WAMM Recommends: Week of November 15

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.

Mike Hewlett & The Racket, Rachel Maxann, The Stupid Reasons
8 p.m., Friday November 19, Hi-Tone
$5 at the door

If you’re dreading the impending cranberry-sauce stained ‘family togetherness’ of a certain upcoming turkey holiday, at least preface the awkwardness at the Hi-Tone on Friday, with a triple bill should take your mind off drunken uncles and disappointing pumpkin pie. This is an all-Memphis occasion, with hometown favorites Mike Hewlett & The Racket drawing on blues and folk traditions that also echo early rock and roll and rockabilly, a quintessential reflection of where music stands in the South as well as where its headed. By contrast, Rachel Maxann appears to have lived just about everywhere, and brings that traveler’s sensibility to her own sepia-toned, graceful indie rock. Rounding out the bill, The Stupid Reasons offer an intriguing fusion of emo and Americana that speaks of hard-won understandings and bittersweet truths. Hit up the big room upstairs at Hi-Tone on Friday and fondly recall such transcendence during the inevitable food coma that’s sure to come the following Thursday.

Lenox Hills/Music By KOTA
7 p.m., Friday November 19, Growler’s

Far too often, those dazzled by the weighty musical legacies of Nashville and Memphis overlook the crucial contributions of other Tennessee scenes, and anything that comes out of Chattanooga deserves a mandatory listen. Kinetic Chatt indie collective Lenox Hills have stayed busy with recording and fine-tuning over the course of the pandemic, and their brand of heart-rending aural encouragement should prove a balm for the weary late-autumn soul at Growler’s this Friday. Boldly-aspirational and charmingly-restless, the Hills’ take on Pixies-esque college-rock reads as equal parts courageous and profound; head into the storm of the holidays and the winding down of the year encouraged and reassured by these words and sounds, as this is soul-shaking music that reveals hidden layers and depths even as it scorches. Opening up the evening,

Music By KOTA bring a more classic-rock inspired zeal, and their frantic native Memphian roots-rock fury ought to make for lightened inhibitions and spirits before the visitors from out east take the stage.

Blue Tom Records Presents This is Memphis
7:30 p.m., Wednesday November 17, The Green Room at Crosstown Arts

Blue Tom Records, the student-run record label at the University of Memphis, will be presenting their fall music festival this Wednesday with performances from ten of the label’s most promising artists. From R&B to rock to hip-hop, “This is Memphis” promises to be a musically diverse showcase of some of the city’s best up-and-coming young talent who are hoping to follow in the footsteps of Blue Tom alumni such as Bailey Bigger, Jordan Occasionally, and the Band Camino. If you’re invested in the future of Memphis music (as we all should be), then we can’t think of a better way to discover and support new artists than showing up on Wednesday night. Oh, and before we forget, the festival is free to U of M students and faculty, just remember to bring your University ID!

Check out this promo video from the 2016 event to get an idea of what you can expect (and keep an eye out for some of your favorite local artists before they became widely known).

This Is Memphis 2016 Promo
No Limit Reunion Tour
7 p.m., Saturday November 20, Landers Center

For elder Millennials like myself, few things make you feel older than the nostalgia tours that seem to be popping up more and more which assemble some favorite artists from our youth for a “one night only showcase.” That said, I have to admit to getting pretty hyped up upon hearing that the ‘90s New Orleans hip-hop label No Limit would be reuniting the band for a tour across America that included a stop at the Landers Center. The show, which will feature No Limit veterans Master P, Mystikal, Silkk the Shocker, and Mia X alongside special guest Jeezy, promises to be one of the crunkest nights of the year by a long shot. (Do people still say crunk? Who cares…I’m old!) So find your No Limit chain in the attic, dust off your flak jacket, and lace up your Reebok Classics, because the iconic golden tank is rolling into town!


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