Beale Street Music Fest: The Bands
Friday, May 2
Lord T & Eloise
FedEx Stage • 6 p.m.
Aristocrunk, the combination of debauched continental privilege and Deep South horror-core hip-hip, was founded by royalty right here in Memphis. Lord T & Eloise established the upper limit on wealth, braggadocio, and rococo trappings in the rap community. Providing an absolutist approach to policy issues, such as day drinking and fine cobblery, Lord Treadwell and Maurice Eloise XIII rain down doubloons and malt beverages on the 1-percenters themselves.
Bud Light Stage • 6:05 p.m.
Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow formed this duo, which is signed to Columbia, while attending Vassar College. In a musical environment where duos and DJs pack everything they can find into tracks, MS MR reserve the spaces between the beats for Plapinger's voice. She has earned the distinction, and the music is all the better for the style. It's refreshing to see the voice take the primary focus of a band working in this milieu.
Orion Stage • 6:10 p.m.
Project Pat will be the perfect pick for anyone salivating to hear street-influenced lyrics spewed with a Southern drawl over bass-ridden tracks. The North Memphis-bred spitter has been doing his thing since the '90s and continues to keep his name ringing. He's released several projects over the past few calendars and was featured on his younger brother Juicy J's Never Sober Tour earlier this year. He's also putting the finishing touches on the sequel to his platinum-selling classic album, Mista Don't Play: Everythangs Workin. Keeping the crowd pleased shouldn't be too difficult for the gold-grill sporting Southern rap heavyweight.
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 6:10 p.m.
Look out for Lucky Peterson. He had a hit at age five and grew up in a club where he soaked in blues and jazz from greats like Muddy Waters and Jimmy Reed. Decades later he can still seem like a kid when he plays. Peterson can assume all sorts of musical guises — from wearing stylin' suits onstage with Wynton Marsalis in France to running around the joint in a biker jacket with a Gibson 330. He'll play gospel-spiked R&B on the Hammond or wild-dog blues on guitar. It all sounds good. Peterson's backing band is worth the ticket, but he is a lively guitarist whose tone can be startlingly cool. Watching a musician who still has such enthusiasm for performing is a blast. Peterson would not be having so much fun if his audience wasn't happily riled up, too.
FedEx Stage • 6:50 p.m.
GROUPLOVE is a big, happy, and appropriately named collective of musicians. The group met traveling in Greece and New York. They bring an international bend to the traditional American pop collective: While the Mamas & the Papas and the Band might come to mind when you think of big, homey groups of talented musicians, GROUPLOVE is of these times. Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi bring big voices and a reliable pop sensibility to this group of talented players. That GROUPLOVE is hard to characterize speaks to their genre-bending capacities. They may look like a pop phenomenon, but this is a real band with good songs.
Third Eye Blind
Bud Light Stage • 7:30 p.m.
Those who grew up on MTV's Total Request Live need no introduction to Third Eye Blind. With hits like "Jumper" and "How's it Going To Be," Third Eye Blind were one of THE alternative bands from the '90s, alongside other radio-friendly groups like the Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox 20. Since starting in 1993, the alternative band from San Francisco has released four studio albums, appearing every few years or so to drop another album and keep the idea alive that purple-tinted sunglasses equal rock-and-roll. While their latest efforts might not live up to the hype of Semi-Charmed Life, Third Eye Blind is a must for anyone in their mid-20s wanting to take a trip down memory lane.
- Dropkick Murphy's
Orion Stage • 7:35 p.m.
While they have had a loyal following from Warped Tour types for years, it wasn't until Martin Scorsese's 2007 film The Departed that the Dropkick Murphys became a household name. That movie introduced the world to their song "I'm Shipping Up to Boston," a mega-hit that's played at just about every sporting event you can think of. Since signing to Warner Brothers in 2007, Dropkick Murphys' success continues to grow, with their last two albums making it to no. 9 and no. 6 on two Billboard charts. Not bad for a humble punk band from Massachusetts.
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 7:40 p.m.
An up-and-comer on Beale, Tucker has settled in at B.B. King's, where he started at age 14 and his band still has its regular Friday night gig. Tucker has opened for King and played with Charlie Musselwhite, the Beach Boys, and others. He's attracted attention beyond the local blues scene, notably that of American Idol judge and populizer of the word "dawg," Randy Jackson, who called upon the young Memphian for two soundtrack jobs. Tucker has earned warehouses of local fan-favorite awards and will be one to watch for another half century.
