Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Muck Sticky & the Rock-afire Explosion, Pt. 2

Posted By on Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 12:48 PM


As the Flyer previously reported, Muck Sticky will hit the road this summer backed by “the greatest animatronic rock band of all time,” the Rock-afire Explosion. Formerly known as the house band at the Showbiz Pizza chain, the group will join Mucky Sticky on a nationwide tour known as “the L.I.F.E. Tour.” Muck Sticky spoke to the Memphis Flyer this week via email about this development and more.

The Memphis Flyer: First off, can you tell us what you've been up to since $5 Cover?

Muck Sticky: I spent the winter hibernating and preparing the elements of the L.I.F.E. Tour as well as writing and recording a bunch of new music. I am very blessed to have had my music and message heard by a new audience because of my role on $5 Cover.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Local Alex Chilton Memorial Set for Tuesday at Minglewood Hall

Posted By on Fri, Mar 26, 2010 at 4:15 PM

Alex Chilton, the Memphis-bred leader of classic bands the Box Tops and Big Star who died March 17th, was cremated yesterday in his adopted home of New Orleans. Chilton's life and music was celebrated in the days after his death at Austin's South by Southwest Music Festival, where Big Star had been scheduled to perform. But Memphians will get their chance to pay tribute Tuesday, March 30th, when a public memorial organized by family and friends will be held at Minglewood Hall.

The memorial, which is scheduled to run from 5 to 8 p.m., will be a low-key affair, according to Ron Easley, a Memphis musician who was a longtime friend and musical collaborator of Chilton's and who is helping organize the memorial along with Chilton's wife, Laura, and sister, Cecilia.

Easley says that he and Chilton's wife, a flute player, might play, but that there is otherwise no plan for a performance component to the event. Instead, Paul Williams, owner of Midtown's Audiomania store, will put together a set of music — Chilton's own and music he loved — for the event. There will also a couple of screens and a projector set up to show photos and other visuals related to the late musician.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

On Location: Memphis Readies Film Fest, Throws Preview Party

Posted By on Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 4:00 PM

The 11th On Location: Memphis International Film Festival runs April 22-25 at the Ridgeway Four theater, and the organization will throw a preview party for the fest Friday night as part of Trolley Night festivities on South Main.

The On Location: Memphis preview party will take place at Sue Layman Designs (125 East G.E. Patterson) from 6-9 p.m. Friday night, with live music from Black Rock Revival. Admission is free and festival passes will be on sale at a reduced rate.

The festival will open with the world premiere of Hometown Glory, a documentary film written, directed, and produced by Hollywood entertainment manager Ray Costa. A Germantown native, Costa's film recounts his days as a volunteer teen firefighter in the late ’70s.

The festival will close with the debut of One Came Home, the premiere of local filmmaker Willie Bearden's debut narrative feature, a period piece shot in Memphis last year.

A full schedule will be available next week, but among the highlights are: The Cove, this year's Best Documentary Film Oscar winner. Dogtooth, an oddball Greek film that was a prize winner at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. And Family Affair, a personal documentary that drew strong notices at Sundance earlier this year.

Clips from some of these films after the jump:

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Sivads of March Film Fest, a YouTube Preview

Posted By on Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 1:56 PM

The "Sivads of March" film festival begins tonight at the Brooks Museum of Art, with a screening of Night of the Demon, perhaps one of the very best classic horror films. See Chris Davis' cover story on the classic local television personality here and read my breakdown of the primary film selections here. Brooks has the full, detailed schedule.

In addition, here are some clips from each scheduled film:

Night of the Demon:

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Grizz Host "Staxtacular 2010"

Posted By on Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 3:59 PM


This Friday night at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation will stage their annual "Staxtacular" fundraiser event. Hosted by Grizzlies players Rudy Gay, Mike Conley, and all-star Zach Randolph, and featuring live music from local R&B favorites the Bo-Keys, this year's "Staxtacular" party and auction will raise vital funds for the Stax Music Academy's youth mentoring and music programs.

This year's event marks the sixth year of partnership between the Grizzlies and the Stax Academy, and will be the third co-hosted by the emerging NBA superstar Gay.

“I’ve hosted this event for the past three years because it’s important to help students who have special talents, whether it is music, sports or any other field, to have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams,” says Gay. “The Grizzlies and Stax Museum and Academy are sources of pride for the city of Memphis and I’m proud to be associated with both.”

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Disclaimer*: Your Semi-Regular You-Know-Who Update

Posted By on Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 1:39 PM

Congratulations album cover
  • "Congratulations" album cover
We here at the Flyer are caught in a catch-twentysomething when attempting to cover the electronic-psychedelic rock music group MGMT. On the one hand, one of ’em is from Memphis (band member Andrew VanWyngarden graduated from White Station High School) and the band is growing into a worldwide sensation. Seems a natural to write about them as the cause arises.

*On the other hand, Andrew is the son of Bruce VanWyngarden, editor of the Memphis Flyer.

So we're embracing the disclaimer when we share noteworthy news about the band. And right now there's a lot of noteworthy stuff going on with MGMT.

First, did you know they have a new album coming out? They do, called Congratulations. It drops April 13th.

Except that it's actually available now. Piratical anarchists or some such types leaked the album last weekend. So, postempting the leak, MGMT has began streaming the album on their website. You can go listen to it there right now.

Or you can go listen to it right now on NPR. Congratulations was selected by NPR for its First Listen album-preview program and had been scheduled to be available streaming beginning Monday anyway.

Are you listening yet? Good. While the surf/late British Invasion/psychedelic/new wave of the first track, "It's Working," penetrates your brain, here's some more stuff:

Continue reading »

Memphis at SXSW

Posted By on Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 9:58 AM

8Ball & MJG headlined the Memphis Music Foundation showcase at SXSW.
  • 8Ball & MJG headlined the Memphis Music Foundation showcase at SXSW.

SXSW 2010 was frenetic, a mix of almost frantic hype over up-and-coming talent and recognition of established artists from Smokey Robinson to Hole to Stone Temple Pilots. But the sudden passing of Big Star’s Alex Chilton on the opening day of the festival cast a pall over the weekend. Reverberant excitement from the festival, at events like the Memphis Music Foundation showcase at Barbarella, and the Goner Records show on Saturday afternoon, couldn’t alter the poignant emphasis on Memphis music’s loss, embodied in Big Star’s Chilton-less reunion show.

The Memphis Music Foundation event at Barbarella offered a strong line-up of local talent, starting off with Harlan T. Bobo, shrouded in darkness save for one electric blue light. Then the effervescent, dreamy, and sweet Star and Micey took the stage, encircled by white string lights and a row of cardboard green grass. The two started the show with a short lead-in from Big Star's “Thirteen”. Big Star drummer Jody Stephens played alongside the Ardent Music group, and said a few words in Chilton’s honor.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Film Clips: That Evening Sun returns, Found Footage Fest scheduled, and more.

Posted By on Fri, Mar 19, 2010 at 10:16 AM

A round-up of news and notes relating to the local film scene:

Ray McKinnon
  • Ray McKinnon
That Evening Sun starts week-long run: Most Memphians would probably recognize Ray McKinnon for his broad performance as Michael Oher's high-school football coach in the Memphis-set blockbuster The Blind Side, but the actor and filmmaker, who won an Oscar in 2002 for his short film The Accountant, gave a more highly regarded performance in a lesser-known 2009 film. McKinnon plays Lonzo Choat — a troubled working-class man who has moved his family into a large farm house owned by aging Abner Meecham (Hal Holbrook), but rented out by Meecham's son against the father's will — in the Tennessee-set indie That Evening Sun.

That Evening Sun was an opening night film at last fall's Indie Memphis Film Festival and went on to win the festival's award for best narrative film, as well as similar awards at several other festivals. Later, That Evening Sun was named the year's best Southern-themed film by the Southeastern Film Critics Association. (Full disclosure: I had That Evening Sun second on my ballot for that award, after Goodbye Solo.) Starting today, That Evening Sun returns to town for a full theatrical run at Malco's Ridgeway Four, and McKinnon — also a producer on the film — will be on hand for tonight's 7:10 p.m. screening, conducting a Q&A after the screening. The event with McKinnon is being hosted by Indie Memphis. You can read more about That Evening Sun from our Indie Memphis fest coverage here and here.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Muck Sticky & the Rock-afire Explosion

Posted By on Thu, Mar 18, 2010 at 1:17 PM


In what is surely an early frontrunner for the most bizarre local music story of 2010, local comedy rapper Muck Sticky has announced a partnership and tour with the animatronic former house band from the old Showbiz Pizza (a precursor to Chuck E. Cheese's) chain, the Rock-afire Explosion.

“Considered to be the greatest animatronic rock band of all time” (according to the press release posted on Muck Sticky's blog), the Rock-afire Explosion will join Muck Sticky's colorful crew for college, theater and festival dates nationwide this summer and fall on a joint venture called “the L.I.F.E. (Love Is Free Everyday) Tour.” The show will consist of songs from both Muck Sticky and the Explosion's catalog of original songs, along with comedy skits, interactive games, and motivational speaking.

There is no word yet if and when the show will hit Memphis.


Steve Cohen Memorializes Alex Chilton on House Floor

Posted By on Thu, Mar 18, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Memphis congressman Steve Cohen paid tribute to Alex Chilton in the chamber of the House of Representatives this morning.

You can watch the video here.

Alex Chilton: 1950-2010

Posted By on Thu, Mar 18, 2010 at 10:00 AM

The death of Big Star and Box Tops frontman Alex Chilton — who passed away yesterday at a hospital in New Orleans, where he'd lived for the past couple of decades — is the latest in a stretch of recent losses for the Memphis music scene, most notably Jim Dickinson, Willie Mitchell, and Jay "Reatard" Lindsey.

Chilton, of course, had worked with Dickinson, most notably on the final Big Star album, Third/Sister Lovers, and on his notorious solo album Like Flies on Sherbert, and the two were always linked, with Dickinson also presiding over the recording of the Replacements' tribute song "Alex Chilton" in 1987.

