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.
Nita Strauss – Winter Wasteland Tour 2022
7 P.M., Saturday January 8, Growler’s
Nita Strauss recently generated a bit of online controversy when she suggested in an interview that acoustic guitars aren’t ‘cool’ and asserted that she doesn’t play them. Fair enough. But one doesn’t look to players like Strauss for folk whimsy or rural earthiness, anyway. The longtime Alice Cooper gunslinger is calibrated for the triumphant fretboard wizardry of the halcyon eighties, bringing the sort of melodic and victorious warrior psalms that Satriani and Malmsteen thrilled with in that lost era. It’s fist-pumping, soul-sweeping music equally at home in a suburban Dungeons and Dragons rec room and the high school parking lot you’re peeling gaily out of in your primer-painted Camaro, which is all to say that it’s a lot of fun, and with the holidays over and the mercury falling in the Mid-South, who can argue with that? Hit up Growler’s on Saturday and pretend you’re a Viking for a couple of hours.
Brando’s Birthday Bash
8 P.M., Saturday January 8, The Hi Tone (Small Room – Downstairs)
$5 at the door
Between our sudden plunge into snowy wastes and the recent rise of the supervillain Omicron, the live circuit’s a bit quiet around Memphis, as the gunshot symphonies of New Year’s revelry have ushered in considerable uncertainty and unease. But it anyone’s well-stocked to weather the proverbial storm, it’s The Hi-Tone, and this Saturday the small room hosts a veritable buffet of local bands across a wide swath of genres, from the sludge-drenched stoner-rock of Deaf Revival to the anarchist-aligned punk frenzy of Gunpowder Plot, from the spooky hill-country folk of The Wailing Banshees to the delirious chiptune-infused electronica of DrrtGrrl. Harry and Timmy? Total wildcard, pure mystery, but if the rest of this lineup’s any indication, they’ll fit into the fray quite nicely. Five bucks for all this Memphian talent in one place? Wear a mask, brave potential snow, and don’t miss it.
8 p.m., Saturday January 8, Neil’s Music Room
While my list of new year’s resolutions includes plenty of standard fare (exercise more, drink less), the one that I’m most excited to dive into is “visit some music venues that you’ve never been to before.” In that spirit, I’m recommending the Memphis Funk-N-Horns at Neil’s Music Room. The nine piece band, which features one of the city’s finest horn sections, will be performing hits from Earth Wind and Fire, Prince, the Temptations, and many more.
The Best of Motown Tribute
8 p.m., Saturday January 8, The Cove
Chicago-based soul act Barry and the Fountains’ frontman Barry Fontenot will be taking the Cove by storm this weekend with a tribute to Detroit’s Motown Records, the soul music powerhouse that helped introduce the world to the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, and the Supremes. As far as we can tell, this will be the band’s first time performing in Memphis and we’re guessing our city’s own rich history with soul music just might bring the best out of the group.