The Beale Street Music Fest is still a week away, but if you need to work your way up to the big one, you can't do better for a more leisurely, outdoor music festival than Oxford's annual Double Decker Festival this weekend.
The 17th annual festival starts with a ticketed concert Friday night and unfolds Saturday with a free all-day blend of art, food, family activities, and music on two stages.
A strong musical lineup pairs Floridian indie-folk band Iron & Wine with Rhode Island's Deer Tick on Friday. With grunge-Dylan singer-songwriter John McCauley leading a particularly adept roots-rock band, Deer Tick are one of the best entities on the indie scene's bar-band circuit over the past few years, and their last album, Divine Providence, found the sweet spot amid fake country, garage-y post-punk, and Stones strut for an album that landed on my own 2011 Top Ten.
The Saturday lineup boasts some early Memphis action with Star & Micey and Grace Askew and concludes with an ace Southern music trifecta: Drive-By Truckers' Patterson Hood in solo form, New Orleans legends the Meters, and Stax great Mavis Staples.
Full main stage lineups:
Friday, April 27th
7 p.m. - Charlie Mars
8:30 p.m. - Deer Tick
10 p.m. - Iron & Wine
Saturday, April 28th
10 a.m. - Rooster Blues
11:30 a.m. - Star & Micey
1 p.m. - Grace Askew
2:30 p.m. - Ponderosa
4 p.m. – George McConnell & the Nonchalants
5:30 p.m. - Patterson Hood
7 p.m. - Funky Meters
9 p.m. - Mavis Staples
For more info, see doubledeckerfestival.com.
Model Citizen at the Hi-Toné
Matt Patton can't do everything at once.
"I like to keep busy," Patton says from his home in Water Valley, Mississippi. Patton's Model Citizen opens for Memphis' Japanese cousins Guitar Wolf at the Hi-Tone Café this week.
Patton formed Model Citizen in Jasper, Alabama, in 1995 after high school. The punkish power trio is rhythmically charged and compressed like the Stooges. But Patton brings a wide range of musical experience that distinguishes Model Citizen: The guitars have more to say than most proto-punkers due to Patton's country soulfulness. Nothing is over-distorted and papery, a common deal-breaker for this genre. Since 2000, drummer Mike Gaut has shaped the band by turning the kit into athletic performance art. Gaut alone is worth the cover charge.
Patton has a way of staying in the middle of things. A Birmingham analog to Memphis' Scott Bomar, he's worked up sets with two classic-era Birmingham soul artists, Ralph "Soul" Jackson and Roscoe Robinson. He's also done side work for Eddie Bo, Alex Chilton, and Fat Possum blues find Paul "Wine" Jones.
Patton's other gig, the Dexateens, is a lively mix of Southern vernaculars and was signed to Estrus Records in 2004.
"That was an absolute dream come true," Patton says. "So, Dexateens became my main focus for a while. Model Citizen travels at my pace, unfortunately."
Model Citizen's recordings reflect this benign neglect. In 2006, Model Citizen released Save It for the Camp Fire on Italian indie Nicotine Records. That record failed to capture the magic fury of their live shows and felt like a forced studio record. All of this was improved on 2007's The Inner Fool, which felt more organic and captured the energy generated in their performances. They are currently working on a new 7" EP at Water Valley's Dial Back Sound.
Model Citizen plays the Hi-Tone Café on Thursday, April 26th, with Guitar Wolf and Transistors. Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is $13.