Chilton's death happens on the eve of what was meant to be a busy period for the modern incarnation of Big Star, a group that included Chilton and original drummer Jody Stephens alongside new hands Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow. With the Big Star legacy back in the news thanks to a high-profile reissue campaign last year, the band was set to perform this Saturday night at the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, a performance preceded by a panel on the band. That panel was to include Stephens and original bass player Andy Hummel, but not, notably, a publicity-shy Chilton. The band was also slated to make a rare hometown appearance with a May concert at the Levitt Shell. As of now, it remains to be seen whether those concert appearances will be canceled or reconfigured, but the early word out of Austin was that the panel was likely to still be held, but now as a tribute to Chilton.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I'm A-Goin' Home: Big Star's Alex Chilton dies at 59

Posted By on Wed, Mar 17, 2010 at 11:01 PM

Alex Chilton was 16 in 1967 when he rasped his way through "The Letter," a soulfully imagined piece of garage rock candy that became a number one hit for The Box Tops. In 1970 Chilton, Jody Stephens, Andy Hummel and Chris "I Am the Cosmos" Bell set a new standard for power pop when they started playing together as Big Star. He recorded several solo albums including A Man Called Destruction and the Jim Dickinson-produced Like Flies on Sherbert.

Chilton recorded early singles for The Cramps at Ardent Studio in Memphis. He recorded their first LP Songs The Lord Taught Us at Sam Phillips' Phillips Recording Studio.

The Replacements song "Alex Chilton" from the Jim Dickinson produced Pleased to Meet Me is an homage to its namesake who plays guitar on the album.

In the 1980s, Chilton played guitar with Tav Falco's Panther Burns.

Alex Chilton died today, Wednesday, March 17th, of a heart attack, one week before a scheduled concert at SXSW in Austin, Texas. He was 59.

More to come.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Comedian Paul F. Tompkins at the 1884 Lounge

Posted By on Tue, Mar 16, 2010 at 12:16 PM


This Saturday night, March 20th, Minglewood Hall brings well-known comedian/writer/actor Paul F. Tompkins back to town for two shows in the intimate 1884 Lounge.

Tompkins is perhaps best known as the former host of VH1's Best Week Ever (canceled by the network in late 2009), but his list of credits includes Mr. Show with Bob and David, where he served as a writer and performer, multiple HBO and Comedy Central stand-up specials, and most recently, MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olberman, where he is an occasional correspondent/contributor. His second stand-up comedy album, Freak Wharf, was also released in late 2009. Tompkins spoke to the Memphis Flyer last week via email.

The Memphis Flyer: Your new album features a lot of improvisation. Is that a regular part of your live show now?

Paul F. Tompkins: Yeah, I definitely improvise a lot more now. It's not so much that the prepared material isn't still fun to do, it's just that I've heard it before! There really is nothing like the tightrope feeling that stream-of-consciousness comedy provides. And when the audience realizes that's what's going on, when they're on the same page, it's just exhilarating.

Continue reading »

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sound Advice: The Unbeheld CD-Release Show

Posted By on Thu, Mar 11, 2010 at 2:39 PM


This Friday, March 12th, local heavy rock band The Unbeheld will unveil a debut full-length recording, In the Arms of Mother Chaos (self-released), with a CD-release party at the Hi-Tone Cafe. Joining them will be emerging locals the Dirty Streets and Little Rock's Iron Tongue.

The Unbeheld is a relatively new group comprised of ex-members of several prominent local metal acts, including Epoch of Unlight, Serapis, and Grandma, but, thankfully, tends to shy away from current trends in heavy/metal music, embracing a more eclectic and adventurous approach to making eardrums bleed. Combining elements of Southern rock, blues, and psychedelia along with black metal, the Unbeheld's brand of heavy music is musically approachable enough for non-metalheads, but still rocks hard enough to deliver the goods for those faithful to the genre.

In the Arms of Mother Chaos, produced by Ardent's Alan Burcham (albeit, not at Ardent), is currently available for pre-order via www.memphishatesyou.com, and should be in local stores and other online retailers after Friday's release show.

For advance tickets, visit www.hitonememphis.com.

White Stripes Doc to Screen at Studio on the Square

Posted By on Thu, Mar 11, 2010 at 10:12 AM

Indie Memphis will present a local screening of the new concert documentary The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights next week at Studio on the Square.

The 93 minute documentary, from filmmaker Emmett Malloy, follows the duo Jack and Meg White on a 2007 Canadian tour. Featuring the band's own trademark color palette — black, white, and red — the film captures the band at concert halls and other traditional music venues, but also finds them performing on buses, in cafes, and in other non-traditional venues.

Extremely well-received so far, Under Great White Northern Lights debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall and has its American debut tomorrow night at the SXSW film festival in Austin. Indie Memphis will screen the film Tuesday, March 16th at Studio on the Square at 7:30 pm. Admission is $5 at the door or free for Indie Memphis members. You can also get in free by showing up dressed in White Stripes colors.

A preview:

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