Beale Street Music Festival
May 3 - 5, 2013
Rockin' on the River
A genre-spanning mix of established stars and emerging artists highlight the Beale Street Music Festival.
With contemporary and emerging stars of rap, rock, and blues sharing stages with giants and numerous Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, Memphis in May's Beale Street Music Festival is primed for another stellar year.
The festival has become one of the largest music festivals in the country, routinely drawing more than 150,000 fans to the banks of the majestic Mississippi. This year's lineup should only help continue the festival's popularity, bringing more than 60 acts from a variety of genres and generations for a three-day celebration of the city's mighty music heritage.
The Beale Street Music Fest will divide acts among four stages — along with a "blues shack" — in Tom Lee Park, a 33-acre site that sits at the base of historic Beale Street and stretches along Ol' Man River.
Among the highlights are a kaleidoscope of Southern music, including rockabilly legend Jerry Lee Lewis and Memphis soul great Mavis Staples setting the stage for bluesy Southern rock stalwarts Gov't Mule and ZZ Top on the Orion Stage on Saturday and contemporary slices of Texas (blues hotshot Gary Clark Jr.), Tennessee (Memphis' Lucero), and Georgia (the Black Crowes) on the Bud Light Stage on Sunday.
Hitmakers range from the best-selling duo in pop history (Hall & Oates on the Orion Stage on Friday) to '90s alt-rock icons (Smashing Pumpkins on the FedEx Stage on Sunday) to two of the biggest and most respected contemporary acts in rock (the Black Keys on the FedEx Stage on Saturday) and rap (the Roots on the Bud Light Stage on Saturday).
Regardless of your musical tastes, you can find something — and probably lots of something — amid the sounds down on the river this weekend.
Friday, May 3
Don Trip 6:25 – 7:15 p.m.
Yngwie Malmsteen 7:40 – 8:50 p.m.
Deftones 9:15 – 10:25 p.m.
Alice in Chains 10:55 p.m. – 12:25 a.m.
Shannon McNally 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
The Wallflowers 7:25 – 8:35 p.m.
Sheryl Crow 9:00 – 10:15 p.m.
Hall & Oates 10:45 p.m. – 12:15 a.m.
Bud Light Stage:
The Joy Formidable 6:05 – 7:10 p.m.
Mimosa 7:35 – 8:50 p.m.
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros 9:15 – 10:30 p.m.
Bassnectar 11:00 p.m. – midnight
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent:
Jimbo Mathus & Tri-State Coalition 6:15 – 7:20 p.m.
Louise Hoffsten 7:45 – 9:00 p.m.
Heritage Blues Orchestra 9:25 – 10:40 p.m.
Charles Bradley 11:10 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.
SoCo Blues Shack:
Brad Webb Times Vary
Marcus James & Kinney Kimbrough Times Vary
The Joy Formidable
Bud Light Stage • 6:05 p.m.
This Scottish power trio, led by singer-guitarist Ritzy Bryan, plays heavy, melodic alternative rock in the vein of fellow Beale Street Music Fest act Smashing Pumpkins or cult bands such as Lush or My Bloody Valentine. The band broke through in the U.S. in 2011 with its aptly titled album The Big Roar and returned earlier this year with the Atlantic Records follow-up, Wolf's Law.
Bud Light Stage • 7:35 p.m.
Named by Spin magazine as one of the "Top 10 acts at Bonnaroo" last year, DJ/producer Tigran Mkhitaryan — aka MiMOSA — is emerging as one of the world's hottest DJs, with a recent performance at the high-profile Coachella music festival and a new album, Future Trill, under his belt.
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
Bud Light Stage • 9:15 p.m.
This 11-piece indie-rock band from Southern California has thrilled festival audiences with their '60s-rooted, freak-folk sound and flamboyant, joyful live show, which could turn Tom Lee Park into their own mini-Woodstock.
Bud Light Stage • 11 p.m.
