Memphis and pop music go together like ... well, like nothing, to be perfectly honest. Actually, that's not entirely true. Even though the place is known more for blues and barbecue than for producing catchy hooks and sugary songcraft that go hand in hand with the best pop music, it does have a pop past that's not at all checkered. Fact is, it's pretty damn special.
Nevertheless, Memphis, Tenn., will be play host to the first annual Memphis Pops Fest on Saturday, July 28. An interesting mix of Southern pop acts will perform, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Hi Tone Cafe, at 1913 Poplar Ave., and if I lived anywhere near there, I'd make it a point to go.
Festivities open with the public debut of the Ardent Records 40 Years Story documentary by musicologist Larry Nager. Afterward, bands like Vending Machine (with Robin Grant of Big-Ass Truck fame), Tim Regan's Antenna Shoes (he's played with indie giants Sparklehorse!), the Carbonas (Atlanta's great new punk-rock hopes), the Everyday Parade (featuring members of '80s new-wave/pop near-misses The Crime), and Viva L' American Death Ray (drummer plays in Polyphonic Spree and they sound like Television!).
Advance tickets are $10 and are available at www.memphispops.com, Shangri-La Records (1916 Madison Ave.), or Goner Records (2152 Young Ave.).
For more information, visit www.memphispops.com or www.myspace.com/memphispops.
Schedule is as follows:
6 p.m. Ardent Records 40th Year Documentary
7 p.m. (the ever popular) Very special guests TBA
8:15 p.m. Vending Machine
9:30 p.m. Antenna Shoes
10:45 p.m. The Carbonas
12 a.m. The Everyday Parade
1:15 a.m. Viva L' American Death Ray