WAMM Recommends: Week of May 8

Although Beale Street Music Fest is now in the rearview mirror, the exceptional live music offerings just keep rolling through town. Here are our picks for the best live shows hitting the M Town in the week beginning May 8th.

Digable Planets

8PM, Wednesday, May 10th

Minglewood Hall


While other groups blended hip-hop and jazz into a laid-back fusion before Brooklyn’s Digable Planets, nobody with the possible exception of A Tribe Called Quest did it better. Best known for their 1993 hit “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat),” Digable Planets may technically fall into the category of one-hit-wonders, but their influence extends far beyond their lone hit. Both of the group’s albums, Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space) and Blowout Comb are now hailed as masterpieces and serve as relics of the Golden Age of hip-hop. For a while, it seemed unlikely that we’d ever get the chance to see the group perform again live, but in celebration of the 30th anniversary of their classic debut that dream has become a reality. Don’t miss your chance.

Boyz II Men

8pm, Friday May 12th

The Orpheum


In the pop and R&B worlds, it doesn’t get much more iconic than Boyz II Men. With four Grammys, 50 cumulative weeks at number one on the Billboard charts, 30 years in the industry, and a mountain of hit songs, the Philadelphia trio has earned and then transcended legendary status. This Friday they’ll showcase their illustrious career during an intimate performance at The Orpheum. With classics like “I’ll Make Love To You”, “End of the Road”, and “On Bended Knee” guaranteed to be on the setlist, this is sure to be a show both diehard fans and casual listeners alike will love. Just get ready to sing your heart out.-KK

The 90s have long since lapsed into our culture’s rearview, but some era-specific touchstones stay timeless. Take for example Philadelphia’s long-running R&B quartet Boyz II Men, who landed hit after hit at their commercial peak and are still pressing onward, thirty years deep. Some artists fill a niche so perfectly that they come to embody that niche in full, and the Boyz and their perpetual bedroom eyes are no exception. Effortlessly smooth and gloriously harmonious, they remain the gold standard for modern pop-inflected soul music in America. Their baby-making music has aged like a fine wine.-ZC

River Series: Mark Edgar Stuart with Aaron James

4pm, Saturday May 13th

Harbor Town Amphitheater


The spring season of the River Series kicked off on April 22nd and this year, they have an especially stacked line-up. This weekend they’ll welcome not one but two of Memphis’ most talented storytellers to their stage. Alt/Folk artist (and UNAPOLOGETIC collective member) Aaron James will kick off the night with his beautifully crafted and powerfully emotive songs. Following him will be singer-songwriter Mark Edgar Stuart, whose music expertly uses both deep introspection and quick-witted humor to tackle life’s toughest issues. There’s not many things better than ending a Saturday by seeing some of your local favorites perform. But getting to see them perform at the picturesque Harbor Town Amphitheater as the sun’s setting on the river? Psh. Sounds like a dream. 

Steve Shelley & Friend

9PM, Saturday, May 13th



How mysterious is this one? Steve Shelley the, iconic drummer best known for his hard-hitting work behind the kit in the indelible Sonic Youth, is rolling into town for a highly-secretive gig at Bar DKDC this Saturday. The listing promises ‘amazingly weird Saturday tunes performed by a cavalcade of guest stars’ – who doesn’t love a good mystery, right? DKDC clearly knows how to intrigue an audience. Whomever these shadowy conspirators turn out to be, this is bound to be a singular night in Cooper-Young, so be sure not to miss the chance to catch Shelley and ‘Friend’ in such an intimate venue.

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