A German music firm had asked to meet with me on Tuesday morning at a place called Wunderbar, which I found out later was actually at the German booth at the SXSW Trade Show, but which I mistakenly thought was at the German Haus at Icenhauer’s on Rainey Street, a street hidden in a small neighborhood south of Cesar Chavez between I-35 and the lake. The German Haus was sponsoring an event called “Wunderbar”, which was the source of the confusion. Until last year, I did not even know that there was anything in that area, much less a neighborhood of really cool bars and grills, but when a party I RSVP’d for was held at Icenhauer’s, I became aware of Rainey Street for the first time. If Sixth Street is Austin’s “business district” of clubs, Rainey Street would be its residential area. All of the establishments are in former private homes, with front and back patios, most of them under shady trees which makes the whole area all the cooler. There is also a food truck area south of Cesar Chavez, at least during SXSW. My wrong turn into Icenhauer’s led me to some free coffee and a really cool German band playing on the outdoor patio before I realized that I was in the wrong place for the meeting, and so I had to quickly get back over to the Convention Center and the Trade Show.
Perignon Restaurant and Lounge is a fairly new venue on Coleman Road in the Raleigh neighborhood of Memphis. It’s no more than 5 minutes from my house, so when I learned that they have live music on certain nights, I decided to go and check it out. I was especially interested in checking out Memphis R & B singer Chris J and his band Freestyle, since my drummer friend Antonio Motley plays with them. Like a number of Memphis clubs and restaurants, Perignon fills up rapidly on a Friday night, with nearly every table in the main room filled, and a line of people standing against the wall near the stage. Chris J is a decent singer, whose show is a combination of cover tunes and originals, and his backing band Freestyle is first-rate, as are his backup singers. Several of Chris’ original songs can be heard at http://www.reverbnation.com/chrisjrnb and you can keep up with what’s going on at Perignon at http://www.perignonsrestaurant.com/ or http://www.facebook.com/pages/Perignons-Lounge/117166298438135.
Channel Ziltch is a bizarre television-themed performance venue in Clarksdale, located next door to the highly-acclaimed Southern cuisine lunch restaurant Oxbow. Juke Joint Festival, April 14, 2012