LouFest is this weekend, but you will not find it listed within this post. This is because St. Louis's favorite outdoor festival will already see plenty of press this week -- hell, I'd be surprised if this blog post isn't surrounded on either side by bigass advertisements for the event. Point is, you know about LouFest. Here's some other shows this week, including some non-LouFest weekend picks for those reading that aren't interested in getting weekend-festy.
Texas troubadour Lyle Lovett will be at the Peabody this Saturday; that's one apt non-fest pick for the picky. Legendary hardcore party-starters Murphy's Law will play Fubar on Saturday as well. I'm not sure that there's much crossover between crowds for this and for the fest, but then too I suppose I am conflicted over which I will personally attend, so maybe there is. Oh yeah, and there's shows this week that aren't on the weekend, too -- click through and see all of our picks below.
Vektor Mon., 9:00 p.m. August 20 w/ Black Fast, Rites of Impiety @ The Firebird - $10 By Daniel Hill Vektor formed in 2004 in Tempe, Arizona and established itself quickly as a force to be reckoned with within the new wave of thrash movement. Relentless regional touring earned the band a loyal local following; its melding of progressive influences with lighting-quick ultra-technical thrash set it apart from the cookie-cutter bands of the genre. New York's Heavy Artillery Records picked up the band in 2009 and released its subsequent Black Future and Outer Isolation LPs. The recent acquisition of Heavy Artillery by Earache Records could prove very advantageous for the up-and-coming band, provided that the latter label doesn't choose to cannibalize the former. Either way, Vektor certainly has enough talent to land on its feet. Bang Your Head Until It Falls Off: Opening the show is local act Black Fast -- the RFT's Best Metal Band of 2012. You'd be wise to show up early.
Kim Massie Tues., 10:00 p.m. August 21 @ Beale on Broadway - $7 By Annie Zaleski Although the word "diva" is so overused it's almost a useless descriptor, Kim Massie is one vocalist who deserves the honor. With its brash, gospel-influenced strains of vibrato, Massie's voice can be as big and broad as Aretha Franklin's, but it contains just enough Etta James-ian blues to undercut this strength with sorrow. When Massie sings the standard "At Last," you can close your eyes and imagine her voice as a vocal preacher, laying down the lyrics like audible commandments, just as easily as you can imagine the sound slinking down a smoky stage moonlit by a lonely spotlight. Massie is always -- and effortlessly somehow -- magical, spiritual and glowing.
Susan Cowsill Wed., 8:00 p.m. August 22 w/ Brian Henneman @ Off Broadway - $12/$15 By Roy Kasten The most remarkable quality of Susan Cowsill's 40-plus-year career is its sanity. A child performer with the Cowsills -- the fabled Partridge Family-inspiring clan band -- Susan Cowsill should have burned out or flipped out, sunk into kitsch or nostalgia or just faded away like so many other bubblegum, one-pop wonders. Instead, she's just gone on singing with that ineffable tone -- part country, part pop, all soul -- and patiently releasing solo records steeped in the spirit of her home, New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina took much of what she loved, including her brother Barry. But her poignant take on rock and soul is never mournful, even at its most elegiac, as on the song "Crescent City Sneaux." She's a survivor who knows what to do with her musical gifts: share them with her audience with joy.
David Sanborn Thurs., 8:00 p.m. August 23 w/ Brian Culbertson @ The Pageant - $35-$75 By Kiernan Maletsky St. Louis' prodigal saxophone son makes a rare hometown appearance. Last year, he played at a much smaller venue as part of a trio, but this time he'll share the big stage at the Pageant with Brian Culbertson. We'll get a chance to hear Sanborn pull from his pioneering solo catalogue, one that has helped define jazz and its place in pop music in the past quarter century. If our recommendation doesn't do it for you, take the word of a few musicians who have entrusted him in the studio over the years: David Bowie, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, the Grateful Dead, Steely Dan and James Brown, just to name a few. The Oscar Pistorius Award: It's a well-known nugget but one of our favorites: Sanborn started playing the saxophone in order to strengthen his Polio-weakened lungs.