FedEx Stage • 8:20 p.m.
Thanks to his platinum single (and twerk phenomenon) "Bandz A Make Her Dance," Juicy J has transcended from being known as a co-founder of Memphis' most prosperous rap group, Three 6 Mafia, to a groundbreaking solo artist. Currently a part of Wiz Khalifa's Taylor Gang imprint, he dropped his Stay Trippy album in 2013 and is prepping the release of his forthcoming project, The Hustle Continues, later this year. The last time Juicy performed at the festival was in 2012 alongside fellow Three 6 Mafia co-founder DJ Paul. This time around, Juicy will perform by his lonesome, but if it's anything like his recent concerts, be ready for a high-energy show and maybe a little twerking from talented dancers.
Fitz & the Tantrums
Bud Light Stage • 9:10 p.m.
Fitz & the Tantrums is an R&B/soul-inspired indie rock band that hails from Los Angeles. Formed in 2008, the group is fronted by a pair of dynamic lead singers — Noelle Scaggs and band founder/namesake Michael Fitzpatrick — and made its name in the underground music world through tours in support of groups like Hepcat, Flogging Molly, and Maroon 5, as well as a semi-legendary performance at Austin's South By Southwest music festival in 2010. Later that year, the band unveiled its first full-length album, Pickin' Up the Pieces, which garnered rave reviews and led to national television appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Conan, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The 2013 follow-up More Than Just a Dream also received positive reviews on the strength of the band's solid pop hooks and club-ready beats.
Orion Stage • 9:15 p.m.
Nick Hexum and his DJ-infused pop-funk outfit have been riling up folks since 1988. They didn't let a Bruce Willis-style escape from a burning tour bus hold them back and hit triple-platinum in 1995 with their self-titled third album. This year's Stereolithic is their 11th album. 311 spices up the typical bro-funk-metal thing with elements of pop and ska. You don't make it this far without a good live show.
- Marco Van Rooijen
- Ana Popovic
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 9:15 p.m.
Hailing from Belgrade, Yugoslavia, Popovic has colonized the contemporary American blues scene. Growing up under the government of Slobodan Milosevic, she formed a band and rose as the nationalist regime fell. She took a music-study opportunity in Switzerland, turned it into European notoriety, and eventually landed a record deal in Memphis with producer Jim Gaines. She covered "Belly Button Window" for the Jimi Hendrix tribute album Blue Haze, which also featured cuts by Carlos Santana and John Lee Hooker. She's a Memphian now, which is awesome.
FedEx Stage • 9:55 p.m.
A festival and neo-jam-circuit veteran with a sound that harkens back to a funkier age of hip-hop — Grand Puba, Funkdoobiest, and De La Soul come to mind. There is an underlay of '70s-era funk that was an essential aspect of '90s rap, but Pretty Lights brings to bear the big filters and synths that dominate less thoughtful electronic dance music. The latest release, A Color Map of the Sun, has no canned samples. Derek Smith recorded real musicians playing tracks and pressed them to vinyl.
Foster the People
Bud Light Stage • 10:50 p.m.
"All the little girls with their pumped up kicks ..." That song. "Pumped Up Kicks" was Foster the People's radio hit of 2011. Catchy as hell and worthy of a Grammy nomination, the skinny-jeans pop tune became a certified earworm and was a big break for former jingle writer Mark Foster. Their sound is a blend of digital production with occasional cameos by real instruments. The band released their follow-up album Supermodel last month. Foster's jingle-writing past is still apparent, but Supermodel has a wider range of sounds and ideas than their debut Torches.
- Snoop Dogg AKA Snoop Lion
Snoop Dogg aka Snoop Lion
Orion Stage • 11 p.m.
Snoop Dogg, or Snoop Lion, is likely to keep the crowd entertained at this year's festival with more than two decades of hits to select from during his set. One of gangsta rap's pioneers, Snoop has managed to diversify his archive throughout his career and appeal to individuals from all walks of life. His ability to maintain relevance and innovate new sounds, slang, and ways to hustle has preserved his seat among hip-hop's elite. Fans of timeless tracks from the golden era of gangsta rap up until the modern hip-hop sound will be in for a treat when the D.O. double G. graces the Orion Stage.
Dickey Betts & Great Southern
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 11 p.m.
The name Dickey Betts is virtually synonymous with Southern rock. As a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, Betts is a certified music legend, having been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. In fact, two of the group's biggest hits — "Jessica" and "Ramblin' Man" — are both Betts' compositions. Betts has also been quite prolific on his own over the years, releasing several successful solo albums in his esteemed career. His current touring band, Great Southern, also features his son Duane Betts (named for his former counterpart Duane Allman) on guitar.
Blues Shack • Times Vary
Kenny Brown has blues cred like few others. R.L. Burnside referred to the slide-playing Nesbit, Mississippi, native as his adopted son. Brown also studied under Joe Callicott, the hill country legend whose sound and life emerged from the darkness of the forgotten North Mississippi sound as he mentored Burnside as well as Brown. As Burnside rose from obscurity to celebrity in the 1990s, Brown was essential to the sound and the logistics, serving as a grateful student to a renowned master. Brown has attained mastery in his own right and is a first-order exponent of the hill country sound.
Robert "Wolfman" Belfour
Blues Shack • Times Vary
Belfour is another second-generation hill country bluesman. A protégé of fife-and-drum bandleader Othar Turner, Belfour takes the acoustic bargain and keeps that regional drone and drawl humming in the air. His driving, rhythmic pulse bounces under his thumb as his fingers syncopate with sheet-lightning chords and jumper-cable lines. Belfour's voice has the stone assurance that keeps the gravitas in the mix. This is the real deal.
Late Night at FedEx Stage • 12:15 a.m.
Big Gigantic, another duo arising from the lap-top-driven dance scene, take a more proactive approach to getting down over beats and samples. The group is driven by drummer Jeremy Salken and saxophonist/producer Dominic Lalli, with their live, instrumental ornamentation of the dance-music stock earning them the label of "livetronica." Their latest album is The Night is Young. This is another big light show situation, which is de rigueur for the lap-top set.
Saturday, May 3
Sonny Burgess & the Legendary Pacers
FedEx Stage • 2:10 p.m.
Of all the rockabilly artists to cut records at Sun in the 1950s, very few could match the raw, raucous energy and excitement captured on vinyl by Albert Austin "Sonny" Burgess and his band, the Legendary Pacers. Burgess played in a boogie-woogie dance band before moving to Memphis. His dance-band sensibility is evidenced by swinging guitar-driven arrangements decorated with squawking horns, pounding keys, and wild call-and-response refrains. Burgess gets more rock on his first Sun single "We Wanna Boogie" than most artists manage in an entire career.
Daddy Mack Blues Band
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 2:15 p.m.
Mack Orr has been on the Memphis blues scene for decades and is known for a solid show that represents the Memphis sound in blues. Daddy Mack's sound is derived from Albert King and redolent of the great Memphis blues bands that lasted into the early 1990s around Green's Lounge. It's R&B-infused but keeps things funky, earthy, and analog. Daddy Mack has a catch phrase, and he earned it: "When people say, 'Memphis blues ain't what it used to be,' they haven't heard the Daddy Mack Blues Band." In a town that thrives on the braggadocio, there's a lot of truth to what he says.
Orion Stage • 2:25 p.m.
Gales' latest undertaking is Pinnick Gales Pridgen, a collaboration with bassist dUg Pinnick and drummer Thomas Pridgen. The hard-hitting, radio-ready rock band features Gales' renowned electric fireworks. He learned Hendrix parts (complete with the upside-down lefty approach) from older brother Little Jimmy King. Gales has played with Carlos Santana and Mitch Mitchell and remains in a tiny group of peers who play with the aural ferocity of Jimi Hendrix. He has released more than a dozen albums.
Bud Light Stage • 2:30 p.m.
The trio of Holly Cole, Jana Misener, and Krista Wroten Combest started working on their sweet harmonies in high school, and it shows. Their soaring, complex vocal arrangements and guitar, cello, and violin sounds blend seamlessly to create a unique sonic space. Their music defies easy genre description, drawing influences from such disparate elements as Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, the Andrews Sisters, Otis Redding, and others. Their deeply felt folk style has been attracting big crowds in Memphis and beyond, where the band has opened for Jack White and toured America on their own. Don't miss this hometown favorite.
Carolina Chocolate Drops
FedEx Stage • 3:20 p.m.
There are few sounds on Earth more joyful than listening to Rhiannon Giddens gorgeously singing an a cappella Irish reel while one of her bandmates in the Carolina Chocolate Drops beatboxes. The Chocolate Drops are an old-time string band from North Carolina and beatboxing doesn't figure large in the group's traditional banjo, mandolin, and fiddle-driven sound. But when they do break it out, the mingling of the ancient and contemporary can be something truly special.
