Go Local

Go Local

Much to enjoy with the local music scene.

by John D

Best Coast coming to Bottletree (Photo Credit: David Black)

The Music Festival season is officially in full swing with the arrival of May. The closest, and most dear to people in Birmingham (because the festival actually takes place in Alabama) is The Hangout, May 17–19, in Gulf Shores. Spring has sprung and with the fantastic weather there is no better way to enjoy live music than with your feet in the sand and the breeze off of the Gulf of Mexico. Just writing that makes me wish I were able to attend this year. Then you have Bonnaroo in mid June nipping at The Hangout’s heels. I have mentioned all of this before but it does bear repeating for another reason—the dreaded, rumored, derided, (insert applicable adjective here) exclusion clause for bands performing these festivals. This clause essentially states that a band that performs at a festival is not allowed to play a set number of weeks  before or within a set range of the festival. So be it. I understand that the festivals have to make money and so do the bands so I do not begrudge an artist paying their bills. It does affect Birmingham, mainly because we are located squarely between the two festivals. Sure, a lot of bigger acts cannot play here if they want to play one of the festivals, but it does allow for up and coming groups and more laid back artists to dominate the scene in Birmingham. The following are just a few of the acts or shows that will be a lot of fun to see and attend in May (for a more detailed list check out the concert calendar at birminghammountainradio.com).

Early in the month the Junior Board of the Alys Stephens Center is throwing their annual College Rewind Backyard Party (5/10). The party is just what the name suggests; it is designed to make you feel like you are back in college and someone’s big backyard is the best place to have it. Even better? Drivin’ N Cryin’ is this year’s featured band. There is nothing that calls me back to (a very distant) yesteryear than hearing “Straight To Hell” or “Fly Me Courageous.” The whole event also benefits programs at UAB ArtPlay; programs that encourage and teach the next generation of musicians in Birmingham. If you think about it, it is an investment in Birmingham’s future local music scene. Tickets at alysstephens.org

The next weekend we have another fundraiser that is a much bigger event and, more importantly, allows you to see animals with fur, feathers, and even scales while enjoying great local (and regional music) and all for free. If the fur and feathers did not give it away, surely “scales” brings to mind Do Dah Day (5/18, the parks on Highland Avenue). A family friendly event where there is something for everyone. This year’s music headliner is Nashville’s next up and comer Luella and The Sun. Their bluesy dirty gospel inflected rock and roll is something to see live and this is your chance. In addition to a solid headliner many of Birmingham’s truly talented local musicians will be performing (India Ramey, Downright, and relative newcomers to Birmingham, Feather Canyon). Find the whole line up and more info at dodahday.org

Duquette (Photo credit: Cary Norton)

Local musician Duquette Johnston released an EP earlier this year as a teaser for the album he has been working on. The featuring of the Johnston on NPR’s World Cafe in mid–March was a pleasant surprise and, to be honest, a much deserved spotlight on Johnston and company. The attention on the national level also convinced Johnston to release that album sooner rather than later.The Bottletree will be hosting the album release for Rabbit Runs A Destiny on May 24th with opening act Water Liars. Tickets at thebottletree.com

All of these are exciting and fun things to do that are much more Birmingham–centric than usual, so take the chance to make May about supporting local and enjoying great music!


Dispatch with Allen Stone 5/30 @ Sloss Furnaces: Dispatch is indie-jam music, and good, but opener Allen Stone is going to shine as he belts out his distinct style of soul and R & B influenced rock.

Best Coast 5/30 @ The Bottletree: The small two piece (technically three with a touring drummer) surf/garage rock band shines in smaller more intimate venues like The Bottletree.

The Black Jacket Symphony performs The Rolling Stones’ “Some Girls” 6/14 and 6/15 @ WorkPlay. I have said it before, and I will say it again. There is something about Black Jacket that is distinctly NOT a cover band. And “Some Girls” is one of the Stones’ best.

Yes 7/19 @ The BJCC: Prog rock elder statesmen still going strong. All I have to mention is “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” and it is in your head for the rest of the day.

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