Yo Gotti's Birthday Bash at the Mud Island Amphitheater, June
White Lamborghini? Check. Nicki Minaj appearance? Check. Enough Patron to fill the Mud Island Riverwalk? Check. From Meek Mill to O.T. Genasis, this birthday party had it all and was proof that Memphis isn't small potatoes when it comes to premier hip-hop shows. The only way to top this experience is to make a weekend out of the annual event, something I think no one would complain about. –CS.
Jessica Pratt at Minglewood Hall, September
Jessica Pratt opened for Beach House on their most recent tour that stopped through Minglewood Hall, but to me the only thing that mattered that night was Pratt and her amazing acoustic folk rock. Her delicate music might be best-suited for a smaller setting, but the show was still excellent. –CS.
Hank Wood and the Hammerheads at the Hi-Tone during Gonerfest 12, September
Widely considered a favorite of this year's Gonerfest for a reason, these NYC insular punk/hardcore weirdos brought a double-drummer onslaught that was as heavy with nuance as it was ... heavy. –AE.
Cities Aviv and PreauXX at the Hi-Tone, August
The battle for the best underground rapper in Memphis is between two MCs who frequently collaborate with each other, and this late-summer show at the Hi-Tone proved that both Cities Aviv and PreauXX are fit to wear the crown. –CS
Jack Oblivian and the Sheiks at the Harbor Town Amphitheater, April
The River Series at the Harbor Town Amphitheater wrapped its second season this year, with each show well-curated and well-attended. Seemingly made for this type of gig, Jack O. and the Sheiks rocked on the river to a packed crowd, and the free hot dogs and Wiseacre beer made this show one of the best of the year. –CS
Torche at the Hi-Tone, March
The reliable deliverers of one of the best marriages of pop hooks and insane heaviness returned after a little while away from their perennial stops in town and didn't stop short of expectations. –AE.
Evil Army Record Release Show at Murphy's, December
The kings of Memphis metal recently returned to Murphy's for a packed show, and all was right in the heavy music realm of Memphis. After everything that Evil Army has been through over the past few years, it was good to see the three-piece back in action, with a killer new EP in tow. –CS.
Destruction Unit, Ex-Cult, and Gimp Teeth at the Hi-Tone Small Room, March
I fancied myself accustomed to extremely loud live bands until Destruction Unit's brutally intense yet oddly hypnotizing set literally caused something close to vertigo, and a few minutes of fresh air were required to set my head straight. –AE.
House of Lightning, WRONG, and Mayfair at the Hi-Tone, June
I went for the melodic prog-metal guitar acrobatics of the Torche/Floor-related House of Lightning, but got there early enough to be blown away by local heavy post-emo shoegaze outliers Mayfair, who have recorded a full-length (for release next year). Keep an eye on this band. –AE.
Public Image Ltd. at the New Daisy Theater, November
The New Daisy brought the prince of punk back to Memphis, and the band absolutely destroyed the place. John Lydon may be all about peace, love, and understanding these days, but his ability to captivate an audience with his abrasive stage antics and hilarious stage banter is still very much intact. –CS
Coliseum at the Hi-Tone, March
The busy but still unfairly overlooked Louisville trio that's played Memphis many times put on a fantastically tight show of their heavy and dark post-punk earlier this year in the wake of their first full-length on Jacob Bannon's unstoppable Deathwish Inc. label. –AE.
Show I wish I went to: Tommy Wright III at Juicy Jim's, May
Tommy Wright III played at Juicy Jim's this summer, and I'm still kicking myself for not being at what had to be one of the weirdest and best shows of 2015. Oh well, there's always next year. -CS