Memphis is a city rich with culture, history and music. The city was founded at the beginning of the 19th century by James Winchester and John Overton, two settlers who were looking for a place to live in peace amid the chaos of post-Revolutionary America. In 1819, they met up with Andrew Jackson and his wife Rachel Donelson Robards at what would later be called Fort Pickering (in honor of Gen. Andrew Jackson). The couple had just arrived from Nashville after their marriage ended due to political controversy. It was here that the three founders decided to create Memphis as a frontier outpost between Alabama and Mississippi territories along the Mississippi River.
Nowadays, it’s hard not find something fun going on in Memphis! Whether it’s live music at one of our famous venues (which are also listed below), or simply cruising down Beale Street while listening to some great blues tunes–there’s always something happening here! This list will give you an overview of some different places where you can enjoy some great live music during your stay in Memphis:
See a Concert at the Orpheum.
The Orpheum is a historic theater in Memphis, TN. It has been a Memphis landmark since 1927 and one of the oldest theaters in the country. The Orpheum hosts concerts and other events throughout the year—and recently underwent renovations to bring it into the modern age. You won’t want to miss out on seeing some great live music at this historic venue!
Live Blues at B.B. King’s Blues Club.
B.B. King’s is a great place to see live blues music. There are no cover charges and the food is good, but the best part about this venue is the music! They have great performers who will blow you away with their talent and energy, so it’s definitely worth getting there early for an awesome show (and don’t forget to order something from their full bar).
Watch Live music in an Underground Lounge.
Memphis is full of underground venues, which means you can experience live music in a unique setting. Depending on the venue, you may find yourself standing next to the stage or sitting at a table while watching your favorite band perform. Below are some of my favorite places to see live music in Memphis:
- The Cove Lounge: This is one of my personal favorites because the atmosphere is so casual and laid-back that it feels like an old friend’s living room (but without all the clutter). It’s located in Midtown, where there are tons of restaurants within walking distance if you get hungry during your performance!
- Earnestine & Hazel’s: This historic restaurant has been open since 1939, so you know this place has got it going on when it comes to good food and live music. If you want something more modern with great drinks, try out their sister location Earnestine & Hazel’s Beauty Shop Bar.*
- Memphis Music Hall Of Fame Plaza Stage: In addition to hosting concerts by local artists and national acts alike at its new home next door at Beale Street Landing (formerly Bass Pro Shops), this outdoor stage presents free musical performances every Thursday night during warmer months between May and September on what they call “The Porch Stage.”
Dance to Live Music at Bar DKDC.
Bar DKDC (1182 Young Avenue) is a popular spot in Cooper-Young with live music seven days a week. The venue holds more than 100 people and has a full bar, making it perfect for dinner and drinks before hitting up one of the many nearby dance clubs.
You’ll find lots of local musicians here, including Matt & Sharon, who play Americana songs as well as covers from artists like Johnny Cash and Lucinda Williams; Alexis Antonelli who plays acoustic singer-songwriter music ranging from jazz to rockabilly; and Chris Cobb who performs everything from blues to funk—he even does an awesome Prince impersonation!
Join the Crowds at Lafayette’s Music Room.
Lafayette’s is a popular venue for live music. It’s located in the heart of Downtown Memphis, and it has a large stage, dance floor and bar. The venue also has an outdoor patio that often hosts live bands as well. Lafayette’s has been around since the 1940s—it was originally called “The Brown Derby.” In recent years they’ve updated the decor to include some vintage touches, but they still have modern amenities like HDTVs and a full bar with delicious cocktails made by talented bartenders.
The best part about going to Lafayette’s is seeing great local bands perform on stage here every night of the week (excluding Monday). Some of our favorite shows have included:
- Paul Thorn & His Band – Blues Rock
- King James & His Special Men Band – Blues/Rockabilly
Check out Folk Music at Otherlands Coffee Bar.
Otherlands Coffee Bar is a coffee shop that also has live music. They have a great atmosphere and a great selection of coffee and tea for you to enjoy while listening to some amazing local musicians. The live music at Otherlands is one of the best things about this cafe, but it’s not the only reason people come here. They also have an excellent menu filled with delicious food items like sandwiches, soups, and salads that are sure to make your mouth water. If you want more than just coffee or tea after lunch or dinner service ends, then don’t worry—you can find it at Otherlands!
If you’re looking for something different from normal restaurants in Memphis then stop by Otherlands today!
Get Your Groove On At Earnestine & Hazel’s
If you’re looking to get your groove on while listening to some live music, try Earnestine & Hazel’s. It’s a Memphis institution that has been around since 1942 and is still as popular today as it was when it opened. The bar itself is dark and intimate, with brick walls and antique chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. There are also outdoor tables available if you want to catch some fresh air while enjoying their signature drink (which many people have had before), the Gin Rickey. Be warned: this place is very popular among locals—it gets crowded!
You can find live music anywhere in Memphis!
Memphis has a thriving music scene and you can find live music anywhere in the city. Here are a few places to start:
- The Levitt Shell is an outdoor venue that hosts free concerts on Sunday evenings. You’ll often find bands from all over the country performing here, so it’s a great way to discover new artists or get introduced to genres you aren’t familiar with yet. This year, they’ve booked acts like The Wood Brothers, Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band with special guest Gillian Welch and more!
- Beale Street Music Festival brings hundreds of bands and musicians together under one roof each May for one epic weekend at Tom Lee Park on Beale Street! It’s truly an event unlike any other, so don’t miss out if you’re planning on visiting Memphis during this time!
Memphis has the best live music!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of the best live music in Memphis. We know how hard it is to find good information online, so we wanted to make sure you had all the details on where and when you can catch some great tunes in the city. Whether it’s blues at B.B King’s Blues Club or folk music at Otherlands Coffee Bar, there are plenty of options for anyone looking to experience a night of great music enjoyed by many people together!