Listen Up! 12 Live Music Shows In Memphis This Month (March 2020)
Ed. Note: Wesley is back with another round up of amazing live music in Memphis this month.
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: Xavier Wulf performs at the Hi-Tone on March 6th.
Here are the twelve concerts you won’t want to miss in Memphis this month:
Sounds2Real Syndicate Presents: Guitar Heroes vol. 1 at Growlers
Doors at 7 p.m., all ages, $10
Six Memphis guitarists will come together under one roof to showcase the many unique styles of Memphis guitar. Featuring Derek Brasser Jr., Thomas O. Crivens, Jamaal Franklin, Ping Rose, Steve Bethany, and Paul Taylor, this show aims to create a collaborative space for guitarists and fans looking to talk shop and network.
Jill Scott at The Cannon Center for the Performing Arts
8 p.m., $57+
First off, let me say that tickets for this show are more or less sold out—only the $215 “Official Platinum” floor seats are left through Ticketmaster. That being said, I’ve found people reselling legit non-price-gouged GA tickets through the Facebook event, so if you really want to go, check those out first. Watch out for the scammers, though.
Anyway, Jill Scott’s music is timeless. Her debut album Who Is Jill Scott? was one of my biggest inspirations to start playing music. Lucky for us, the album’s 20th anniversary is this year, which she’s commemorating with a tour performing the album in its entirety.
Buildings and Bummer with Pressed and Namazu at The Lamplighter Lounge
Doors at 9 p.m., 21+, $7
All four of these bands are heavy. Buildings (Minneapolis) is sludgy, Bummer (Kansas City, MO) is noisy, Pressed (Memphis) is hardcore, and Namazu (Memphis) is proggy. I enjoy it very much. Take a listen to Bummer’s “Second Chimes (Terrence Howard War Machine)” above. It’s hypnotic and driving, and the right kind of abrasive. Still really disappointed that we never got to actually see Howard suit up, but Don Cheadle did okay I guess.
Xavier Wulf at Hi Tone
Doors at 6 p.m., all ages, $20
Memphis is really good at producing underground rap stars and everywhere else is good at biting the sound. I’m only a little bitter about it. Xavier Wulf is Memphis through and through. With several videos on YouTube racking up millions of views and almost a million monthly Spotify listeners, the dude is real. “Whiplash’d”, linked above, is one of my favorites.
Post Malone with Swae Lee and Tyla Yaweh
8 p.m., all ages, $85+
Not gonna lie, there’s really nothing else I can (or want to) add to the Post Malone conversation. Say what you want about the guy, he knows his way around a hook. Catch him with “Sunflower” collaborator Swae Lee of Rae Sremmurd fame and Tyla Yaweh.
Marco Alexander in The Green Room
Doors at 7 p.m., all ages, $10
I was reading Memphis musician Marco Alexander’s bio when this particular line stood out, “Marco has since performed with more than 23 orchestras nationwide and has participated in national soundtrack tours with Disney and Nintendo.” If this guy’s good enough for Mickey Mouse AND Super Mario, he’s more than good enough for us.
Ed. Note: Here’s a bonus show recommendation from Holly…
Graham Winchester Release Show at Bar DKDC
7:30 p.m. – 10 p.m., $10, all ages
I’ve been watching Graham Winchester provide this city with music basically since I moved to town almost 15 years ago. He’s come a long way from playing behind South Park in what I’m sure was a condemned parking lot! The prolific drummer and musician plays in too many bands to count, and you can catch him around town at least eight or nine days a week. This March 13th show is extra special though—Graham releases a solo 45 record for Madjack Records at Bar DKDC, accompanied by the TN Screamers, the Turnstiles, and GW Electric Band. It’s a $10 cover, records are $10, and the show, which “will run completely on time” is from 7:30 p.m. ’til 10 p.m.
America at The Orpheum Theatre
7 p.m., all ages, $41+
My Dad bought me a guitar when I was young (mostly because he didn’t like me playing on his), except he was lowkey disappointed when the only songs I learned to play were from video games (shout out to “Breezy” from Final Fantasy VIII). So to try and make him proud, I decided to learn a song that he liked and that I could learn fairly quickly. I landed on America’s “A Horse with No Name.” Real simple, like two chords, and easy to sing and play at the same time. To this day, I love that song, I love this band, and I love my Dad. And that’s what being an American is all about.
Cher with Nile Rodgers & CHIC at FedEdForum
7:30 p.m., all ages, $24+
Between Cher playing everyone’s firebrand grandmother on Twitter and Nile Rodgers contributing to Daft Punk’s inescapable “Get Lucky” there’s a brand new music interest for musical icons and I am absolutely here for it. Cher’s latest release, a collection of ABBA covers called Dancing Queen, has sold fairly well world-wide, which leads me to believe that another comeback is in order. After half a century of music, Cher is eventual, Cher is inevitable.
Young Nudy at Growlers
Doors at 7 p.m., all ages, $20+
When Young Nudy raps, I like how he’ll just trail off at the end of a bar, as if the extra syllable takes precious breath away from the start of the next one. Right now, he’s arguably more known for being kin to rap superstar 21 Savage, but with co-signs from 21 along with J. Cole, JID, Playboy Carti, and EarthGang, that’ll definitely change soon. His new album Anyways dropped in February, which he’s currently touring.
Damo Suzuki’s Network at Hi Tone
Doors at 8 p.m.,18+, $20
Damo Suzuki, 70-year-old Japanese musician best known for fronting the idolized German krautrock band CAN during its best years, has been traveling the world since the late 90s bringing musicians into Damo Suzuki’s Network. Music rarely gets more experimental than it does in the Network. If a song having structure is unimportant to you, you will feel at home in Damo Suzuki’s Network.
of Montreal with Locate S,1 and Harlan at Hi Tone
Doors at 8 p.m., 18+, $18
of Montreal is a twee pop band from Athens, Georgia that was indie-big in the aughts, and for good reason—they put out six albums from 2000-2009 which were all critical successes. I don’t believe in guilty pleasures, but it is kind of hard to revisit this band because adolescent tastes rapidly evolve. But, like most things you loved in high school or college, there’s still a place in your heart for them. And actually, I think Cherry Peel, their first album released in 1997, still rocks. Their latest album UR FUN released in January, and it’s dripping with 80s nostalgia. Pretty cool if you like Stranger Things.