A veteran star on the electronic dance music scene, Bassnectar's music is associated with dubstep but incorporates lots of other relevant styles, including plenty of rock and rap. Along the way, he's become one of the scene's biggest concert draws as well as a festival promoter in his own right.
FedEx Stage • 6:25 p.m.
This eloquent, hard-edged Memphis rapper went viral with "Letter to My Son," a personal story of a real-life struggle to be part of his son's life. That song got him a deal with Interscope Records and an official release with a sung hook from superstar Cee-Lo. Trip continues to build a reputation regionally and nationally with steady touring, several independent releases (including last year's well-received Guerrilla), and press attention, including a spot, in 2012, on hip-hop magazine XXL's annual list of breakout rappers.
FedEx Stage • 7:40 p.m.
Swedish guitar master Malmsteen emerged in the 1980s as one of the planet's flashiest and most skillful guitarists but with a classical bent that was all his own. Malmsteen has recorded constantly since his 1984 breakthrough Rising Force, most recently with last year's Spellbound.
FedEx Stage • 9:15 p.m.
This Southern California alternative-metal band rode that genre's wave to stardom in the late '90s but have proven to be one of the most artful and durable bands of their scene. The band's third album, 2000's White Pony, was a platinum-selling chart-topper, and the band hasn't really slowed down since, releasing its seventh album with last year's Koi No Yokan, which saw the band pushing confidently into even more idiosyncratic and experimental territory.
- Dave Ma
- Alice in Chains
Alice in Chains
FedEx Stage • 10:55 p.m.
Alice in Chains emerged from Seattle in the early '90s as perhaps the darkest, bleakest members of the grunge movement. But the band's depressive sound didn't dissuade fans, it drew them, and the band's second album, 1992's Dirt, went multi-platinum. After losing original lead singer Layne Staley, who died in 2002, the band was dormant for a decade before reforming with new lead singer William DuVall for 2009's comeback album, Black Gives Way to Blue, which returned the band to the top of the rock charts once again. Alice in Chains returns later this month with the follow-up album, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here.
Jimbo Mathus & the Tri-State Coalition
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 6:15 p.m.
Oxford, Mississippi, native and American roots-music disciple James "Jimbo" Mathus has collaborated with everyone from Elvis Costello to Luther Dickinson to Buddy Guy, but he's perhaps best known as a member of the mid-'90s phenomenon the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Backed by his dynamite new group, the Tri-State Coalition, Mathus released his newest album, White Buffalo, on the Mississippi-based independent label Fat Possum.
- Fredrik Etoall
- Louise Hoffsten
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 7:45 p.m.
A noted blues artist from this year's Memphis in May honored country, Sweden, Hoffsten is also no stranger to Memphis, having recorded a couple of albums — Knäckebröd Blues and From Linköping to Memphis — for the local Memphis International label in the mid-2000s. The latter, as the title indicates, was recorded here with help from several Stax Records legends.
Heritage Blues Orchestra
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 9:25 p.m.
This recently formed New York-based group plays traditional blues backed by a classic jazz horn section. Young vocalist Chaney Sims has been compared to jazz/blues legend Nina Simone. The band's 2012 debut album, And Still I Rise, which included covers of Son House and Muddy Waters classics alongside traditional material, was Grammy-nominated.
- Elizabeth Weinberg
- Charles Bradley
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 11:10 p.m.
Perhaps one of the unlikeliest artists to emerge in recent years is this sexagenarian soul singer, who was making his way as a James Brown tribute artist dubbed "Black Velvet" at New York clubs before being signed by hip, soul-revivalist label Daptone Records. Finally able, after decades of missed opportunities, to release his own music, Bradley emerged in 2011 with the debut album No Time for Dreaming, which was accompanied by a documentary film and buzzed-about showcase at Austin's South by Southwest Music Festival. Bradley returned earlier this year with his second album, Victim of Love, and will now be bringing his vintage soul sound to Soulsville itself.
Orion Stage • 6 p.m.
