It was (I think) 1988 and a somewhat altered Rhodes College student piled into a somewhat altered car with somewhat altered friends and took a savage nocturnal journey into the mysterious unknown: the empty shell of a ruined and vacant downtown Memphis. Our destination: the Loose End, an impossibly small, irresistibly grungy club on the north side. Our purpose was to get rock: as much as we could carry. The band -- which, admittedly, we knew nothing about -- was a rockabilly outfit fronted by a nimble-fingered guitar player named Roy Brewer. It was maybe my fifth time to see live music in Memphis, and the first time I'd ever seen live rockabilly, period. It sent me directly to the record store where I loaded up on neo-billy groups like the Stray Cats, the Blasters, and the Cramps. I got turned on to the sub-Elvis players in Sam Phillips' stable: Charlie Feathers, Paul Burlison, and Billy Lee Riley. I heard old favorites such as X in a whole new way. Though I'm sure he doesn't know it, I hold Roy Brewer -- who fancies himself a musicologist these days -- personally responsible for the dire, gut-twisting poverty my little record habit kept me in for the next 10 years. Most recently, Brewer -- always aware of the secret Latin components of rockabilly and the blues -- has demonstrated his considerable skills as a flamenco player for Spanish-born dancer Noelia Garcia Carmona. But he'll be in full-on rockabilly mode when he brings his "Bi-Polar Rockabilly Revue" to Automatic Slim's on Friday, May 27th.
Now for those looking for hip-shaking, garage-punk abandon I have but one recommendation: The Angel Sluts at Murphy's Saturday, May 28th.
-- Chris Davis
The Blue Monkey in Midtown would be an interesting place to settle in for a selection of live local music this week. The Overton Square watering hole welcomes one of the brightest lights on the local rock scene, The Secret Service, Thursday, May 26th. A couple of nights later, on Saturday, May 28th, eclectic local roots-rockers The Carlos Ecos Band will show off their mix of blues, soul, rock, and Latin sounds at the club. And on Sunday, May 29th, honey-voiced chanteuse Susan Marshall, who is sure to be featuring some songs from her excellent torch-songy new album Firefly, will grace the venue. That's a pretty good week.
Elsewhere, the Buccaneer has some good stuff to offer. On Friday, May 27th, a host of the city's finest garage-rock bands, including The Tearjerkers, The Preacher's Kids, and The Dutch Masters, along with singer-songwriter Dan Montgomery and roots-rocker Greg Hisky, will play a mammoth gig to benefit local musician Terrence Bishop, who is recovering from injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident. The next night, you can see some of the fruits of my Sound Advice colleague's roots-music fanaticism when his band, Papa Top's West Coast Turnaround, plays the Buccaneer.
Also worth a look this week: Oxford jam-band Daybreakdown will be at Newby's Saturday, May 28th. Chess Club will be at the Full Moon Club Saturday, May 28th. White rap duo Effingham & Wheatstraw return to the local stage at the Hi-Tone Café Saturday, May 28th. n