It’s exceedingly rare for a, ahem, “rock writer” such as myself to be afforded the chance to promote his own show, but in this circumstance, it seemed like the most viable option. After all, it is a benefit show I’m promoting, and the beneficiary of said show is my lifelong friend and mentor, Bob Holmes, who was hit by a truck roughly six weeks ago while riding his bicycle home from work. He suffered a broken arm, a fractured pelvis, and numerous smaller injuries and complications, and has been unable to return to work or even play guitar since. Now, of course, the bills — both medical and personal — are piling up.
For those of you who don’t know Bob, he’s the guitarist and songwriter behind The Modifiers, one of the first punk rock bands to ever come out of Memphis, TN. The band was founded in 1980, when the Antenna Club was still the Well, by Bob and the group’s lead singer, Milford Thompson. Milf, as Bob still refers to him when he’s telling stories about the old days, was an incredible frontman — his stage antics are still legendary amongst those who remember. But just as important to The Modifiers’ sound were the blistering guitar licks and soaring pop hooks from Bob.
By Joe Boone
on Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 11:00 AM
There's a whole lotta writing about the Killer going on. The greatest performer in the history of American music is going to perform and talk with his official biographer Rick Bragg on Friday night at the Cannon Center. See this week's Flyer for Leonard Gill's interview with Bragg. As for Jerry Lee, you can watch this video of him playing at a casino back in July of this year. He's old as Hell. But watch the face of his longtime guitar player Kenny Lovelace, who watches over Lewis' performance like someone helping an elderly person walk. But there is a moment when the old man swells the piano up like a wave at Mavericks. It's a volcano of sound that many piano players would feel ashamed to try. It's purely improvised and catches Lovelace off guard. You can watch him smile and marvel at the wild spirit that animates this elderly incarnation of Huck Finn. You can't do that.
When a band releases their first album, it usually becomes one of two things: a trial and error attempt at finding their place or one that defines them, a record that all of their future releases will be stacked against.
For St. Louis, Missouri natives Foxing, it’s the latter. Last November, the quintet released their 10 track, 30 minute debut The Albatross through Count Your Lucky Stars. After burning through copies of their first pressing and touring extensively through living rooms and venues across the country, the band caught the attention of Triple Crown Records, who remixed, remastered and rereleased the album.
The band is currently on their fifth pressing of The Albatross, an album that sounds more like a film score than a collection of songs. Each track weaves together into one cohesive piece, which is a difficult feat for any band, especially on their first full-length record.
By Joe Boone
on Fri, Oct 31, 2014 at 9:50 AM
It's Halloween. Nothing is scarier than some creepy old god trying to eat your babies. Parents, don't forget:
Leviticus 18:21: "And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Moloch"
Unless it's the dark-horse entry for greatest Memphis rock band ever - the blues rock band Moloch - don't let the trick-or-treaters near the real Moloch or any Ammonite gods this holiday season. Be safe out there.
By Chris Shaw
on Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 12:59 PM
Hip-Hop super group Run The Jewels have been on a tear lately, touring in support of their critically acclaimed second album Run The Jewels 2 that was officially released this week. Red Bull brought the duo consisting of El-P and Killer Mike to Minglewood Hall last week for a free show, and Flyer contributor Josh Miller got some amazing photos. Check them out below.
The new-to-Memphis Zebra Lounge fits — forgive me — squarely into Overton Square, providing a new option for bar-hoppers in the area.
The original Zebra Lounge opened in Chicago in 1929. The Memphis location is just its second, chosen, the owners said, for city’s musical legacy.
The atmosphere alone might be enticing enough for some. The decor is modern chic — black, white, and red all over.
The main event isn’t the look of the place, however; it’s a piano where performers crank out covers of requested songs taken throughout the night in front of a huge zebra mirror/mural. The seating immediately around it almost looks like a sushi bar with the performer as a chef and whatever they decide to cook up is the chef's special.
Prices for cocktails are right in line for the area: a whiskey sour settled at $7, while my companion's Guinness cost $5.50.
The crowd was thick and loud during our visit (it was Saturday night, after all), dancing to the pop music overhead. It wasn't until a performer sat behind the piano and began to play that the professional-type crowd quieted and then cheered. Classics by Elton John and Billy Joel were to be expected, but one performer belted pop favorites by Queen and Lady Gaga.
The Zebra Lounge is located in the old Le Chardonnay space near Babalu and Sweet Noshings.
By Chris Shaw
on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 9:20 AM
Negative Approach come to the Hi-Tone next Tuesday night, marking the second time in two years the Michigan hardcore legends have rolled through town. Scion Rock Fest brought Negative Approach to Memphis last summer, but while bands like The Melvins and Corrosion of Conformity played the New Daisy during the downtown festival, Negative Approach were billed at the Hard Rock Cafe (not exactly a mosh-pit friendly establishment).
