By Ezra Wheeler
Whether you’ve already decked the halls or you’re feeling more on the bah-humbug spectrum, there’s something for you on the live music menu this December in Memphis. Here’s a quick look at five shows not to miss.
Robert Allen Parker
9 p.m., Saturday December 11, B-Side Bar
$10 at the door
While many aspects of 2021 are probably best left forgotten, the year did give us some great local releases that we’ll be jamming for years to come. One of the best was Robert Allen Parker’s blues-infused classic rock album “The River’s Invitation,” which proved yet again that he’s one of the city’s most skilled and adventurous guitarists. In case you missed the album release show in August, Parker will be returning to B Side for an encore performance of the album featuring help from Hope Clayburn, Yubu Kazungu, Adam Hill, Victor Sawyer, and more.
The Beach Boys
7:30 p.m., Sunday December 12, The Soundstage at Graceland
Few things are as culturally divisive as holiday music (or the Beach Boys, for that matter), but if you’re on the side of the divide that can’t get enough of either, then we’ve got the show for you! The band, which is synonymous with sun, summer, and surfing, will flip the narrative on their “Holiday Harmonies Tour,” performing both original holiday tunes alongside some well-worn Christmas classics.
The Barnes Family Holiday Show
7:30 p.m., Saturday December 18, Crosstown Theater
From the Thomases to the Dickinsons to the Staples, Memphis music has often been defined by the contributions of families. The Barnes siblings (Chris, Courtney, Calvin, and Carla) continue this tradition with their soulful blend of gospel and R&B. On December 18th, the four will perform together for the first time in five years for a holiday concert at the Crosstown Theater. “We are giving them what they’ve been asking for,” says Calvin J. Barnes II. “Expect to hear Christmas classics with a funk and soul twist.”
Quintron and Miss Pussycat
10 p.m., Friday December 31, Hi-Tone
Describing the music and live performances of New Orleans duo Quintron and Miss Pussycat is notoriously tricky, but “controlled chaos” might come the closest. For years, the husband and wife team have been wowing audiences with their unique “Swamp-Tech” music and performances that feature Quintron’s multitude of homemade instruments and Miss Pussycat’s puppet show. If you’re looking to bring in 2022 on a wild and weird note, then there is no other place to be on NYE than the Hi Tone.
8 p.m., Friday December 31, Growler’s
Although born to an immigrant mother from the Dominican Republic and a father of Italian descent in North Carolina, Americana singer Liz Brasher creates music that is quintessentially “Memphis.” Since moving to the Bluff City several years ago, she has released three critically acclaimed albums that are steeped in the tradition of blues, soul, and rock, alchemizing them into a coherent and beautiful whole. Brasher has also earned a well-deserved reputation as a dynamic live performer and her concert on New Year’s Eve should be near the top of your considerations for the evening.