Gonerfest Saturday is a test of endurance, a great time to discover new music, and one of my favorite Memphis events. The afternoon shows at Murphy's feature two stages, one indoor and one outdoor, where bands alternate sets for six hours of nonstop rock. It's usually where the up-and-coming bands are featured, and some of the most memorable performances of the weekend happen here.
My biggest discovery of this year's festival was the first band I saw at Murphy's. White Mystery is the sister and brother duo of Alex and Francis White — and unlike the White Stripes who used to falsely claim to be brother and sister, you just have to take one look at their hair to know that they're related. Caution: extreme volume:
Alex tore up the stage, and then, for a finale, tore up her guitar. ("It's OK," she said to me as she left the venue. "I can fix it.")
Friday night at the Hi-Tone, beer was flung, pants were removed, and the rock was brought. Night two of Gonerfest 9 started with the Nots, a three-piece, all-female Memphis punk band with former members of Bake Sale and the Manatees. I apologize for not getting any video of their set, which was awash in chorusy guitar smears — think "Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me" Cure or Throwing Muses with a straight-ahead rhythm section — but I was so mesmerized it was over before I had pushed record.
Next up were the Bad Sports, who turned in a solid performance that would turn out to be a warm-up for what came later. Then the Gary Wong Group from Mobile, Alabama, introduced what to my remembrance is the first on-stage gong in the history of Gonerfest, which happened to be manned by musical madman Mr. Quintron.
Led by charismatic frontman Don Goldberg, Melbourne, Australia's, Bits of Shit tore up the club like it was their job, proving once again that the Aussies know what they're doing behind the guitar. Then it was time for the Tanlines.
Gonerfest 9 kicked off yesterday at the Cooper-Young gazebo with an excellent sunset solo set from Monsieur Jeffery Evans that filled the neighborhood with rockers and confused a lot of joggers. The first night at the Hi-Tone Café included the French band Jack of Heart, the Brisbane, Australia rockers Slug Guts, and Chicago's own Heavy Times.
Austin's Golden Boys went on at midnight, but the start of their set was marred by some keyboard troubles which mandated an onstage soldering session, so, with the assistance of the evening's master of ceremonies NoBunny, the band kept the crowd occupied by leading a round of jumping jacks.
Once the technical issues were resolved, the Golden Boys got down to business.
The Indie Memphis Film Festival will begin on Thursday, November 1st. But in the month leading up to the festival, Indie Memphis has two great events on tap.
On Thursday, October 4th, at A. Schwab’s on Beale, filmmaker Craig Brewer will host an “Indie Memphis Peep Show” to preview this year's festival. In addition to live music and a performance from the Sock It To Me Burlesque Troupe, the Peep Show will unveil this year's Indie Memphis lineup and show trailers and clips from some of the films.
The event, which is scheduled to run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., is restricted to Indie Memphis members, but a one-year membership is available to anyone for $50, which includes a “Festival Tripper” pass, which provides access to most films at this year's festival.
Alloy Orchestra Returns
My favorite Indie Memphis screening over the years was a double-bill of the silent classics The General and Man With the Movie Camera with live musical accompaniment from the Boston-based Alloy Orchestra.
Well, the Alloy Orchestra is coming back for a one-off Indie Memphis event on Wednesday, October 17th, at the Paradiso theater. The three-man band will be providing a live score for a screening of Fritz Lang's 1927 silent sci-fi classic Metropolis. The screening will take place at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 or $12 for Indie Memphis members. “Early bird” tickets — at a $2 discount — are available through October 4th.
For more info on all things Indie Memphis, see indiememphis.com.
Gonerfest 9 kicks off tomorrow and runs through the weekend, with 36 bands performing across four days and four venues. We highlight some of these bands in our print edition this week.
Ahead of the fest, Goner's and Memphis' own Ex-Cult are debuting their new single, “M.P.D.,” the band's first official release under their current name. (They previously released a Goner single under their previous name, Sex Cult.)
The song will be released as a seven-inch on Goner on October 16th, backed with “No Fun on the Beaches,” a cover of a song by Australian band Chosen Few. The band's debut album, which was recorded in San Francisco under the direction of Goner-connected garage/punk star Ty Segall, is scheduled for a November release.
Ex-Cult's Gonerfest set is 9:45 p.m. on Saturday, September 29th, at the Hi-Tone Café. Go here for a full Gonerfest schedule and ticketing info.
Check out the single here:
I subbed for Chris Herrington last week on The Chris Vernon Show. I had filled in for Herrington in the past when Vernon broadcasted on a different station, but never on his new show on 92.9 FM/680 AM.
How my appearance last week came about was weird. Tuesday night I had a dream that Herrington and I were composing dueling "Movies" lists. The topic: Time travel films. The dream's plot was us going through a video store doing research for time travel movies, while people were trying to kill us. The one movie I knew would make my list was The Final Countdown, and Back to the Future was my back-pocket movie in case I couldn't think of four more I'd rather include.
