eye (2006-17)

Local (at least in a near-to-our-heart kind of way) Album Review

Welcome Back, Bijou

Horns-a-Plenty

Local (at least in a near-to-our-heart kind of way) Album Review

Label/artist collective Makeshift Music routinely releases compilation albums of the best and brightest stuff it’s mopped up from the local scene. Makeshift 4, available from makeshiftmusic.com, is the latest in the series, and it’s hands-down the most extensive scene-wipe they’ve managed yet—a 46-song, double-disk showdown between Memphis and the rest of the world.

Yeah, it’s a lot to get one’s head around. And it’s not exactly suitable for a traditional album review, unless you’re into dictionary-length dissertations, but we can confirm that it would be a flattering epic. Each song maintains its own variation of virtue, whomever the artist. Some of the names you’ve heard before ( Glossary , The Glass , Cory Branan , Blair Combest , The Coach and Four ) and some you’ll recognize by association ( David Shouse of the Grifters , Brad Postlethwaite of Snowglobe ). Also included are new songs by from Knoxville-by-way-of-Memphis bands like The Rockwells and Tommy Bateman & the Thunderthieves . Plenty more is stuff from great musicians you’ve never heard of, and never would have heard of if not for the good people at Makeshift.

Which is why these citywide compilation albums are such a great idea to begin with, (hint, wink, cough, Knoxville). It makes cake of showing record labels, concert promoters, etc. what a city has to offer musically, less the task of rifling through stacks of random local CDs in search of The Next Big Thing—which, as we all know, only happens in misguided rock-star dreams anyway. So, Knoxville, how about it? Wring out your own mop. It’s not stealing if it’s borrowing, and we promise not to tell.

Until then, keep up the good work, Makeshift and Memphis. You can put your next beer on our tab. 

Welcome Back, Bijou

Horns-a-Plenty

“Last year it exploded in the Old City, and it’s going to be even bigger this year,” says Altom. “This year we’ve got a lot of strong names playing.” Among the 26 bands that will appear on four stages in the closed-off streets of the Old City are Catch 22 , Big D and the Kids’ Table , High School Football Heroes , Westbound Train , Stingers ATX , The Pietasters , King Django , and local acts the Natti Love Joys and Fat Penguin .

Altom credits strong regional support for the festival’s growing popularity. “The ska scene is just an extremely strong underground scene. There are just these different pockets of ska enthusiasm all throughout the country, and we have a great one here.” Still, many of the festival’s expected 2,500 to 3,000 attendees will be out-of-towners; of the presale tickets sold, Altom says there are 24 states represented and one enthusiast traveling from Quebec. “The thing that excites me most is the tourism aspect, and that all these people are coming here to see our city,” says Altom.

There’s something about ska, a traditionally Jamaican style melded with reggae and punk elements, that makes the horn-riddled crowds get totally amped on the dancefloor. Altom says this rambunctious aspect innate to ska makes the Old City a perfect venue. “This year, the production’s gonna be crazy. It’s definitely something Knoxville’s never seen before,” he says. “I mean the Sundown shows are fantastic, but they’re more tame. We’re gonna have a couple thousand kids down here jumping up and down, dancing and crowd-surfing.”

The gates open at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 29. Tickets are $15 plus five cans of non-perishable food, which goes to the event’s charitable sponsor, Second Harvest Food Bank.