A New Orleans artist who relocated to northern Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina, the rootsy singer-songwriter McNally has lots of connections to Memphis artists. She recorded with the late Jim Dickinson, was recruited by his son Luther for the roots-group the Wandering, then recorded and toured in duo form with Wandering bandmate Amy LaVere. As a solo artist, McNally hits the Beale Street Music Fest hot on the heels of a new album, the April-released Small Town Talk, which she recorded with contributions from New Orleans legend Dr. John.
Orion Stage • 7:25 p.m.
Fronted by Jakob Dylan, the Wallflowers were hitmaking roots-rock revivalists in the mid-'90s (via their surging single "One Headlight"). Though Dylan has balanced solo work with keeping the band active, the Wallflowers returned to record-store shelves last year with Glad All Over, an album widely considered to be one of the band's best.
- Sheryl Crow
Orion Stage • 9 p.m.
It's been 20 years since Sheryl Crow's breakout debut album, Tuesday Night Music Club. Since then, she's parlayed a sturdy classic-rock/folk-rock sound into being one of music's most consistent hitmakers, with such smashes to her name as "Strong Enough," "All I Wanna Do," "A Change Would Do You Good," "If It Makes You Happy," "Everyday Is a Winding Road," "Soak Up the Sun," and more. Her own winding road has included more than 35 million records sold and nine Grammys.
- Mick Rock
- Hall & Oates
Daryl Hall & John Oates
Orion Stage • 10:45 p.m.
The biggest-selling duo in pop history, Hall & Oates formed in Philadelphia in the early '70s, hit their commercial stride in the late '70s, and sustained it as major figures in the MTV era. You probably know all the pop-soul hits — "Sara Smile," "She's Gone," "Rich Girl," "Kiss on My List," "Private Eyes," "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)," and many, many more. Long a surprising sample source for hip-hop artists (such as De La Soul and the Wu-Tang Clan), in recent years, Hall & Oates have been embraced by a new generation of music fans, their hit "You Make My Dreams" used prominently in the 2009 film (500) Days of Summer and a surprising new group of pop-savvy young artists who were partially raised on the duo's music.
Southern Comfort Blues Shack • times vary
A longtime stalwart on the Memphis blues scene, Webb has performed and recorded with such notable Memphis blues and roots artists as Blind Mississippi Morris and Reba Russell.
Markus James &
Southern Comfort Blues Shack • times vary
Markus James plays blues with a clear West African bent, inspired by the late African bluesman Ali Farka Touré. He's joined here by north Mississippi blues royalty Kinney Kimbrough, a drummer and the son of blues legend Junior Kimbrough.
Saturday, May 4
Star & Micey 2:15 – 3:20 p.m.
Cracker 3:45 – 4:55 p.m.
Patti Smith 5:20 – 6:35 p.m.
Dwight Yoakam 7:00 – 8:15 p.m.
The Black Keys 8:45 – 10:00 p.m.
Porter Robinson Late Nite / midnight – 1:00 a.m.
Sonny Burgess & The Pacers 2:35 – 3:40 p.m.
Jake Bugg 4:05 – 5:15 p.m.
Jerry Lee Lewis 5:40 – 6:55 p.m.
Mavis Staples 7:20 – 8:35 p.m.
Gov't Mule 9:00 – 10:15 p.m.
ZZ Top 10:45 p.m. – 12:15 a.m.
Bud Light Stage:
Reverb Nation Winner 2:35 – 3:40 p.m.
Heartless Bastards 4:05 – 5:20 p.m.
Pickwick 5:45 – 6:50 p.m.
Big Boi 7:15 – 8:30 p.m.
Gavin Degraw 8:55 – 10:15 p.m.
The Roots 10:50 p.m. – 12:20 a.m.
Fuzzy Jeffries & the Kings of Memphis 2:15 – 3:25 p.m.
James "Super chikan" Johnson 3:50 – 5:05 p.m.
Zac Harmon 5:30 – 6:45 p.m.
Will Tucker 7:10 – 8:30 p.m.
