From the We Are Memphis Music team, here’s a mix of live music picks we think you can’t afford to miss out on this week.
Raneem + Better in Color
7:30 p.m., Thursday January 20, The Green Room @ Crosstown Arts
Raneem is, in our mostly less than humble opinion, one of Memphis’ most exciting emerging artists. She’s been a part of the scene for a while now, albeit as a student at Rhodes, and her 2021 EP Peace of Mind reintroduced the artist as a versatile songwriter, a dynamic vocalist and perhaps most of all – a true artist, interested more in exploring form than being tied down to one. Don’t miss this chance to see her in the listening environment of the Green Room.
The Blue Dreamers
7 p.m., Friday January 21, Railgarten
You might know them best as John Nemeth’s frequent backing band, but The Blue Dreamers – Danny Banks, Matthew Wilson and Jon Hay – are a thing unto themselves and that thing is going down at Railgarten this Friday night. They’ve got a 2021 Blues Music Award nomination for Band of the Year to their name – come find out why. Need another reason? No cover for this one, y’all.
The Brook & The Bluff, Izzy Heltai
7 P.M., Friday January 21, Growler’s
We Memphians have so enjoyed poking fun at Nashville over the years that its become a time-honored localtradition, one small element of the essential fabric of life in this city. Regardless, Nashville naturally boasts its share of intriguing musical exports, one of which is the evocatively-named The Brook & The Bluff, who arrived in The Music City by way of Birmingham. If you’re into smooth, jazz and soul inflected whimsy and golden-hued pop production, you could do far worse than to check these folks out at Growler’s Friday evening. Western Mass-based opener Izzy Heltai trends towards laid-back autumnal indie-folk, so your need for good vibes should be covered on Friday as far as Growler’s is concerned.
Tough On Fridays, Switchblade Charlatans
9 P.M., Saturday January 22, The Hi-Tone (Small Room Downstairs)
Outside of its towering blues and soul legacies, Memphis music immediately says ‘garage-rock’ to listeners of a certain age, i.e. the sort of addictively-fast and ramshackle cacophony brought to us by Goner, Shangri-La, and friends. Austin’s Tough On Fridays have the knack for the speed and clamor, but hew closer to a formidable emo/pop-punk template that doesn’t sacrifice adrenaline for harrowing candor, which should apply thrillingly to Memphis in 2022. Local powerhouse Switchblade Charlatans bring Southern-fried stoner rock vibes to the table, making for a beguiling contrast. Saturday night belong to the Hi-Tone small room, and the Hi-Tone’s hot streak doesn’t seem to be cooling off anytime soon.