Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Before I get ahead of myself, I should let you know that I in no way claim to be a "music person." I know what I like and have a reasonable amount of (legally! of course...) downloaded music in my iTunes, but Rolling Stone isn't looking to hire me any time soon. Which is good, because I personally prefer the perks I have here.

For instance, the ability to hop over to the Train concert last night here at the Orpheum. I wouldn't describe myself as a die-hard Train groupie, but hearing their staples I grew up with was a great experience. The second song they played was "Meet Virginia" and once the baseline started I was sold. Front man Pat Monahan's antics onstage are highly entertaining as well - he brings so much adorable, happy energy to his songs that I couldn't help but grin at him through the whole concert. The band picture above does nothing to illustrate his giddy stage presence. During "Drops of Jupiter" in the encore he literally sailed across the sun, arms waving in the air and all. I also have to say that when he covered Aerosmith's "Dream On" he killed it. To be able to hit those high notes after hours of singing onstage with his energy is no small feat, and he gave a great performance. Lead guitarist Jimmy Stafford was also given some pretty sweet solo riffing spotlight time. But I have to say, my favorite part was when Monahan decided to test out the indoor acoustics and chuck the microphone for a song. I expected to have a good time, but I didn't know how much I would be singing along and waving my cell phone in the air like the 16 year olds sitting next to me. And since I listened to Train when I was 16, it made me feel like I'm still relevant.

I saved the opening band for last because they ended up making the biggest impression on me even though they only had about 30 minutes on stage. I knew they were a group started by two brothers (Bear and Bo Rinehart - how great are those names?) from South Carolina and that's about it. What I didn't know is that their music has been featured on The Hills and the feature P.S. I Love You, that they also have 2 other band mates (Seth Bolt and Joe Stillwell) that are childhood friends, and that they all have really really great hair. And then there's the music. I LOVED their sound. My initial impression was that they are to the left of the middle of the Avett Brothers and Sister Hazel, with splashes of The Hold Steady and Nickel Creek. They claim U2, Wilco, Tom Petty, and Pearl Jam as official influences so apparently they don't quite agree with me, but you do hear those bands speak through their music. Like Train, they stated their excitement to be playing indoors after weeks of outdoor concerts and wanted to go unplugged. I could not have been more impressed - they had such an organic, perfectly blended southern grassroots sound that I got goosebumps, and everyone in the theater started circulating outbursts of "SHHH!" when the song started so they wouldn't miss a single note. It was one of those moments of pure musical joy that you can only get live. I think I need to learn how to play the banjo.

Whether you work for Rolling Stone or Cold Stone, if you're in Memphis, music becomes a part of your chemical make-up. Thanks for allowing me to indulge in my first Orpheum concert with you here on the interwebs. Perhaps one day I won't be so star-struck by the things I get to see and do here, but for now I'm perfectly content in allowing myself the excitement that comes with the job. And being able to see all of your great feedback on Facebook, Twitter and the comments section here only fans the flames. So I'll see y'all around!

For more info and touring details for Train and NeedToBreathe, please click the links posted under their pictures for the official websites.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Downtown Lunching

Greetings, blogisphere! And allow me to introduce myself. I am the most recent heir of the Orpheum's blog and one of the newer members of the Orpheum team. I was born and raised in Memphis, left to attend Auburn University, spent 2 years working in New York City, and have returned to my hometown where I belong. I couldn't have survived another New York winter - my body was just not built to trudge through the snow.

Memphis is my home and my comfort zone, but downtown is still fairly unmapped territory for me. So my current mission is to check out all of the lovely places to eat lunch. These are my recent discoveries.

Alcenia's was introduced to me by a friend and is perfect for when you need comfort food. The atmosphere is bright and intimate and you can bet on being treated like you're one of the family. I highly recommend the catfish and the spicy corn. There's something about being close to the Mississippi River and eating catfish that just makes me happy. The Little Tea Shop is actually closer to me and has a similar atmosphere. I've been going here for years so I can't call it a new discovery, but it will always be a favorite. Sometimes I just crave that Lacy special, and they have my favorite chicken salad so far. This is where I almost always take old high school friends. Going a little higher up on the price range, Flight is a new favorite. It's also around the corner from the theater and has a crab cake sandwich that I could probably eat every day for the rest of my life. The Majestic Grille is another great restaurant of similar caliber and has been my go-to more than once a week because it's so close and they're all so friendly there. I love the atmosphere of the old movie palace. And while they have a whole menu filled with delicious options, I can't seem to get away from that grilled cheese. The Flying Saucer is also just a block away and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they have a great lunch menu! I had only ever been for the plethora of amazing beer options. And if I'm up for a drive, the Trolley Stop Market is pretty unbeatable. I am not an eat-your-veggies kind of girl (it took me until last year to eat a whole salad), but I went there today and ordered a veggie plate because they have the ability to get me to eat those greens with all of their amazing options. If they ever have the spinach pastry, drop what you are doing and go order one. The pizzas are also delicious and creative if you aren't into the vegetables.

That's what I've discovered so far and I'm pretty happy with what I've found. But here's the thing - I can't have a fancy lunch where I meet my lovely friends every day. My goal is to find a few quiet and cheap places with tables where I can sit down and read during my break. Lenny's right across Beale is actually excellent for this, but I think they're getting sick of me over there. They already know my order. So, Memphis, my question to you is, where can I find such a place? I would like for it to be within walking distance (but as a New York veteran my walking range is fairly broad), to be reasonably priced, and to be a place I could go by myself without making a waitress sad that she's only getting a tip from one person. Where do y'all go?