Ronnie Baker Brooks 8:55 – 10:15 p.m.
Coco Montoya 10:45 p.m. – midnight
SoCo Blues Shack:
Blind Mississippi Morris Times Vary
Matt Isbell Times Vary
Bud Light Stage • 4:05 p.m.
The simple power of Heartless Bastards' Erika Wennerstrom's bluesy rock songs and singing are perfectly matched by the sturdy accompaniment provided by her no-frills band, born, appropriately, in rust-belt Cincinnati but now based in Austin.
Bud Light Stage • 5:45 p.m.
This promising six-piece Seattle band debuted this year with their album Can't Talk Medicine, which displays a love of '60s rock and soul and has been compared favorably to such successful recent bands as Spoon and fellow Beale Street Music Fest performers the Black Keys.
Bud Light Stage • 7:15 p.m.
Antwan "Big Boi" Patton is the more grounded half of Atlanta hip-hop duo Outkast, arguably the most successful and celebrated of all Southern rap acts, responsible for such huge singles as "Rosa Parks," "B.O.B.," and "Ms. Jackson." With the group on hiatus following their ambitious 2006 film Idlewild, Big Boi finally went solo with 2010's Sir Lucious Left Foot ... The Son of Chico Dusty, one of the very best rap albums of the last few years. He followed it up late last year with Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors.
Bud Light Stage • 8:55 p.m.
This blue-eyed soul-pop singer from New York first hit in 2003 with a mainstream rock style that came across as a more sophisticated Matchbox Twenty or a more muscular Maroon 5 (a band with whom DeGraw shared a label). After scoring a huge pop hit with the single "I Don't Want To Be" from his debut album, Chariot, DeGraw has continued to knock out hit albums and singles, including the gold-selling "We Belong Together."
Bud Light Stage • 10:50 p.m.
Philadelphia's the Roots are hip-hop's unofficial house band. When Jay-Z needed a live band to record an MTV Unplugged concert, he called the Roots. When Dave Chappelle was looking for a band to anchor his Block Party, he called the Roots. When Jimmy Fallon was looking for hip back-up on his late-night talk show, he called the Roots. But, led by drummer/bandleader Amir "?uestlove" Thompson and rapper Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter, the Roots are first and foremost music makers on their own: a band with more than a dozen full-length albums on their resume, each packed with funky, gritty, increasingly experimental grooves and sharp, smart rhymes.
Star & Micey
FedEx Stage • 2:15 p.m.
One of Memphis' best current bands, the folk-rock four-piece Star & Micey — Nick Redmond, Josh Cosby, Geoff Smith, and Jeremy Stanfill — play deliriously energetic and passionate live shows that come across as a tumult of voices (all sing) and instruments. The band released a fine four-song EP, I Can't Wait, last year.
FedEx Stage • 3:45 p.m.
Co-led by David Lowry (previously of '80s indie act Camper Van Beethoven) and Johnny Hickman, Cracker was one of the signature roots-rock/Americana bands of the '90s, releasing nine albums of wry, tuneful, accessible rock since their 1992 debut, most recently 2009's Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey.
FedEx Stage • 5:20 p.m.
A poet and punk-era icon, Smith put evocative words on top of minimalist garage rock on her classic 1975 debut, Horses. Inducted in 2007 as one of the least likely members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Smith returned last year with a well-regarded new album, Banga, and has toured this year with Neil Young.
- Dwight Yoakam
FedEx Stage • 7 p.m.
Rust-belt country artist Dwight Yoakam made a name for himself in the mid-'80s by bringing the styles of Merle Haggard and Buck Owens back into the country mainstream, trumpeting "guitars, Cadillacs, and hillbilly music" as ideals. Too ornery for Nashville, Yoakam has continued to go his own way, carving out a substantial acting career and never wavering from his love of traditional country and rock-and-roll. Last year's 3 Pears was Yoakam's first album of new material since 2005's Blame the Vain.
