Who says long-distance relationships never work out? Joe Lapsley, the bearded, bone-wielding history professor who fronts Neighborhood Texture Jam, has often divided his time between Illinois and Memphis and has been a full-time Chicago resident for years. But as sure as the sun comes up each morning, NTJ will rock Midtown’s face on at least a semiregular basis. The chord-crunching, glass-smashing, and chainsaw revving continues on Saturday, January 14th, at the Hi-Tone Café when Lapsley takes the trip down I-55 to team up with guitarists John Whittemore and Tee Cloar, bassist Steve Conn, drummer Paul Buchignani, and texture artist Greg Easterly to honor the memory of Memphis music fan Doug Rockett, who recently passed away due to complications from diabetes, and to raise money for the Church Health Center.
NTJ was founded in 1988 at Rhodes College and quickly gained a reputation for playing ferocious, funk-informed punk rock shot through with whimsy and in-your-face political comment like this bit from Funeral Mountain’s “Old South”: “Want to see the rebel flags?/Want to see ’em?/They’re next to the swastikas in a museum.”
Linda Heck, another Memphis expat who can’t quit her hometown, opens the show. Heck and her band the Trainwreck were Midtown staples throughout the ’80s and ’90s. She moved to Sewanee, Tennessee, in the aughts but relaunched her band at the Antenna Club reunion in 2009. Doors open at 9 p.m.