Completing a trifecta of The Posies and Brendan Benson-related coverage in the paper and blog - local photographer extraordinaire (and power-pop aficionado) Thomas Hibdon attended both acts' appearances in town at Ardent Studios and Minglewood Hall on Sunday, took some fairly amazing shots, and was willing to share.
Ardent Presents taping @ Ardent Studios
Sunday afternoon, both The Posies and Benson turned up at legendary Ardent Studios to tape acoustic podcasts for the studio's Ardent Presents series.
This Sunday night, Seattle alt-rock/power-pop mainstays The Posies will co-headline Minglewood Hall along with ex-Raconteur Brendan Benson. The gig is a homecoming of sorts for the primary duo behind The Posies, Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer, who also spent the last 17 backing Jody Stephens and the late Alex Chilton in the modern-day incarnation of Memphis' legendary Big Star.
We've already got a feature on The Posies in this week's Flyer, for which we were able to speak with Stringfellow, Auer and Stephens. But the interviews yielded more interesting material than could be included in the paper, so here are a few select outtakes:
On performing at the Big Star tribute concerts in Austin and Memphis:
Stephens: There was a pervasive feeling of comfort. It was a place that we could all congregate and share our emotions and loss. Austin was a tough night, but there was a lot of heart in the performance. I think the Memphis show was more about honoring Alex's music than grieving.
Stringfellow: South By Southwest (Austin) might have been too soon for me. But in Memphis, there was enough distance and I was able to feel the love for Alex. It was epic - especially when the rain came. It was uplifting and sad at the same time.
Auer: I think we had low expectations going into it, but it ended up being magical. Time stood still.
Since releasing their debut album, Memphis, at the end of the summer, the local sextet Magic Kids — Bennett Foster, Will McElroy, Alex Gates, Michael Peery, Ben Bauermeister, and Alice Buchanan — have mostly been on the road, playing festivals, traveling to Europe for the first time, and embarking on their first headlining tour.Bosco Delrey, Bake Sale, Kruxe, and Judith Stevens — to join them.
I caught up with the band earlier this week as they were traveling from New York to Cleveland en route home to Memphis, their tour van swelled to eight with the addition of opening act Delrey and a New York photographer who decided to travel back to Memphis with them.
"We haven't had bigger bands like Girls and Ariel Pink to piggyback on," Foster says of the current tour. "So its basically just us. It's kind of like a trial for us to be the headliner.
This Wednesday night Murphy's will host a rare local solo/acoustic appearance by legendary punk musician Exene Cervenka, member of the seminal Los Angeles band X, as well as the X off-shoot country project The Knitters. The show is a benefit for Memphis music scene supporter and fixture Raven Lorthos, who was recently diagnosed with cancer and is currently facing tremendous financial hardship.
According to Cervenka's website, the songwriter/musician is currently hard at work on an as-yet untitled fifth solo album (a follow-up to last year's critically acclaimed Somewhere Gone), but will make a special trip to Memphis just to lend support to Lorthos, a personal friend.
"We did a benefit for Raven about a month ago, but Exene couldn't make it," says local singer-songwriter Mike Dees, who will open the show with Cervenka along with Jason Pulley and D.J. Steve Anne. "This second one was set-up entirely at her (Cervenka's) behest, and she's coming all the way across the country just to do it, which I think speaks to the effect Raven has on people."
w/ Mike Dees, Jason Pulley, & D.J. Steve Anne
Wednesday, November 17, 9 p.m.
At the end of that set, the crowd rolled over to catch the much more toned-down, but just as delightful Dirty Projectors. I’ve been itching to see them since falling for their last album, Bitte Orca, which really is a shining example of voice-driven, experimental pop. It’s instantly likeable, with such interesting feats of vocal instrumentation that you can’t help but pick it apart. And the live show brings a new level to appreciation of the sound, as the four singing members of the band voice incredibly complex songs without a hitch. Truly impressive, and great dance music to boot.
