Listen Up! 10 Live Music Shows In Memphis This Month (February 2020)
Ed. Note: Wesley is back with another round up of amazing live music in Memphis this month, from global superstars to club shows and everything in between. February starts strong with the International Blues Challenge finals on the 1st, and things just get better from there.
This columns tends to focus on one-time shows and special concerts, Memphis is full of regular gigs at unique venues across town. Check out the Lounge, Hernando’s Hideaway, B-Side, and Eight & Sand in the Central Station hotel, in addition to all the usual haunts. Top photo: Allison Kasper performs at Bar DKDC on Feb. 27.
Rock the Vote at Shangri-La Records
2 p.m., all ages, free show
Just in time for the February 3 registration deadline for the TN Democratic primary election, Memphis musicians Kelley Anderson (Crystal Shrine), and Alex Greene are throwing a voter registration drive/show at Shangri-La Records in Midtown. It’ll feature free live music from a bunch of really good local musicians and feature electronic voter registration. The music will be great and free, Shangri-La’s selection keeps getting richer all the time, and Kwik Chek is down the street. Go have a blast!
(Voting is important. I can understand why some people feel that it isn’t. But even if you don’t feel like your vote matters, get out and vote for the people you know are directly affected by bad legislation. Anyway, back to the music.)
Qemist, Strooly + DJ DanceAlone at the Hi-Tone
Doors at 8 p.m., $5, 18 and up
When selecting artists to feature on this column, finding the best value for your precious cover money is almost as important to me as the quality of the artist and show. This is one of those rare “why not both?” moments. The Hi-Tone will have a sick showcase of Memphis DJs and producers that are part of Future-Everything, a worldwide multimedia label based in Memphis. Prepare for real heady mixes that will be extremely easy to vibe to.
Riff Raff with 6roke 6oy SiX, HANNYA CHAOS, and Odd Rodd w/ Nodus Defect at Growlers
Doors at 7 p.m., all ages, $20 advance, $25 day of show
No one who took themselves seriously would rap “non-stop through desert / salisbury steak sweater / they figured I was kin to Chester / the way I chase cheddar”, and that self-awareness is why we liked RiFF RAFF ten years ago. But it’s 2020, and the joke’s over. The real reasons you should pay attention to this show are the supporting acts: Memphis rappers 6roke 6boy SiX, HANNYA CHAOS, and Odd Rodd. This lineup will hit you like a freight train pushing cars full of blood and guts. Twenty bucks for three good shows and one potentially hilarious one is a great deal.
Mo3 with El Zappo Foreign at Minglewood Hall
Doors at 7 p.m., all ages*, $35+
*Minglewood’s site says “all ages”, but use parental discretion.
Twenty-seven year-old Dallas rapper Mo3 allegedly took a bullet to the head in December, then went on Instagram live immediately afterwards to let folks know he was good. Only rap gossip sites are reporting this, but hey. Mo3 doesn’t necessarily bring anything new to the craft with his rags-to-riches gangsta rap, but he is signed to Boosie Badazz’s label Bad Azz, so he’s definitely got some juice. And if he really got headshotted and decided to flex, then Bad Azz is where he belongs.
Frankie valet with Blvck Hippie & Late Night Cardigan at the Hi-Tone
Doors at 10 p.m., $5
*ages TBD, but it’s most likely 18+
Once again, we have out-of-town talent supported by great local talent. Frankie valet, from St. Louis, hides very cheery and soft melodies under blankets of fuzz. They’ll fit right in with Blvck Hippie and Late Night Cardigan, both established indie rock bands in the Memphis music community with devoted followings. The fact that they’re only charging five bucks for this is crazy. Highly recommended. Use the extra cash to buy some drinks or one of Josh McLane’s good-as-hell sandwiches.
Celine Dion at FedExForum
7:30 p.m., $46+
Celine needs no introduction. We know she is the Queen of Canada, and probably the world. What I didn’t know is that Celine Dion is prolific, putting out at least one record every 3-5 years since 2003. She also put out an album, Courage, in November of last year. Celine Dion slaps. Drake thinks so. A lot. And y’all love Drake. So take his word for it.
The Beach Boys at The Orpheum Theatre
7 p.m., $49.50+
Are you going steady and wanna get your sweetie an early Valentine’s Day gift? Got in-laws with birthdays this month? Are you a youth getting “really into music” and discovering Pet Sounds? An older millennial experiencing second-hand nostalgia? Look no further: a version of the The Beach Boys are making waves in Memphis. While none of the founding Wilson brothers tour with this group, Mike Love is an original Beach Boy, and Bruce Johnston basically is.
Umphrey’s McGee at Graceland Soundstage
Doors at 7 p.m., $30+
I saw Jim James (My Morning Jacket), John Oates (Hall & Oates), Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes), and R. Kelly (Problematic Would Be An Understatement), do a famous Bonnaroo Superjam in 2013. It was incredible, and while I never really liked jam bands, I understand them better now. It’s all about the vibe. Being the “moment”. If you’re into that, you’ll be into Umphrey’s McGee at the Graceland Soundstage this month. Check out the Jungle Room bar, or head across the street to the Guest House for a bar with a sweet happy hour.
PJ Morton at Minglewood Hall
Doors at 8 p.m., all ages, $25+
We all need some good R&B in our lives. It reminds you to stop and appreciate sensuality and emotion. It’s good for the soul! PJ Morton knows this. He’s a frequent Maroon 5 collaborator, and his live album Gumbo Unplugged snagged three Grammy nominations last year. His R&B is more traditional, think Kem and not the hyper-inward experimentalism of Frank Ocean. Both are necessary, but Frank Ocean songs are, for me at least, too sad to play during you-know-what*.
*building with my friends on my private Christian Minecraft server, no cussing allowed.
Allison Kasper w/ Daykisser at BAR DKDC
Doors at 9 p.m., 21 and up $7
I’ve written about Allison Kasper before in this column, but while I try not to list the same bands, this will be Kasper’s first show in nearly eight months. She rocks, her band rocks, and she’s one more artist on the list of excellent new musical talent in Memphis. Don’t miss it.