- The Black Keys
the Black Keys
FedEx Stage • 8:45 p.m.
This blues-rock duo — singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney — emerged out of Ohio roughly a decade ago, heavily influenced by the north Mississippi blues style of artists such as R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. The now-Nashville-based combo has evolved into one of the world's biggest rock bands. The band's last album, 2011's El Camino, debuted at #2 on the Billboard charts and won a Grammy for Best Rock Album. In the meantime, Auerbach, who runs his own studio in Nashville, was also a solo Grammy winner for Producer of the Year and has done work recently with Memphis artists such as Valerie June and the Oblivians.
FedEx Stage • Midnight
Skyrocketing dance music DJ Robinson will play a late-night set dubbed "Park After Dark," a new feature at the Beale Street Music Festival. The young Robinson — only 20 — was named one of "The 25 DJs That Rule the Earth" by Rolling Stone.
Fuzzy Jeffries & the Kings of Memphis
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 2:15 p.m.
Fuzzy Jeffries & the Kings of Memphis, led by longtime sideman Kevin "Fuzzy" Jeffries, recently represented Memphis in the International Blues Challenge competition. Jeffries, who has backed up traditional soul and blues artists such as Otis Clay, Little Milton, and Bobby Rush, is a strong, growly singer and guitarist adept at both rhythmic precision and flash. The band is contemporary electric blues at its most authentic.
James "Super Chikan"
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 3:50 p.m.
Expect Clarksdale, Mississippi, native James "Super Chikan" Johnson to wield one of his homemade Chikan-tars when he takes the stage at the Beale Street Music Fest this weekend. Johnson wrangles plenty of emotion from the homemade creations, which are part folk art, part musical instrument. The nephew of fellow Clarksdale guitar slinger Big Jack Johnson, he's a regular performer on the Mississippi juke-joint circuit.
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 5:30 p.m.
West Coast blues stalwart Harmon launched his career to a new level in Memphis a decade ago, when his band won the 2004 International Blues Challenge. The Mississippi-bred Harmon played guitar for such soul/blues icons as Z.Z. Hill and Dorothy Moore before launching his own career but has become one of the signature artists on the contemporary blues scene.
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 7:10 p.m.
Young, Memphis-based guitar hotshot Tucker has cut his musical teeth at B.B. King's Blues Club, where his band plays regular gigs. The up-and-coming blues hopeful recorded his debut album, Stealin' the Soul, at the venerable Ardent Studios.
Ronnie Baker Brooks
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 8:55 p.m.
Son of formidable blues guitarist Lonnie Brooks, Ronnie Baker Brooks is a familiar name on the Chicago club circuit. He credits his father as his best friend and mentor, although electric guitar greats like Albert King and Buddy Guy are also heavy influences, as heard on Brooks' '98 debut, Gold Digger, and its Handy Award-nominated follow-up, Take Me Witcha.
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 10:45 p.m.
The California-bred Montoya worked as a sideman for such blues legends as Albert Collins and John Mayall, who hand-picked Montoya to be the lead guitarist for Mayall's mid-'80s version of his famous '60s-era band the Bluesbreakers, taking on the same role once handled by Eric Clapton and Peter Green. Montoya finally went out on his own in the mid-'90s, immediately winning a W.C. Handy Award as "best new blues artist" in 1996. Montoya has been a blues-scene fixture ever since, moving into soul territory on his new album, I Want It All Back.
Sonny Burgess &
Orion Stage • 2:35 p.m.
The Newport, Arkansas-based Burgess is one of the last remaining artists to record for Sun Records and Sam Phillips during the rockabilly era, cutting his first records — "We Wanna Boogie," backed with "Red Headed Woman" — for Phillips in 1956. A member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, Burgess continues to bring out his band for occasional festival appearances.
Orion Stage • 4:05 p.m.
This young, British singer-songwriter is emerging as a potentially major folk-pop star, having released an eponymous major-label debut album late last year that shows the influence of "classic" rock from Buddy Holly to Bob Dylan to Oasis.
