Noise-rock trio Guitar Wolf will perform at the Memphis Grizzlies/Goner Records stage during the Cooper-Young Festival on September 17th.
The 29th annual Cooper-Young Festival will include 20 bands across three stages. The main stage, located in front of Young Avenue Deli, kicks off at 11 a.m. with the Latin and Cuban folk sounds of Los Cantadores and closes with the raw rock and roll trio Dirty Streets. Goner Records always brings the goods, with an array of groups like Chickasaw Mound — bands you need to see but haven’t heard of — performing throughout the day. The stage at First Congo Church will host Memphis soul singers the likes of Marcella Simien, John Paul Keith, and Amy LaVere’s Americana duo Motel Mirrors, and blues master Reverend John Wilkins.
Chances are you won’t catch every act, but here are five you should see:
Chickasaw Mound — Memphis Grizzlies/Goner Records Stage, 12:30 p.m.
If there’s a band in Memphis that deserves your attention, it’s Chickasaw Mound. What started as a solo project by front-man Jesse Davis has grown into a brilliant soul-punk band with members from other great local bands like Aquarian Blood and The Sheiks. Davis has a voice reminiscent of Jerry Lee Lewis, with an unabashed energy all his own. Let these guys kick-start your day.
Watch Chickasaw Mound perform at The Hi-Tone:
Reverend John Wilkins — Mulan Bistro Stage, 1:30 p.m.
Revered John Wilkins, son of blues and gospel proclaimer Robert Wilkins, is one of the last living links to the Delta heritage that laid a foundation for the Memphis sound. His no-frills country-blues infusion is infectious and will linger with you long after his set. Don’t mess up, be at First Congo’s parking lot and let Rev. Wilkins take you to church.
Watch Revered John Wilkins perform "You Can’t Hurry God:"
Marcella & Her Lovers — Mulan Bistro Stage, 3:45 p.m.
If you’ve dropped by Bar DKDC, chances are you’ve witnessed Marcella & Her lovers. And you’re better for it. Marcella Simien, the multi-talented virtuoso whose Grammy Award-winning father Terrance Simien taught her piano, mandolin, guitar, and drums, writes the kind of songs that will heal you. It’s boogie music, pure and right. As Cooper-Young Fest starts to wind down, Simien and her band will pick you back up again.
Watch Marcella & Her Lovers perform at Bar DKDC:
Guitar Wolf — Memphis Grizzlies/Goner Records Stage, 4:30 p.m.
Hailing from Nagasaki, Japan, noise-rock trio Guitar Wolf formed in 1987. The group has nine records under its belt, coining the term “jet rock ’n’ roll” to describe the feedback-filled garage rock. No strangers to Memphis, but probably a stranger to you, Guitar Wolf might be the most important band playing Cooper-Young Fest this year.
Watch Guitar Wolf perform at Shangri-La Records in 1997:
Dirty Streets — Main Stage, 5:15 p.m.
The Dirty Streets have been hitting Memphis bars and making their way around the country for almost 10 years now. Memphis Flyer editor Chris Shaw called the band’s last album White Horse a honed-in “James Gang-meet-Blue Cheer” sound. Memphis is fortunate to include Dirty Streets on its roster. And fresh off a European tour, you can catch them closing down this year’s main stage.
Watch Dirty Streets perform "Stay Thirsty" at Ardent Studios: