Music » Music Features

Beale Street Music Festival 2018: Saturday

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FedEx Stage

Chinese Connection Dub Embassy • 2:10 p.m.

Chinese Connection Dub Embassy
  • Chinese Connection Dub Embassy

This Memphis band creates authentic reggae, with more of the short, sharp sounds of rock steady than many such bands in the U.S. They also have more of a political edge than many an American reggae band, unafraid to sing of the powers that be that "fascist motivation is their creed," even in the pre-Trump era.

Calexico • 3:40 p.m.

Calexico
  • Calexico

They've always evoked the cultural mash-up of the American Southwest, but Calexico are nowadays proving to be deft interpreters of rock history, covering Love and Dylan with aplomb. Their originals, too, have morphed into more indie-rock sounds, though they keep one foot in the borderlands with songs like "Flores y Tamales."

Al Kapone • 5:15 p.m.

This perennial crowd pleaser has logged more than 35 years as a rapper, taking his career from underground, cult status to legacy performer. The South Memphis native retains his grittiness, even as songs like "Memphis Pride" and "Whoop That Trick" have catapulted him from the streets to full-fledged star status.

Action Bronson • 6:50 p.m.

A culinary wizard-turned-rapper and Viceland TV star, Action Bronson is an unlikely addition to the BSMF line-up, let alone a bona fide hip-hop contender. Yet the Queens native, who The New York Times dubbed "one of the most promising prospects in New York hip-hop," delivers plenty of flavor.

Ludacris • 8:30 p.m.

Ludacris
  • Ludacris

These days, this Atlanta rapper is as famous an actor as he is a rhyme-spitter. He launched his acting career in Memphis as a star in Craig Brewer's breakout film Hustle and Flow, and this Saturday, he returns to his trap roots with a prime-time slot on the FedEx Stage.

Logic • 10:15 p.m.

A rapper who cites the Wu Tang Clan and Frank Sinatra as equal influences, Logic gained major traction with music fans via the internet before crossing over to mainstream success with his 2017 album Everybody, which yielded the hit single "1-800-273-8255," released in partnership with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Bud Light Stage

Tav Falco and the Panther Burns • 2:20 p.m.

In the first years of the Beale Street Music Festival, Tav Falco and his band of merry pranksters known as the Panther Burns organized Counterfest, a competing music festival highlighting the wild corners of the Memphis underground. Today, Memphis' original punk provocateur returns from European exile to take his proper place of honor on the city's biggest stage.

Dan Bárta & Illustratosphere • 3:50 p.m.

The Czech Republic's Bárta, a renowned singer in his homeland, has become a world star over the past 20 years. Bárta can share a stage and hold his own with the likes of Bobby McFerrin. He brings a crack band with him to Beale Street that can pivot from rock to jazz in a downbeat.

Franz Ferdinand • 5:30 p.m.

Franz Ferdinand
  • Franz Ferdinand

While these Scottish indie rockers have been performing since 2002, they've experienced a rebirth with two new members and the arrival of their latest album, Always Ascending, released in February. Live, expect classics such as 2005's Grammy-nominated "Take Me Out" as well as the new dance-rock number "Feel the Love."

Vance Joy • 7:10 p.m.

Melbourne, Australia, has emerged as an unlikely sister city to Memphis. Its beachside clubs have spawned a thriving rock scene. One of the Australian capitol's most successful exports is Vance Joy, who gained fame with his surprise hit single "Riptide." Within a year, he was opening for Taylor Swift. Now, he's rocking his ukulele in Tom Lee Park.

David Byrne • 8:50 p.m.

David Byrne
  • David Byrne

David Byrne's new album is called American Utopia. He witnessed the creation of punk with Talking Heads, co-created sampling culture with Brian Eno, created one of the greatest concert films of all times with Johnathan Demme, and sent pop in new directions with St. Vincent. Who's to say he can't usher in a utopia?

Jack White • 10:35 p.m.

Jack White
  • Jack White

Though White has ventured into many new terrains since his White Stripes days, one common denominator has been the desperate soulfulness of his singing, lending his songs' trials and triumphs a jagged urgency. He's moved away from classic garage crud to a sound palette with far more electronics, but the human edge remains constant.

