WAMM Recommends: week of September 19

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.

The King Khan & BBQ Show (Gonerfest)

8 PM Thursday, September 22 at Railgarten



First things first, this recommendation is absolutely an endorsement to attend Gonerfest in full, which predictably features some of the best indie and garage rock bands on earth. That said, if you’re in the unenviable position of having to choose just one night to attend, then Thursday gets my pick. For the unfamiliar, The King Khan & BBQ Show is a Canadian garage rock duo who has made their name with an unusual combination of punk, psych and doowop delivered with an incomparably high level of energy. Despite hailing from the Great White North, the group’s 2005 debut was released on Goner Records, so this week’s show marks something of a homecoming. /EW

Trash Goblin, Optic Sink

9 PM Thursday, September 22 at Bar DKDC



Sometimes it’s the band themselves that can best describe their ethos to newcomers. Trash Goblin outline what they do as ‘acid-goth’, and if that doesn’t sound both fun and a little ridiculous (in the best way possible), you might need a pulse-check. These Memphis weirdos combine a gooey early-Sabbath ooze with disorienting swirls of psychedelia that suggest a mirror-universe shoegaze pieced together by angel dust addicts behind an over-full dumpster, and that’s high praise! Come hear for yourselves this Thursday, as they’re the DKDC offering for an after-party immediately following Gonerfest opening ceremonies (and be sure not to miss a set from the primal no-wave synth throbbings of NOTS affiliates Optic Sink, either). /ZC

Dawes & Bahamas – Shell Yeah! Benefit Concert Series

7:30 PM Friday, September, 23 at the Overton Park Shell


Dawes & Bahamas’ tour is coming to The Overton Shell as part of the Shell Yeah! Benefit Concert Series this weekend, in what may prove to be one of the most memorable live concert experiences of the year in Memphis. The collaboration of Bahamas— still reeling from his 2020 upbeat indie rock album Sad Hunk. Bahama’s vocal style and production, will be highly reminiscent to both Blake Mills & Jack Johnson fans alike (two very different styles). Speaking of Blake Mills fans, Dawes’ started off with Mills in tow before they broke into their folky laurel canyon style of indie rock. Dawes’ is fresh off of their Misadventures of Doomscroller record released earlier this year. Do not miss your chance to see these two acts collaborate live in Memphis, and support your favorite local outdoor music venue while you’re at it. /JW

Memphis Power Pop Festival

4 PM Saturday, September 24 at the Overton Park Shell



Although they couldn’t be any further apart in terms of sound, the subgenres of horrorcore and power pop have one important thing in common: each emerged from Memphis and changed the face of music, but still haven’t gained the recognition that they deserve. Thankfully, this Saturday’s Power Pop Fest may help to remedy this historical oversight, at least on the margins. While the history and roots of power pop in Memphis run deep, the conversation begins and ends with Big Star, the local cult-favorite who failed to find commercial success during their time but who nevertheless inspired the sound of dozens of bands in their wake. Fittingly, it is this legacy that will be celebrated most prominently at the festival’s inaugural year, particularly the contributions of Big Star founding member Chris Bell. The line-up includes former Big Star drummer Jody Stephens, Van Duren, and former Posies and Big Star guitarist/singer Jon Auer, as well as Your Academy, the Sonny Wilsons, and more. /EW

The War On Drugs

8 PM Saturday, September 24 at Soundstage At Graceland



Over the past few years, much of indie-rock’s vanguard have drifted through a sort of synth-rock-meets-Heartland aesthetic that calls to mind 80s-period icons like Bruce Springsteen and John Cougar Mellencamp, and while bands like The National have been consigned to wear the hairshirt of resultant ’boring’ or, worse, ‘dad’ rock’ music, The War On Drugs have escaped much of such dismissal by virtue of the lush production and meticulous sonic detail behind their sprawling, enveloping records. And while it’s true that their breakthrough single ‘Red Eyes’ did much to wave that throwback FM-gold banner back in 2014, much of Adam Granduciel’s work since has been far more varied, and often more compelling, than such genre conventions would imply. In any event, a date at Soundstage should underline those strengths for any chancers who still need to be convinced. /ZC

Formed in Philadelphia in 2005, indie rock band The War On Drugs, give heartland rock via artists like Bruce Springstein, and Tom Petty a major update into relevance. Singer, guitarist, and songwriter Adam Granduciel, takes some heavy cues from Bob Dylan— using Dylan’s unique inflection and poetry feeling lyricism and making it his own in the very best way possible. The band’s 2017 album, A Deeper Understanding, achieved mainstream success winning a Grammy for Best Rock Album, and the 2021 follow up I Don’t Live Here Anymore, was equally acclaimed by critics and fans. Do not miss them this weekend at their anticipated standing room only performance at Graceland Live! /JW

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