Listen Up! 12 Live Music Shows In Memphis This Month (September 2019)
Ed. Note: Contributor Wesley is back with another roundup of amazing live music in Memphis for the month of September. Which one will you see this month?
Magnolia, photo by @melodramaticart on Instagram
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3
Photo by Mac Sabbath
If you like heavy metal and even heavier calorie counts, then you may find that Mac Sabbath will satiate that specific hunger. This LA band is Ronald McDonald and his friends parodying Black Sabbath songs, replacing lines like “Heavy boots of lead / fills his victims full of dread” with “Heavy longing for bed / fry these cows until you’re fed.” Comedy gold(en arches), folks.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5
Local band Aktion Kat is three guys summoning feline personas. Not the Andrew Lloyd Webber kind, either. More like Fritz the Cat. They’re releasing their album Outa The Bag! on September 4 on all streaming platforms, but you can catch them live the following night. See the music video for their single “Good-N-Tha-Bad” above.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6
Japanese cult filmmaker Seijun Suzuki’s work was largely unknown in the west until the late 90s when fellow cult filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and Jim Jarmusch introduced his Yakuza B-movie stylings to American audiences within their own works. Suzuki’s 1963 film Detective Bureau 2-3: Go To Hell Bastards! is known not only for its over-the-top action sequences, but also for its electrifying Afro-Brazillian jazz-inspired soundtrack. Head to The Green Room at Crosstown Arts for a screening of film complete with a live score from Joe Restivo, Marc Franklin, Landon Moore, Pat Fusco, George Sluppick, and Felix Hernandez.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7
Music and art label Future-Everything works with artists worldwide, but has a rooted presence in Memphis. On September 7, a fire lineup of their best DJs and producers will be showcasing their original house, techno, juke and club mixes: Qemist, Strooly, DJ DanceAlone, TEHKAL, and MarceauxMarceaux. If you like dancing, vibing, and being a big ol’ freak, plan to be here. Check the playlist below for a sample.
I first heard Magnolia when I was writing about her for an I Love Memphis feature two years ago, and I’ve been a fan of her wavy, intimate sound ever since. She’s being hosted by The Collective to perform in their Decibel Concert series at The CMPLX, which will be the perfect venue to experience her music.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12
Seven bucks gets you four great shows at the Hi Tone on September 12. Nashville’s D.D. Island is a singer-songwriter who makes sad pool party music. Schaefer Llana hails from Mississippi but already has at least one foot entrenched in the Memphis music scene thanks to her raw and relatable brand of indie. Local friends Spence Bailey and Day Kisser round out the lineup.
Photo by Southern Heritage Classic
Leave on that 8 p.m. Lyft to the Orpheum to see the Empress of Soul herself, Gladys Knight. This show, which is part of the 30th annual Southern Heritage Classic, also features “On The Wings of Love” singer Jeffrey Osborne. You and your Mom will love this one.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13
Kevin Gates, photo by Jimmy Fontaine with Atlantic Records
Kevin Gates is a weird dude. I won’t go into detail (mostly because it probably wouldn’t get past my editor, Holly), but if you want to spend maybe half an hour going “ewww” then do some Googling. That being said, he’s a layered artist and solid rapper who radiates originality and puts on a great live performance even if he’s dumb as hell on Instagram sometimes. He’ll be bringing some friends with him for his FedExForum show who’ve yet to be announced, so check back for updates if you’re interested.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14
One of the largest one-day events in the entire state, the annual Cooper Young Festival features hundreds of arts and crafts vendors, lots of food and even more to drink, and three stages of live music that take over the neighborhood to attract 130,000 people. Check out the full lineup here, including headliners The ShotGunBillys on the Main Stage and local favorites like Harlan, Lucky 7 Brass Band, Marcella, and James & The Ultrasounds on the We Are Memphis stage.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
Photo by Aztec Sun
I’m a sucker for big jazzy-fusiony bands, so coming across this group was a delight. Aztec Sun is coming from D.C. to the Levitt Shell to put some groove in your Summer night. Bring a blanket, but you may not be sitting on it for long.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 26
GONERFEST 16 is three days of insanity brought to you by 36 bands from across the world. Fans of garage rock, punk, noise, and everything in between will enjoy this year’s lineup, which includes local favorites like Sweet Knives, NOTS, and The Oblivians alongside out-of-towners like Giorgio Murderer (New Orleans) and way-out-of-towners King Brothers (Osaka, Japan)
Americana musician and English-native Yola Carter’s career is storybook—born to a poor family who banned music in the home, she secretly pursued a career as a vocalist, eventually releasing her own albums and singing backup for big English names like Massive Attack and The Chemical Brothers. Her latest album Walk Through Fire was produced by The Black Keys frontman and guitarist Dan Auerbach and was lauded as “the work of an artist sure to stun audiences for years to come” by NPR.
Local songwriter Mark Edgar Stuart kicks off a new concert series at the Orpheum this September. The first edition of the Memphis Songwriters Series features Grace Askew, Mike Doughty, and McKenna Bray, and Brooke Fair. These four will present original songs and the stories behind them in the intimate setting of the Halloran Centre’s theater.