My last stop for the evening was checking out MGMT’s headlining set. This is the first time I’ve caught them since their second album came out, and I was interested to see how they’d arrange a setlist. They smartly devoted roughly equal amounts of time to the first and second albums, playing all the crowd-pleasers, while sprinkling in newer, less immediate songs. They may not be as singularly dance-poppy as they were the first time around, but they’re more interesting, and the crowd certainly didn’t seem to mind.
Filmmaker Craig Brewer is back in town and happy about it.
Brewer has a couple of weeks downtime before he flies out to Los Angeles to begin post-production on the film, which is tentatively scheduled for a spring 2011 national release.
The 49-day Footloose shot was significantly longer — and more involved — than the shoots for his previous features, Hustle & Flow (23 days) and Black Snake Moan (roughly 30 days).
"It's a big movie," Brewer says. "There's a lot that happens in it. It's the first time I've been in a production of that size. It really is a train that won't stop.
For the first time, Brewer had to turn over some shots to a second unit director, relinquishing some control and presiding over the dailies coming in from the other unit.
"This wasn't like Hustle, where I could be there for every shot," he says of the scope of the job. "The first 40 days of the 50-day shoot, it's like you're climbing, but that last 10 days you feel this momentum and you want it to slow down. And now that I'm down at the bottom of the mountain, there's another mountain for post-production [looming].
For this roughly two-hour program, the full orchestra will cram into the main room of Midtown rock mainstay the Hi-Tone. The program begins with a performance of Handel's Royal Fireworks Suite, followed by interpretations of the music of Jimi Hendrix, arranged by a member of the MSO.
Local ace songwriter Bobo will join the orchestra for a concluding set of seven of his songs, arranged by MSO cellist and frequent Bobo collaborator Jonathan Kirkscey. "Jonathan did the arrangements while I lay on the floor shouting [at him]," Bobo says, jokingly. "I don't know if [the rest of the orchestra] knows how unprofessional I am."
The MSO and Bobo will perform this program at 7:30 p.m. at the Hi-Tone tonight, and again tomorrow night. Bobo and his band will perform a regular rock show later Friday night as something of an after-party. Admission is $25 for the symphony performances, $5 for Bobo's late-Friday show.
Next up for Bobo is the debut release from his alter-ego band Luv Clowns, a children's album that will be released — like Bobo's solo albums — on the local Goner label. The Luv Clowns will celebrate the release of the album on Saturday, December 4th as part of the Memphis Rock-n-Romp.
Local writer/comedian (and frequent Flyer contributor) Andrew Earles unveiled his first book this month, a biography of the legendary Minneapolis post-punk/hardcore trio Husker Du (a band known as much for dynamic inner-workings as their innovative approach to punk rock) titled Husker Du: The Story of the Noise-Pop Pioneers Who Launched Modern Rock.
Earles spoke to the Flyer this week about the book and the band's place in rock history.
Flyer: How did you get approached to write a Husker Du biography?
Earles: At the end of 2006, Continuum Books announced an open call for pitches for their 33 1/3 series. Each pitch was to fall under 1,000 words. I'd always thought that Zen Arcade or Flip Your Wig would make a good title in that series, especially after the Minutemen one was published (about Double Nickles on the Dime). But it wasn't one of those "no-brainer" assumptions because they tend to keep that series pretty accessible if not painfully predictable, with few surprises, and this resulted in the dedication of a great deal of time to this pitch. I figured I really had to sell these people on the idea of paying me $4000 to write a 20,000-word pocket book about Husker Du's Flip Your Wig, which was true, but only due to the fact that three other writers pitched Husker Du albums as well. At the time, I was extremely hungry for any type of book deal I could grab, even one in which the deal is not exactly overburdened with pro-author line items (they own the content/book forever, no royalties, etc). Long story not quite as long as it could be, my pitch was rejected (a blessing in disguise). Having dumped what I considered a lot of work and worry into a 1,000-word pitch, I couldn't just let it sit on my hard-drive, so I posted it on my blog, where my current editor found it some ten months later in November of 2007.