The 15th annual On Location Memphis Film and Music Festival got underway in earnest on Friday April 25 with the awards luncheon at Lost Pizza Company on Poplar Avenue. Folk acoustic duo Sunburnt Moon providing the really cool music for the occasion. Registration then opened at Studio on the Square in Overton Square around 1 PM, with films occurring all afternoon. At 7 PM, music showcases got underway at Le Chardonnay, The Blue Monkey, Otherlands, Java Cabana and Newbys, and these ran until midnight. Highlights of the evening included performances by Mike Mosby and the Hard Hitters Band featuring vocalist Cameron Bethany at Le Chardonnay, Cowboy Bob Sawyer and Low Society at Otherlands, and an all-star hip-hop line-up at Newby’s that included Marco Pave, 5th Child, Truth Universal, Marcel P. Black, Lyriqs Da Lyraciss, Lukah Luciano, A. C. Dutch and the Iron Mouth Battle League and Knowledge Nick, who was also the MC for the evening.
After the Memphis concert was over at Butler Park, I walked down to South Congress Avenue and ended up encountering a band called The City from Houston who was performing on the outdoor stage at Mrs. P’s Electric Cock. They played an exciting blend of neo-soul and jazz, and were fun to listen to, but my phone was running out of charge and there was no place to charge it there, so I began walking back toward the convention center.
Otis Logan’s 4 Soul band is one of the bright rising stars of Memphis right now, and they were in fine form last month at the Wine Down Monday at the 300 South Main Gallery in the South Main Arts District. Wine Down Mondays are wine tasting events with live music and light food, which occur twice a month. Contact the gallery for further details.
On the second and fourth Monday each month, the 300 South Main Art Gallery sponsors Wine Down Mondays, an event featuring an opportunity to sample fine wines paired with food offerings, a DJ and live music. This past Monday night, DJ Kojak was providing the recorded sounds, and Memphis drummer Otis Logan’s superb band 4 Soul was providing the live grooves, ably aided and abetted by ubiquitous Memphis trombonist Suavo J, straight from his second-place award in the International Blues Challenge with the Ghost Town Blues Band. The atmosphere was just right for the grown and sexy set eager for something to do on a very cold Monday night after work.
Robin Barnes is a relatively new neo-soul singer in New Orleans, backed by an excellent band known as the Soul Heirs. Her performance at the Recording Academy event on January 13 at the U.S. Mint was especially impressive, as was the musicianship of her band members.
Memphis drummer Otis Logan is one of the best young drummers in the city, and for several years has been leading a band called 4 Soul that occasionally plays around town. So when he told me that his band would be playing a Friday night set at a local bar called the Pulse Lounge in Hickory Hill, I had to go and check them out. 4 Soul is a trio of musicians on keyboard, bass and drums, backing a female singer named Shenea who proved to be a young and talented singer, and their mix of original tunes and familiar covers kept things jumping for the crowd, who had turned out in some numbers despite the heavy rain outside. The band played one all-too-brief set, and was followed on stage by a comedian, but we can expect to hear more from 4 Soul in the coming months.
Last Saturday night, December 14, I was invited out to the all-new Deuces Bar and Grill on Winchester Road next to Hickory Ridge Mall to see a performance by two of Memphis’ best-known female vocalists, Carmen Hicks and Stefanie Bolton. They were backed by a first-rate band, anchored by drummer Taz Fields, and despite the venue’s newness, it was packed to overflowing. Deuces is located in the strip mall where Pop Tunes record shop was years ago, near the corner of Winchester and Hickory Hill roads. The club is comfortably equipped and spacious enough to accomodate even large events.
Deuces Bar and Grill
5959 Winchester Road
Memphis, TN 38115
On Saturday night December 14th, my drummer partner Mike Mosby invited down to Bhan Thai restaurant in Midtown where he was playing a gig with a Memphis musician, singer and actor named Brennan Villines whom I had not heard of before. He is a gifted pianist and singer, and the band, complete with horns was immensely soulful in that unique Memphis sort of way, which was all the more remarkable considering the fact that they had never played together before. It was an altogether enjoyable evening.
A friend I had run into at Cafe 290 the night before told me about a female singer he was working with and a jam session that was supposed to be taking place Thanksgiving night at a spot called Studio 630 on Atlanta’s westside. So after all the day with my family, I headed over there to check it out. The female singer was of Iranian background and from Germany, and was an amazing neo-soul singer, but the jam session part of the event proved to be a disappointment. Although a number of musicians were present, there were no bass players, so everyone just packed up their instruments and left after the singer’s performance. It was altogether disappointing.
While walking around downtown Charlotte, I happened to notice Bar Cocoa, a swank dessert bar adjacent to the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton hotel. Lured inside by the beautiful cakes in the window, I had a hard time choosing between cupcakes, gelato, truffles, macaroons or slices of cake. I ultimately settled for a chocolate cupcake and a cup of coffee, which I took down into the lobby bar, where a smooth jazz/neo-soul band called 5th and York was playing. Deciding to hang out awhile, I ordered another cup of coffee from the lobby bar, and was amazed (and thrilled) to see it brought in a french press. Altogether, my evening at Bar Cocoa was very pleasant, and from what I could tell, there is a food menu as well.
201 East Trade Street
Charlotte, NC 28202