It was the Saturday in Asheville. At the top of the hill and across the street from the place I like to park because it doesn’t have a meter (even if it’s a bit of a hike and the bus station’s on the way), at Jack of the Wood, I found some music.
The place was packed, as was the rest of the city that night, with the sorts of people one has come to expect in Asheville, that bastion of weirdness liberated, a beacon shining resplendent, that is reached only after hours in the car and peeing in a gas station bathroom with a broken door and stains on the floor, and all along the way, seeing a multitude of cultural effluvia: kayaks, Confederate flags, truckers, and regional roadkill.
The band I saw, The Ends, had driven further than I had. Based in Burlington, they play their genre-spanning music all over North Carolina. When I noticed the bassist was barefoot, I knew I should pay attention. And I did.
“Guilty Sunrise” begins with the down and dirty guitar that goes well with cigarettes and Formica. The beat moves forward like a canoe in freshwater, drum beats lapping at the prow. The verses clear out and a glimmer of sunlight comes out of the solo guitar.
In “Perception”, the band licks the psychedelic cake batter from a giant wooden spoon. It is sweet with a tang that – once you add heat – raises everything up as a meditative levitating leavener. The bassline flows throughout, as the vocals float on clouds of the kind of guitar that can turn a crowded show into an experience unique to only the listener and the band. The track leaves you with the feeling that anything is possible; we are only limited by our perception.
Leaning toward country, with steel strings and dusty vocals, “Memphis” is an easygoing track that touches upon dreams, love, and music. The guitars rub your ribs before the song builds into a carefree break with keys, glints of gospely, and an abundance of energy.
The Ends is talented group comprised of bearded Ryan “Bunk” Burgess (drums and vocals), Keith Ingalls (guitar and vocals), Josh Coe (bass), and Josh King (guitar and vocals). Visit their site, check out their music, and if you’re in the area, go see them live.