Jerry Lee Lewis
Orion Stage • 5:40 p.m.
The 77-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer truly is the "Last Man Standing," as he boasted on the title of a 2006 album. His top contemporaries in the mid-'50s Memphis rockabilly explosion now all gone, the piano-pounding Lewis — responsible for such iconic hits as "Great Balls of Fire" and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" — remains, recently opening up a new club on Beale Street that bears his name and releasing the 2010 album, Mean Old Man, which featured duets with fellow rock/country royalty such as Mick Jagger, John Fogerty, and Willie Nelson.
Orion Stage • 7:20 p.m.
Mavis Staples is a Stax stalwart, who, with her Staple Singers family band ("Respect Yourself," "I'll Take You There") and solo, blended soul, gospel, and pop into some classic music during her heyday. An erratic recording artist in the '80s and '90s, Staples hooked up with roots-rehab indie label Anti- a few years ago and has released four albums, starting with 2007's We'll Never Turn Back and continuing with June's One True Vine, which will be her second collaboration with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. Staples also represented Memphis recently as part of the "Memphis Soul" concert at the White House.
Orion Stage • 9 p.m.
With onetime Allman Brothers Band alumnus Warren Haynes at the helm, this musical apple hasn't fallen far from the tree. Since the mid-1990s, Gov't Mule has purveyed its Southern-tinged down-and-dirty musical style into a touring machine that attracts jam-band fans and hardcore rockers alike. Originally a power trio, the band nearly derailed after the death of founding member Allen Woody. Now a quartet, Gov't Mule is bigger and stronger than ever.
Orion Stage • 10:45 p.m.
This famed Texas blues-rock trio all but relocated to Memphis for a while in the '80s, when they recorded their most successful albums — including the 1983 smash Eliminator — at Midtown Memphis' Ardent Studios. Already a noted live band and rock-radio staple, ZZ Top became full-fledged superstars in the MTV era with their colorful videos and Top 40 singles such as "Sharp Dressed Man," "Legs," and "Gimme All Your Lovin'." Last year, the trio were part of the inaugural class of the Memphis Music Hall of Fame and released their first album since 2003 and — by acclamation — their best album since the '80s with the bold, Rick Rubin-produced La Futura.
Blind Mississippi Morris
Southern Comfort Blues Shack • times vary
One of the reigning kings of Memphis blues, Blind Mississippi Morris has been a fixture on Beale Street and beyond for a couple of decades. He was once named one of the world's 10 best blues harmonica players by Bluzharp magazine.
Southern Comfort Blues Shack • times vary Memphian Matt Isbell is a Beale regular as a solo artist and as a member of the Ghost Town Blues Band.
Sunday, May 5
Al Kapone 2:40 – 3:40 p.m.
Public Enemy 4:10 – 5:20 p.m.
Papa Roach 5:50 – 7:05 p.m.
Three Days Grace 7:35 – 8:50 p.m.
Smashing Pumpkins 9:20 – 10:50 p.m.
River City Tanlines 2:05 – 3:10 p.m.
Vintage Trouble 3:35 – 4:45 p.m.
Awolnation 5:10 – 6:30 p.m.
Phoenix 6:55 – 8:10 p.m.
The Flaming Lips 8:40 – 10:10 p.m.
Bud Light Stage:
The Kingston Springs 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Deer Tick 3:55 – 5:00 p.m.
Gary Clark Jr. 5:25 – 6:40 p.m.
Lucero 7:10 – 8:25 p.m.
The Black Crowes 8:55 – 10:25 p.m.
Barbara Blue 2:05 – 3:15 p.m.
The Slide Brothers 3:40 – 4:50 p.m.
Louise Hoffsten 5:15 – 6:35 p.m.
Davy Knowles 7:00 – 8:20 p.m.
Royal Southern Brotherhood 8:50 – 10:15 p.m.
