Those familiar with the Memphis underground music scene need no introduction to Abe White. A fixture of the Midtown punk community for more than 15 years, White has played drums in the Oscars, True Sons of Thunder, and Sector Zero, just to name a few. He also fronts the incredibly authentic Alice Cooper tribute band founded by Jack Oblivian. In addition to playing in those groups, White also serves as songwriter and front man for the Manateees (yes, there are three E's), a group that once boasted almost 10 members, but now performs as a three piece.
Self-described as "a walk through Abe's nightmares," it's understandable that the Manateees have taken the alienate-the-audience approach to punk music. White's disdain for just about everything makes for some good song-writing material, and the Manateees have singles on punk labels across the country to prove it. In the latest Manateees single, "Hate on Parade" (out this spring on Total Punk Records), White tackles all the things he sees wrong with Memphis, and there's a lot he's unhappy with. But while the Manateees might seem intimidating, their music is approachable. It's classic Memphis garage punk, with all the right guitar stabs and a pummeling rhythm section.
Rich Crook, another Memphis native, who played in the Reatards, Lost Sounds, and Knaughty Knights, will join the Manateees at Murphy's Friday with his band Lover. White played drums for Lover on a European tour, solidifying the idea that every punk band out of Memphis shares members. But the Manateees' and Lover's music couldn't be more different. The Manateees conjure up frightening blasts of punk rock; Lover rely on the power-pop hook, with songs about heartache, death, and a couple of other things not fit for print. – Chris Shaw
Manateees with Unwed Teenage Mothers and Lover at Murphy's, Friday, February 21st, 7 p.m., $5.