Blind Mississippi Morris
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent 3:50 p.m.
"I'm one of the lucky ones," Morris told film director Bill Totolo. "There's a lot of people got trapped down there and all their dreams died between them rows, choppin' that cotton and pickin'. All their dreams died right there. But I got the chance to come to Memphis and further my life and see other things and do other things." Morris is a harp player from Clarksdale and is an institution at Memphis' Center for Southern Folklore.
- Los Rabanes
Orion Stage • 4 p.m.
Representing this year's Memphis In May honored country of Panama, Los Rabanes started out as a raw punk band playing the bars of Central America and, over their 20-year history, have grown into an international phenomenon. Everything about the Latin Grammy winners' sound is eclectic and original, mixing bits of ska, calypso, and soca with more traditional Latin rock, and singing in a fiery combination of Spanish and English. With songs like the international hit "Bam Bam," they will keep your booty shaking.
St. Paul & the Broken Bones
Bud Light Stage • 4:05 p.m.
Soul never dies, it just keeps on moving and changing. Birmingham, Alabama's St. Paul & the Broken Bones are dedicated to bringing the legacy of the Muscle Shoals soul sound into the 21st century. Lead singer "St. Paul" Janeway understands that good soul is always rooted in the sacred music of the church, and the group's first full-length album Half The City has been getting attention for its soulful, rootsy sound. Watch Memphis keyboard hotshot Al Gamble help out with the band's energetic live show.
- Blues Traveler
FedEx Stage • 4:55 p.m.
Best known for catchy hit singles like "Hook," "Run-Around," and "But Anyway," New Jersey alternative/jam-rock act Blues Traveler is a well-established live commodity, having toured consistently since the early '90s. The band is fronted by harmonica virtuoso John Popper, who also serves as lead singer. In its 25-year-plus history, Blues Traveler has also released 11 studio albums (including 1994's Four, which cracked Billboard's Top 10) and played countless festivals, including Lollapalooza, H.O.R.D.E., Woodstock, and Bonnaroo.
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 5:25 p.m.
Fifteen-year-old blues guitar prodigy Quinn Sullivan has already done more in his short but illustrious career than artists more than three times his age. Initially discovered on The Ellen DeGeneres Show at the tender age of six, Sullivan has gone on to share the stage with blues legends like Buddy Guy and B.B. King, as well as appear on other national TV shows including The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He's also released two studio albums thus far, 2011's Cyclone and 2013's Getting There.
Orion Stage • 5:35 p.m.
Formerly a full band called Fresh Aer Movement, Aer is abbreviated in name and in personnel. Carter Schultz and David von Mering pared things down to a duo and hit with their 2011 EP What You Need, sing-songy, poppy hip-hop in the vein of G. Love & Special Sauce. Their next record, The Bright Side, showed some exposure to '90s hip-hop but didn't stray too far from the easy and accessible.
- Jerry Lee Lewis
Jerry Lee Lewis
Bud Light Stage • 5:45 p.m.
One could argue that Elvis had to go make movies because he couldn't burn the house down like Jerry Lee. Nobody before or since has laid down such a primal musical gauntlet as did the Ferriday, Louisiana, native when he bum-rushed Sun Studio and recorded Big Maybelle's "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" in 1957. Other people are singers or piano players. He is the fissile material in the detonation of rock-and-roll, and he's still going. There are videos online of him performing recently. He's 79 years old. He still tears up a piano.
FedEx Stage • 6:35 p.m.
The Louisiana native is one of the revered architects of Chicago blues. While on the legendary Chess records, he recorded with the likes of Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters. These recordings would go on to be revered by a generation of blues rockers like Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. His flamboyant live performances and feedback-heavy style were cited by Jimi Hendrix as his greatest influence. The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee has played on dozens of albums and taken his sound live around the world. He's a true blues legend who is still going strong at 77.
Reba Russell Band
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 7 p.m.
Now in her fourth decade of working the Memphis music scene, Russell has forged an independent career alongside her bass-playing, art-making husband. The only person she ever "worked for" was Chips Moman, for whom she sang with Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Ringo Starr, and U2. Otherwise, she has released her own work and formed a production company with business partner Dawn Hopkins called Blued Eyed Bitches. Russell established her place among the wild-hare, furiously independent Memphis music world and continues to chart her own path with songs that embody her feisty spirit.
Orion Stage • 7:10 p.m.
