Live Music In Memphis This Month: September 2021

Wesley is back with 16 top picks for live music events, concerts, and shows in Memphis this month! 

But first, we have to do some housekeeping that's not fun, but necessary. 

Ed. Note: The Housekeeping

We just re-started publishing Listen Up live music guides last month (after a pandemic year off) and we really don’t want to have to stop again. Also we're, um, worried about everyone's health and the imminent collapse of the hospital system. So can everyone wear masks, please? (It’s actually required indoors in Shelby County) Or, please talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated? Free vaccination sites are listed here.

Eight of the 16 featured shows are outdoors, one requires a vaccine or negative covid test, and all require masks. If you’re requiring a negative test or proof of vaccination for your show, let us know because we’d love to promote it! 

—HW

MOVING ON: live music in memphis

  • Wesley always does a great job of describing our local and visiting bands, and I frequently LOL when I read his work. Thanks Wesley! 
  • This is just a sampling of shows in Memphis this month. For more, check out: I Love Memphis Music Calendar and the Memphis Flyer Music Listings.
  • Submit your show to the blog's calendar HERE. 

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1

1. MonoNeon at Railgarten (901 Fest)

8 p.m. / $10

A few of the shows on this list are going to be part of 901 Fest this month, so read up on that! Things kick off at Railgarten with a performance by MonoNeon. I love this guy. He gets a lot of comparisons to Thundercat, which I think is unfair, because while they’re both exceptionally talented and experimental bassists, MonoNeon’s solo music isn’t boring.

His technical mastery and creative experimentation caught the eye of several famous musicians such as Mac Miller, Ne-Yo, Kirk Whalum and, most famously, Prince. 

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 2

2. Lucero at Railgarten (901 Fest)

8 p.m. / $15 advance, $20 at door

It’s Lucero! You know ‘em, you love ‘em, and you obviously want more of ‘em, because Memphis is just one stop on their current international tour. 

3. Avon Park & Jombi at Hi Tone

Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 / $10

There’s something funny about Avon Park, an indie band composed of four University of Memphis students who met as high schoolers. If you Google “Avon Park”, most results are for a small Florida town with the same name and a population of 10,000. My partner, who is from Tampa, describes this town as “not great.” She also took a brief look at the music video above and yelled “Do the treadmill thing! Do the treadmill thing!”

I wouldn’t be surprised if Avon Park was inspired by OK Go’s iconic music video—the PlayStation 2 and Guitar Hero controller prominently featured shows that they have a fondness for things from 2005. Same, dudes. Same. 

Jombi’s music is equally as nostalgic. It’s nice to see the young folks keeping the tradition alive. 

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 3

4. Women of Soul at the Orpheum Theatre

7 p.m. / $35

This showcase of soul will feature Stefanie Bolton, Keia Johnson, Tonya Dyson, and Rolynné for an evening of sensual, powerful, and beautiful Memphis soul. Check the link above for more detailed bios of each featured artist. 

5. Jordan Occasionally and Black Hippie at The Green Room at Crosstown Arts

7 p.m. / $15 adv., $20 at the door

A rising star of Memphis music, Jordan is pretty much single-handedly bringing back joyous, airy pop and danceable disco beats. Seriously, if you haven’t streamed their debut album Indigo, go right now and play “Issaparty” and tell me you don’t want to dance or at least, smile. Read more.

Blvck Hippie’s self-proclaimed “sad boy indie rock” takes us in a another direction with Josh Shaw’s emotional lyrics and punk rock guitar riffs. The four-person group is known for exciting, raw live shows. Read more about Blvck Hippie. 

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 4

6. Occupy The Shell at the Levitt Shell

4 p.m. / free

Turn up!! Occupy The Shell is a one-day music festival and a celebration of Memphis rap, soul, and R&B. What originally started as a way to support artists affected by the pandemic has blossomed into a showcase of some of the rawest musical talent in the city, and something that you shouldn’t miss. Check the full lineup with the link above, and learn more about Occupy The Shell.

