After having to cancel their last advertised gig at Young Avenue Deli to open for the North Mississippi Allstars in Chicago, Lucero is back at the Hi-Tone Café on Saturday, February 24th, with the Kansas City band Secret Liquor Cure. -- Chris Herrington
The Circuit Riders, a group of talented youngsters from Oxford town, claim that their music is a hybrid of Southern rock and Americana, but I just don't buy it. Their song "Hat Giver" begins like a tom-tom-happy Led Zeppelin (lyrically substituting mermaids on the Mississippi for Zep's fantastical characters from Tolkien's Middle Earth) then smoothly morphs into a rootsy mid-Seventies Stones rip-off. The twangy, jangly ballad "Around the Bend" sounds a lot like an unlikely duet between Uncle Tupelo and the Revolver-era Beatles. Their recording of an incredibly dated Faces cover, "Glad and Sorry," begins with the spoken indictment: "We need everybody to support local music." The irony is almost painful. But one thing is for certain, the kids can play the fool out of their instruments. They also have a good ear for intricate and eclectic arrangements. Hopefully they will, with time, stop using their influences as crutches and develop a sound all their own. Still, it's great to watch young bands develop, and they are certainly worth checking out. Do so when they play the Hi-Tone Café Thursday, February 22nd. The Hi Tone also features C&W powerhouse The Derailers on Friday and the utterly amazing acoustic roots mob The Asylum Street Spankers on Sunday. Go Hi-Tone. That's one heck of a weekend!
The Bluff City Backsliders are a skronky, sloppy, glorious mess of an old-time Memphis jug band. Between Jason Freeman's throaty (Gus Cannon only wished) vocals, John (Lucero) Stubblefield's plucky bass, Mike (Fatback Jubilee) Graber's manic mandolin, Clint (Mash-o-Matic) Wagoner's sawing fiddle, and Jack (Professor Elixir) Adcock's awesome scratch board and spit-drenched jug-work this Memphis superband can deliver the soulful, spirited, and often very funny sounds that first made Beale Street famous. Throw in some zippy kazoos, a mean dobro, and effective, minimal drum-work and you have the swampy recipe for a nasty hangover. They are playing 8-11 p.m. every Wednesday at Beale Street's Blues Hall. Ah, at last -- something authentic on the street that Mr. Handy built. -- Chris Davis
Props should go to Clutch for longevity, especially since all nine of their releases have borne a different record label imprint. Their latest, Pure Rock Fury, is on Atlantic records, and while, despite the title, some fans may complain that Clutch doesn't rock as hard as in their early days, the band goes beyond that to contribute to the redefinition of the term "heavy." This fine album demands a journey back through the Clutch catalog to witness the evolution of a band fusing hard core and hard rock through roots music, jazz, and go-go. Clutch will be at the New Daisy Theatre on Tuesday, February 27th, with Corrosion of Conformity, Spirit Caravan, and Clearlight. -- Pat Mitchell