Please pardon my lack of enthusiasm today; I'm still mourning that crushing playoff-ending defeat our city's beloved Redbirds faced on Friday -- damn those victorious Nationals. Also, Dewey Defeats Truman! Oh, ESPN.
There's good shows this week: Smashing Pumpkins plays the Chaifetz on Thursday -- it should be noted that Die Antwoord is that same night as well, so here I am noting it. Pop-punkers Teenage Bottlerocket will play at Firebird tonight. Pro tip: absolutely do not miss opener Masked Intruder -- heed my words! Finally, this weekend Fubar will host Gateway to the West Fest Five, bringing to town dozens of top-name hardcore bands from all over the country. Word to the wise on that one: I hear it is in danger of selling out, so do not sleep. The rest of our picks follow!
Teenage Bottlerocket Mon., 7:30 p.m. October 15 w/ Smoke or Fire, Masked Intruder, the Haddonfields, the Fuck Off and Dies @ The Firebird - $12 By Scott Heisel While punk legends the Ramones are worthy of being an influence of just about every contemporary punk band, few decide to base their entire career off that New York City trio's three-chords-and-the-slurred-truth sound. Meet Teenage Bottlerocket, the current leaders of the still-fledgling Ramones-core scene. The Laramie, Wyoming, quartet wears leather jackets, plays with its collective legs spread as far apart as they can go and pauses between songs only long enough to shout "1, 2, 3, 4!" The result? Its concerts feature tune after two-minute tune of Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee and Tommy worship. (And frankly, we can't find many things wrong with that.
Old 97's Tues., 8:00 p.m. October 16 @ The Pageant - $20-$22.50 By Allison Babka Anniversary parties often are lame affairs that star relatives you haven't seen in 23 years and feature food from the local church ladies. Not so with the Old 97s; it is planning a raging kegger to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Too Far to Care. Ok, the keg action is really between you and the Halo Bar staff, but it'll still be a sweet party. As so many bands of a certain age have been doing lately, Old 97s will perform its third studio album in its entirety and follow that up with some recent tunes. Head honcho Rhett Miller will kick the evening off with his own solo set, offering us a stellar anniversary gift. Not a Gift Horse: Are you an Old 97s superfan? The band is giving away two lifetime passes to its shows. Just find a winning copy of the reissued Too Far to Care on vinyl online or in your favorite local record shop.
Spectator Wed., 9:00 p.m. October 17 w/ Adelyn R @ El Lenador - $5 By Christian Schaeffer From this June 2012 album review: Dream-pop bands rarely get both sides of the hyphen right. Beach House may wrap its organ-fired whims in a beautiful, engrossing gauze, but you're more likely to bliss out than bop your head along. So it's a comfort that Spectator, a relatively new quartet, makes its recording debut with such a rich, elegantly produced piece of mood music. The songs on this six-track EP reverberate with the plucks of hollow-body guitars and the gentle pulse of warm keyboard tones. Megan Rooney leads this band with a deft hand on the keyboard and an assured, if restrained, approach to her vocals. She honed her craft singing with local Latin-inspired groups, but the only obvious nod to her past comes in the light Tropicalia of "Daytime." On the EP, Rooney holds court with a controlled quaver that has enough body to be the center of songs that are, by design, patient constructions of ambient space and more aggressive push/pull dynamics. Opening track "We've Been Through This Before" displays this artful tension beautifully. Earmark it for your next post-breakup playlist.
Smashing Pumpkins Thurs., 7:30 p.m. October 18 @ Chaifetz Arena - $35-$49.50 By Shae Moseley From this 2008 review: The latest incarnation of the Pumpkins sounded proficient, air-tight, agile and capable of attacking pretty much any part of the band's diverse back-catalog. As the band opened with two newer songs ("Tarantula" from last year's Zeitgeist and the new single "G.L.O.W.") a dusky auburn backdrop of warm L.E.D. light signaled that night had fallen and Billy Corgan was about to spew some sonic evil in the general direction of the anxious crowd.
