The 2015 Beale Street Music Festival continued on Saturday as a part of the city’s annual Memphis in May celebration. Artists including John Fogerty, Lecrae, G-Eazy, Band of Horses and The Vespers filled day two’s lineup, and we decided to jump from stage to stage to catch exhilarating sets by The Avett Brothers, Paramore and Bleachers.
The Avett Brothers
I’ve been lucky enough to see three shows by the North Carolina-based band, which of late has been making stops at arenas, amphitheaters and festivals across the U.S., and the group’s knack for entertaining has yet to leave a single dull moment pass by.
The brothers, who have been on the road relentlessly for the past few years, took the Bud Light stage at 10:30 p.m. and rolled through a string of crowd favorites, such as “Live and Die” from the 2012 album “The Carpenter” and “Morning Song,” the slower, mid-tempo balled from band’s latest release “Magpie and the Dandelion.”
The band rolled through its catalog, charming the audience with older tunes “Kick Drum Heart” and “The Perfect Space,” as well as the traditional hymn “In the Garden,” which featured the brothers and bassist Bob Crawford center stage.
Despite the booming sound they typically project, the band is still at their best when they slow it down as they did on “Swept Away” and “Murder in the City,” the latter sung only by Scott Avett with an acoustic guitar on a dimly lit stage.
The set came in at just under two hours after the band made its way back onstage for an exhilarating four-song encore, which included Merle Haggard’s “I Won’t Give Up My Train,” as well as the ballad “I and Love and You,” which had a choir of thousands.
It’s been 11 years since Nashville alternative rock group Paramore made its initial break in the music scene, and although they’ve since transitioned to a more pop-friendly sound, the now three-piece group still knows how to rock and keep the crowd on its feet.
Hitting the FedEx stage just before 11:00 p.m., Paramore kicked off the set with their 2013 hit “Still Into You,” and followed with a blend of music spanning the band’s career. The first half of the set clearly focused on the band’s more recent releases, like Grammy-winning track “Ain’t it Fun,” however, Williams and company later dipped into a couple Paramore classics such as “Brick By Boring Brick” and “Misery Business” to please the crowd.
The set, clearly tailored for die-hard Paramore fans, left those hoping to hear older tracks from All We Know Is Falling and Riot! disappointed.
This band may not be a household name yet, but Bleachers is quickly gaining momentum with its singles “I Wanna Get Better” and “Rollercoaster.” A side project of Jack Antonoff, who first found success as a member of the indie pop group fun., Bleachers is the epitome of a good time.
Antonoff and his backing band came out on the FedEx stage at 9 p.m. to the sounds of “Tomorrow,” the iconic song from Tony Award-winning Broadway play Annie, and it was clear from the ravenous cheers that the show would be one to remember at this year’s festival.
Bleachers played through its debut LP Strange Desire, an album full of indie-pop hooks and harmonies with a timeless, classic rock undertone that carried over well in a festival setting. Along with original music, the band also threw in a few covers, including Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” and a surprising rendition of Kanye West’s “Only One.”
The 2015 Beale Street Music Festival continues tomorrow with performances from Ed Sheeran, Rise Against, Cage the Elephant, Wilco and more.
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