The second day of the 2022 Beale Street Music Festival got under away in the early afternoon under humid cloudy skies. The threat of rain persisted throughout the day but held off until the evening hours. During day two, there were so many impressive musical moments that festival-goers had to tailor their choices to their own personal preferences. The Zynn stage became the Hip-Hop stage for the second day.
The festival hosted the most homegrown Memphis acts ever, and Hip-Hop fans responded with resounding approval. Five Memphis rap artists performed on the stage back-to-back, including White $osa, Lil Wyte, Duke Deuce, Project Pat, and NLE Choppa, with an ever-increasing emphatic crowd as the day wore on. As night fell, the first non-Memphis artist took the stage, Sarkodie, a Ghanaian rapper with a huge fanbase. Each year Memphis in May features several festivals, including the Beale Street Festival. One of the festivals honors a specific country, and 2022 featured Ghana. Usually, a couple of bands spill over into the Beale Street lineup, and this year Sarkodie and Stonebwoy represented their country. The rapper, a legend in his homeland, quickly captured the rapt attention of the tightly packed Memphis crowd and played an impressive set, backed by a large contingent of dancers, singers, and musicians. Rap superstar Megan Thee Stallion closed the stage but more about that later.
Over on the Bud Light stage, Indie rock ruled that day with six distinctive bands on the roster. Memphis own Blvck Hippie kicked things off with a raucous set of Sad Boy Indie Rock. The group is reminiscent of the black hard rock band Living Colour but with a more modern Indie rock style. Early bird fans headbanged to the hour-long set of guitar-driven tunes. Nashville singer and songwriter Sophie Regina Allison, better known by her stage name Soccer Mommy, played next with her band of Indie rockers. The band had so many members they struggled to get things right with the soundman. That delayed the set, but eventually, they got things rolling and played a good 45 minutes.
Santa Barbara’s Toad The Wet Sprocket brought their 80’s Indie rock sound to the stage next. The band features original members, vocalist/guitarist Glen Phillips, guitarist Todd Nichols, bassist Dean Dinning, and a few new members. The crowd reacted positively to Phillips's familiar vocals and the band's melodic rock.
Indie rockers GROUPLOVE brought their dance-inducing Indie rock sound to the stage next. Singer Hannah Hooper acted as the band's leading cheerleader, smiling and dancing her way all about the stage. She would occasionally trade off lead vocal duties with guitarist Christian Zucconi. Fans responded emphatically to the set, many dancing in place in the tightly packed crowd.
As night fell, Austin experimental rock veterans Spoon took the stage after a short delay. The band emerged with chants from the audience of “We want to spoon!” Lead singer and guitarist Britt Daniel’s addressed the delay by quipping, “Five minutes ago, we thought we weren’t going to play because of the storm.” Lightning could be seen flashing in the distance. Memphis weather is notoriously temperamental, and the festival employs a team of meteorologists to monitor the weather. Rain usually doesn’t stop a performance, but the threat of lighting has to be taken seriously for obvious safety reasons. The band played an explosive set of guitar feedback-tinged Indie rock.
From Bellingham, Washington, Death Cab for Cutie closed the stage just after 930 at night. The emo band seemed to be trying to break away from their image as a shoegazer band with musicians jumping about with the energy of punk rockers. Lead singer Ben Gibbard led the charge, opening with a frantic assault on his electric guitar, flowed by an animated set of tunes on the piano. Unfortunately, it began to rain at the beginning of the band's set, and midway through their performance, there was a call for an evacuation of the festival due to severe weather warnings. While many music fans gave up and headed home, many other hardcore fans were allowed to evacuate to the Libby Bowl next door to try and wait out the storm.
The Terminix stage was again the focus of hard rock for the day featuring six bands from several eras of the genre. Memphis own Tora Tora opened the stage. The band featured all four original members from the group first formed in 1986. Lead singer Anthony Corder channels the early vocals of Robert Plant with Led Zeppelin, and his Glam rock band followed suit. The band garnered one of the most prominent early crowds, with fans rocking out to the set.
Seattle singer-guitarist Ayron Jones and his band The Way may have arguably played the best set of the festival next. Jones seemed to channel no less than Jimi Hendrix with fierce guitar riffs. His trio of bandmates kept pace with an animated complex rock assault that wowed the crowd. While the band channeled classic rock, they also added grunge, gospel, hip-hop, and soul elements. California rockers Rival Sons played the following round with a Blues drenched hard rock approach that had the ever-growing crowd rocking throughout their set.
New metal rockers Chevelle had to drop out of the lineup due to Covid, but they were replaced at the last minute by Soul Asylum. The veteran alternative rock band was formed in 1981 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Their 1993 hit "Runaway Train" won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song. They brought a vintage hard rock sound to the stage.
Grunge rock veterans Stone Temple Pilots took the stage just after dark. The band featured original members brothers Dean DeLeo playing lead guitar and Robert DeLeo on bass and backing vocals, and Eric Kretz on drums. Lead singer Jeff Gutt joined the band in 2016 after the untimely deaths of former singers Scott Weiland and Chester Bennington. The band tore through their extensive catalog playing many of their biggest hits. Alt-rock veterans Smashing Pumpkins, led by the iconic Billy Corgan, were set to close the stage just after 10 PM. But the thunderstorm weather delay that caused the evacuation delayed the bands set until just after midnight. After a torrential rainstorm and a few flashes of lightning, the festival resumed with an explosive rock set by the Pumpkins. With Corgan out front playing guitar and sneering his lyrics, the band opened with the hit tune Bullet With Butterfly Wings and never looked back, playing a searing complicated rock set to hardcore fans that stuck out the weather delay.
Meanwhile, back on the Zynn stage, hip hop fans gathered nervously, unsure whether headliner Megan Thee Stallion would return for her set. The rap queen had left for the airport thinking her show had been canceled but returned much to the delight of her hardcore fans. The feisty rapper hit the stage just after 1230 for a rowdy set of her biggest dance tunes, surrounded by a small army of dance artists. Between Megan and Corgan, the ending of what seemed like could be a disastrous night turned into a magical late-night finale for day 2 of the Beale Street music festival.