Guitarist Andrew Stockdale's hard-rocking trio took their native Australia by storm in 2006, selling a half-million records and winning a Grammy for their song "Woman." Stockdale's soaring vocals can sound uncannily like prime Ozzy Osborne, and his guitar prowess rivals any metal gunslinger you care to name. But they can also do fast and hard garage rock and woozy psychedelia, slipping between styles sometimes within the same song. After a brief hiatus, the band is back with the recently released album New Crown.
Bud Light Stage • 7:20 p.m.
Cleveland's thuggish-ruggish hip-hop supergroup Bone Thugs-N-Harmony know a thing or two about writing a hit. From the silky smooth voice of Krayzie Bone to the classic beats used on tracks like "Tha Crossroads" and "1st of tha Month," songs by Bone Thugs are usually recognizable within the first few seconds. Although the group saw the height of their fame in 1997 when they won multiple awards (including a Grammy for Best Rap Album) for their album E. 1999 Eternal, Bone Thugs have stayed active despite line-up changes, releasing six studio albums since the mid-'90s.
Twenty One Pilots
FedEx Stage • 8:15 p.m.
Pure pop. Twenty One Pilots has a knack for the sugar. This duo has a divining rod to tunes that are current and catchy. The chirpy, adolescent-crisis-confessional raps and dance-derived synth pads stay on target. That focus earned drummer Josh Dun and producer, multi-instrumentalist, and singer Tyler Joseph — who would be perfect if they redid the FedEx commercial where the guy talked real fast — a spot on the 2014 MTV Music Awards broadcast.
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 8:40 p.m.
They say Kenny Neal was 3 years old and making a racket crying about something when Slim Harpo put a blues harp in his mouth to quiet him. Despite the questionable logic of giving a child a harmonica, things worked out. Neal grew up in a home filled with legends: Harpo, Lazy Lester, and Buddy Guy were family friends. It's no wonder that decades later Neal has earned Grammy nominations and Handy Awards.
- Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
Orion Stage • 8:50 p.m.
Joan Jett is a genuine rock legend. In 1975, she founded the Runaways, a pioneering, all-female rock band perched on the cusp of glam, metal, and punk. As a solo artist in the 1980s, she had chart-topping success with "I Love Rock 'n Roll," "Bad Reputation," and "I Hate Myself For Loving You." Not only is she a feminist icon who has been portrayed onscreen by Kristen Stewart, but just a couple weeks ago, she sang "Smells Like Teen Spirit" with Nirvana at their Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction. That's rock-and-roll.
Chick Corea & the Vigil
Bud Light Stage • 9:05 p.m.
Currently on a tour of solo performances, Corea will perform with his band the Vigil. He's had a Latin undercurrent in much of his jazz dating back to early gigs with percussion master Willie Bobo in the 1960s. Corea went on to epitomize the electric jazz of the late 1960s and '70s. He is the definitive electric pianist in the jazz idiom and has remained on the vanguard of new sounds. His solo work and his collaborations with the groups Circle, Return To Forever, and the Elektric Band represent a wide range of genius.
FedEx Stage • 9:50 p.m.
Sound Tribe Sector 9 are primarily a live act born of the festival circuit who are geared toward gigging over recording. STS9 demonstrates a synthesis of dance-driven rules but with vigorous live shows. Very comfortable on a bill with electronic dance music or a jam band, the Georgia-bred, California-based group favors simple, interlocking instrumental parts that evolve over the timespan of a club track or DJ set.
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 10:25 p.m.
Castro has won a frigate's worth of awards for his hollering and Stratocaster playing. He is a Bay Area stalwart and one of the superstars of modern blues. Castro is a regular opener for B.B. King. His show is a high-energy electrical machine. Rather than looking to a throwback concept, Castro is content in his identity, giving the music a radio-rock feel.
- Kid Rock
Orion Stage • 10:35 p.m.
It's not easy being a self-proclaimed "American badass," but then again, not everybody can use a made-up word for a chorus and get a platinum-selling album out of it. Thus is the skill set of Kid Rock, who is equal parts trailer park hero, hip-hop outlaw, and country-music superstar. Kid Rock is the epitome of a renaissance man, and he's got the chart-topping hits to prove it. With 11 albums under his belt and no sign of slowing down, it's safe to assume the Cowboy from Michigan will be gracing our ears with hits for quite some time.
Bud Light Stage • 10:50 p.m.
