WAMM Recommends: Week of September 5

Our weekly round-up of live music we think you can’t miss this week – from WAMM contributors Zachary Corsa, Jayne-Ellen White, and WAMM Listings Editor Ezra Wheeler.

Tav Falco and the Panther Burns

7 PM Thursday September 8 at Lafayette’s Music Room



Much like the Cramps, Tav Falco and the Panther Burns worked alongside Alex Chilton in the late-1970s to become one of the earliest purveyors of what would come to be known as psychobilly, an exhilarating fusion of rockabilly and punk. But while the Cramps and other similar acts leaned heavily on imagery lifted from horror and sci-fi films, Tav Falco’s sound was steeped more in the blues, a tradition he has carried on for more than 40 years. Alongside other influential outsider groups such as Mudboy and the Neutrons and the Dixie Flyers, Falco and the Panther Burns kept Memphis music alive, relevant, and weird during a period of relative creative stagnation for the city, and he has rarely slowed down since. On Thursday, Falco will be bringing his flamboyantly raw and rockin’ live show back to Memphis in a can’t-miss show at Lafayette’s. Catch these local legends while you still can, folks. /EW

There’s a clip out there of a typically-chaotic performance by Tav Falco’s Panther Burns, performing live on Marge Thrasher’s Memphis-based talk show sometime in 1979. Oozing open contempt for their raucous garage-rock (even featuring a wilderness-period Alex Chilton on keys), the incredulous and matronly Marge condemns Tav’s band as ‘anti-music’, but by 2022, it seems Tav and his ever-revolving cast of musical misfits have had the last laugh, as they remain an enduring and scrappy example of Memphis music history that you’d be well-advised to check out at Lafayette’s this Thursday. It’s bound to be another unforgettable spectacle. Who even remembers Marge Thrasher? /ZC

Dan Penn

7 PM, Saturday September 10 at Bar DKDC



From Aretha Franklin’s iconic “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” to James Carr’s “The Dark End of the Street” (which the Commercial Appeal named Memphis best overall soul song), singer-songwriter Dan Penn is responsible for writing or co-writing some of the most enduring songs of the 1960s. In addition to the two aforementioned hits, Penn has also written for Janis Joplin, Percy Sledge, the Box Tops, Nick Lowe, and countless others. Understandably, his prowess as a songwriter for others has often overshadowed the music he has created as a solo artist, which is a shame nonetheless. Thankfully, the Alabama and Memphis Music Hall of Fame inductee will be performing in one of the intimate spaces the city has to offer on Saturday at a one-night-only engagement at Bar DKDC. The term “living legend” is probably used a bit too liberally these days, but there is no denying that Mr. Penn is absolutely deserving of the honorific. /EW

Lucero Family Block Party

3 PM Saturday September 10 at Minglewood Hall (Outside)



After a COVID-necessary experiment in social-distancing at Malco Summer Drive-In, Lucero’s annual Family Block Party returns to the grounds of the similarly-reborn Minglewood this Saturday. The early event (3PM start time) offers plentiful food trucks, free access to children under ten, and a portion of proceeds donated to the Children’s Emergency Care Alliance. Lucero themselves have been at it for nearly a quarter-century now, their seamless blend of alt-country, punk, blues, and Stax soul archetypes never more potent. Joined by Raleigh Americana mainstays American Aquarium, Austin-based red dirt purveyors Jason Boland & The Stragglers, and RVA folk-punk lifer Tim Barry, the Block Party is sure to reap rewards for those seeking a carefree, outdoors, early-start show for the weekend. /ZC






Backstreet Boys

7:30 PM Friday September 9 at FedEx Forum


The best selling boy band of all time is back on the road. Backstreet Boys are ending the North American run of their DNA World Tour this Friday at the FedEx Forum. The pop vocal group’s  stardom was nearly unmatched, during the peak of  their quick rise to fame after their 95’ self titled debut. Ten studio albums, and 33 heart-throbbing music videos later, the band’s fans are still as enthusiastic as ever about Howie, AJ, Nick, Kevin, and Brian. You know their hits, even if you tried not to know them, and Friday night is your chance to sing along as loud as you’d like without judgment. Everybody…Rock your body…..!  /JW


Keith Sykes

7:30 PM Friday September 9 at The Halloran Centre


Legendary Memphis songwriter, musician, and storyteller will perform at the Halloran Centre at the Orpheum Theatre this Friday. While some may be unfamiliar with his name, Sykes is a prolific songwriter amongst songwriters. His songs have been recorded by John Prine, Roseanne Cash, George Thoroughgood, and others. Notably, Sykes is known for touring and recording with Jimmy Buffet during his late 1970’s heyday, and penning the title track for Buffet’s 1979 release, VOLCANO. In addition to songs you’ve heard of his, Sykes has a repertoire of his lesser known tunes that will transform you to the moment and place they were written. Sykes’ stage banter and stories, lessons and reflections, make this show is a true music lovers pick for  the ages. /JW

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