Live music throughout dog days
Three local venues support live music during scorching summer days
Where Live local music during the hot summer days
By Davis Coen
Things tend to slow down in Oxford during the summer months, but you could say this is a favorable transition and a unique time for the local music scene.
In some cases, it’s because of the appeal of outdoor venues…and in others, the intimacy of removing much of the University’s population from the equation.
Three venues in Oxford city center – all with stages, designed lighting and an audio backline – will be slightly reminiscent of this but will continue a steady stream of live music offerings during the scorching days of the week. ‘summer. Either way, these venues will provide unwavering support to the local music community and its fans.
Proud Larry’s has been a mainstay in the square for decades and has become a local landmark. Although a modest 300-seat venue, it has become widely known for booking countless national acts for sold-out shows. These included Modest Mouse, Elvis Costello, Jason Isbell, Warren Zevon, Sturgill Simpson, and The black keys. Plus, avant-garde blues numbers from the past and present, and the best from all corners of the alternative scene.
Although football will always remain Oxford’s main attraction, Proud Larry’s, since its opening in 1993, has helped to ensure that musical entertainment is not far behind, along with culinary, literary and historical attractions.
The Green at Harrison’s and Rafter’s on the Square are newcomers, but much like Larry’s continue to remain highly relevant after the student exodus in the spring, and according to owners and management, they intend to continue throughout the duration of heat waves.
Midsummer is a good time for a musical series
Local rock bands Wannu? and The division of pearls are among those that Larry’s owner, Scott Caradine, has planned to appear at his venue regularly during the summer months, the latter starting with a residency in June, with a handful of dates on Wednesday nights starting around 9 p.m. . little thing that happens,” he said of The Pearl Divide, a four-piece band from Jackson made up of Ole Miss students.
“We try to do weekday shows and new artists that people don’t know yet, in a free situation,” Louisiana native Lafayette, Caradine, said of his popular establishment at 211 South Lamar Blvd.
He expressed great enthusiasm for one of the venue’s first shows after Memorial Day, the Nashville singer-songwriter George Shingleton. “He is killer,” Caradine said. He’s a country artist with a real team behind him, has some good stuff going on and seems to be growing,” he said. “Nobody knows who he is here yet, but he could be one of those guys who in a year or two you could say ‘I saw this guy for free on a Thursday night at Larry’s’.”
The renowned venue, and beloved family restaurant and bar, has also gained a reputation for booking these weekly residences for the early evening hours on weekdays, closer to what can be considered happy hour, sometimes a mixture of a host of seasoned bars and dining for all ages. enthusiasts.
Some notable early evening acts included Jimbo Mathus, George McConnell, The Kenny Brown Band, Tate Moore, The Bill Perry Trio, and Davis Coen.
“It gives people something to get out of the house, when it’s easy to sit inside with the air conditioning. It’s a hard time for me to get off the couch,” he joked. “I think it’s a good opportunity for people to get out there and see quality music live”
Caradine reflected on the slow rise of the past two summers and said that just a year ago it seemed like people were finally showing some enthusiasm to get out there and watch music again, “because they hungry for it,” he said. And as he entered June, he noticed that people were becoming even more comfortable going back to see shows.
“We have a good mix of local artists and up-and-coming bands… all of whom have an ongoing buzz somewhere. It’s just a matter of trying to help them grow, and at the same time bring new music to town,” Caradine said.
The summer lineup so far has been highlighted by the synth-pop duo And the echoand country westernswho are signed to Fat Possum Records.
An outdoor delight directly off the square
A treat for local live music fans since March 2021 is The Green at Harrison’s, the new interactive backyard at Harrison’s 1810 Bar and Grill, a stone’s throw from neighboring Proud Larry’s.
Known primarily as a college bar, Harrison’s has broadened its appeal with its spacious and relaxing outdoor setting, equipped with comfortable booths, a host of flat-screen TVs, cornhole boards and watertight pool tables, often with canvas background a breathtaking early evening sky.
The venue also boasts a sizable and prominent stage setup, fully equipped to accommodate national tours, pending repetitive and ongoing struggles with a few testy neighbors and an ordinance that limits outside sound for commercial ventures.
Notable performers gracing the stage include the Grammy-nominated rapper, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Afro man, and rock bands The Stolen Faces, Southern Groove Redemption, The Orange Constant, 2 Beans, Riverside Voodoo, and The Vegabonds.
Managing Director Hayes Dent has worked at Harrison since the doors opened in September 2018, after Griffin Tanner bought what was once Frank & Marlee’s, and during that time his roles have varied from doorman to iron spearheads the coordination of some of the best summer music the city has offered in years.
Distinctly, The Green was one of many local venues to host the ninth annual Oxford Blues Festival at the end of September. The June music calendar featured some quality acts with outstanding draws, such as Traveler, The Band, Garshand Highland Sunday.
The venue still hosts some of the most exciting local and regional acts, in what is known as the Summer Concert Series, with a stripped-down, usually acoustic act, starting around 4 or 5 p.m., followed by bands or band combos around 8 p.m.
“The Green’s setup is almost as good as you can get for a live venue,” Dent said. “We just had a non-stop battle with our sound prescription, it toned down the music.”
The Green at Harrison’s currently has a petition with over 1,500 signatures and continues to gain a positive reputation as a premier live music destination. “We don’t believe that people who don’t want this to happen outweigh people who do,” Dent said.
Sunday pickin’ and grinnin’ served with a side of the gospel
Rafter’s on the Square, which lives upstairs in what used to be the historic and historic Henry Hotel, has also been a key player, and at the forefront of live music venues since the company was opened by the Chadwick family, and will continue to be so through the milder of south central months.
Local Favorite Members Rocket 88and Joe Austin and the Tallahatchies will swap on Sundays and choose precisely the acoustic sounds that your ears and your doctor have prescribed, to relax you during a burden-free afternoon, during the scorching days of summer.
The musical association of the couple Jamie and Rosamond Posey, as well as seasoned accompanists Eric Carlton (keyboards) and Nathan Robbins (bass, guitar, vocals), is enough to make a Bloody Mary or a Mimosa pass like medicine to your mouth during a carefree brunch. .
Along with tried-and-true originals, the band features energetic favorites from John Prine, Dylan and The Stones, plus uplifting spiritual staples like “Let the Church Roll On,” “Up Above My Head,” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” ”
Like Rocket 88 bassist Nate Robbins, Joe Austin hails from nearby Pontotoc and, like the Poseys, his musical roots are steeped in gospel music.
“We hope it inspires all age groups and appeals to all kinds of people,” said venue manager Caroline Parker, who fondly calls the summertime musical vibe “soulful,” perhaps compared to d other times of the year.
Parker also works at the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, based at the Powerhouse on University Avenue and enjoys seeing the community bond as she shares her hours in the service industry.
She started at Rafter’s in May 2020, “right in the middle of the pandemic,” Parker said. The spacious venue was able to proceed cautiously with their Sunday brunches, and she credits live music as what has held people together through tough times.
“He now continues to bring people together and hold people together, but in different ways,” she said, “and to uplift everyone as a community. For Oxford, I think that’s huge to have live music in the square on Sundays.We are one of the only places to do this on a regular basis.