Beginning with the Bluebells' "I Sold My Heart to the Junk Man," LaBelle has carried one of the big guns of 20th-century diva soul. The early girl-group records are all about that huge, acrobatic voice. Go find the self-titled first record of her band, Labelle. Holy moly, it's good. They opened for the Who and went on to own 1970s glam with "Lady Marmalade." The '80s? "New Attitude" was on the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack. She earned a Grammy in 1991. Her influence on the sound of female R&B vocals can't be overstated. Her melismatic vocals set the style for the 1990s and beyond.
Blues Shack • Times Vary
Jeffries is a contemporary blues burner whose sound slips easily into classic R&B. His playing comes from the post-Hendrix world of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Johnson, and to a lesser extent, Robert Cray. His band, the Kings of Memphis, bear the hallmarks of gospel and R&B experience, which rounds out the sound much better than a straight blues band would with this sort of music.
Leo Bud Welch
Blues Shack • Times Vary
Leo Bud Welch is the purest spring of good music to surface in a long time. He's 81 years old and released his first album earlier this year. Sabougla Voices is a collection of gospel songs. Welch is a preacher in Bruce, Mississippi, where he also worked on logging crews. His message is delivered with all the hill country charm and power that has made the region's secular blues so popular in recent decades. This is exciting and engaging gospel from a man who has been spreading the word since 1975. This is a festival highlight.
Late Night at FedEx Stage • 12:15 a.m.
Beats Antique is a dance-driven multicultural storm of lights and exotic sounds. Legendary producer Miles Copeland helped assemble the group to support a dance troupe, and it has kept people dancing around the world since 2007. The mix of live belly dancing, a remix palette of international scope, and live instrumental performance are one thing. The lights add another dimension.
Sunday, May 4
FedEx Stage • 2:10 p.m.
Richard Cushing's FreeWorld are a Memphis institution that have transcended their jam band roots to become as solid a band as you can find in town. Serving as a reliable gig for jazz eminences and as a breeding ground for young musicians, FreeWorld are rolling toward their third decade. FreeWorld can easily jump from a respectful take on a classic soul tune to a Zappa-esque caprice. They call themselves the world's tightest jam band. To see what it takes to survive as a musician in Memphis, go see FreeWorld.
Bud Light Stage • 2:15 p.m.
Since its inception in 1977, punk rock has become something of a universal musical language, as bands throughout the world have taken the music of rebellion and made it their own. Representing this year's Memphis In May honored country of Panama, Los Rabanes started out as a raw punk band playing the bars of Central America and, over their 20-year history, have grown into an international phenomenon. Everything about the Latin Grammy winners' sound is eclectic and original, mixing bits of ska, calypso, and soca with more traditional Latin rock and singing in a fiery combination of Spanish and English. With songs like the international hit "Bam Bam," they will keep your booty shaking.
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 2:15 p.m.
From 1955 until 1957, Herman Green was the saxophonist in the house band at San Francisco's legendary Black Hawk Club, where he played with Cannonball Adderley, Dave Brubeck, the Modern Jazz Quartet, and Miles Davis. He backed Marilyn Monroe and had Sinatra sit in. A gig for Lionel Hampton led to a move to New York and friendship with John Coltrane. Green's played with Bob Weir, Jimmie Vaughan, and countless others. His work with the Newborn family and his tenure with FreeWorld are highlights of his time in Memphis.
Surrender The Fall
Orion Stage • 2:20 p.m.
Memphis' own Surrender The Fall make their debut Beale Street Music Festival appearance, adding their dynamic brand of modern hard rock/metal to this year's eclectic line-up. The band, which formed in 2005, is currently touring in support of its latest release, the 2012 full-length Burn In The Spotlight. The album was released by the Rum Bum Records label (also the home of fellow local heavy-rockers Saliva) and debuted on Billboard's Active Rock chart.
Black Joe Lewis
FedEx Stage • 3:35 p.m.
Lewis continues to awe festivals and critics with his mix of punk and blues. He learned to play in a pawnshop, which is probably the coolest possible way to learn the guitar. His last album, Electric Slave, takes the Jon Spencer playbook into the Jack White age. It's fuzzy, straight-ahead power sludge that is a natural habitat for Lewis' feral shriek. It's some of the best pure rock-and-roll to come out in this decade. If you invite comparisons to Roky Erickson, then congratulations on being great at music. Lewis also includes horns and — for the love of all that is good — a bass player.
Black Stone Cherry
Orion Stage • 3:50 p.m.