7. Dead Soldiers at Railgarten (901 Fest)

9 p.m. / $10

The Dead Soldiers have been refilled and are ready for more. This much-beloved rock band has reunited, and will be one of the several great musical performances of the day at Railgarten, which will include other Memphis favorites like The PRVLG. Check out the rest of the 901 Fest Saturday schedule.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 5

8. The Sensational Barnes Brothers at Railgarten (901 Fest)

5:30 p.m. / free

These brothers are anointed, for sure. Gospel music and Memphis music are just as intertwined as Memphis and the blues, and you get those two worlds combined with The Sensational Barnes Brothers. They’ll be closing out 901 Fest, playing last following a full afternoon of music from Memphis favorites The Lucky 7 Brass Band and Max Kaplan & The Magics. Read more about the Sensational Barnes Brothers. 

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10

9. Don Bryant feat. the Bo-Keys at the Levitt Shell

7 p.m. / free

Memphis-based soul, gospel, and R&B singer Don Bryant will be sharing some of this most soulful music from across his 61-year career. He’ll be performing with The Bo-Keys, who are Memphis’ musical Avengers. This is a perfect show for the Shell, so show up and relax. Bring some cash for donations, too. 

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15

10. Nordista Freeze w/ Future Crib at Hi Tone

Doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 / $10

Nordista Freeze is a Nashville indie pop artist whose music reminds me of Scooby-Doo chase music, but in a good way. It makes me wish it was early spring and I could open my windows. Future Crib, also a Nashville indie band, makes music about “growing up, skating with friends, and telling someone you love them,” according to their Bandcamp, and, yeah, they pretty much nailed it. This’ll probably be a good one.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 17

11. Marcella Simien at the Levitt Shell

7 p.m. / free

Marcella Simien is a very storied artist. Her Creole heritage merges with her adopted Memphis soul to create music that has resonated not only with Memphians, but with people across the country, and the world. I’ve seen Marcella play living rooms, I’ve seen her play big stages, and her performances are always transcendent.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER  18

12. Max Weinberg’s Jukebox at the Halloran Center

7:30 p.m. / $47.50

Don’t think of this as paying 50 bucks to see a cover band, think of it as an interactive music experience that’s fun for the whole family! The E Street Band drummer and former Conan O’Brien house bandleader will invite the audience to “create the setlist in real time” by picking from a list of 200 songs that Max and his band will play on demand. We should all organize and pick the same song over and over again.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 19

13. ZZ Top at the Orpheum Theatre

7:30 p.m. / $59.50+

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ZZ Top is still on tour after the passing of original bassist and vocalist Dusty Hill in late July. But the show must go on, and on it goes at the Orpheum. Elwood Francis, ZZ Top’s guitar technician for the last three decades, has become part of the band per Dusty’s request. He even grew a beard just for the occasion! Their tenure as the longest-running band with their original line-up may be over, but you can bet they’re still gonna rock.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 20

14. Clementine Was Right / Blvck Hippie / Mystic Light Casino at Hi Tone

Doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 / $10

Can’t beat three solid indie bands for 10 bucks. Clementine Was Right is on a bit of a regional tour while recording their second LP here in Memphis, and they’ll be in the small room at the Hi Tone with Memphis-based bands Blvck Hippie and Mystic Light Casino, which are both very good. 

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 24

15. Chinese Connection Dub Embassy at the Levitt Shell

7 p.m. / free

My favorite thing about Chinese Connection Dub Embassy is that you never quite know what you’re going to get—will it be downtempo reggae, will it be dancehall, will it be trap? The only thing you do know is that you’ll come away from the experience feeling something. It might be joy, it might be pain, it might be anger, but you’ll feel it. Read our feature on them, and catch them at the Shell.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 25

16. The Suffers at Growlers

8 p.m. / $15

The Suffers are a 10-piece band from Houston, TX who make big, lively, and soulful sounds. This is the kind of music that would feel right at home at the Levitt Shell, but you’ll be able to enjoy a much more intimate experience at Growlers made even better thanks to their bold (and much welcomed) COVID-19 policy.


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