SoCo Blues Shack:
Brandon Bailey times Vary
Kenny Brown times Vary
The Kingston Springs
Bud Light Stage • 2:30 p.m.
This four-piece band from the Nashville area is one of that city's most promising new rock acts.
Bud Light Stage • 3:55 p.m.
With grunge-Dylan singer-songwriter John McCauley fronting a particularly adept roots-rock band, Rhode Island's Deer Tick might be one of the most promising new entities to hit the indie scene's bar-band circuit over the past few years, blending elements of country, folk, blues, and classic rock into a personal sound best heard on the band's latest album, 2011's Divine Providence.
Gary Clark Jr.
Bud Light Stage • 5:25 p.m.
A longtime Austin, Texas, blues-scene fixture, Gary Clark Jr. has emerged over the past couple of years as the blues' great hope, an artist with the command and charisma to cross over to the mainstream pop-rock world. Hearing was believing on Clark's startling 2011 release The Bright Lights EP, a four-song debut for major-label Warner Bros. that served as a teaser for Clark's 2012 full-length debut for the label, Blak & Blu. Clark is emerging as a blues-rock guitar hotshot who can excite non-blues fans and critics in a way that Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Cray, and Buddy Guy once did.
Bud Light Stage • 7:10 p.m.
Memphis' most prolific contemporary band, Lucero's punk roots have bloomed into a full mastery of Southern rock — with elements of country, soul, blues, gospel, and classic rock. The band has evolved and expanded, adding piano, pedal steel, and a horn section to frontman Ben Nichols' charismatic vocals and the band's guitar-guitar-bass-drums foundation. The band's last album, 2012's Women & Work, is arguably their most confident and best yet, and years of heavy touring have hammered Lucero into a sure thing as a live band.
- The Black Crowes
The Black Crowes
Bud Light Stage • 8:55 p.m.
These Atlanta rockers hit it big right off the bat with their 1990 debut, Shake Your Money Maker, giving a Southern-fried, neo-classic twist on the authentic hard-rock template Guns N' Roses had recently taken platinum. Twenty-three years later, the band remains active and relevant, especially as a live band, where singer Chris Robinson and company have a deep catalog from which to draw. An epic, 26-song live collection, Wiser for the Time, was released this spring as a testament to the band's concert prowess. But you can see for yourself this weekend.
FedEx Stage • 2:40 p.m.
Memphis' own Al Kapone possesses one of the most original voices on the city's rap scene, but, too often, he's languished in the shadows of more commercially successful local rap acts such as Three 6 Mafia and Yo Gotti. Kapone finally began to get his share of the spotlight via his collaborations with Memphis filmmaker Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, $5 Cover). Live, Kapone has built a reputation as the city's best onstage hip-hop performer whether playing with a DJ or, occasionally, with a full band.
FedEx Stage • 4:10 p.m.
Inducted this year into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Public Enemy stands as one of the most important artists in hip-hop history. Frontman Chuck D.'s commanding voice and sidekick Flavor Flav's court-jester asides play over the aggressive funk of DJ Terminator X and the band's classic Bomb Squad production crew. The band's relentless second album, 1988's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, is widely considered the genre's finest album, while the later "Fight the Power" is one of the genre's most essential singles. And while the band's commercial peak has passed, with Chuck D. finding new life as a political/social commentator and Flavor Flav as a reality TV star, the band has been quietly prolific over the past decade, releasing several under-the-radar albums, many worth seeking out.
FedEx Stage • 5:50 p.m.
California hard-rockers Papa Roach became one the biggest stars of the "nü-metal" wave in 2000 with their multi-platinum second album Infest and its hit single "Last Resort." But the band has proven sturdier than many of their genre, with frontman Jacoby Shaddix leading the band through a surprisingly steady decade, continuing, last year, with the band's seventh album, The Connection.
Three Days Grace
FedEx Stage • 7:35 p.m.
Canadian pop-punk/metal band Three Days Grace has been a modern-rock radio staple for most of the past decade, starting with their breakthrough 2003 hit "(I Hate) Everything About You." The band's fourth album, last year's Transit of Venus, boasts the number-one rock hit "Chalk Outline."