Black Stone Cherry are gearing up to release a new album, which is probably what brings the boys from Edmonton, Kentucky, down to Memphis. Since forming in 2001, the band has seen its fair share of success, touring with the likes of Def Leppard and Nickelback, and somewhere in there a deal with Road Runner Records came along. But don't look to the aforementioned bands if you're trying to pin down the sound of Black Stone Cherry, as the band rides a groove best described as modern hard rock with a Southern twang. With songs about marijuana ("Me and Mary Jane") and questionable lifestyles ("White Trash Millionaires"), Black Stone Cherry keep the subject matter light and the riffs heavy.
Ghost Town Blues Band
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 3:50 p.m.
These guys have been kicking up a storm in Memphis since 1999 and have earned loads of awards and fans. In 2013, Ghost Town were finalists in the International Blues Challenge. A full-on West Memphis-style blues act with keys and horns, they infuse the tried-and-true big-band lineup with a powerful dose of youthful energy. Ghost Town take an eclectic approach, sampling from Memphis soul à la Rufus Thomas or working things out on a scale appropriate to the jam band scene.
The Dandy Warhols
Bud Light Stage • 3:55 p.m.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of one of the alternative '90s best, the Portland, Oregon-based Dandy Warhols. The band, whose single "We Used To Be Friends" is familiar as the theme song to the TV teen detective show-turned film Veronica Mars, have explored sounds from '60s garage psychedelia to Big Star-style power pop to '80s postpunk and Britpop. In addition to their high-profile international appearances, such as an opening slot for the legendary David Bowie's last tour, the band was also the subject of the 2004 film Dig!, which won the Best Documentary prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
- Leftover Salmon
FedEx Stage • 5:15 p.m.
Jam band legends Leftover Salmon formed in Boulder, Colorado, in 1989 around a trio of founding members: Drew Emmitt, Mark Vann, and Vince Herman. The group, which combined elements of bluegrass, Zydeco, and rock into its sound (dubbed "polyethnic Cajun slamgrass" by the band itself), enjoyed immense success throughout the '90s, releasing four acclaimed studio albums and touring relentlessly. Vann's death in 2002 was a tragic setback, but the group has soldiered on, even releasing a new album called Aquatic Hitchhiker in 2012 with recent members Andy Thorn, Greg Garrison, and Jose Martinez.
Orion Stage • 5:25 p.m.
Anthrax entered its fourth decade in 2011. They have released 11 full-length albums of thrash metal. This music fed a generation of dudes raised on Anthrax and their peers Megadeth, Slayer, and the big winners (and in some ways losers) Metallica. Pharaoh-bearded guitarist Scott Ian (the only consistent member) has held onto the wheel of a band that has seen lots of turnover in personnel but maintained a durable fan base.
- Jason Isbell
Bud Light Stage • 5:30 p.m.
Would you be surprised if Jason Isbell was governor of Alabama one day? Here's to that. Isbell has been on a tear since he dropped the bottle and his position in the Drive-By Truckers. Isbell is well into a slow-burn career that just keeps smoldering. He is the antidote to Nashville's slavish adherence to commodity country. He bites harder lyrically, his voice is human (not auto-tuned), and his music can be replicated live. Where country and its alt cousin seem caught up in mindless fun, drinking Bud and PBR, respectively, Isbell has elevated the dialog. It's good to see someone take on the mantle of adulthood and keep making sincere music in such an artful way.
Tony Joe White
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 5:30 p.m.
There was a belle epoch in country soul and Tony Joe White had a lot to do with it. White wrote "Polk Salad Annie," the sad tale of a lady's granny, which hit no. 8 in 1969. It became a regular tune in the live shows of Tom Jones and the King of Rock-and-Roll, Elvis Presley. White wrote "Willie and Laura Mae Jones," which ended up on Dusty in Memphis, Dusty Spingfield's country-soul masterpiece. White rose again in the early 1990s, writing for Tina Turner. In 2006, he hit his own stride, warming up for Roger Waters in Europe and cutting records with Emmylou Harris, Eric Clapton, and others.
FedEx Stage • 7 p.m.
Bootsy Collins' unorthodox appearance, entertaining alter egos, and talented bass guitar skills were a breath of fresh air to the funk culture several decades ago. From playing background for funk icons like James Brown and George Clinton to forming his own collective, Bootsy's Rubber Band, which crafted an array of hits, he's solidified his spot among the who's who of the genre. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee continues to spread the funk across the globe. From "I'd Rather Be With You" to "Stretching Out" to "Can't Stay Away," attendees should anticipate receiving earfuls of funky hits when Bootsy touches the FedEx Stage.