Tilly and the Wall Fri., 8:30 p.m. October 19 @ The Firebird - $15 By Christian Schaeffer In the beloved Omaha, Nebraska indie scene packed with brooding and emotive acts Bright Eyes, Cursive and the Faint, Tilly and the Wall always seemed like the apple-cheeked innocents among a cast of dark hearts. It even used a tap-dancer in lieu of a drummer, for Christ's sake. But there was always a frothy mix of burbling hormones and pop-music energy in the band's songs, and the dance-rock vibe on the just-released Heavy Mood shows a continued movement toward electronic pop music. "Defenders" strike a bellicose pose through rugged drum machine patterns and strident vocals, but elsewhere on the LP, the band's shared vocals are used to gentler but no less effective ends. Icky Sticky: Tilly and the Wall guitarist showed off his new project Icky Blossoms at the Firebird this summer while on tour with the Mynabirds, pumping out sinister sex jams and strobe light pulses in relentless measure.
Gateway to the West Fest Fri. AND Sat., 6:00 p.m. / 1:00 p.m., October 19 AND 20 w/ Death Threat, Backtrack, Expire, The Killer, Dogfight, many many more @ Fubar - $35 By Daniel Hill Gateway to the West Fest's triumphant return last year, which followed a six-year absence, proved once again that St. Louis is still more than capable of hosting its own hardcore punk festival and drawing some big names to boot. This year's line-up doubles down on that promise, bringing to town not just the big but some of the biggest current names in hardcore, from all over the country: Connecticut's Death Threat, Bitter End from Texas, Xibalba from California and New York's Backtrack are just a few of the 30-plus bands on the bill. Road trips to this fest have been planned from destinations all over the Midwest by carloads of hardcore fans; we in St. Louis get to have it in our own backyard. Don't sleep. Two For One: The cost of admission buys you into both days of the fest, so don't lose that wristband moshing on the first day.
Catholic Guilt Sat., 11:00 p.m. October 20 w/ The Pat Sajak Assassins, I, Octopus @ Mangia Italiano - Free By RFT Staff Since early 2007, south-side demolition quartet Catholic Guilt has been in an endless battle against the sound barrier. Over the years, its lineup and style has undergone drastic changes. With early shows conjuring up thoughts of everything from Crass to Swans to Double Leopards, the band's focus has always been an exercise in sonic warfare. Now in its most realized form to date, Catholic Guilt's sound wavers between strident toxic sludge and black-hole dirge. After releasing Postcards From Copper Canyon on cassette through Chicago's Manic Static, the lonesome four are sharpening their claws in anticipation of the release of their first full-length LP.
Arrested Development Sat., 7:00 p.m. October 20 @ 2720 Cherokee - $20 By Kiernan Maletsky A forerunner in early '90s positive-message hip-hop, Arrested Development had a string of Billboard hits on 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of..., now considered a classic. That came out in 1992, making this year its 20th anniversary. That's what MC Speech and crew will be celebrating in St. Louis, and there are plenty of extra-curriculars planned, including live art, jockeying of both discs and videos, b-boy competitions and on. Hip-hop: Not just turntables and microphones. Four elements, people. Also Released in 1992: The Chronic, Disney's Aladdin and definitely not a certain pun-heavy TV show.
Dysrhythmia Sun., 7:30 p.m. October 21 @ Fubar - $10-$12 By Ryan Wasoba The members of Dysrhythmia have ridiculous pedigrees in the Brooklyn hipster metal scene (which, if you didn't know, totally exists), ranging from drummer Jeff Eber's Vijay Iyer-endorsed math jazz group Zevious to bassist Colin Marston's work alongside Orthrelm's Mick Barr in black metal outfit Krallice. So while its instrumental tracks inspire dislocated jaws from anybody with an inkling of interest in technicality, the band could actually shred much harder. By saving the wails for other groups, Dysrhythmia uses its abilities to compose musical movements that are more listenable than one might expect from a "prog metal jazz post rock power trio." Family Circle: When not playing in Dysrhythmia, Krallice, or Behold...The Arctopus, Colin Marston engineers records for bands like Liturgy, Ghengis Tron and the Men