Cellular South Stage • 6 p.m.
Utah-based rock band Neon Trees play a catchy brand of modern rock similar to fellow westerners the Killers. Neon Trees' major-label debut album, Habits, was released in March.
Cellular South Stage • 7:35 p.m.
An eclectic New Orleans-based rock band with roots in the Christian music scene, MuteMath have built a strong following. The band's most recent album, Armistice, saw them moving in a more experimental direction, incorporating electronic elements, strings, and ambient guitar sounds. With Paul Meaney's strong voice leading the way, MuteMath are a band who translate these sounds to a big stage.
30 Seconds to Mars
Cellular South Stage • 9:15 p.m.
Formed a decade ago by actor Jared Leto and his brother Shannon, the Los Angeles-based 30 Seconds to Mars have developed their melodic hard-rock style across three albums, most notably last year's This Is War. The most recent album found the band shifting their music into more new wave and Goth directions, reminiscent of such hit-making bands as the Killers and My Chemical Romance.
Cellular South Stage • 10:55 p.m.
When Limp Bizkit emerged in the late '90s, the band took the rap-metal template popularized by Korn and broadened the appeal by removing that band's Goth/alternative instincts, leaving an energetic sound that resonated from malls to frat houses to rock radio. Lead singer Fred Durst became the emerging genre's biggest star. Soon after the band's multi-platinum peak, guitarist Wes Borland left, and Durst concentrated on other ventures. With Borland having recently rejoined the band, Limp Bizkit returns this year with Gold Cobra, a new album scheduled for a June release. Look for Bizkit to preview material from the new album alongside such hits as "Nookie" and "Break Stuff."
Budweiser Stage • 6:10 p.m.
Memphis' 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, another 2010 Music Fest performer. But Kapone began to get his share of the spotlight via his collaborations with Memphis filmmaker Craig Brewer. Kapone contributed the title track of Brewer's Hustle & Flow. More recently, Kapone, along with his son, starred in Brewer's MTV series $5 Cover.
Budweiser Stage • 7:45 p.m.
When the B-52s emerged in the late '70s, boasting such instant classics as "Rock Lobster" and the memorably titled "Dance This Mess Around," they were the house party band for the punk and new-wave scene, a mostly underground pleasure. A decade later, with the 1989 album Cosmic Thing, they dominated radio and music television. This time, they belonged to the world. Twenty years on, the band, led by three-headed singing troupe Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, and Cindy Wilson, is an institution that will surely do its best to turn Tom Lee Park into a "Love Shack."
Goo Goo Dolls
Budweiser Stage • 9:30 p.m.
The Goo Goo Dolls are celebrating their 25th anniversary. Formed in 1985, the band, fronted by John Rzeznik, spent a decade on the alt-rock margins, honing their sound in preparation for a breakout that finally came in 1995, going double platinum with the album A Boy Named Goo. The band rocketed into true stardom with "Iris," which spent 18 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and garnered three Grammy nominations. The band embraced this new, more polished, power-ballad-heavy sound and has never looked back.
Sam's Town Stage • 6:30 p.m.
One of the few jam bands of their era with a true pop-radio hit (the über-catchy "Run-Around"), Blues Traveler returned to a pop-oriented sound on North Hollywood Shootout. Live, however, expect the band to live up to its name: rootsy pop, blues rock, and '60s-style jam-band sounds.
Sam's Town Stage • 8:15 p.m.
Jeff Beck, who paired up with Rod Stewart in the Jeff Beck Group and served a stint as lead guitarist with the Yardbirds, is a legit classic-rock guitar god. Beck just released his first studio album in nearly a decade with Emotion & Commotion. His strong riffs should be a welcome change of pace in between the more expansive jamming of Blues Traveler and Widespread Panic.
Sam's Town Stage • 10 p.m.
Over the course of 20 years of nonstop touring, Georgia's Widespread Panic have become a jam-rock institution, a south of the Mason-Dixon answer to New England's Phish. The band has released 10 studio albums since forming in the mid-'80s, but they really bloom onstage, where Widespread Panic's mix of Southern rock, blues rock, alt-country, and progressive rock have helped them sell out arenas coast to coast.
Joanne Shaw Taylor
FedEx Blues Tent • 6:15 p.m.
This emerging blues artist from Great Britain debuted last year with the album White Sugar, which was nominated for "Best New Artist Debut" at the Blues Music Awards. It showcases a fiery guitar goddess equally inspired by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix. Catch a rising star as Joanne Shaw Taylor makes her first Beale Street Music Fest appearance.
Jimmy Thackery & the Drivers
FedEx Blues Tent • 7:45 p.m.
An original member of the Nighthawks, guitar man Jimmy Thackery has been a blues-scene fixture since the early '70s. Since putting together the Drivers in the early '90s, Thackery and his band have released a new collection of their blue-collar electric blues pretty much every year, most recently with 2008's Inside Tracks. But however prolific Thackery and his bandmates might be as record-makers, they're still at their best onstage.
FedEx Blues Tent • 9:30 p.m.
This blues, R&B, and swamp-music guitarist, singer, and bandleader is a member of a prominent New Orleans music family, the son of harmonica master Raful Neal and the most prominent of a large group of brothers he's performed with over the years. After a brief illness, Kenny Neal returned to the stage in 2007, followed by his 2008 album, Let Life Flow.
FedEx Blues Tent • 11:15 p.m.
The California-bred Coco Montoya honed his skills as a sideman for blues legends Albert Collins and John Mayall. The latter hand-picked Montoya to be the lead guitarist for a new, mid-'80s version of his famous '60s-era band the Bluesbreakers, taking on the role once handled by Eric Clapton and Peter Green. Montoya finally went out on his own, 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 more soul territory on his new album, I Want It All Back.
SoCo Blues Shack • 6:15, 7:45, & 9:15 p.m.
A longtime sideman for the late, great R.L. Burnside, Kenny Brown is now an elder statesman on the north Mississippi hill-country blues scene. More casual blues fans might recognize Brown as the lanky juke-joint guitar master flanking Samuel L. Jackson in the film Black Snake Moan.
SoCo Blues Shack • 7, 8:30, & 10 p.m.
Richard Johnston, a late-blooming street performer, has become one of the rising stars on the independent blues scene, winning the 2001 International Blues Challenge and releasing an acclaimed debut album, Foot Hill Stomp. Solo, Johnson is sure to wow audiences with his world-weary howl and his picking ability on the cigar-box lowe bow, a one-stringed cousin of the electric guitar.