One of the main headliners for this year's MetroFest music festival dropped out at the last minute, only to be replaced by perhaps an even more treasured local band. Members of '90s hard-rock outfit Sage announced on Friday, Sept. 14—exactly two weeks before the festival—that they "will be unable to fulfill their commitment to perform at this year's MetroFest." By the following Monday, however, Todd Steed had offered the services of a reunited Smokin' Dave and the Premo Dopes.
The Dopes placed third in Metro Pulse's 2009 Best Knoxville Band Ever poll; MP editor Coury Turczyn wrote then that "Knoxville has had more famous bands, more popular bands, more successful bands. But Smokin' Dave and the Premo Dopes was our most influential band, daring to embrace its Knoxvilleness at a time when the number-one goal of most musicians here was to get out of town as fast as possible.... On any given night, Steed's playful guitar, Dug Meech's frenetic drumming, and Dave Nichols' spidery bass would coalesce into spectacle, sparking the beer- and cigarette-scented air with flashes of unassuming brilliance. Underlying the driving rhythms and crunching guitar solos was a distinctive wit that took this ‘college rock' into an unexpected place: dizzy sophistication that you could dance to."
They're pretty much the main headliners now for MetroFest, a celebration of local music and Metro Pulse's 21st anniversary, as well as a benefit for the Joy of Music School, which provides free music instruction to underprivileged children. The complete lineup and schedule are still in the works, but the roster so far includes the Kevin Abernathy Band, Acme Shows, Big Country's Empty Bottle, Coolrunnings, Four Leaf Peat, the French, Hudson K, Itchy and the Hater Tots, the Johnson Swingtet, Kelsey's Woods, Kukuly and the Gypsy Fuego, the Tim Lee 3, Lil Iffy, the LoneTones, Jodie Manross, O Youth, Jack Rentfro and the Apocalypso Quartet, Smokin' Dave and the Premo Dopes, the Sons, Soulfinger, Teenage Love, Texas Tony and the Tornadoes, the Westside Daredevils, and Yung Life. Participating venues include 90 Proof, Bistro at the Bijou, Knoxville Visitors Center, Latitude 35, Pilot Light, Preservation Pub, and the Square Room. MetroFest sponsors include Lagunitas Brewing Co., WUTK 90.3 FM, the Joy of Music School, WDVX 89.9 FM, and Visit Knoxville.
A wristband for admission to all venues is $10. All proceeds from wristband sales will be donated to the Joy of Music.