Each week, the team at We Are Memphis Music makes our picks for the week’s best upcoming live music events. Here are our picks for the week beginning May 22nd!
Dave Matthews Band
7:30pm, Wednesday May 24th
Bank Plus Amphitheater
If you look up the highest-grossing bands of all time, nestled comfortably within the top 15 on almost any list you find is Dave Matthews Band. Since the group formed in 1991, they have been one of the biggest live acts, selling over 24 million tickets in their 30 plus years on the road. And say what you will about the band, there’s good reason why their tours stay sold out. With one of a kind renditions of their mainstream classics to 10 minute instrumental breakdowns, the show packs a feel-good, carefree vibe that’s almost unavoidable. So if you’re looking for a way to chill out midweek, this concert’s for you.
Spring Soul Fest
5PM, Thursday, May 25
For the past several weeks, the Stax Music Academy has held a residence at Beale Street’s famed W.C. Handy park is a series called the Spring Soul Fest. This Thursday, the series reaches a triumphant finale with an evening dedicated to Stax songwriter Bettye Crutcher. While not a household name, Crutcher was an important figure at Stax who helped to write hit songs from Johnnie Taylor, the Staple Singers, Sam & Dave, and Albert King. In addition to a concert honoring her legacy, this family-friendly event will also offer dancing, games, arts and crafts, and much more.
8PM, Friday, May 26th
As sprawling and famously multi-cultural as it is, Toronto naturally contributes a thriving music scene to the ongoing vernacular of North American music culture. But while the city has offered us some killer indie-rock and instrumental post-rock over the years (and…Drake…thanks?), one flavor you might not expect to hail from our chilly northern neighbors is a Delta juke-blues duo like CATL. Still, they’ve certainly come to the right place if they want to tap into some of the original energy that spawned such music from our humble Delta soil a hundred years or so ago. Consider it a studying abroad experience, then – be sure head down to DKDC Friday and make sure these Canucks carry a little piece of Memphis back home with them to share.
MEMPHIST Fest: Round 2
7pm, Friday May 26th and 12pm, Saturday May 27th
Earlier this year, the first round of MEMPHIST Fest descended on the Hi Tone with a VERY stellar lineup (which included the incredible Idi x Teco). Now they’re bringing round 2 to the stage and this lineup is just as solid as the first. Expanding to two days of shows, the fest features a roster of talented Memphis hip-hop, metal, and rock musicians like Glorious Abhor, Jadewick, Ash Leon and Austin Cruise. With names like that, the energy is guaranteed to be next level. Make sure you get tickets to BOTH days now.
Marcella And Her Lovers
9PM, Saturday, May 27th
There’s a certain brand of magic the Bluff City tends to share with our kindred spirits of the Louisiana bayous, a fact Marcella Simien’s learned well as a Lafayette-raised Memphis transplant. She’d hauled along a bit of her family’s Creole musical lineage when she hit our streets back in ’09, with just a dash of Muscle Shoals-style soul and Velvets gutter-garage churn tossed in the mix. Those are some heady ingredients, but they blend deliciously when seasoned with fiesty DIY punk energy like Marcella’s. These folks’ kinetic live shows, especially, are the stuff of local legend. It’s the best possible synthesis of two regions in constant sonic conversation with each other, playing to the all the strengths of both of them. Consider it a ‘sister city’ program, then, with Marcella as a fine ambassador.