Neo-Soul at @LeChardonnayMem During On Location Memphis @olm_trailer @iamjammusic @cdrumbum90

Bands, entertainment, events, music, videos


During the On Location: Memphis International Film and Music Festival, Le Chardonnay was the location of the neo-soul showcases on both Friday and Saturday nights. On Saturday night, the showcase opened with the superb Memphis jazz/soul vocalist Jamille “Jam” Hunter with her band, and was followed by the blues/soul/rock trio known as C3, consisting of drummer Courtney Brown, guitarist Chris Pitts and bassist Colton Parker, a power trio that I have discussed elsewhere. They were to be followed by Ethan Kent and my homeboy Otis Logan’s band 4 Soul, but as I was on the festival staff, I soon got called away to handle a crisis at the hip-hop showcase at 1884 Lounge at Minglewood.

Thursdays on the Square at @OvertonSquare with Ruby Wilson, Al Kapone @ALKaponeMem and Free Sol

Bands, entertainment, events, music, videos


Memphians have been enjoying Thursday night parties in the warm weather months for several years now, both on the rooftop of The Peabody Hotel, and more recently on the rooftop of the Madison Hotel. Now a third series of parties and concerts has been launched at the new Tower Courtyard in Overton Square, known as Thursdays on the Square. The inaugural event was held on Thursday April 17, featuring performances by Memphis blues queen Ruby Wilson, Al Kapone (who led the crowd in a chant of “Whoop That Trick” for the Grizzlies), and indie artist Free Sol. Several hundred people attended, and the event will be held every Thursday night through the end of August. Admission is $5.

A Taste of the Crescent City in Midtown Memphis: Kelly English’s New Second Line

Food, Restaurant Reviews, Restaurants


Perhaps no restaurant’s opening has been more widely awaited in Memphis than Kelly English’s new Second Line concept next door to his acclaimed Restaurant Iris. As the name suggests, The Second Line is a gourmet casual take on New Orleans cuisine, located in a cheerfully-restored house at Monroe and Cooper in Overton Square. Pictures on the walls and video loops of Louis Armstrong and New Orleans scenes reinforce the theme of the restaurant, as does the menu’s emphasis on po-boys and seafood, but while The Second Line is a more casual restaurant than Iris, it is not by any means inexpensive or a typical bar and grill. With only a dollar’s difference in price between the shrimp po-boy and the shrimp dinner, I opted for the latter, and was quite pleased. The shrimp were fairly large, fried in a well-seasoned batter, and, somewhat unusually, had had their tails removed, so every bit was edible. The accompanying french fries were a thing of beauty, thinly cut (but not shoestring) and fried to a dark golden brown, and also well-seasoned. Although by now I was thoroughly full, I was offered dessert, and bread pudding (which was my mother’s favorite) seems to be the signature, which I will have to try on my next visit. If you go, a couple of cautions are in order. One is that the parking lot across the street, which used to welcome Restaurant Iris patrons, is now off limits to customers of Iris or The Second Line, and if you park there, you will get towed. Parking is scarce, but you can park over in the Overton Square lot (at least for now) and walk over. The other is that The Second Line is quite expensive. The food is very good (and I am sure that it costs a great deal to fly in seafood from the Gulf), but The Second Line is more a place for a special night out than a place that can be frequented regularly. But it is cheaper than driving to New Orleans when you have the urge for Louisiana cuisine.

The Second Line
2144 Monroe Avenue
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 590-2828
https://www.facebook.com/secondlinememphis

Monday Night on the Patio at @BarLouieMemphis with Cameron Bethany @ShoobyDoowah Shawn Payne and Claude Hinds

Bands, entertainment, events, music, videos


Memphis traditionally has had a nightlife drought on early weeknights, especially Mondays, so the weekly industry night with Cameron Bethany and his band on the patio at Bar Louie is welcome. Cameron Bethany is an amazingly-talented Memphis soul singer, and he was backed by two of Memphis’ best young musicians, Claude Hinds on keyboards, and Shawn “ILuvDrums” Payne on the drumset. The weather was perfect out on the patio, and the music was first-rate, funky and soulful. I might add that Bar Louie has some of the best hamburgers in Memphis.

Filmmaker and Blues Activist Roger Stolle Discussses “We Juke Up In Here” at On Location Memphis (@olm_trailer)

entertainment, events, Film, music

Sunday afternoon at the Studio on the Square, the On Location Memphis Film and Music Festival screened a documentary called We Juke Up In Here, a sequel to an earlier documentary called M For Mississippi. The film was made by Roger Stolle, a blues historian and the owner of Clarksdale’s Cat Head Delta Blues store, and Jeff Konkel, the owner of the amazing Broke and Hungry Records label in St. Louis. Given the subject matter of the film, Mississippi delta blues and juke joints, I expected to like We Juke Up In Here already, but I hadn’t expected the production to be so beautiful, and there’s really no other way to describe it. The scenes of Mississippi wilderness during travel sequences are vivid, the interviews are frank and informative, and the music, both that played in the jukes and that of the soundtrack is truly incredible.
Unfortunately, the ultimate theme of the film is the ways in which the Mississippi juke joints are dying out and fading, and so the movie focuses ultimately on one, the legendary Red’s Lounge in Clarksdale owned by Red Paden, a juke that simply has refused to die. So ultimately, We Juke is a bittersweet film, beautiful in its celebration of Mississippi’s African-American folklore, but with the ominous clouds of loss looming on the horizon.
After the screening, Roger graciously took our questions and discussed some of the making of the film.

Bristerfest (@Bristerfest) at @LevittShell in @OvertonPark Schedule, Saturday and Sunday

entertainment, events, gardens, music

Bristerfest Right around the corner from the film portion of On Location Memphis is the two days of music in Overton Park known as Bristerfest, an event which raises money for the GrowMemphis community garden initiative. Tickets are on sale at the Blue Monkey, The Edge coffeehouse or Scootie’s One Stop near the University of Memphis campus. They are also available from the Bristerfest website.

On Location Film and Music Conference Schedule 2013 @OLM_Trailer Opening Night Tonight!

entertainment, events, Film, music

OLM_Festival_2013_Schedule-page-001 It’s time for On Location Memphis Film and Music Conference, one of the four big events occurring in Memphis this weekend. As would be expected, a lot of the films being screened this weekend have a musical theme, including a sneak-peak at The Memphians, a forthcoming documentary about Memphis music, the documentary Ole Beale Street Revue, the moving film I Am Not A Rock Star about concert pianist Marika Bournaki, and Roger Stolle and Jeff Konkel’s amazing blues documentary “We Juke Up In Here.” In addition, there will be live music showcases both Friday and Saturday nights at Purple Haze near Beale Street behind the Westin Hotel.

Overton Square (@overtonsquare) Renaissance

entertainment, Film, Food, Night Clubs, Restaurants

#001 Overton Square Mural This brightly-colored mural is simply the latest sign that Overton Square is back as a destination in Midtown Memphis. The new Bar Louie location opened last week, directly across from the new location of Local Gastropub. Down the block is Chiwawa, a new and unique Mexican restaurant concept in the old Chicago Pizza Factory location on Madison. A great time to check out the new offerings at Overton Square is during the On Location Memphis International Film and Music Festival, which largely takes place at the Studio on the Square theatre, April 25-28, 2013.