Scruffs and Fareveller Return 

This weekend, local music fans will have two rare chances to see Memphis power-pop cult figures the Scruffs perform live. The band is scheduled to play on Saturday night at the Poplar Lounge and on Sunday night at the Hi-Tone Café.

The Scruffs is the brainchild of Memphian Stephen Burns, who's been living and performing in Scotland for the last decade or so, collaborating with members of Belle & Sebastian and Teenage Fanclub, among others. Burns recently moved back to Memphis, which could complicate things for live shows in the future, as half of the band's current line-up — bassist Bobby Kildea, who did not make this trip, and drummer Mark Rodgers — are based overseas.

(Guitarist Adam Hill and fill-in bassist Chris Gafford are based in Memphis and Nashville, respectively.)

"I've lived here, there, and everywhere," Burns says. "It does not affect recording. It can make the live-show issue a bit more difficult. However, my family has lived here for over 45 years, and I have to demonstrate a tad bit of responsibility. Difficult for a perpetual teenager. On the positive side, I have found a house that I like very much, quite close to Ardent."

The band's shows this weekend will be its last before Rodgers returns to the U.K. Sunday night's Hi-Tone performance has the added distinction of being the CD-release show for the Scruffs' new album, Kill! Kill!, which might be Burns' strongest collection of songs since the 1977 classic Wanna Meet the Scruffs?.

"Frankly, I think it is an excellent album," he says. "As good as anything the Scruffs recorded. Exciting, gentle, beautiful vocal melodies. Great pop rockers."

The Scruffs perform Saturday, March 24th, 10 p.m., at the Poplar Lounge ($5) and Sunday, March 25th, 9 p.m., at the Hi-Tone ($5).

For more information, visit thescruffs.com.

Also on tap for this weekend is the Fareveller Music Festival, which runs Thursday through Saturday at various venues around town.

Now entering its second year, this year's Fareveller is a somewhat more focused affair, with last year's sprawling overload of venues and artists giving way to a tighter schedule and a few bigger names in indie-rock, including Maps and Atlases, Those Darlins, and the Black Belles.

"We have made an effort to focus on the individual shows this year," says Fareveller founder/organizer and local musician Brandon Herrington. "My talent buyer, Seth Fein, is a wise young man with a lot of experience. With our limited budget, we felt it very important to get the most bang for the buck by making each show stronger in terms of headliners. It will be a lot easier from a logistical standpoint as well."

Despite scaling back in some ways, including the number of locals on this year's bill, Herrington sees the festival continuing to grow and take root in the current Memphis-music scene.

"Memphis needs more progressive music things," he says. "I keep saying this, but we are held back by our heritage so much. It is the coolest thing about Memphis, but it also infiltrates everything. Part of building the shows better this year meant upping our headliner level and reducing the total number of acts for each show and the total number of shows. The unfortunate side effect is less available spots. I hope that as this thing grows, we can increase the local participation. The local scene is still integral to my vision. It's absolutely where my heart is."

Fareveller Schedule
Thursday, March 22nd:

Young Avenue Deli
10 p.m.: Ume
11 p.m.: Maps and Atlases

Friday, March 23rd:
Young Avenue Deli

9 p.m.: Canon Blue
10 p.m.: The Rocketboys
11 p.m.: The Black Belles
Midnight: Mobley

Otherlands Coffee Bar
8 p.m.: David Ramirez
9 p.m.: Myla Smith
10 p.m.: Among the Cranes

Newby's
11 p.m.: Mindelixer
Midnight: Eliot Lipp

Saturday, March 24th:
Young Avenue Deli

10 p.m.: Arma Secreta
11 p.m.: Youniverse
Midnight: Those Darlins

Otherlands Coffee Bar
7:30 p.m.: The Underhill Family Orchestra
8:15 p.m.: Greenside Manners
9 p.m.: Water Liars
10 p.m.: Jessica Lea Mayfield

Newby's
11 p.m.: Luke "Glitchdoctor" Sexton
Midnight: Strooly
1 a.m.: The Hood Internet
Three-day wristbands are $25 at the door and good for every show of the festival. For individual show prices or more information on the line-up, visit fareveller.com.

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