River Stage

Amasa Hines • 2 p.m.

Amasa Hines
  • Amasa Hines

Though hailing from Little Rock, Amasa Hines and band create an international sound that sits somewhere between Americana and world music, with a healthy dose of rock. It all held together by Hines' soulful, plaintive voice, punctuated with horn blasts, as he delivers his dramatically personal songs.

J. Roddy Walston & the Business • 3:15 p.m.

Once pigeonholed as "bar band" music, the Business has always just delivered solid rock pop, but it's grown to a point where the bar sounds more like a stadium. Building a big, stomping sound with Walston's voice sounding more confident than ever, they somehow conjure up both classic rock and new wave.

Gov't Mule • 4:45 p.m.

Prolific performers on the festival circuit, Gov't Mule — the brainchild of former Allman Brothers bandmates Allen Woody and Warren Haynes — are reigning kings of the Southern jam band genre. They're rock-and-roll with a heavy R&B influence — and with their new album, Revolution Come ... Revolution Go, they're taking a political bent.

All Time Low • 6:25 p.m.

Baltimore emo screamers All Time Low combine power chords and sweet hooks like a good rock band should. They formed while the members were still in high school, and they've been touring relentlessly ever since. How can you not love a band with a song called "The Irony of Choking on a Lifesaver"?

Chevelle • 8:05 p.m.

This veteran Illinois band was named for the favorite car of the father of founding brothers Pete and Sam Loeffler. Since their 1999 debut, they have become a staple of rock radio and a favorite of Beale Street Music Festival fans.

Incubus • 9:45 p.m.

Incubus
  • Incubus

One of the most beloved acts from the alt-metal '90s returns to Memphis after their long-awaited album 8, and a year that saw them working with DJ Skrillix to produce the Billboard hit "Nimble Bastard" and headlining Warped Tour. Expect to hear songs from their deep catalog as well as their latest single "No Fun."

Coca-Cola Blues Tent

Earl "The Pearl" Banks • 2:15 p.m.

The 81-year-old Beale Street legend started playing guitar around the same time Elvis Presley first walked into Sun Studios. Now, he holds court at Blues City Cafe with an all-star band of Memphis gunslingers. As he told The Memphis Flyer last year before being honored by the city, "I ain't went too far, but I'm still moving."

Joanna Connor • 3:50 p.m.

Over more than 30 years, Connor has forged a life in the male-dominated Chicago blues scene. Once she starts playing, you'll know that she'll conquer all obstacles with her confident swagger. Blending the heavy distortion of rock guitar with frenetic bottleneck blues, she represents where the heavy North Mississippi drone groove might go if electrocuted.

Blind Mississippi Morris • 5:30 p.m.

A Clarksdale, Mississippi, native from a family rich with musical heritage, this award-winning harmonica player/bluesman is a perfect fit for Beale Street, reminding us of the sounds that first made it great. Indeed, from the first spine-tingling blow of his harp, you'll know that you're in the presence of a classic bluesman.

Eddy Clearwater • 7:10 p.m.

One of the few living authentic Chicago bluesmen still performing, Eddy "the Chief" Clearwater is a southpaw guitarist and vocalist who cut his first single for the tiny Atomic H label in 1958. Clearwater counts Chuck Berry as a major influence, but his "West Side Strut" style is utterly unique.

Tommy Castro & the Painkillers • 8:55 p.m.

Raised in San Jose, California, Tommy Castro worshiped at the altar of acts like Albert King in rough-and-tumble west coast bars. He's toured with B.B. King, netted an "Entertainer of the Year" Blues Music Award, and with his four-piece band, the Painkillers, recorded several killer blues albums for Alligator Records.

Marcia Ball • 10:40 p.m.

This honky-tonkin' blues pianist has built a solid career on her Louisiana-meets-East Texas style, drawing on swamp pop, Southern soul, and boogie-woogie piano — oftentimes within the same song. Ball, who has been playing piano since the age of five, is currently promoting Shine Bright, her just-released 13th solo studio album.

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