published Monday, June 9th, 2014

Get Off The Couch: Full week to explore Riverbend

June 6-14 • 21st Century Waterfront, Chattanooga, TN

LISA DENTON: Barry, we’re three nights into Riverbend, with six more to go, including tonight’s Bessie Smith Strut along M.L. King Boulevard and a show by Bobby Rush at Bessie Smith Cultural Center. Then it’s back to the riverfront for Coke Stage headliners TobyMac, Boston, Justin Moore, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and Young the Giant.

But before we delve too far into the schedule, I probably need to make amends for last week’s column in which I joked about getting “handsy” with Scotty McCreery when he performed here for US101’s High Noon Saloon. A reader was quite offended by the thought I might have defiled the young “American Idol” winner, even leaving a message on my voicemail in which she called me a name I can’t repeat here — and she wasn’t kidding.

So to make up for this serious breach of etiquette, I vow to not get handsy, even in jest, with any other celebrity, and will instead use other body parts. Glad I could clear that up.

BARRY COURTER: I, uh … nevermind.

Bobby Rush will be a great show, but the rest of tonight’s lineup is also good. I’m really interested to see Andy Allo and Boukou Groove. Allo was in Prince’s band New Power Generation for awhile, and he even wrote three songs on her last CD.

Boukou Groove features Donnie Sundal and New Orleans guitar god Derwin “Big D” Perkins. The two have played with everyone from Sam Bush to Jon Cleary and Bonnie Raitt. It should be a full evening of funk and soul.

LISA: Sundal and Perkins are a force of nature when they play together. They definitely have “boukou” talent.

What I like about Allo, besides her voice, is her hair. Oh, and the fact that she holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and Cameroon — she’s AmerCameroonian. I’m not sure that’s an actual word, but I like the sound of it.

BARRY: Dresses like Prince, and with that hair and the funky band behind her, she’s cool for sure.

But the rest of the week has some great acts as well. Wednesday night is the toughest of the week for me because I’d like to see all of them. It’s a stone-cold lock that both Allen Stone and the Family Stone will be really good.

On Thursday, I leave for Bonnaroo and a whole different music festival. If I have to choose between getting a selfie made with Elton John or Lionel Richie, who should I choose? I promise I won’t get handsy with either one.

LISA: There’s always motorboatin’.

I like Elton, but he can be a little temperamental. I’d probably go with Lionel because his great-grandfather is buried here in Chattanooga.

I’m sorry you won’t be here Friday. I’m thinking about getting my hair done in a Joan Jett pixie punk style for her show. Then the next night I can spike it up as a tribute to the fireworks finale. Alas, it still won’t be as cool as Andy Allo’s.

Get event details every Thursday in ChattanoogaNow or online anytime at

Contact Lisa Denton at or 423-757-6281. Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

about Lisa Denton...

Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or

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