Thursday, March 4, 2010

Beale Street Music Festival: The Full Lineup (Annotated)

Posted By on Thu, Mar 4, 2010 at 1:48 PM

The full lineup is out for this year's Beale Street Music Festival, which takes place Friday, April 30th - Sunday, May 2nd at Tom Lee Park. There is probably less contemporary star power than usual in this year's lineup, but a healthy selection of vital current bands who should be good fits for the live outdoor setting, most notably The Flaming Lips, The Drive-By Truckers, and Band of Horses. Set times have not been announced, but we do have the initial lineups for each stage on each day.


Guitar god Jeff Beck continues his recent comeback with a Friday night slot at the Beale Street Music Fest.
  • Guitar god Jeff Beck continues his recent comeback with a Friday night slot at the Beale Street Music Fest.
Cellular South Stage: Neon Trees, Mutemath, 30 Seconds to Mars, Limp Bizkit.
Early Read: Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit) will rap-rock like its 1998 and Jared Leto (30 Seconds to Mars) will look pretty, but Utah-based Neon Trees, whose polished, poppy modern rock is somewhat similar to fellow Westerners The Killers, might be the most interesting bet here.

Sam's Town Stage: Blues Traveler, Jeff Beck, Widespread Panic.
Early Read: The guitar/jam-band fan's haven. Jeff Beck, who paired up with Rod Stewart in the Jeff Beck Group and also served a stint as lead guitarist with the Yardbirds, is a legit classic-rock guitar god, though he never found a strong a vehicle for his talents as contemporaries such as Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. Beck just released his first studio album in nearly a decade with Emotion & Commotion. His strong riffs should be a welcome respite in-between the more expansive jamming of Blues Traveler and Widespread Panic.

Budweiser Stage: Al Kapone, The B-52s, The Goo Goo Dolls.
Early Read: This gets the "Most Schizophrenic Lineup" Award. Local fave Kapone is better live than most rappers of his ilk. The B-52s are former new-wave underdogs who have ossified into a party-band institution. The Goo Goo Dolls are modern-rock hitmakers a few years past their peak.

Blues Tent: Joanne Shaw Taylor, Jimmy Thackery & the Drivers, Kenny Neal & Band, Coco Montoya.
Early Read: Kenny Neal, the leading light of a prominent New Orleans blues family, might be the best bet here.


Cellular South Stage: Joan Red, The Constellations, Yo Gotti, Puddle of Mudd, Seether, Alice in Chains.
Early Read: Grunge-metal lives at the Cellular South Stage, with a reformed Alice in Chains keeping on in the absence of late lead-singer Layne Staley. But I'm more interested in the middle of this lineup, featuring Memphis rapper Yo Gotti. And Atlanta rockers The Constellations might be worth taking a flyer on.

Sam's Town Stage: Dragon Balti, Colbie Caillat, Jerry Lee Lewis, Michael McDonald, Hall & Oates.
Early Read: Dragon Balti are a hip-hop group representing Memphis in May honored country Tunisia. The headliners are the blue-eyed soul-pop stars of the ’70s and ’80s. I can't much abide McDonald, to be honest. But if you claim not to have found feelings toward many Hall & Oates hits, well, I don't believe you.

The Drive-By Truckers: Great American rock band, Saturday night BSMF highlight.
  • The Drive-By Truckers: Great American rock band, Saturday night BSMF highlight.
Budweiser Stage: Elmwood, North Mississippi Allstars, The Drive-By Truckers, Gov't Mule, The Flaming Lips.
Early Read: The best lineup of the fest as far as I'm concerned. Beloved Oklahoma alt/psych band The Flaming Lips are enjoying a return to form of sorts with their 2009 album Embryonic, which draws on the heavier, spikier sound of their early records more than the softer atmospherics of more recent albums. But at this point, they're more exciting as an extravagant, theatrical live band and should make for great Fest headliners. And The Drive-By Truckers are the most consistent straight-up rock band around, with a now-deep catalogue great songs they put across with Southern-rock guitars that should work great live and outdoors on the banks of the Mississippi. They're about to release another fine album, The Big To-Do.

Blues Tent: Alvin Youngblood Hart, Blind Mississippi Morris, Ruthie Foster, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Savoy Brown, Walter Trout & Band.
Early Read: Memphian Alvin Youngblood Hart is one of modern music's true talents, so get to the Blues Tent early Saturday. And Bobby "Blue" Bland is one of the great living voices of early R&B. See him while you can.

Cellular South Stage: Sore Eyes, Boys Like Girls, Five Finger Death Punch, Chevelle, 3 Doors Down.
Early Read: Boston emo band Boys Like Girls followed by an underground metal group called Five Finger Death Punch made up of a couple of former members of W.A.S.P.? Hmm...

Alison Krauss leads her bluegrass band Union Station as a Sunday-night headliner.
  • Alison Krauss leads her bluegrass band Union Station as a Sunday-night headliner.
Sam's Town Stage: Rock Sugar, Bret Michaels, Booker T & the MGs, Earth, Wind & Fire.
Early Read: Despite the absence of late drummer Al Jackson Jr., classic Stax house band Booker T & the MGs still have it, especially when they stay locked into a groove. But former Poison frontman Bret Michaels is the curiosity. As long as spends plenty of time with his old band's back catalogue, he should be fun.

Budweiser Stage:Truth & Salvage, John Hiatt, Band of Horses, Alison Krauss & Union Station.
Early Read:My second favorite line-up of the fest. Veteran songwriter John Hiatt has long been a Memphis favorite. Young, rootsy indie faves Band of Horses are among the most vital contemporary acts at the fest. And Alison Krauss is simply one of the best vocalists in any genre.

Blues Tent: Robert Belfour, Hubert Sumlin, Sonny Landreth, Janiva Magness, Leon Russell & Band.
Early Read: A former sideman for blues great Howlin' Wolf, guitarist Hubert Sumlin is one of the genre's living legends.

Area blues artists Richard Johnston and T-Model Ford will perform at the "Blues Shack" throughout the festival.

Tickets are on sale today at all Ticketmaster outlets, online at, and by phone at 800-745-3000. Three-day passes are $65. Single-day tickets are $29.50. For more info on the Beale Street Music Fest and other Memphis in May events, go to here.

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