The fourth season of Indie Memphis’ popular free summer Concert Film Series featuring a wide range of music at the Levitt Shell will begin July 25 with the historic 1958 Newport Jazz festival and end September 5 with the award-winning documentary Meanwhile in Memphis.
In between those two nights there will be classic performances by Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel, Sigur Rós, and Isaac Hayes, among others. Admission to all the screenings will be free and begin at dusk. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.
The 2014 series is presented by Orion Federal Credit Union and made possible in part through grants provided by ArtsMemphis and others.
In addition to the series finale, additional local flavor will come August 29 with the showing of the 1972 concert film Wattstax music festival and the African-American community of Watts in Los Angeles. The film was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Documentary Film in 1974.
Wikipedia reports, “The concert was held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on August 20, 1972, and organized by Memphis’ Stax Records to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the Watts riots. Wattstax was seen by some as "the Afro-American answer to Woodstock.” To enable as many members of the black community in LA to attend as possible, tickets were sold for only $1.00 each. The Reverend Jesse Jackson gave the invocation, which included Reverend William H. Borders, Sr.'s poem “I Am Somebody.”
This summer’s complete schedule:
• Friday, July 25 – Jazz on a Summer’s Day. Filmed at the 1958 Jazz Festival in Newport, Rhode Island, this easygoing documentary affords an intimate, atmospheric glimpse of a historically significant musical event. Performing at the festival were jazz heavyweights such as Louis Armstrong, Chuck Berry, Thelonious Monk, Mahalia Jackson, Dinah Washington, Gerry Mulligan and Anita O'Day.
• Friday, August 1 – Billy Joel: 1960s – 1990s (Shelley Archives). The screening includes clips from Billy Joel’s concerts, television, and studio rehearsals. Songs include “Piano Man,” “New York State of Mind,” “The Entertainer,” “Honesty,” “The Stranger,” “She’s Always a Woman to Me,” “You May Be Right,” “Big Shot,” “Allen Town,” and “River of Dreams.”
• Friday, August 8 – Led Zeppelin: The Song Remains the Same. Led Zeppelin storms Madison Square Garden in this collection of footage taken from their legendary performances at the New York venue in 1973. Songs performed in this swirl of sound and vision includes “Black Dog,” “Stairway to Heaven” and “Whole Lotta Love.”
• Friday, August 15 – Sigur Rós: Inni. Featuring ethereal Icelandic band Sigur Rós onstage in 2008 performing songs from each of their hit albums, this ghostly concert film weaves trippy imagery and the group's mesmerizing sound into an unforgettable musical experience.
• Friday, August 22 – Fleetwood Mac (Shelley Archives). This program offers live concert footage from Japan, Europe, and America as well as television appearances. Among the songs in the show are “Black Magic Woman,” “Rhiannon,” “Go Your Own Way,” “You Make Loving Fun,” “Don’t Stop,” “Gypsy,” “Tusk,” “Say You Love Me,” “Little Lies,” and “Sara.”
• Friday, August 29 – Wattstax. This film documents the 1972 Los Angeles concert that came to be known as “The Black Woodstock.” Performers include the Bar-Kays, the Staple Singers, Albert King, Isaac Hayes, and Richard Pryor.
• Friday, September 5 – Meanwhile in Memphis: The Sound of a Revolution. The award-winning music documentary from the 2013 Indie Memphis Film Festival featuring maverick bluff city DIY musicians from 1978 to present day, including Jim Dickinson, Alex Chilton, the Oblivians, the Grifters, Al Kapone, the North Mississippi Allstars, Jay Reatard, Jack O, The Reigning Sound, and Tav Falco.
For additional information about the Concert Film Series, please click here.