By: Zachary Corsa
November’s just around the bend, and thus goes the last lingering warmth of summer and all those uneaten bags of candy pumpkins. Before long, the leaves will be littering the ground and we’ll be bundled up indoors, sipping cider and dreading the encroaching holiday season. Luckily, there’s plenty of killer live music happening around Memphis as always this November. Here’s a quick look at five shows not to miss.
The Appleseed Cast w/ The Ellie Badge
9 p.m., Tuesday, November 2, The Hi-Tone (Small Room)
Lawrence, Kansas veterans The Appleseed Cast started out as quintessential purveyors of 90s Midwest emo, but quickly shed that mantle in the name of dizzying atmospherics and towering prog-rock ambitions with their classic Low Level Owl albums (and in the process became one of many bands of their era referred to as ‘America’s Radiohead’). They’ve continued pushing the sonic envelope ever since, and last year’s The Fleeting Light Of Impermanence is another adventurous step forward, touching on everything Chris Crisci and friends do so well, with a few surprises up their sleeves. The artist joining them for the evening is an inspired choice, as Jeremiah Matthews’ The Ellie Badge continues to conquer Bluff City hearts with his winsome, synth-tinged indie-pop. Between the two, those venturing out to The Hi-Tone are in for some seriously delightful feels.
8 p.m., Friday November 12, Railgarten
$15 advance / $20 door TICKETS
Brooklyn’s Gangstagrass might sound familiar to fans of the much-adored FX television series Justified, for which they provided the opening theme, but don’t dare dismiss them as any sorta ‘better on paper’ gimmick; their mad-scientist stitching together of bluegrass and hip-hop traditions sounds much more seamless than you’d imagine, and definitely much more fun. They’ve occupied this unique intersection of American music
landscapes and cultures since 2006, and last year’s full-length No Time For Enemies proves they’re still as sharp and kinetic as ever. Know a fan of old time-infused indie and a fan of hard-hitting East Coast lyrical wordplay? Bring them along, because both of ‘em are sure to find something to dig about Gangstagrass.
7:30 p.m., Saturday November 13, Green Room At Crosstown Arts
Legendary solo experimental guitarist Marc Ribot is much cherished for his onstage eccentricity, lending his chaotic approach to the instrument a sense of improvised mystery and invention. Ribot’s works are steadfastly genre-abstinent, ranging from free jazz fantasias to all-out addictive jazz fusion, from pure no wave dissonance to pulsing Latin-tinged color storms. He’s collaborated with a jaw-dropping range of musical luminaries over his lengthy career – Tom Waits, Wilson Pickett, John Zorn, Elvis Costello, The Black Keys, Neko Case, Marianne Faithful, Robert Quine, and Arto Lindsay, to name a very few. Why not come on down to the Green Room to check him out for yourself? Chances are, you’ve already been listening to him for years without knowing it.
Dirty Streets w/ Ben Abney & The Hurts
8 p.m., Saturday November 13, Hernando’s Hideaway
Dirty Streets is a trio of Memphians head over heels in love with the bone-shaking crunch and salacious swagger of classic heavy rock titans like Cream, Mountain, and Led Zeppelin. The sheer quantity of blistering riffs and hound dog wails packed into every square sonic inch of their jams is bewildering, and they’re never afraid to throw in a sly cowbell or mournful acoustic for good measure. If that’s not enough to make you pencil it in, another fine crop of locals are on the bill, as well; Ben Abney & The Hurts skew ‘frantic, country-tinged indie-folk’, calling to mind the heyday of Uncle Tupelo in their race-to-the-finish-line hoedowns. Abney’s high lonesome vocals are plaintive and affecting, tender but convincingly whiskey-weathered. If throbbing amps matched with haunting alt-country anthems is your jam, then Hernando’s is your Saturday night sweetheart.
Crowbar w/ Grave Lurker, Thief’s Hand, Korroded
7 p.m., Wednesday November 24, Growler’s
Getting the most bang for your buck is worth its weight in gold for live music fans, and what a treasure Growler’s has in store for the last Wednesday of November. It might be to believe, but New Orleans doom-sludge OGs Crowbar have been a going concern since 1990, and their unholy union of slow-creeping dread and hardcore-punk fury has made them NOLA-metal icons and innovators. Bluff City’s own Grave Lurker lend terrifying black metal wails to all things brooding and ominous, while fellow Memphians Thief’s Hand supply the most caustic, battery-acid eviscerating version of hardcore conceivable. Most intriguing is Korroded, who I must admit are a bit of a question mark; from what I could dredge up online, they’re (probably) a Memphis-based outfit, and the one brief piece available to stream is a deliciously-terrifying slice of nightmare-dark noise that ought to make Dominic Fernow blush. Color my curiosity piqued! Let’s review: four massively-brutal artists for just fifteen bucks? One of whom is shrouded in near-mystery? C’mon, you know you’re down.