Southern Avenue bring back Memphis soul on Stax | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Music » Concert Preview

Southern Avenue bring back Memphis soul on Stax


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


Southern Avenue are named after the original Memphis address of Stax Records, and that tells you most of what you need to know about their sound. Their self-titled debut—on Stax itself, naturally—is a boiling retro-soul primer. Israeli guitarist Ori Naftaly can be a bit fussy, but at his best he plays dirty blues licks that would make Billy Gibbons smile from behind his beard. Drummer Tikyra Jackson keeps the beat crisp and soulful. But what really makes Southern Avenue is Tikyra’s sister, singer Tierinii, whose gospel-tinged growl drips equal parts fire and sex. When she pleads “I was trying to love you / But you didn’t notice” on “What Did I Do,” she both convinces you of her desperation and makes you wonder how the hell the guy could possibly not have noticed. Most of the tracks are stone -cold soul, but Tierinii shows some improv chops on the jazzy “Wildflower,” while “Rumble” blurs the divide between the dozens and rap with quick-jivin’ lines like “Came home late about three in the mornin’ / Tennessee whiskey got my feelings flowin.’” Tierinii has a riveting stage presence, and the band nail covers of classics like “Rock Steady.” They do the Stax legacy proud.   v

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment