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Next Saturday in Memphis is going to be one of those crazy how-is-there-so-much-going-on-today kinds of days, and a big part of that is the Latino Memphis Festival and 5K in Overton Park. The Latino Memphis 5K The 5K starts on Saturday morning, May 7 at 9 a.m. and your $25 registration includes a goodie bag, […]
Melbourne, Australia's King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard hit the Hi-Tone this Tuesday night in support of their latest LP, Nonagon Infinity. Since forming in 2010, the psychedelic powerhouse has released album after album of interweaving prog rock, working with labels like Castle Face, Heavenly, and, most frequently, Australia's Flightless Records.
King Gizzard have made a name for themselves by taking the writing approach of bands like Thee Oh Sees and putting it in a blender with a few prescriptions of Adderall. The songs are spastic yet complex, and listening to a complete album by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard can definitely prove to be an aural endurance test. On record, the band's songs run together seamlessly, but catching the seven-member band live is where their music is best experienced. Having toured the U.S. multiple times since blowing up in 2013, the band is a finely tuned machine when it comes to their live show, and their unusually large lineup (complete with two drummers) effectively freaks audiences out before completely winning them over.
Touring with King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are Geelong, Australia, psych wonders the Murlocs, who are also on Flightless Records. While King Gizzard explore the frenetic elements of psych rock, the Murlocs explore the more traditional, 13th Floor Elevators-esque side of the genre. Both bands are at the top of the greater Australian psych scene, but their different approaches to the same genre are a testament to the versatility of what's been cooking down under since bands like Tame Impala and Royal Headache opened the door for smaller, independent Aussie acts. Locals Spaceface also play this Tuesday night gig.
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Nashville indie rockers Escondido kick things off on Saturday at the FedEx stage. Formed in 2011, the band's latest album, Walking with a Stranger, is out now.
LunchMoney Lewis represents a small but talented pool of hip-hop acts at Beale Street Music Fest. The Miami-born MC has had over 15 millon streams on Spotify, and his list of collaborations includes a song with Memphis' own Juicy J.
Better than Ezra
New Orleans-based '90s altrockers Better Than Ezra are perhaps best known for their 1995 single "Good," but the band has continued to make music over the years, and they've developed a loyal following of fans (who call themselves Ezralites — seriously, look it up).
Who can forget the group that sang "Tell Bill Clinton to go and inhale?" Other than Snoop Dogg, no other artist or group personifies what it means to be a stoner better than Cypress Hill, the group that brought you songs like "Hits from the Bong," "Superstar," and "Dr. Greenthumb." Cypress Hill were the first Latino-American rap artists to go platinum, and their music is immediately recognizable, as is B-Real's high-pitched vocal approach. Get ready to go insane in the membrane.
The Barenaked Ladies bring the '90s nostalgia to the FedEx stage on Saturday night. These tongue-twisting Canadian lyricists are anything but one-hit wonders, having released their 12th album last spring.
It's all about the bass when Saturday's headliner takes the FedEx stage. Meghan Trainor has a Grammy nomination and two Billboard awards under her belt, and her second album Thank You will be released less than two weeks after her Beale Street Music Fest appearance.
Rockstar Energy Drink Stage
Little Rock, Arkansas, rock band Amasa Hines call their brand of music "psychedelic afro-futurism," but get to the Rockstar Energy stage early to check out this relatively unknown band in person and decide for yourself.
The Front Bottoms
Since 2007, New Jersey-bred indie band the Front Bottoms have traveled from humble, DIY beginnings to the festival circuit — hitting Coachella and, now, Beale Street Music Festival.
Rough Trade recording artists Houndmouth have been at it since 2011, but the band really started picking up momentum with the release of 2013's From the Hills Below the City. Much like their label mates, Parquet Courts, Houndmouth has appeared on plenty of late night shows, including the Late Show with David Letterman and Conan.
Nashville's Moon Taxi also earned a spot on Coachella, and their Daybreaker tour sees the band getting a slot on Beale Street Music Fest. Active since 2006, the band played the Late Show with David Letterman and has had television placements from companies like BMW, HBO, the MLB, and the NFL.
Violent Femmes are no strangers to Memphis, having played the iconic Antenna club and, more recently, the Mud Island Amphitheatre. The band has been active since 1980 and are best known for their quirky hit "Blister in the Sun," although they've also had hits with "Kiss Off" and "Gone Daddy Gone."
Like this year's other headliners, Modest Mouse is a band that needs no introduction. Formed in 1992, Modest Mouse continually reshapes rock music while simultaneously influencing wave after wave of indie bands. From well-known tracks like "Float On" to deep cuts from their earlier releases, point to any Modest Mouse album, and a devoted fan will give you something to appreciate. Study up, and be there when they take the stage.
Bud Light Stage
Memphian Will Tucker has been performing on Beale Street since he was 14 years old. He's shared the stage with the likes of the Beach Boys and Charlie Musselwhite, and his band opened for B.B. King five separate times. Tucker has long been considered one of the best young blues guitarists in the region. His latest album Worth the Gamble came out last year.
Jonny Lang had a platinum-selling record at the age of 15, and by 17, he'd been nominated for a Grammy. Since then, he's been packing out venues and touring with the likes of the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, and Sting.
Americana-folk artist Lucinda Williams' set will likely be a collection of the slow-burning country grievances and blues-infused, slice-of-life songs she does so well. In 2002, TIME named her "America's best songwriter." Any self-respecting country fan should catch her set while the sun sets over the Mississippi River.
Grammy Award-winners Los Lobos need little introduction, having been at it since the '70s. Their Tex-Mex rock-and-roll has been celebrated by fans for decades, and in 2015 the band was nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The king of Memphis has been on a tear lately, releasing hit after hit of club-ready, social-media-referencing rap songs. If Yo Gotti keeps up his summer show at Mud Island, this could mean that two epic outdoor Gotti concerts are heading your way soon. Yo Gotti put the city on his back, and his love for Memphis is well-known. Don't miss Yo Gotti, and remember, it goes down in the DM.
Jason Derulo spent years writing songs for artists like Diddy and Lil Wayne, but he always wanted to step into the spotlight. One of the few R&B artists coming to Beale Street Music Festival, Derulo's radio-ready pop songs sound like he took notes from Chris Brown and Sean Kingston.
Pearl River Resort
As one of 14 children born to R.L. Burnside, Duwayne Burnside picked up the guitar at a young age. Since then, he's played with the North Mississippi Allstars and Junior Kimbrough, in addition to playing big-name festivals like Bonnaroo.
Charles Wilson, better known as Uncle Charlie to his fans, was the singer of the Gap Band before going solo and racking up 11 Grammy Award nominations. Artists like India Arie and Jamie Foxx have paid tribute to Wilson, but even without the admiration from big name musicians, Wilson's extensive catalog speaks for itself.
Another representative of Canada (the 2016 Memphis in May tribute country), Jack Semple was the lead singer of the band the Lincolns before forming the Jack Semple Band and releasing eight albums, including two live records.
Shun Ng & Magic Dick
Legendary harmonica player Magic Dick recently teamed up with Shun Ng to create one of the most unique duos in recent memory. The two play stripped-down versions of blues standards as well as originals, and Shun Ng's staggering guitar work will leave you begging for more.
Luther Dickinson might be best known as the lead guitarist and vocalist in the North Mississippi Allstars, but he's made a name for himself as a solo artist as well. Keep your fingers crossed that Dickinson brings frequent collaborator (and Music Fest performer) Mavis Staples on stage for a song or two.
Memphis guitar slinger Ana Popovic has shared the stage with the likes of Buddy Guy and Zakk Wylde. Her latest album TRILOGY was produced by Grammy Award-winner Warren Riker.
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Fun facts about tourism: 10 million people visit Memphis every year from all over the world, and tourism has about a $3 billion economic impact. To celebrate, next week is National Travel and Tourism Week, and the Memphis CVB is celebrating by throwing a big Party In The Park. You’re invited! Yes those are rubber duckies […]
Happy Friday and welcome to the 60th edition of my Weekend Roundup! Beale Street Music Fest is obviously the musical main event, but there are still plenty of other reasons to leave the house this weekend, so if standing in the pouring rain with a few thousand of your closest friends isn't your idea of fun, here are some other alternatives.
Friday, April 29th.
Beale Street Music Fest, 5 p.m. at Tom Lee Park, $45
Mishka Shulaby, Star Anna. HEELS, 8 p.m. at The Hi-Tone, $10.
Big Barton, 10 p.m. at Lafayette's Music Room.
Dj Dropout Boogie, Dj Andrew McCalla, 10:30 p.m. at Bar DKDC, $7.
Saturday, April 30th.
Beale Street Music Fest, 2 p.m. at Tom Lee Park, $45.
$uicide Boys, 8 p.m. at the Hi-Tone, $10.
B.O.B, Scotty ATL, 8 p.m. at the New Daisy, $15-$18.
Jacob Stiefel and the Truth, 10 p.m. at Lafayette's Music Room.
Catl, DJ Stan Getty, DJ Hoppe, 10:30 p.m. at Bar DKDC, $7.
Sunday, May 1st.
Beale Street Music Fest, 2 p.m. at Tom Lee Park, $45.
Hank Wood and the Hammerheads, OBN III's, Evil Army, 9 p.m. at the Hi-Tone, $10.
Memphis' biggest breakout star of 2015 keeps killing it, landing a spot on Beale Street Music Fest after a solid year of touring and seeing her name in every music-media outlet that's relevant. Her first album, Sprained Ankle, made plenty of year-end lists, but we were already onto Baker before she became a media darling. See our cover story on her from last summer for proof.
Trampled by Turtles
Minnesota's Trampled by Turtles have seen their fair amount of success since forming in 2003, and the alt-country band will be setting out on a long tour with the Devil Makes Three shortly after their performance on Friday night. No stranger to festivals, the band has also played San Francisco's Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits Music Festival, Firefly Festival, Rock the Garden, and the All Good Music Festival.
Multi-instrumentalist Grace Potter has collaborated with musicians like Kenny Chesney and the Rolling Stones. No stranger to the festival circuit, Potter's band the Nocturnals played more than 200 shows on the road as they gained traction and signed with Hollywood Records.
Neil Young & Promise of the Real
Neil Young. On the river. The first night of Beale Street Music Fest. Do we really need to tell you to be there? Do you like music? Good answer. We thought we were about to have a problem. In all seriousness, if this doesn't get you excited, you may need to check your pulse.
Rockstar Energy Drink Stage
British rock band the Struts kick things off on the Rockstar Energy Drink stage, and you can expect these glam rockers to bring the heat to Tom Lee Park.
Young the Giant
Young the Giant sound big enough to fill an arena and structure their songs in a way that feels fitting for a club. Their electric sound pulls influence from bands like Muse, while their indie sensibilities are akin to Grouplove.
Panic! At the Disco
Hot on the heels of the Fall Out Boy-led, mid-2000s emo wave, Panic! At the Disco released their debut 2005 album, A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, when the band's members were fresh out of high school. Since then, only one of the original members — Brendon Urie — remains in the band, but he and his new bandmates are still pushing out baroque pop that sounds like it was recorded in 2005 (which isn't necessarily a bad thing).
Weezer10:50 p.m.These platinum-selling pop-punkers have been at it for over 20 years, releasing hit after hit in between throwing parties on cruise ships and collaborating with current stars like Best Coast. Weezer will be on tour with Panic! At the Disco, who are also playing Friday night.
Bud Light Stage
Coleman Hell wins the "coolest-named hometown" award this year, as he hails from a place called Thunder Bay, Ontario. Keeping with the Canadian theme of this year's Memphis in May, Coleman Hell is sure to bring the thunder when he plays his brand of indie pop/EDM on Friday night.
If the 1990s had a soundtrack, it'd be filled with Gin Blossoms songs — "Hey Jealousy," "Found out About You," "Follow You Down," "Til I Hear It From You" ... the list could go on. Fun fact: Although the alt-rock band is from Tempe, Arizona, all of the above hit songs were recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis.
Memphian Mavis Staples will surely take the Bud Light stage by storm when she performs on Friday night. Staples was a late addition to the Beale Street Music Fest lineup, and she adds to an already stacked opening night lineup.
Roots-rock icons Train need little introduction since crafting the mega hits "Meet Virginia" and "Drops of Jupiter." There's a reason these San Francisco boys are headlining the Bud Light Stage on Friday night. Expect a moving performance from these platinum-selling artists.
Pearl River Resort Blues Tent
Ghost Town Blues Band
Ghost Town Blues Band once again perform at Beale Street Music Fest, and their latest album, Hard Road to Hoe, isstill a local favorite.
Blues guitarst Larry McCray has been cranking out albums since 1990 and now releases his music through his own record label, Magnolia Records.
Doyle Bramhall II
Doyle Bramhall II has played with Eric Clapton, Roger Daltrey, and JJ Cale (among others), and his skillful guitar work is not to be missed.
11:05 p.m.Closing out night one at the Blues tent is guitarist Walter Trout, who joined the band Canned Heat in 1981. Since then, Trout has cranked out tons of albums under his own name and as Walter Trout and the Radicals.
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As arguably one of the biggest acts to emerge from the mid-'00s "undergrounding" of high-profile metal, Lamb of God was riding its long and continuing ascent in June 2012 when attention on the band began to increase exponentially on the back of a most unfortunate turn of events. A good six months into the touring cycle behind his band's seventh studio album, Resolution, Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe was arrested by Czech police on suspicion of manslaughter and charged with "committing intentional bodily harm."
The charges concerned a concert from two years earlier when a fan sustained head injuries (immediately leading to a coma and eventual death several weeks later) after being pushed from the stage by Blythe. Lamb of God was caught totally by surprise, as they didn't even remember the specific show and were unaware of the damning European press coverage following the event, or that the Czech police had already investigated and charged Blythe, simply because no one was contacted by the United States Department of Justice after the D.O.J. turned down overseas requests for assistance.
Blythe was swiftly put behind bars in a Czech prison for what remained an open-ended incarceration, due to the challenges of meeting a bail figure that was repeatedly increased. Thus began an unpredictable and authentically dramatic saga unlike any other in metal's long and dark history of finding itself on the wrong side of the law. In March of 2013, after a six-day trial that could have easily ended badly, the Czech court arrived at a verdict that removed Blythe's criminal liability regarding the incident. Many readers might be aware of how things played out, as there was much media coverage and an astonishing amount of support that traversed and transcended the metal community.
The Richmond, Virginia, band formed as Burn the Priest in 1994 and operated at the underground DIY level for six years, releasing several demos, two split-EPs, and one self-titled, full-length debut in 1999 before a name change to Lamb of God was implemented based on a desire to avoid being misinterpreted as a Satanic metal band. The next album and first to carry the Lamb of God moniker was 2000's New American Gospel. A progressive combination of rewired and intensified thrash metal informed deeply by Pantera's mid-tempo groove and breakdowns, New American Gospel appealed out of the gate to a fan base that would grow behind the band's next two years on the road.
