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local beat

Well, the saga of Last Place on Earth continues: Contrary to previous reports, the downtown punk/metal/rock club did not close at the end of May and the once-cancelled Bad Brains reunion show is on again. According to owner Chris Walker, the club will remain open through June 15th, the night of the Bad Brains show, then close for good. Negotiations by a club employee to purchase and re-open the club have apparently fallen through. Bad Brains are, of course, a seminal early-'80s D.C. hardcore band, the most important African-American hard rock band ever, and the only American punk band to do justice to the music's reggae fetish. The original lineup has reunited under the moniker Soul Brains and will close the twisty but often vibrant tenure of Last Place on Earth with help from openers Candiria and Haste. Tickets for the show are $15; for more info call 545-0007.

The delay has been long and well-chronicled, but the Gibson Guitar Plant downtown is now at 80 percent production (producing 80 guitars a day with an eventual goal of 100) and you can go down and witness the production process yourself. In conjunction with the Rock 'N' Soul Museum, Gibson began giving tours of the facility during Handy Award weekend and will continue the tours Thursdays through Saturdays, with tours leaving on the hour from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tours are $10 per person and last about half an hour. The tours allow visitors to see the complete guitar-making process at the Memphis Gibson plant, which currently receives wood guitar molds from Nashville (the Memphis plant plans to open its own woodworking area in the near future, so that the plant will be self-sufficient). Every step of the process is done by hand, and you can see the guitars glued, sanded, buffed, painted, lacquered, detailed, fitted with electronics, tuned, inspected, and probably a lot more that I've forgotten. I took in the tour over the weekend, and it might be the most interesting quick-and-easy music tour in town this side of Sun itself. For more info call 543-0800, ext. 101.

Humorist Garrison Keillor will bring his popular public radio staple, A Prairie Home Companion, to Memphis this month. The program will be broadcasting live from The Orpheum from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, June 16th. Local musicians and guests featured on the broadcast will include Alvin Youngblood Hart and The Memphis Horns, who will be joined by roots-music notable Tracy Nelson. Tickets for the event range from $25 to $40 and are available through Ticketmaster (743-ARTS) or The Orpheum box office (525-3000). You can call WKNO-FM at 325-6544 for more information.

You can e-mail Chris Herrington at herrington@memphisflyer.com.

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