Plenty of bands — both touring acts and locals — are packing in clubs all over town this weekend for Valentine's Day. Forget the flowers and candy, here are three very different shows worth checking out with your significant other. From shoe gaze to metal to garage rock, there should be something for just about everyone.
Friday, February 12th
Before the latest crop of bands like Manateees, NOTS, or Aquarian Blood, the Oscars represented the "Goner scene" of Memphis garage rock. Made up of Chuck Wenzler, Sam Burnett, Scott Patterson, and Abe White, the Oscars played Memphis often, performing their off-kilter, always-weird garage punk in unconventional places as well as every dive bar in town. After a long hiatus following Burnett's departure from the country, the Oscars are back with a show at Otherlands Friday night. — Chris Shaw
The Oscars at Otherlands, Friday, February 12th, 8 p.m. $6
Saturday, February 13th
The Finnish institution known as Children of Bodom is one of the higher profile bands to expand upon a musical backbone of melodic death metal over the last two decades. The band has maintained a sizeable fan base for its unique hybridization of melodic death/black metal and other strains of the steely stuff like power, neo-classical, and traditional heavy metal. Children of Bodom formed in 1993 and released three demos under the name Inearthed in as many years before switching to the former moniker prior to the release of 1997 debut album, Something Wild.
Since 1997, the band has centered around guitarist/vocalist/lyricist/co-founder Alexi Laiho, drummer/backing vocalist/co-founder Jaska Raatikainen, classically-trained jazz pianist Janne Wirman on keyboards and backing vocals, and Henkka Seppälä on bass/backing vocals. The debut album made an immediate impact in the metal underground by elevating the keyboard to a lead instrument, packing catchiness in the riffs and chord progressions, plus Laiho's fretboard fireworks and showmanship on the stage. Across subsequent albums, a formula was honed to worldwide success that saw less busy song structures and an organic shedding of abrasive elements. The more melodic and less cluttered Children of Bodom, with the help of incessantly touring their memorable live show, would make the band's third album, 2000's Follow the Reaper, the first to hit gold certification in Finland. It has since been certified platinum, and the band's seven subsequent albums have achieved gold status in the band's homeland, making them one of the country's best-selling artists. Children of Bodom's ninth album, I Worship Chaos, was released last October by Nuclear Blast Records. — Andrew Earles
Children of Bodom and Havok, Saturday, February 13th at the New Daisy. 8 p.m. $17-$25.
Sunday, February 14th
Local recording studio 5 and Dime has started throwing shows around holidays like Halloween and Christmas, and the gigs mostly feature bands that have worked in the studio, or are loosely associated with it. The 5 and Dime Valentine's Day Show features Switchblade Kid (5 and Dime founder Harry Koniditsiotis' shoe-gaze/punk band), Wray (Birmingham, Alabama), and new local band Margins. Featuring members of Burning Sands, New Intruders, and Wooden Mouth, Sunday's show will serve as the Margins' debut.
Birmingham shoe-gaze band Wray have played Memphis before with Switchblade Kid, and they've been picking up momentum since releasing Hypatia this year on Communicating Vessels records. The Memphis show wraps up a three-day tour for Wray, so the band's shoe gaze-meets-psych-rock music should be road-tested and ready to rip. Rounding out the bill is the curator of the evening, the Switchblade Kid. The band will be debuting their new video for the song "(I'm Leaving) The Death of Love," a track Konidsiotis called his "goth opus."
"In some respects '(I'm Leaving) the Death of Love' is 'Static Bombs 2' [Koniditsiotis released a video for the Switchblade Kid song 'Static Bombs'], but what I love about these outtakes are the mistakes, cars passing, dead flowers, cemeteries, and statues that capture the background of growing up 'Goth' in New Orleans in the '90s," Koniditsiotis said. "I didn't know any actors, so I asked my friends to be the stars." — CS
The video for "(I'm Leaving) the Death of Love" will be screened during the show.
Margins, Wray, and the Switchblade Kid, Sunday, February 14th at Murphy's, 9 p.m. $5.