To tell the truth, I've never been a big fan of outdoor music festivals. Too often, they're overcrowded, uncomfortably hot, littered with trash, and not really conducive to good music. Give me a dark, dank, cool club anytime. But one of the rare outdoor festivals in this area that really works for me is The Double Decker Arts Festival on the lovely courthouse square in Oxford, Mississippi. A free, all-day roots-music festival, the Double Decker is set for this Saturday, April 27th, with music starting at 11 a.m. and going on through the night.
Nothing on this year's bill is quite as exciting as recent headliners such as Wilco and Lucinda Williams, but it's still a solid, varied set of roots acts. New York's Holmes Brothers (set to go on at 4:30 p.m.) are one of the finest acts on the contemporary blues scene, their gritty, three-piece blues-band sound spiked with heavy gospel influences. Last year's Joan Osbourne-produced Speaking in Tongues was a little disappointing to these ears, but the previous Promised Land is one of my favorite blues albums of the last decade. Other festival highlights will include the party-starting New Orleans rhythm and blues of the Wild Magnolias (3 p.m.), the incredibly tight bluegrass of the Del McCoury Band (6:00 p.m.), and the dulcet folk tones of Nanci Griffith & the Blue Moon Orchestra (9 p.m.). And perhaps most compelling of all, the more modern pop of Memphis' all-time greatest rock band, Big Star (6:30 p.m.). -- Chris Herrington
No matter how I try, I can't banish the theme to The Courtship of Eddie's Father from my head. "People, let me tell you 'bout my best friend/He's a one-boy cuddly toy/My up/My down/My pride and joy." How sweet and yet how vaguely disturbing. And while on the topic of vaguely disturbing, '80s hardcore heroes The Dead Kennedys are coming to town on Friday, April 26th, at the Hi-Tone. Of course, they are coming without famous frontman and rant-machine Jello Biafra. But, hey, seeing original band members like Easy Bay Ray, D.H. Peligro, and Klaus Fluoride shredding on tunes like "Holiday in Cambodia" has got to be worth something. And does it really matter who is shouting "Too Drunk To Fuck"? Filling in for Biafra is primo thrasher Brandon Cruz, a veteran of the California hardcore scene who began his life in the entertainment biz playing Bill Bixby's cute kid on (you guessed it) The Courtship of Eddie's Father. -- Chris Davis