Thursday is Your New Friday: Thursdays Squared Recap

Posted on May 1, 2014


By Wesley Morgan Paraham

DSC_0107Overton Square’s newest summer attraction is Thursdays Squared, a gathering of cheerful people, cold beer, and great music.

The brand new Tower Courtyard absolutely nailed the outside venue aesthetic because it combined the breezy freedom of the Levitt Shell with the big-time production at a Minglewood show. Round tables framed the spacious concrete center, and beer or wine vendors were always a few steps away. Memphis Pizza Café was selling slices for four bucks each. Everything you’d need to unwind was readily available.

Once Party Planet took the stage, the party really got started. Its members have worked with household names from Drake to Derek Trucks. They were the backing band for all the night’s guest performers, in addition to doing a stellar job themselves. With the sunset, inhibitions lowered, and the center became dancing room only. The place was packed. Party Planet broke out a Michael Jackson medley, managed to make Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” smooth as red silk, and successfully coaxed a crowd of a couple dozen people to do the Wobble.

I would look up into the second and third floor balconies of the buildings surrounding the east and south sides of the courtyard and see the souls in high spirits reaching over the rails. You could feel the good vibes radiating from these people.

DSC_0352I studied Gary Bhagat, who won our adoration when we found that this young guy, wearing khaki slacks, glasses, and a Taylor Swift T-shirt, could get down with some mad skill, never wiping the stone smirk from his face. He shared a dance with 52-year-old Jennifer Hinojosa, who you would’ve thought was a professional swing dancer before you’d believe she’s a claims adjuster. She told me, “I grew up in the 80s, and he knew how to dance. He was my John Travolta. It was meant to be.”

We sang The Beatles with soulful Patrick Dodd, grooved with Beale Street Queen Ruby Wilson, a lucky lady got a kiss from the Elvis doppelganger Joe Kent, and “whooped that trick” with Al Kapone. We even got to see FreeSol Anderson, who flew in from California to perform a song. Lucky us!

My friends and I have been eating, drinking, and even doing some yoga as our little community meeting ground, Overton Square, rises from its ashes around us. Thursdays Squared will be the perfect frame for the finished picture. Be with us every Thursday from now until Aug. 28.

Wesley Morgan Paraham is a born and raised Memphian and University of Memphis journalism major. He’s also a pretty decent musician

Posted in: Music