Orion Stage • 7:05 p.m.
The alt-rock/metal trio Seether might hail from South Africa, but the band's sound is steeped in the sounds of late-'90s American modern-rock radio, a formula which has yielded great success. The group has regularly shared the stage with acts like 3 Doors Down, Nickelback, and Papa Roach. Seether is perhaps best known for hit singles like "Remedy," "Fake It," and "Broken," the latter of which featured a cameo from Evanescence's Amy Lee. The band's sixth studio album, Isolate and Medicate, is due out later this year.
- North Mississippi Allstars
North Mississippi Allstars
Bud Light Stage • 7:15 p.m.
Local boys! The Allstars ought to be amped up for Memphis. They have a lot to be excited about, starting with a perfect slot. They have made seven albums and draw from a wellspring of songs, styles, and creativity that sustains their success. Luther Dickinson is at his best with a wide-open pick up and full-throttle rhythm section, which is just what Cody Dickinson and bassist Lightnin' Malcolm provide.
Roy Rogers & the Delta Rhythm Kings
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 7:15 p.m.
Roy Rogers played on the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest soundtrack. But that's not the half of it. He has won two Grammys for producing John Lee Hooker albums, penned Grammy-nominated tunes for Bonnie Raitt, and released an album with Ray Manzarek of the Doors. His specialty is slide, and his style is rooted in the bobwire tones and skip rhythms of the Delta. He moves from wild jump blues to beautifully all-worn-out country-blues philosophical tales.
- The String Cheese Incident
The String Cheese Incident
FedEx Stage • 8:45 p.m.
Colorado jam band institution the String Cheese Incident has been a near-constant presence on the festival/touring circuit since its formation in 1993. Drawing influence from an eclectic mix of music genres, including bluegrass, reggae, prog-rock, and psychedelia, among others, the band has amassed a large and dedicated following throughout the years. Though the String Cheese Incident is primarily known as a live act, the group has also released nine fine studio albums, including this year's A Song In My Head.
Orion Stage • 8:50 p.m.
Avenged Sevenfold have earned the right to be called one of the biggest bands in alternative rock. Since forming in 1999, the band has seen an overwhelming amount of success, thanks in large part to a music video for the single "Bat Country" from their album City of Evil that parodied Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. While many bands that sell themselves on looks have a short shelf life, Avenged Sevenfold continue to evolve and change their sound, a practice that's seen them sell more than 8 million records to date.
- Alabama Shakes
Bud Light Stage • 9 p.m.
They've only been around for a little less than five years, but the Alabama Shakes have already made a big splash in the world music scene, playing on Austin City Limits, Saturday Night Live, and Late Night With David Letterman in support of their gold record Boys & Girls. Singer/guitarist Brittany Howard and company promise to bring the same gutsy vocals and bottomless soul that have wowed audiences from the Glastonbury Festival in England to the Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, Tennessee.
Horseshoe Casino Blues Tent • 9 p.m.
Canned Heat keeps burning. One of the original "festival acts" going back to the Monterey Pop Festival, Canned Heat set the standard for hippie blues recordings with the freewheeling flute of "Going Up Country" and the bonkers falsetto and eerie hammered piano strings of "On the Road Again." United by a love for digging through record crates, the original members have gone on to their rewards with the exception of drummer Adolfo de la Parra. Founder and master harpist Alan Wilson's last effort was the band's 1970 collaboration with John Lee Hooker, Hooker n' Heat.
Blues Shack • Times Vary
The Doctor. Memphis is lucky to have this ethnomusicologist popping up on stages, radios, and at lecterns at the University of Memphis. A world authority on blues and musical culture, he's won a Grammy for liner notes and is the author of The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to the Blues. Evans has published tons of field recordings, but he plays guitar and jumps right into the river of sound. He's also a member of the Last Chance Jug Band. If you want to get schooled on the blues, gospel, folk, and all sorts of other things, this is your chance. He's a 24-7 master class.
Brandon O. Bailey
Blues Shack • Times Vary
To say that Memphis musician Brandon O. Bailey is a unique artist is more than an understatement. Bailey is a one-man-band who combines his equally skillful blues harmonica playing and hip-hop beatboxing (with help from a loop pedal) into a wholly original live experience he calls "harpboxing." His talents have been featured on NPR's Weekend Edition as well as PBS' Music Voyager series, and he placed second in the 2010 International Blues Competition (solo/duo category).