With the annual Sweatfest and Purgefest — and last April’s special election-year edition, Fool Fest — local record store Shangri-La Records has grown a quirky and enduring series of family-friendly music-festival-meets-record-sale events. And this Saturday’s fall sale is a birthday tribute to Lori McStay, wife of Shangri-La co-owner Jared McStay and a musician in her own right.
Affectionately known as La La, Lori has been out of Memphis for the most recent editions of Shangri-La’s festivals, so this year’s one-time-only tribute, dubbed La La Fest, will reunite an array of her old bands and projects. Yacht-rockers Relentless Breeze and ’80s hits aficionados the Cassette Set will continue their battle of the bands for the hotly contested title of Catchiest Midtown Group. The Ultracats (featuring local guitar hero Alicja Trout), the Villains (with Forrest Hewes and Tripp Lamkins), and the Glitches (featuring Robby Grant) are among the groups reuniting for the Saturday afternoon festival, and the star-studded lineup will include special guests Graham Winchester, Kelley Anderson, and James Godwin.
Over the years, Shangri-La’s record preview parties, record release shows, and one-day festivals have provided a chance to catch rare and intimate performances and special reunion shows by Memphis artists. The local store has hosted record-release concerts for Memphis heavy hitters such as Stax soul sultans Southern Avenue and blues-rockers the Dirty Streets. Tonight, Shangri-La hosts a pop-up listening party to celebrate the release of Julien Baker’s anticipated new album, Turn Out the Lights
. Each concert or mini-festival at Shangri-La is a unique event, not likely to be replicated again. And at a time when content is expected be created and consumed constantly, in a city where bands perform every night of the week, the little record store has built a tradition as a curator of not just physical media but also special one-time-only occasions. La La Fest is sure to add to that tradition.
Performances will take place Saturday, October 28th, in the Madison Avenue record store’s parking lot, which McStay fondly refers to as Shangri-La Stadium, and the event will include discounts on all merchandise in the store.
Shangri-LALA Fest, Saturday, October 28th at 2 p.m. at Shangri-La Records. Free.