Official LouFest Pre-Party w/ Cotton Mather Fri., 8:30 p.m. August 24 @ Off Broadway - $8/$11 By Annie Zaleski The Austin power-pop band Cotton Mather was championed by Oasis thanks to 1997's Kon Tiki. This song is from that album; yes, it came out in the late 1990s, and not, say, England in the late 1970s. Like any classic power-pop song, the tune is devoid of signifiers of any certain area. Cotton Mather released a smattering of EPs, singles and three albums, but split in 2003. Its reunion for this year's South By Southwest is apparently ongoing, despite having supposedly been planned as a one-time thing
Ocean Rivals Fri., 9:00 p.m. August 24 w/ Great Isaac, The Great Grandfathers @ Blueberry Hill - $7 By Christian Schaeffer There's something comforting about Ocean Rivals, a no-frills quartet that plays peppy, straight-ahead rock & roll without pretension or preening. There are no ponderous piano ballads to show sensitivity, no mournful fiddles or plaintive banjos to add rustic color, and no attempts to reinvent the two-guitar sound that has worked admirably and dependably across five decades of rock music. On the eight-song Summer's Dogs, Ocean Rivals rips through several strains of six-string-fueled fervor -- some Southern rock, a little British invasion and the faintest traces of new wave all pop up -- but folds all the styles into the band's easygoing swagger. Singer and guitarist Daniel Hecke inhabits these songs well without too much flash or bravado; he puts the right amount of strain on his pipes to sell the yearning in the bilingual "Isla de Amor" while retaining both jaunty energy and sober melancholy for the title track.
Lyle Lovett Sat., 8:00 p.m. August 25 @ Peabody Opera House - $52-$72 By Steve Pick Ironic distance is a good weapon in the arsenal of a songwriter, but when it's used too much, listeners develop some pretty good defenses. Lyle Lovett has mastered irony to such an extent during his career that it's now a reflexive habit to be suspicious of anything he delivers. Does it mean exactly what it says, or is there something else we're supposed to think about this song? For the most part, this isn't that serious of a problem. Lovett's tales of marital battles and traveling on down the highway are pretty easy to understand. You take the stories at face value, and then you appreciate the ironic commentary. Lyle Lovett's concerts remain exceptional events, full of musical thrills that don't leave enough time for worrying about if he means it, man.
Murphy's Law Sat., 8:00 p.m. August 25 @ Fubar - $12/$15 By Daniel Hill Legendary New York hardcore band Murphy's Law has been playing punk rock party anthems for thirty years, led by singer and lone founding member Jimmy Gestapo, who has played with a staggering who's who of backing musicians since the band's inception -- literally over fifty names. In this way, Murphy's Law can be seen as the unlikely link between bands like the Misfits, the Slackers, Thursday, the New York Dolls and about a billion more whose musicians have lent a helping hand over the years. Murphy's Law's live show is a non-stop party, with huge sing-a-longs, impromptu songs written on the spot about audience members, and Yagermeister that flows like water -- mostly into Gestapo's face. Back With a Bong: This show is the band's rescheduled appearance following the cancellation of its June 25 date. No Skarhead this time though.
Purity Ring Sun., 8:30 p.m. August 26 @ The Firebird - $12 By Christian Schaeffer Don't pick up Purity Ring's debut full-length Shrines expecting to hear a rainbow of sounds; the Montreal duo of Megan James (vocals) and Corin Roddick (instrumentation) practices a glitchy electronic minimalism that favors just a few pet sounds. But the pair's exploration of those tones -- pinging synthesizers, chopped-up vocal bursts, dubby bass -- make for an engaging listen that's too busy for chillwave and too fractured for dance music. "Cartographist" gets cavernous with big swaths of reverb, while the next track "Belispeak" turns James' already high vocals into a sped-up drum machine pattern. But while the palette may change, it is James' high and guileless voice that offers Siren-like guidance through the LP. Blog Buzz Grows Up: If you fell for Purity Ring when its first salvo "Ungirthed" was making the blog rounds last year, you'll find some of that song's breathless, chirpy charm in the rest of the tracks, though the band is wise not to push the sugar rush too far.
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