We came. We saw. We heard. We completely bombarded Washington Avenue. As any of the hundreds in attendance will certainly attest, the RFT Music Showcase was a blast. Perfect weather, great drinks (Thanks Schlafly!), and fantastic performances all around. The schedule read like a choose-your-own-adventure book. Attendees scribbled notes on the complimentary venue maps to optimize their Showcase experience and then ran between spots in a manic game of Pac-Man - luckily Bob Reuter's Alley Ghost was not responsible for any casualties in the process.
The Showcase coincides with RFT's Music Awards. This healthy competition always stirs up some tension, as it forces fans to choose between the acts in each category and is inherently unable to include every worth act in the city. Attendees at the Showcase were forced to make similarly tough decisions between local artists. When 9:30 rolled around, for example, did you catch Dots Not Feathers, Bassamp & Dano, Spelling Bee, or Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra? Did you show up early to catch soulful MC Nite Owl at 2 PM or save your energy for a searing 1:30 AM set by noise rock wunderkinds Volcanoes, who promoted its late time slot with miniature flyers attached to the stems of Dum-Dum that the band members carried inside a plastic pumpkin?
The overlaps had a positive effect in putting people in front of acts they would likely not have seen otherwise. Lonesome Cowboy Ryan & His Dried-Up Teardrops certainly made some new fans as folks curiously poked heads inside The Dubliner, the physical midway point between The Feed's set at The Over/Under Bar And Grill and Palace's performance at Copia Wine Garden.
Over seventy artists performed - bump that up to eighty if you itemize all the members of hip-hop collective The Force - and not one of them sucked. St. Louis will always have its share of naysayers, but this year's Showcase was a slap in the face of those who write off our city's wealth of stellar musicians.