There’s no doubt about it, Craig Brewer loves Memphis, music and the sexy combination the town brings to his projects. Brewer’s much anticipated $5 Cover is now up and running at full steam at MTV.com. If Hustle and Flow is the Memphis melting pot of sex and hip-hop, and Black Snake Moan is the Memphis melting pot of sex and blues, then $5 Cover is the Memphis melting pot of sex and a cross-genre pot of delicious musical gumbo.
The musical world of $5 Cover is as wide as Memphis is hot. Each episode highlights a new musician each week jumping between Memphis’s rich musical scene of soul, hip-hop, rap, clowns, and midgets. The dramatic premise of the show is simple. A group of artists living together struggles to survive while trying to make it, occasionally breaking each other’s hearts. The question is, can a ragtag group of real-life Memphis musicians also act and carry a show? In the Brewer’s $5 Cover the answer is a resounding yes.
Brewer has easily mastered the reality genre that MTV now lives by, but he has also elevated it by admittedly mixing reality with scripted fiction. The show is as tight as I wish a reality show could be, packing a dramatic punch in every 5-6 minute episode.
Based on the first six episodes, it seems Brewer has chosen musician Amy LaVere as the anchor for his show, opening Episode 1 with LaVere playing upright bass in her underwear (take note, this show features lots of sexy musicians in their underwear) the bluesy crooner is also an engaging and believable actress. Additionally, her music is easy on the ears, making her more accessible to an audience than some of the more wild and avant-garde musicians featured.
When you break-down LaVere’s journey (hot musician girl meets drummer, hot musician girl breaks up with drummer, hot musician girl gets back with drummer, hot musician girl breaks up with drummer) it almost sounds trite, but Brewer’s show couldn’t be further from the banal. By anchoring the show in his beloved Memphis back drop, and giving audiences an insider’s glimpse at this endlessly fresh musical breeding ground, every episode is worth watching. That, and the performances carry even the most tried and true plot lines. There’s just something more exciting about two hot girls having a cat fight when your back drop is a musical carnie ride as opposed to the Hollywood Hills.