2003's As the Palaces Burn attracted some nice reviews in mainstream media outlets like Rolling Stone and scored high in the metal press' year-end tallies. The Lamb of God sound was well-established by this point and filled a need with its less cartoonish, more streamlined metal onslaught that spoke to both young and old fans of the form, unlike the then-waning silliness of Slipknot or the overt faux intensity of System of a Down. The increased airplay of the album's three singles laid the groundwork for Lamb of God's proto-breakthrough, Ashes of the Wake, their first for major label Epic Records. It debuted at No. 27 on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of over 35,000 and remains the band's best-selling back catalog title as it approaches gold certification.
But Lamb of God's next two albums, 2006's Sacrament and 2009's Wrath, would secure the band's status as a global force and perhaps the biggest Trojan horse to sneak otherwise mainstream-untenable elements of metal extremity to a wide audience since Pantera's similar coup during the '90s. Both album's debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and had first-week sales of over 60,000 and collectively yielded three Grammy nominations for Best Heavy Metal Performance for "Redneck" (perhaps Lamb of God's best-known calling card) in 2007, "Set to Fail" in 2010, and "In Your Words" in 2011, respectively.
This period brought many other next-level "firsts," and the band spent the better part of six years on the road and satiated fans between studio efforts with two live album/DVD titles. In 2010, the band released the 10-year anniversary Hourglass career retrospective that featured a much-drooled-over "Super Deluxe" edition packaged in a big coffin. The package contained a three-CD anthology, a career-covering vinyl box set, The Art of Lamb of God book, a 4-by-6 "Pure American Metal" flag, and, most notably, a Mark Morton Signature Series Jackson Dominion D2 guitar. The aforementioned seventh album, Resolution, was released in January of 2012 and added some thrashier guitar riffs and song structures to Lamb of God's meat-and-potatoes metal to keep things out of an artistic rut.
Then, as covered previously, everything went to hell a few months later, and a short hiatus followed as the band waited for the outcome of Blythe's case and figured out what to do next. For a minute, Lamb of God's future as an active band was up in the air, but the five-some returned to the studio, and out came last year's VII: Sturm und Drang, an album informed by the inevitable influence of Blythe's situation but also one with more sonic surprises than the band is known for. The record included the distinct vocals of guest Chino Moreno of the Deftones on a track, plus Blythe's most extended venture into clean singing on the song "Overlord".
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Those Pretty Wrongs
Those Pretty Wrongs feature Jody Stephens of Big Star and Luther Russell. The band's debut album is out later in May via Burger Records, the hip California label that started as a cassette label and has morphed into a West Coast institution. Fans of Big Star, take note.
Blackberry Smoke have blown up over the last few years, touring with the Zac Brown Band and having their music featured on the EA Sports video game Madden NFL 16. Their fourth studio album Holding all the Roses debuted at No. 1 on the Top Country Albums Chart, and their fan base just keeps growing. Expect this set to get rowdy.
A side project of Black Keys vocalist Dan Auerbach, the Arcs bind soul and psychedelic rock to create something similar to EL VY or the Districts. Unlike, but not far from, the Black Keys, Auerbach's new band relies more on rhythm than the blues. Their latest single, "Lake Superior," was inspired by the Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer.
Cold War Kids
Cold War Kids have actively toured and cranked out piano-driven pop songs since 2004. Most likely, you'll be singing along to a slew of songs you didn't know you knew.
Beck is back, only this time he'll be at Tom Lee Park instead of the Mud Island Amphitheatre. The Los Angeles singer/songwriter always puts on a great show, and his collaboration with Jay Reatard was proof that while Beck is definitely big time, he still keeps his ear to the underground. Anyone who was at his Mud Island show knows that Beck is not to be missed.
Rockstar Energy Drink Stage
The Lone Bellow
Brooklyn's Lone Bellow bring their alt-country to a festival audience that knows a thing or two about the genre, but that shouldn't stop the band from kicking off a great lineup on the Rockstar Energy Stage. The band's latest album, 2015's Then Came the Morning,was released on Descendant Records, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment.
Lesbian folk rockers Amy Ray and Emily Saliers have been besties since elementary school, and they began performing together when they were in high school. Since then, they've released 14 albums (the latest release came last year) and have remained politically involved in all sorts of causes ranging from LGBT equality and environmental protection to Native American rights and protesting the death penalty.
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
There might not be a festival more fit for Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats than Beale Street Music Fest. Something reminiscent of the Stax sound is ingrained in their music, and the Night Sweats provide the palette for a pensive Rateliff to wail over. Do not miss this band.
Paul Simon has been a hit factory since the '60s, cranking out songs like "Mrs. Robinson," "The Sounds of Silence," and "Bridge Over Troubled Water." He was awarded the first Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2007 and has written music for Broadway and television. He's been on Saturday Night Live 14 times and has 12 Grammy awards, making him one of the most successful artists on the entire Music Fest lineup.
Bud Light Stage
The Band Camino
These Memphians might be unknown now, but if they keep landing spots on music festival main stages, they may not be underground for long. Look for a debut album from the Band CAMINO sometime this summer.
Alex Da Ponte
Alex da Ponte just released her latest album, and the local artist is one of many worth catching over Music Fest weekend. On All My Heart, da Ponte wears her emotions on her sleeve, making for an earnest and honest album that will get stuck in your head after only a couple listens. Her song "Nevermind" is already a local hit, but don't expect da Ponte to stay local for long.
The Joy Formidable
Welsh alt-rockers the Joy Formidable recently released their third album, Hitch, and the band has a knack for recreating some of the things that made '90s alt rock so memorable.
Courtney Barnett had a spectacular 2015 due to her amazing album Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit. We had her album and her Third Man Records single as some of our favorites of the year, so we'll take credit for this one. You're welcome.
British indie rock powerhouse Bastille have sold over 5 million records, and their follow-up album to 2013's Bad Blood is highly anticipated. With millions of fans across the globe, Bastille are definitely one of the biggest bands performing this weekend.
Russian-born/German-raised electro-house DJ Anton Zaslavski (better known as Zedd) has made a name for himself in the EDM scene by combining the beat-driven nature of house music with catchy pop melodies and lyrics by popular artists, such as Selena Gomez, Foxes, and Paramore lead singer Hayley Williams. The Grammy winner's late-night performance will likely turn Tom Lee Park into a giant rave, so bring the glowsticks.
Pearl River Resort Blues Tent
Barbara Blue 2:15 p.m.
Barbara Blue, the reigning queen of Beale Street, is a Beale Street Music Fest institution. She's also the woman behind the piano at Silky O'Sullivan's almost every night of the week. Simply put, a downtown show isn't complete without a Barbara Blue appearance.
Brandon Santini 3:45 p.m.
Brandon Santini purchased his first harmonica at the age of 15 at a music store in Piedmont, North Carolina. Engulfed in the blues, Santini studied harp legends like James Cotton and Kim Wilson of the Fabulous Thunderbirds. After founding his band Delta Highway in 2003, Santini relocated to Memphis, where he became a regular performer on Beale Street. With three albums under his belt, Santini and his band continue to inject a fresh spirit into the Delta blues.
John Primer 5:20 p.m.
When it comes to no-frills blues music, John Primer gets it done and does it well. No surprise why — Primer learned slide guitar from Muddy Waters' sideman Sammy Lawhorn. A steward of the Chicago blues, Primer has played with the likes of Waters, Willie Dixon, and Magic Slim.
John Németh 6:55 p.m.
Boise, Idaho, bluesman John Németh relocated to Memphis in 2013 and linked up with Scott Bomar at Electraphonic Recording, where he immediately began cutting an album. His latest record, 2015's Memphis Grease, was named the "Best Soul Blues" album by the Blues Music Awards.
Bernard Allison 8:30 p.m.
Influenced by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, as well as older players like Lightnin' Hopkins and B.B. King, Bernard Allison grew up with the blues thanks to his dad, Chicago bluesman Luther Allison. Allison has been at it since 1990, releasing over 15 albums of his signature style of electric blues.