WAMM Recommends: Week of May 23

Each week, the team at We Are Memphis Music scours the upcoming week’s event calendars to choose some live shows that absolutely cannot be missed…


9:30 P.M., Tuesday, May 24th



Ascendant Memphis outfit Jombi continue to impress and intrigue, comfortably nestling down in a cozy liminal space somewhere between cosmic jam-band explorations and winsome, beguiling indie-pop. Yearning sun kissed harmonies ebb into nimble fusion-inspired fretwork, percolating percussion swelling behind sudden avenues of interlocking guitar melodies and pulsing bass lines. These folks are only getting better, sharpening their dynamic and enshrining a distinct skill-set without sacrificing song-craft or paying too excessive a sonic tribute to their forebears. It’s a sound we haven’t heard much of before in Memphis, and when it’s done this well, you can see why the city is paying attention.

Foxy Shazam w/ Jigsaw Youth
7:00 P.M., Tuesday, May 24th

Foxy Shazam emerged from Cincinnati in 2004 with a glammy, Queen-indebted strut and swagger that seemed teleported in from a lost era of bitchin’ Camaros and high-end hi-fi systems in wood-paneled rec rooms. Never leaning too far towards either extreme of devout sincerity or winking camp, they were churned through the thresher of the major label collective farm before calling it a day back in 2014. Now they’ve returned, ushering their high-kicking throwback theatrics into a very different cultural landscape, one in which goofy joy has been in desperately short supply. This is music that gleefully abandons any pretense of calling into question the appeal of body-first vintage rock. Maybe we need the Foxy Shazams of the world more than ever? Pure escapism never sounded so fun. Animalistic Staten Island punk howlers Jigsaw Youth are also along for the ride, making a fine pairing for these life-affirming festivities. Pure escapism’s never sounded this fun.

Trolley Night @ South Main Sounds Ft. Andrea Benz, Jeff Hulett, Ted Horrell, Jacob Church, and Akina McKenzie

7:00 p.m, Friday, May 27th

South Main Sounds

South Main Sounds, a hidden gem nestled near Central Station, hosts regular songwriter nights featuring Memphis artists in traditional writers in the round style. This weeks’ edition features 5 artists for two hours during one of the most celebratory nights of the month for the South Main arts’ district– Trolley Night! All five songwriters performing create music with elements of pop, rock, folk, and country and will most definitely fit together like hand and glove. Highlights include Akina McKenzie’s roots Americana style songwriting and blues guitar, and Jabob Church’s high smooth tenor. Did I mention this is free?!?

Cha Wa

7:00 P.M., Saturday, May 28th



It’s no secret that New Orleans is, despite its many well-documented problems, one of the most fascinating and magical cities on earth. As a longtime former resident of the Crescent City, I can tell you that the wonders go deeper than you can imagine, and one of the city’s greatest (and most well-hidden) assets is the cultural phenomenon of the Mardi Gras Indians. There’s not enough room in this space to delve into the history of that particular subculture, but on Saturday you can get a taste of the funky music, elaborate costumes, and joie de vivre that are all hallmarks of the Mardi Gras Indians. Cha Wa is one of the finest example of the culture and their Grammy-nominated album “Spyboy” is a perfect mix of tradition and modernity. Believe me, you’ll want to experience the full splendor in person.



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