This time John Brannon and company will be at the Hi-Tone, and local openers Dawn Patrol should add to the evening's chaos. Having long been considered one of the greatest American hardcore bands, it makes sense that in the era of reunion shows Negative Approach would return, and the band even released an extensive compilation of unreleased material through TAANG! records in 2011. Check out a vintage set from Negative Approach in the video below, and make plans to be at the Hi-Tone on Tuesday, November 4th. $10 gets you in.
“There used to be business magazines that had all of the concerts nationwide in there, like Amusement Business,” Hall says. “So you knew what the capacity of the halls was and how much money came in. I was studying that stuff and trying to get an idea on what I could do. It would have circus stuff. And in the back it was arcade machines. Anybody that dealt with the actual business of show business, from Broadway to the Fillmore, was in there. There used to be a good news stand where you could get stuff.”
Hall did not find success in the concert promotion world, but he developed a passion for the music that drives his archival work.
By Joe Boone
on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 8:45 AM
Things are hopping at the Visible Music College, the private music and worship arts college that’s settling into some cool digs downtown on Madison. Ken Steorts, a contemporary-Christian artist, started the school in Lakeland in 2000 after touring with his band and seeing young musicians in need of career training and preparation for the market for religious music. Today, Visible is an accredited college occupying the former C&I Bank building on Madison across from AutoZone Park. The school has been established long enough that its graduates are starting to emerge as talented musicians.
By Joe Boone
on Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 12:50 PM
The Independents are a band predicated on Iron Maiden and Conway Twitty. I shouldn't have to write another word. But I get paid for this. The ska-derived South Carolinian punks caught the ear of Joey Ramone, who along with with Ramones producer Daniel Rey, did their album Back From the Grave before Ramone's death in 2001. They are a potent mix of skate rat punk and limey Ska. They have a formidable bass player who elevates the dialog between Eddie and Mr. Twitty. You could dance yourself into a respectable mess with these freaks in charge. And you should. Video evidence below.
By Joe Boone
on Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 10:29 AM
River Arts Fest is known for the arts and crafts. But the weather (zero chance of precipitation) and the music are not be missed. The Mighty Souls Brass Band kicks things off Friday night. Boogie around in the crisp fall air to these guys. It's good for you. Plus you'll be warmed up for John Paul Keith, who'll be followed by Luther Dickinson, Shardé Thomas, and Amy LaVere. That lineup is basically its own art festival.
On Saturday, things get properly insane with three stages. Alexis Grace, Grace Askew, Loveland Duren, American Fiction, and Ruby Wilson are only SOME of the talented folks who will be giving sculpture and painting a run for the money. This is always a great weekend for Downtown. It gets to the heart of the walkability thing and showcases our wonderful historic district.
By Joe Boone
on Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 10:06 AM
The Bar-Kays threw down a housewarming party for the Hard Rock Cafe's new location at 126 Beale. That building is now a Memphis music volcano housing the Hard Rock, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, and Lansky's Clothiers. The scene spilled out onto the street as media, fans, and tourists lined up to see the Bar-Kays donate a couple of slammin' suits and knock out a set of pile-driving soul. Have a look a the photos.
Today Is The Day, Lord Mantis, Crowlord will play the The Hi Tone on Sunday, October 26th.
Steve Austin (no, not THAT Steve Austin, or that one of the six million dollar variety) has burned through more than a dozen members in the band's twenty-two year existence. Metal fans everywhere can thank him for discarding Brann Dailor and Bill Kelliher, who went on to form the massively successful Mastadon. Love them or hate them, the heavy music scene today wouldn't have the exposure it does without Mastodon, and Austin gave Dailor and Kelliher their first taste of success. (More after the jump.)
By Matt Writt
on Sun, Oct 19, 2014 at 7:16 AM
Hard-hitting rap duo Run the Jewels comes to Minglewood Hall on Tuesday, October 21st as part of Red Bull's Sound Select Tour. You can get your free ticket by RSVPing here. But show up early, RSVP does not guarantee a ticket and this show is sure to be packed.
Run the Jewels is a rap super-duo of sorts, comprised of Atlanta rapper Killer Mike and rapper/producer El-P, who hails from Brooklyn.
Due October 28th, the follow-up to 2013's Run the Jewels, Run the Jewels 2 may be one of the most hyped hip-hop releases of 2014. (In a truly weird confluence of hip-hop fandom and internet culture, a Kickstarter campaign is currently underway to create "Meow the Jewels" a remake of RTJ2 with the beats comprised entirely of cat noises. El-P has agreed to produce the project if it gets fully funded, and a laundry list of noteworthy producers have signed on to contribute.)
Lyrically, Run the Jewels is all chain-snatching antagonism, taking aim at any and all authority figures. El-P's beats take an equally aggressive approach, with scrambled sample loops, cracking snares, and heavily distorted basslines.
Here's a single from RTJ2 called "Close Your Eyes (And Count to F*ck)" featuring Zach de la Rocha, of Rage Against the Machine fame.