Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sun Soon Sets on Plus-1 Jam: Last Weekend and MLGW Blues Jam Fireworks Finale

May may be drawing to a close, but Memphis in May and MLGW’s celebration of Memphis Music still have a ‘big bang’ of an ending slated for this weekend on the Mississippi and on Beale Street.

MLGW Celebrates Memphis Music and MIM’s Sunset Symphony wrap up the month-long celebration this weekend, with MLGW’s music tent on Beale Street next to the Elvis statue on the north side of MLGW’s Administration Bldg. helping to raise funds for MIFA’s Plus-1 utility assistance program. Those attending the Sunset Symphony will get to enjoy fireworks in the sky above the river and musical fireworks on Beale Friday through Sunday.

Midnite Train from Memphis arrives at the Plus-1 Jam ‘station’ Friday night, May 24 from 7-9 p.m. Midnite Train plays mostly Southern rock and some blues. They performed last year for the Plus-1 fundraiser, too.

Memphis Blues stalwart Brad Webb will play some ‘backporch blues’ with David Hudson Friday night from 10 p.m. to midnight. Jason Rice will join them on bass. They just recently performed in the Blues Tent for the 2013 Memphis in May Beale Street Music Festival earlier this month.

Saturday, Black Smoke will enfold the MLGW Plus-1 stage with some down-home Delta Blues from 4-6 p.m. on May 25. The band features guitarist and vocalist Sam “Black Smoke” Wiggins, who plays regularly on Beale Street. MLGW musician Mike Lewis is on guitar.

Natural Blend performs on Saturday from 7-9 p.m., playing blues and blues rock. The band features Wade Peck on guitar and vocals, Mike Williams on bass and Wahid on drums.

BUKU is an instrumental Memphis band performing Saturday night from 10 p.m. ‘til midnight. They play surf music, mostly original tunes. The emphasis is on speed and dynamics, not unlike trying to navigate your way down the face of a gnarly 20-foot wave. BUKU is Matt Ladner on guitar and Cory Tully on drums. They’ll open with Cory’s acoustic guitar tribute to his newborn baby girl. Surf’s up!

Adrian Lopez, performing Sunday, May 26 from 3-5 p.m., is an up-and-coming 17-year-old Latino singer who describes his music genre as “romance music.” He also plays sax.

Sunday’s grand finale will be Maddog Marty Bond’s All Star Jam featuring several MLGW musicians as the core band slated to perform from 6 p.m. until…. You never know who will show up to jam, or how late it might go. There should be musical fireworks lighting up the stage, judging from the stable of musicians on hand. Some of the MLGW musicians jamming in this Beale Street homage to the blues include guitarists Steve Shepard, Mike Lewis, Marty Bonds and Dan Hope, bassist and percussionist Gerald Sanders, drummer Gary Carter and many more, including some Beale Street regulars. (Pictured is Muddy River Blues Band at last year’s Blues Jam Finale, the core band for Sunday’s All Star Jam.)

Visitors to the MLGW music stage are asked to make donations to help Plus-1, which is administered by MIFA to help those in need of one-time utility assistance.

Come out and enjoy a little MLGW music during Memphis in May. Performances this weekend (May 24-26) are Friday night from 7 ‘til midnight, Saturday 4 p.m. ‘til midnight and Sunday 3 p.m. until…? A link for the music lineup can also be found on MLGW’s website home page at under “Latest News.” 

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