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Beale Street Music Festival 2016 Day 3

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Beale Street Music Festival 2016 Day 3

Nathan Armstrong

Day 3, we finally meet. I have been so busy the past few days I thought we may never see each other! But you showed up, and boy was it one for the books. 

I showed up around 3 p.m. and made my way towards the Choose 901 tent. Shout out to Luke Pruett for the free sunglasses, they came in handy. I just wish I had worn shorts because it was the hottest day of the festival by far. Having already gone through all the free tents, I made my way towards the stage to catch The Lone Bellow. 

I had heard just a smidge from The Lone Bellow, but when I walked up and heard them say “good morning…even though it’s almost 3:30,” I knew these were my people. A combination of a relatively small crowd and indie folk music made for an intimate experience. I watched and I couldn’t help but marvel at bassist, mandolin player, vocalist, and everything else specialist, Kanene Donehey Pipkin. Her versatility and talent level made her the most compelling of the group. To me, she seemed like the heart of the band. For a band based out of Brooklyn, The Lone Bellow had a unique spirit of southern soul in their music. Perfect way to kick off day 3. 

Unfortunately, their set ended soon after I showed up, and I had time to kill until The Arcs played, so I grabbed myself a popsicle from the local Atlanta vendor, King of Pops. Y’all, it was 80+ degrees and I was wearing pants and boots, I needed that popsicle. After I snagged it, it was caramel by the way, I plopped down beneath a tree beside the Rockstar Energy stage. 

While I was sitting, I did some people watching and took notice that everyone seemed to be wearing a different piece of Memphis. I saw such a wide array of t-shirts that represented Memphis that I had to start taking notes. Here’s just a small list of t-shirt logos I saw: Memphis Showboats, Grizz, Chris Vernon Show, Memphis State, Sun Studio, a Bo Jackson Chicks Jersey, Memphis wrestling, Bass Pro, and Prince Mongo. Seeing all this, I couldn’t help but appreciate the character and history of such a great city. If nothing else, we make good enough memories to put them on a t-shirt. 

Well, I finally stood up and made my way to the FedEx stage to hear The Arcs. I am a huge The Black Keys fan, and when I heard that their vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach was performing with his side group at music fest, I marked it on my schedule. My thoughts? Pretty great! It’s obvious Auerbach has more freedom to do what he wants and he doesn’t have to carry the load like in The Black Keys. It was the same blues rock that he is known for but more progressive and experimental. Also, the backup singers were dressed like a mariachi band. I didn’t understand this, but I thought it was kind of funny. 

After The Arcs, Cold War Kids took the stage and I’m sorry, but I didn’t know any of their songs except, “Hang Me Up to Dry,” so I only stayed until they played that. But while I was there they were fun! Really dancey! (That’s not a word) There was a crowd there so I was the odd one out who didn’t know their stuff. But, like I said, after the one song I knew was performed, it was on to the next one. 

Paul Simon! Truly an icon and an artist that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Simon kicked off his summer tour just two days ago in New Orleans and rode up the river to Memphis for his second show. Definitely the most crowded stage of the weekend so far. There were fans of all ages and from all places! It was obvious to see the impact that Simon has had on the music world just by looking at the massive amount of people who came to watch him play. His band started off playing without him, but shortly after they began he took the stage. However, the initial shock of actually seeing Paul Simon wore off quickly for me, and Beck was getting ready to perform, so I stayed for only 30 minutes then left. Those 30 minutes though, were filled with funky, jam-band music, which is not what I expected to see from Simon.

Now this is where the night got good. I stopped by the Ozark Mountain Biscuit Co. tent and grabbed some exquisite grub before Beck. As I walked up, biscuit in hand, Beck was opening with his song, “Devil’s Haircut.” Another thing I noticed was the insane amount of man buns. Where were these all weekend? Anyways, back to what’s important. 

Beck was performing with his band from the latest album Morning Phase. His performance in New Orleans was rained out, so the band was all rested up for Memphis and you could tell. They took every song they played and made the most of it, as if it was going to be the last time they every played together. A true performer, Beck did something I’d never seen done before. During, “Loser,” he played a banana solo. Well really he just shook a banana back and forth like a tambourine. I really thought that was interesting, but not because he did it, but because people were cheering for him. That’s love people, if you can find someone who loves the way you shake a fruit, hold on to them. Beck paid tribute to Prince by covering, “Raspberry Beret,” (in a purple blazer!) and he finished his set with, “Where It’s At.” 

So I risked missing the Zedd finale by staying for the entirety of Beck, but luckily I made it just in time to see the opening song. This was my first EDM show and I truly did not know what to expect. I was blown away. My jaw dropped once I saw the massive screens and trippy video sequences. Every person around me was jumping up and down as confetti streamers, smoke bombs, and fire balls were launched into the sky. It was like I was at a magic show trying to figure out the magicians trick. Everything that happened was mind-blowing! Please, look at the pictures on the @901Music Twitter to get a taste of what I’m talking about. It felt like a roller coaster ride, and Zedd truly served as a perfect ending to an amazing, historic festival. 

Well #BSMF16, it’s been real. It’s always sad to watch you go, but I have to get back to my normal life schedule. So, until next year, see ya later. Thanks for a good time.

- @StonePannell