Weird dream. Wednesday morning I tweeted the plot out. Vernon replied that Herrington couldn't come on the show that afternoon and would I like to come on in his place and give my time travel list?
It can truly be said: Chris Vernon has made my dreams come true.
The "Movies" list: Time travel.
(Note: I declined to include Back to the Future, because c'mon. You've already seen it.)
This Sunday, September 16 the local acoustic venue Otherlands will host an alt-country artist very much on the rise: Indiana singer/songwriter Austin Lucas.
Lucas first emerged on the scene in 2006 with the critically-acclaimed album The Common Cold. He has since gone on to tour with everyone from local ex-pat Cory Branan to country legend Willie Nelson, and his 2009 collaboration with Hot Water Music frontman Chuck Ragan, Bristle Ridge, was a top-ten record on the Billboard Magazine bluegrass charts.
She's probably not as high-profile as some artists who record and tour more frequently, but pianist and jazz/blue singer Di Anne Price might be the most purely satisfying musician on the Memphis scene, in any genre or at any level.
Price's rich, voice-of-experience interpretation of blues and jazz standards — at times sarcastic, erotic, conversational, delicate, soulful — can typically be heard at small bars and clubs such as Huey's or Mollie Fontaine's, but tonight Price and her companionable Boyfriends will take to a bigger stage, playing a free concert at the Levitt Shell at 7:30 p.m.
If you haven't seen Price in a while — or especially if you've never seen her at all — and if the weather holds up, you should treat yourself tonight.
Here's a snippet from one of Price's local club gigs:
As Memphis rapper Don Trip readies a couple of new projects, he'll talk about his journey through the tumultuous music business this week as part of the Memphis Music Foundation's “Backstage Pass” series.
Trip is still working closely with Miami-based Epidemic Records producers Cool & Dre and is still affiliated with Interscope — which re-released Trip's breakthrough single “Letter to My Son” last year — through them, but isn't sure when he'll release something else through the label.
The Romance of Loneliness, the debut feature of Memphis-based filmmaking team Sarah Ledbetter and Matteo Servente, premieres tonight with two screenings at Malco's Paradiso theater.
The first screening, which will be preceded by an in-theater concert from Deering & Down, is sold out, but as far as we know there are still tickets left for the second screening, at 9:15 p.m.
After tonight's premiere the film — a drama shot last year that centers around a group of related women, including Memphis musician/actress Amy LaVere and veteran Hollywood supporting player Lynn Cohen — will open Friday for a week-long run at Studio on the Square.
The Flyer talked to Ledbetter and Servente about the project. You can read that feature in this week's edition, on the streets today and online tomorrow.
The Avett Brothers are playing Mud Island Amphitheatre on Friday, October 12th.
We have tickets, and we're giving you a chance to win them. Just follow this link and enter your contact info.
You can enter as many times as you like.
Winners will be drawn each week on Friday and notified via email.
Last week, for my regular “Movies” segment on The Chris Vernon Show, I ignored box office and went with another kind of topical theme, tying the list to the start of football season — or, at least the start of the NFL season, which is the only football season I really care about. The top four picks here were obvious and unavoidable. I struggled with the fifth slot, and ended up going with a childhood nostalgia pick I probably haven't seen in at least a couple of decades:
5. Wildcats (1986): Goldie Hawn is the daughter of a famous football coach who longs for her own chance to patrol the sidelines and leaves her job as a girls' track coach at a ritzy high school to take a football coach job no one wants at a rough school. Notable for being the big-screen debuts of both Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson: Yes, six years before White Men Can't Jump, they got their starts together as teammates in another sports comedy.
Nashville’s Cheap Time hit the road this week on a full US tour that spans 27 states and 58 cities in a little under three months. With only 212 miles between Nashville and Memphis, the band has made the Bluff City their second home during their career, playing venues like the Buccaneer and the Hi-Tone Café every few months. Former Memphian Jeffrey Novak (the band's songwriter and founder) also collaborated with the late Jay Reatard many times, and Reatard produced Novak’s first solo record in the house the two shared on in Midtown.
Flyer: How do you prepare for a tour of this size, mentally and physically?
Novak: There isn’t really a way to prepare for a tour this big. Being in this band over the years it seems like no matter how much we try to practice before tour it never works out, someone’s gone or there are scheduling problems. Right now we know more songs than we’ve ever known before, which is good. We know a whole new album that no one’s ever heard. Before a tour I always get filled with anticipation and I cant sleep a few days before we leave. There is also the excitement of being on the road and playing every night. It’s also nice to be in a position where things are being taken care of by our publicist and tour manager and we can just focus on the music.
You’ve toured the U.S. extensively over the years. Are you hitting any places for the first time on this outing?
There are tons of places we’re playing on this tour that I’ve never played before. It is inevitable when you tour for this long but we told our new booking agent Todd we wanted the longest tour possible with the fewest days off. Our European tour later this year is the same way. Once you’ve been doing this for a while and you can tour on a name, the doors open to more places you can go. We’ve stuck to this for seven years and it keeps getting a little better with every tour. There’s never been a major change before; everything’s always been really slow for us.