So maybe I've been wrong about this, but I've always assumed that rock-and-roll fashion was entirely based on whatever happens to be available in the thrift stores at any given time, sort of a careful mixing and matching of our cultural discards. You know, kinda like modern rock itself. But to prove just how wrong I am, here comes a rock-and-roll runway fashion show at the Hi Tone Café on Friday, June 20th, featuring such up-and-coming designers as Viva l'American Death Ray's fashion-plate frontman Nick Ray. Let me guess leather and fur? So nice. The music for this evening will be provided by Memphis' new sensations, the Devo-inspired techno-rockers the Pelicans. Also on hand to add to the weirdness will be the Detonators and New Orleans' own Mr. Quintron. For the uninitiated, Quintron is a mad inventor and a one-man, organ-driven band who mixes gospel rhythms with freak-show sensibilities. Whenever he's in town, it's a must-see show, and all fashion aside, this is no exception.
Of course, on Saturday, June 21st, everyone will be heading out to Shelby Farms to see Heart sing "Barracuda," right? What? You mean to tell me that not everybody is interested in magic men with magic hands and hot 1970s chick rock? Well, in that case, some folks may choose to visit the Lounge to see local phenoms The Reigning Sound. And speaking of local phenoms, Jim Dickinson will bring his fusion of blues, rock, country, and gospel to Otherlands for MAMA's acoustic showcase.
Probably the weirdest show coming to town this week is The Chandler Travis Philharmonic. The CTP dresses in bizarre thrift-store outfits and mixes Dixieland and other horn-driven forms with classic 1960s and '70s pop. Imagine what would happen if Weird Al decided to do a heartfelt tribute to Guided by Voices and hired a horn section to back him. That would be the CTP. It's one part circus, one part old-timers rock band, and one part "what the f%@k???" They will be crowding into Earnestine & Hazel's on Wednesday, June 25th.
There is one more show happening on Saturday that bears mentioning. Several members of The Mudflaps will be playing Murphy's at a record-release party for Easy Way. You may remember Easy Way as Memphis' best party band from a few years back. They turned the bluegrass standard "Man of Constant Sorrow" into a lurking, Jim Morrison-inspired creep show and penned some of the best pop tunes to hit Midtown since the first time Big Star called it quits. Easy Way disbanded after the group's beloved frontman Craig Shindler passed away suddenly and unexpectedly while visiting friends in New York. Craig, who also devoted his talents to such bands as the Modifiers, left quite a musical legacy behind him. The new Easy Way release provides one more reason why Craig should be considered one of Memphis' best songwriters. A little tune called "Underdog" says it all.
-- Chris Davis