By Kasey Price
Tickets are now on sale for Goner Records’ seventh annual international music festival taking place in venues throughout Memphis, September 22-26. Goner Fest 7 will include four evening showcases at the Hi-Tone, a Saturday afternoon ten band blowout at Murphy’s, opening and closing shows at the Goner Record Shop, and various daytime music and art shows throughout the weekend.
In its short life span, Goner Fest has quickly increased the size of its blip on the radar of mainstream independent music. Spin Magazine wrote that it “showcases talent galore,” and Paste praised Goner Fest as, “three days with so much overdriven, yelp-tastic rock ‘n’ roll that, for the slightest moment, the city of Memphis becomes one big parents’ garage.”
This year’s Goner Fest marks the return of two great heroes of the Memphis 90s underground, the first being Guitar Wolf. Goner Records founder Eric Friedl gave these Japanese noise rockers their start by releasing their debut LP, Wolf Rock, in 1993. Their affinity for the city was so strong that while on tour in the states they often told people they were from Memphis! They went on to record albums for Matador Records and Sony Japan and are massive stars in their native country.
The second of the returning legends are the Oblivions. This group blasted back on the scene last year with two sold-out hometown dates and a critically-lauded European tour with Detroit contemporaries, the Gories. A decade after their music paved the way for the White Stripes and the Hives, Greg O (Reigning Sound), Jack O (Tearjerkers), and Eric O (Goner Records) are set to share the stage with a new batch of fuzzed out strummers and bumblers. The Oblivions will headline Friday night.
Additional highlights include appearances by Memphis legend, Jeffrey Evans (’68 Comeback, Gibson Bros.); Philadelphia’s rural noise folkers, Strapping Fieldhands; Goner favorite and Bay area reverb wonder kid, Ty Segall; Australian scatterpunks, UV Race; UK pub rockin’ hooligans, Armitage Shanks; Irish poppers, So Cow; Columbus rock and roll buzzsaw, New Bomb Turks; true Texas crazy man, John Wesley Coleman; trippy west coast racketeers, Thee Oh-Sees; and Nashville outsider legend, Dave Cloud.
The festival will bring together 40 bands from eight countries for four days and three nights of rock and roll mayhem. Attendance is anticipated to top 2,500 people, as many as half of whom will be coming from outside Memphis. Previous festivals have attracted rock and roll fans from Austria, Japan, Germany, Italy, Spain, Wales, Holland, France, England, Australia, Croatia, Tasmania, and Canada.
In addition to the bands, celebrity emcees for the event include Tom Scharpling and Terre T (Best Show On WFMU, Cherry Blossom Clinic), Dick Scum (Armitage Shanks), and Brace Belden (MRR, Wild Thing). Writer Eric Davidson (CMJ, Village Voice, New Bomb Turks) will also give a punk-style presentation and reading from his new book, We’ll Never Learn, about the 90s garage punk underground.
For tickets, complete schedules, sponsorships, advertising, and more visit gonerfest.com.
Pictured to the right is Ty Segall, Thursday’s Hi-Tone headliner. Photo by Kandi Cook.
By Kasey Price