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Knoxville’s Can’t-Miss Concerts for Fall 2011

August 3, 2011

After spending many years living in Knoxville, you come to realize how unique and special the music scene is. The fanbase, musicians, media members and venues are so circularly supportive, it’s an intimate relationship most closely resembling a large family.

Serving as Music Editor for Blank News, one of Knoxville’s authentic ‘down-home’ publications, I have had the opportunity to visit many of the city’s fantastic stages, big and small; and let me tell you, they all know how to pull a nice draw. From Andrew W.K.’s intriguing collaboration with the Calder Quartet at the homely Square Room to the Neil Young’s blockbuster performance at the Knoxville Civic Center, there’s always one stellar show around in the corner in this town.

Fall 2011 is no exception. With hundreds of artists slated to drop by Knoxville between now and Thanksgiving, let’s take a look at the Top Five shows you cannot (we mean it) miss.

If you miss George Clinton and Parliament's September 13th show at the Tennessee Theatre, then slap yourself in the face and apologize to God. You are wasting his time, and George's...

5. The Civil Wars

Saturday, October 8 @ The Bijou Theater

This in-state duo from Nashville, composed of Joy Williams and John Paul White, have rapidly risen as one of the hottest folk acts in the country. In the last year, the pair have seen their album reach the #1 iTunes download spot, their lead single appear on Grey’s Anatomy and even been Tweeted about by Taylor Swift. (Slap yourself if you think that’s irrelevant.) The charming sounds of the Civil Wars’ harmonizing duets is the perfect way to usher in the changing of leaves on a brisk, Southern fall night.

4. George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic

Thursday, September 13 @ Tennessee Theatre

If you have yet to see funk music mastermind George Clinton in concert, circle this date on your calendar immediately. The equivalent of a Stevie Wonder (soul) in his respective genre, Clinton defined funk in the 1970s alongside acts such as James Brown and Earth, Wind and Fire. His shows most closely resemble a raging party, with countless performers on stage, including soul songstresses, pimps and an adult baby in a diaper. (There’s nothing missing.) If this show doesn’t have you groovin’ and movin’ for hours, then you might want to report your missing soul to the police.

3. Meat Puppets

Friday, September 23 @ Barley’s Taproom

I’m no historical expert on Barley’s, but I know that acts as tremendous as the Meat Puppets rarely visit. The alternative rock legends have been producing content since the early 1980s, winning the admiration of acts such as Nirvana and Dinosaur Jr. Their funky/trippy mixture of acoustic pop songs to fatalistic tunes of reflection. Their musical genius will be on close display at Barley’s, where limited standing room will make for a truly intimate performance. Be there, so you can thank the Puppets for all that they’ve done for alternative music. (You just have no idea.)

2. John Mellencamp

Saturday, November 12 @ Knoxville Civic Center

Assuming tickets won’t be nearly as outrageous as Neil Young’s ($125+) stop at the Civic Center was this spring, this should be a real treat. It’s such a fantastic novelty when a classic rock name such as Mellencamp comes through town; it almost feels like you should go before you run out of chances. There’s no denying Mellencamp’s place in heartland rock royalty, alongside the likes of Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger. Get your patriotism geared up for 2012’s election year early. Go see the old Cougar.

1. Pixies

Thursday, November 10 @ Tennessee Theatre

1990s alternative rock was fueled by Nirvana…who were jump-started by the Pixies. This legendary Massachusetts band visits Knoxville for the first time this November, as part of their “Lost Cities” tour, in which they visit cities they’ve never performed at in their 25 year career. Seeing as their first visit comes 25 years after their inception, I’d suggest you not wait for the next time around… Each night, the band is performing what is arguably their most epic record, Doolittle, in its entirety. To sweeten the deal, up-and-comers Surfer Blood are the slotted opening band.

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