Listen Up: 10 Bands to See in September

Posted by Holly Whitfield | August 30th 2012 1591 0

Ed. note: The nice thing about living in a music city is that we get a ton of great live shows every single month. The tough thing, however, is deciding which bands to see. With that in mind, here are 10 recommendations for shows you won't want to miss this month:

1. Memphis Music and Heritage Festival, Center for Southern Folklore, Sept. 1 and 2, all day, all ages, free

Memphis Music and Heritage Festival, Memphis, Tenn.

The Music and Heritage Fest is probably the only place where you can see mariachi, ballet, rappers and kids playing jazz music in a single place on a single day. More than 60 bands from Memphis and the Mid-South will play during the free two-day festival.

2. Ben Nichols, Hi-Tone Cafe, Sept. 5, 9 p.m., 18 and up, $10

Ben Nichols, Memphis, Tenn.

Lucero frontman Ben Nichols is taking a night off from his kind-of-a-big-deal band to play a solo show at the Hi-Tone with Joey Kneiser from Memphis band Glossary. Expect an evening of whiskey-soaked true stories told through smokey-voiced southern music.

3. Harlan T. Bobo with Michaela Caitlin, Otherlands, Sept. 8, 8 p.m., all ages, $7

Harlan T. Bobo is back in town (at least, for the moment) and is playing an intimate show at Otherlands with barista-by-day Michaela Caitlin. Michaela plays darkly sweet songs on her guitar and Harlan…well, Harlan kind of does whatever he wants, but with an incredible amount of skill and feeling.

4. Booker T. Jones with Al Kapone, Levitt Shell, Sept. 9, 6 p.m. all ages, free

There are tons of great bands playing at the Church Health Center's annual Rock for Love festival, but if you only make it to one show, make it the free Sunday night show at the Levitt Shell. Booker T. Jones (as in, of Booker T. and the MGs) is playing with local rapper Al Kapone as the opener.

5. Cooper-Young Festival, Cooper-Young, Sept. 15, all day, all ages, free

Cooper Young Festival, Memphis, Tenn.

One of the best parts of midtown's biggest annual party is the live music. This year, 16 bands will play the festival's three stages. Don't miss twangy country singer Nancy Apple, Allied Standard and the vintage ragtime sounds of the Side Street Steppers.

6. Chris Milam CD Release Party, Hi-Tone Cafe, Sept. 21, 18 and up, $5

Hardworking local singer-songwriter (and all around lovely guy) Chris Milam is putting out a new record – called "Young Avenue" on Sept. 21 at the Hi-Tone. Al Gamble, Mark Stuart, the Kait Lawson Trio and the Near Reaches will also play.

7. Emmylou Harris, Levitt Shell, Sept. 22, 8:30 p.m., all ages, $25 general admission, $150 VIP

Occasionally, order to make the Levitt Shell's 50-plus annual free concerts possible, the Shell has to bring out the big guns for a fundraiser show. On Saturday, Sept. 22, the legendary Emmylou Harris will play a special show to help raise money for the outdoor venue.

8. Spring Standards, Levitt Shell, Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m., all ages, free

Indie-pop-folk band the Spring Standards have a ton of fun on stage and a big, big sound. Their infectious, dance party pop songs will probably turn the shell into a big party, so don't be shy about going down front to shake it.

9. Gonerfest 9, Hi-Tone / Buccaneer / Murphy's, Sept. 27 – 30, 21 and up (most shows), $60 festival pass, individual shows $5 – $20

See the bands! Smell the smells! Drink the beer! Gonerfest is returning to Memphis for the ninth year. The festival, which is hosted by Goner Records, features punk, indie and garage rock bands from around the world. Don't miss the Oblivians, Nobunny, Jack of Heart and the River City Tanlines.

10. The Alabama Shakes, New Daisy Theatre, Sept. 28, 7 p.m., all ages, $25

Alabama Shakes, new Daisy, Memphis, Tenn.

Indie soul band Alabama Shakes are stopping in at the New Daisy on Sept. 28th for an all-ages show. Come prepared to dance – if you've listened to "Boys and Girls", you'll know that you're going to feel quite compelled.

Who are you excited about seeing this month?

Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

Show Comments


  1. #OMG VAMPIRE WEEKEND !!! 10 -6 -12 at the HI TONE!!!!

  2. Sara says:

    David Bazan!!! Living Room Tour – September 7th

  3. VampFan#1 says:

    VAMPIRE WEEKEND!!!!!  I can't wait.  Everyone be sure to buy your tickets today.  It's going to sell out!!  I love Hi-Tone.

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