FedEx Stage • 9:20 p.m.
One of the biggest bands to emerge from the '90s alternative-rock boom, Smashing Pumpkins has sold 30 million records of frontman Billy Corgan's dreamy, guitar-heavy rock, which perhaps bridged the alternative scene and mainstream rock radio more than any other band of the era. After mega mid-'90s albums Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, the band returned strong with last year's return to form, Oceania.
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 2:05 p.m.
With an engaging live presence and a powerful growl of a voice that evokes Janis Joplin, Barbara Blue has become one of the signature performers on Beale Street. So it's only natural for her to move a few blocks west to perform at this year's Beale Street Music Festival.
The Slide Brothers
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 3:40 p.m.
An all-star band of sacred-steel guitar players, including such heavyweights as Aubrey Ghent and Calvin Cooke. The band's eponymous debut album was released in January on Concord and "presented" by the style's biggest star, Robert Randolph. Expect the group to take blues, soul, and rock to church.
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 5:15 p.m.
A noted blues artist from this year's Memphis in May honored country, Sweden, Hoffsten is also no stranger to Memphis, having recorded Knäckebröd Blues and From Linköping to Memphis — for the local Memphis International label in the mid-2000s. The latter, as the title indicates, was recorded here with help from several Stax Records legends.
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 7 p.m.
Knowles is the frontman for young British blues rockers Back Door Slam, who emerged half a decade ago with a sound that evokes classic countrymen such as Eric Clapton and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Knowles' band recently did a stint opening for Kid Rock.
- Royal Southern Brotherhood
Royal Southern Brotherhood
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 8:50 p.m.
This second-generation supergroup brings together two essential Southern musical families: the blues-rock Allmans and the Crescent City soul Nevilles. Royal Southern Brotherhood released its eponymous debut album last year.
River City Tanlines
Orion Stage • 2:05 p.m.
Memphis rock trio River City Tanlines — guitar-hero frontwoman Alicja Trout and ace rhythm section Terrence Bishop (bass) and John Bonds (drums) — play quick-footed, riff-heavy rock-and-roll as well as any band in the Bluff City.
Orion Stage • 3:35 p.m.
This Los Angeles quartet plays throwback R&B and bluesy rock — they call it "primitive soul" — inspired by the likes of Otis Redding and Ray Charles. The band is the brainchild of charismatic lead singer Ty Taylor, a music-scene veteran who competed on the reality show Rock Star: INXS.
Orion Stage • 5:10 p.m.
After working with groups such as Hometown Hero and Under the Influence of Giants, singer-songwriter Aaron Bruno went solo under the musical moniker AWOLnation, whose dance-friendly, alt-rock songcraft debuted with 2011's Megalithic Symphony.
Orion Stage • 6:55 p.m.
French indie/alt rockers Phoenix have been around for more than a decade but broke through in the U.S. with 2009's hooky Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix and its catchy singles "Lisztomania" and "1901." After a four-year wait, lead singer Thomas Mars and company returned last month with Bankrupt!.
- The Flaming Lips
The Flaming Lips
Orion Stage • 8:40 p.m.
The Flaming Lips have evolved from underground weirdos in the '80s, to one-hit-wonders ("She Don't Use Jelly") in the early '90s, and finally to international superstars and elder statesmen of the American indie rock scene. Their 1999 album, The Soft Bulletin, is regarded as a definitive work of the indie/alternative era. Their live shows are legendary. The band released the highly regarded album The Terror earlier this year.
Southern Comfort Blues Shack • times vary
Brandon Bailey is a young harmonica player from Memphis and promising potential star on the blues scene.
Southern Comfort Blues Shack • times vary
North Mississippi blues guitarist Kenny Brown's resume as a side player is unmatched. Over the years, he's collaborated with R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, and Paul "Wine" Jones. He's also a capable frontman in his own right.