIntire, solid local musicians, eclectic
Friday, July 30, 7-9 p.m., Jeff Michels Folkadelic Jam, socially conscious folk rock originals, covers
Saturday, July 31, 7-9 p.m., Letters to Abigail, duo, acoustic Americana, folk, originals, covers, old-time music, spirituals
Sunday, Aug. 1, 4-6 p.m., The Dan Keller Trio, jazz, swing, Latin, bebop, soul
South Rock Sports Grill
830 Greenville Hwy., Hendersonville
Saturday, July 31, 8 p.m.-midnight, Twisted Trail, rock, bike night
St. John in the Wilderness (Espiscopal church)
1905 Greenville Highway, Flat Rock
Sunday, Aug. 1, 3:30 p.m., Accent on Youth III series, tenor Alexander Harrelson sings Scarlatti, Barber, Beethoven, Lehar, musical theater; free but donations accepted
The 2nd Act Coffee, Wine and Craft Beer Bar
101 E. Allen St., Hendersonville
Thursday, July 29, 6-9 p.m., Mr Jimmy, Chicago-style blues, singer, guitarist, songwriter
Friday, July 30, 7-9:30 p.m., Izzi Hughes and Eric Congdon, powerhouse singer pairs with acclaimed guitarist
Saturday, July 31, 6 p.m., Sunlight Drive, two men singing with guitars, easy
The Center for Art & Entertainment
125 S. Main St., Hendersonville
Saturday, July 31, 7 p.m., Hendersonville Symphony Quintet: The American Songbag, woodwind quintet, music of Simone, Sandburg, Dvorak, Dylan, $33 at the door
The Dugout Sports Bar & Taphouse
430 N. Main St., Hendersonville
Thursday, July 29, 8 p.m.-midnight, open jam,
Friday, July 30, 8 p.m.-midnight, Ricky Gunter Band, country, danceable
Saturday, July 31, 1-4 p.m., Myron Hyman, soloist, singer, guitarist, eclectic
The Greenhouse Moto Cafe
4021 Haywood Rd. (Highway 191) Mills River
Friday, July 30, 7:30 p.m., Unpaid Bill and the Bad Czechs, blues, rags, jazz, folk, shocking, titillating
Saturday, July 31, 8 p.m., Jupiter Coyote, mountain rock (sold out)
Sunday, Aug. 1, 3-6 p.m., Tools on Stools, cool hang groove
The Poe House
105 1st Ave. W., Hendersonville
Friday, July 30, 7-10 p.m., Bill Altman, acoustic blues
Saturday, July 31, 7 p.m., Reunion Show with Eric Congdon
Triskelion Brewing Company
340 7th Ave. E., Hendersonville
Thursday, July 29, 7-9 p.m., open mic
Friday, July 30, 7-9 p.m., Supatight, snappy funk, reggae, country
Saturday, July 31, 7-10 p.m., Fine Line, Hendo rock band
Want to be included in “Live Music?” Send your information via email to Steve Wong at [email protected] by Monday at 8 a.m. for the coming Thursday-Sunday. Don’t forget to send details on your performing artist along with a good high-resolution photo.