Saturday, May 3rd. Memphis in May / Mud

We played the Beale Street Music Festival last night in Memphis, TN. and shared the stage with Disturbed, Seether, and Simple Plan. When we walked onstage earlier in the day, the inspirational dead babies attached to Seether’s micstands alerted me that we might be a little out of place on the “rock” stage.

Above you can see the mud problem Friday night’s rain left for Saturday’s performers. We loaded our equipment to the stage through this mud-bath.

Climbing onstage, we became quite aware that the crowd in front of us represented a ratio of approximately 1 person ready to see the Whigs to 20 or so people waiting for Simple Plan, Seether, or Disturbed. Fans of these bands let their loyalties be known as we dodged the occasional beer can, soda bottle, and even a few pieces of fruit. I thwarted a lemon throw attempt to my face with a deft manuver of which I was quite proud. Anyway, it provided for a fun / interesting environment and we ROCKED soulfully for the people kind enough to come see us or open their ears to something other than modern rock radio metal.

Evening began with a extravagant sunset for us to enjoy as we destroyed some Memphis ribs and bannana pudding.

The food was truly a treat with my only complaint being the caterer who had apparently raided my suitcase and stolen my favorite sweatshirt…

Bellies full, we moved our shite out of our second RV dressing room in as many shows and snagged some stage passes to see Buddy Guy and Lou Reed. Georgia native Cat Power’s set overlapped with our earlier set time and we were unable to see or hear the beauty she so effortlessly exudes. The Whigs are all giant fans of hers and if you don’t have the record she recorded with the Memphis Rhythm Band a few years ago… stop reading this and go buy it. It looks like this…

We arrived to the side of the stage just in time to catch the last few songs and the live performance clinic put on by famed Chicago blues pioneer Buddy Guy. This man is 71 years old and the charm he permeated through the Memphis crowd rivaled the shocking longevity of his vocal chords. From backstage we were treated to a magical sight-line of Buddy Guy and his band’s every movement, the corresponding reactions from the audience, and the bridges that reach out over mighty Mississippi River.

Lou Reed is one of my all-time favorites and I’m honored to have had the privilege of seeing him in such close proximity but I’ll admit that for me the set’s most entertaining moments were either watching him read the lyrics off his teleprompter or obvserving Carlos Santana’s (who snuck backstage for a few songs) reactions to Mr. Reed’s set.

Speaking of Carlos, we were politely told after Lou Reed’s set that we weren’t allowed to watch Carlos rip from the side of the stage and took it as our cue to exit the festival. We were ready to dip out but I couldn’t ignore the suductive scent of corn dogs being shot into my nostrils from the river’s breeze. I stopped at a food tent with a giant corn dog painting on its side only to be informed that they didn’t sell corn dogs. Duh. Not giving up, I followed the scent as it strengthened and eventually climaxed in the form of a foot long corn dog!!!! I had yet to conquer a foot long corn dog and needless to say it didn’t last long after this photo was taken.

We are driving to New Orleans to start our tour with Portland’s Dead Trees and Austin’s What Made Milwaukee Famous. We will also be picking up our sound engineer Matt (who is flying in from Boston) and picking up Biscuit Blogger, stand-up comedian, and all around renaissance man Joel Atwill. See you in the Big Easy.

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