Listen Up! 10 Live Music Shows In Memphis This Month (January 2020)
Ed. Note: Wesley is back with another roundup of live music and pithy thoughts for this month’s bands in town. I get suggestions for blog posts about “live music events in Memphis”, so I wanted to say: we throw this party every month! It’s 2020, people, look alive.
Got a show to suggest for a future “Listen Up” guide to live music in Memphis? Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Listen Up”.
The PRVLG w/ Mobius Pieces at Growlers
Doors at 9 p.m., all ages, $10
Twin musicians Christian and Chris Underwood are The PRVLG (pronounced “privilege”), and evidence you that all you need to dance is a rhythm section. Their blend of pop melodies and funky discipline have been entertaining Memphians for years, and they probably won’t stop anytime soon, thankfully. Check out their single “Lead Role” above.
World Soul Project in The Green Room
Doors at 7 p.m., all ages, $10
It’s actually a bit refreshing to be able to judge a band by its name. You see “World Soul Project” and you know exactly what you’re going to get. If you like D’Angelo, or Jill Scott, or The Roots, or any other neo soul band or artist from that era, this is all you. This is a very Green Room show.
Booker T. Jones at Crosstown Theater
Doors at 7 p.m., all ages, $60
Booker T. Jones
Don’t let the ticket cost scare you off—you’re paying to see a legend in the flesh and hear “Green Onions” played by the guy who actually did it and not a weekend warrior cover band at Huey’s for once. Can a guy just eat his West Coast Burger in peace? I’m not bitter!
Wale at Minglewood Hall
Doors at 8 p.m., all ages, $22+
In a hip-hop era of very high highs and embarrassingly low lows, it’s good to have that reliable someone in the middle you can count on to make you go, “That song was okay.” Wale’s like that person on your favorite cooking competition show who’s just good enough to outlast all the really incompetent people but ends up winning because everyone else just failed so miserably. Also, he was featured on our very own Juicy J’s 2013 single “Bounce It”, which is a masterpiece.
BLACK FLAG w/ The Linecutters at Growlers
Doors at 7 p.m., all ages, $25
Black Flag, photo by Rob Wallace
Holly, jumping in for this one: In an old interview with Chris from the Flyer, former Antenna owner Steve McGehee said that he believed “we had the devil himself in here the first night Black Flag played” at the famed midtown punk club in the 80s. Will Satan be back for the revived punk band’s return to Memphis? You’ll have to see for yourself at their Saturday night show at Growlers, a venue with its own history of reanimation.
Life, Explicit w/ Magnum Dopus at Growlers
Doors at 7 p.m., all ages, $5
We’re leaning pretty heavy into soul this month, with another local soul group taking the stage at Growlers. Life, Explicit is a group of Memphis studio musicians who have come together to create some real joyous material. They also serve as Memphis rapper Tyke T’s backing band, who you can read more about here on I Love Memphis!
Towards Space w/ Alicja-Pop, Opossums at Lamplighter Lounge
8 p.m., price unlisted on the event but bring like $10 just to be sure.
If you haven’t been to a show at the Lamplighter’s new second room, it’s a good time to fix that. You can check out this garage rock trio from Richmond, VA called Toward Space, who wrote this song “La Luna” which is pretty cool, and who also apparently like to get naked during shows. I personally don’t believe that paying to see a show is consenting to be subjected to nudity unless nudity is an explicit expectation of the event, but y’all do you.
Hawthorne Heights w/ Emery, Bad Luck., Vagrants at Growlers
Doors at 6 p.m., all ages, $20 advance, $25 day of show
Hawthorne Heights AND Emery? This is like a early-aughts post-hardcore kid’s dream lineup! Get in loser, we’re going screaming.
Louise Page / Shadow Year / Model Zero at the Hi-Tone
Doors at 8 p.m., $8
I’m a sucker for an understated, driving bassline, so the NYC-based Shadow Year’s “Joel Tudor” hits me where I live. Good stuff. You may be familiar with Louise Page as she’s come up in several Listen Up lists and plays fairly regularly, but you may not be familiar with Model Zero. They’re a Memphis-based garage/punk band which recently signed with Slovenly Recordings out of Nevada that rips it to shreds live.
Tool at FedExForum
7:30 p.m., $36.50+
Lock up your daughters—the Tool fans are coming to town! Punchlines aside, Tool is a band that makes hilariously overwrought music that, once you learn to stop taking it and yourself so seriously, actually has a lot to offer. But then you remember that frontman James Maynard Keenan is a tool himself and you’re back to square one.