Welcome to March, aka insane show season in our fair city of St. Louis. Bands from all over begin to defrost from winter weather and warm up to the road once more, loading up vans and booking mini tours to Austin's South by Southwest fest and beyond. Catch some in the act as they swing through in coming weeks, and look forward to an awesome month of music.
Soulard Blues Band Monday, Mar. 4, 9 p.m. @ Broadway Oyster Bar - $5 By RFT Staff The Soulard Blues Band has gigged around town for more than twenty-five years. Most notably, its weekly residency at Broadway Oyster Bar perfectly accompanies the Southern-themed vibe complete with booze and Cajun food. Bassist and sole remaining founder Art Dwyer, a blues aficionado on local community radio station KDHX, holds down the band with his casual plucked lines. The rest of the rhythm section follows suit, allowing room for solos to float between rounds of drinks and a comfortable swing.
White Mystery Tuesday, Mar. 5, 9 p.m. w/ Skarekrau Radio, Bruiser Queen, The Brainstems, Dad Jr., Animal Teeth @ mushmaus - $5 By Christian Schaeffer St. Louis only has room for one Red Rocker in its heart (St. Hagar, pray for us), but Chicago prefers its fiery-maned rock stars with a little less Cabo Wabo and a whole lot more raw rock power. Alex White has been a mainstay on the city's garage rock scene since she picked up a guitar and fronted the Red Orchestra in her early twenties. Alex and her similarly ginger-haired brother Francis Scott Key White have joined forces for the two-piece White Mystery, a scuzzy, jangly, full-throttled take on the Velvets/Stooges canon. Sneak peaks of the forthcoming Telepathic LP should be on display at this intimate show.
Field Report Wednesday, Mar. 6, 9 p.m. w/ Shivering Timbers @ Off Broadway - $10-$13 By Roy Kasten Rock 'n' Roll Rule #36: Ignore all lists, then make your own, then rip it up and start again. And when you do, include the self-titled album from Milwaukee's Field Report on "Best Debuts of the Young Decade." The song-cycle from Christopher Portfield isn't rock 'n' roll, but it is that good. The songwriter puts all kinds of daylight - in the form of hopes and dreams, the raw material of rock & roll - between himself and his neo-folkie brethren. Reflective yet declaiming, rough-hewn yet shimmering, the music of Field Report suggests a chamber-folk Nebraska mixed for quadraphonic speakers. It's spacious and searching even in the quietest moments.
Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band Thursday, Mar. 7, 8 p.m. w/ Jimbo Mathus, Alvin Youngblood Hart @ Old Rock House - $15/$18 By Michael Dauphin Flanked by his wife Breezy, attacking her washboard alongside Cuz Persinger and his junkshop drum kit, Reverend Peyton has ascended to the top of today's crop of premier blues artists. The band's most recent release, Between the Ditches, debuted at number one on the iTunes Blues chart, and the band's relentless touring schedule (250 gigs a year!) has certainly helped with putting it on the map. But make no mistake: It's Peyton's thunderous howl and unremitting, backwoods guitar picking that draws the listener in. Peyton's songwriting taps into historical blues, haunted gospel, and punk rock ethos and the final product is every bit as antagonizing as it is blithe.
Andre Hayward, Reggie Thomas, Tim Warfield and Rodney Whitaker Friday, Mar. 8, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Mar. 9, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. @ Jazz at the Bistro - $10-$32 By Ryan Wasoba The St. Louis music community has been coping with a Reggie Thomas-sized hole ever since the jazz pianist left his post as an SIUE instructor for a job at Michigan State University in East Lansing. During his local tenure, Thomas earned a reputation for his uncanny musicality and versatility. Whether getting his Count Basie on with a big band, hard-bopping on a Hammond B-3 in an organ trio, backing his vocalist wife Mardra in intimate duets, or going out of bounds on an Andrew Hill tune, Thomas always applies his soulful touch and elevates the musicians around him.
SXSCity Friday, Mar. 8, 7 p.m. Saturday, Mar. 9, 7 p.m. Sunday, Mar. 10, 7 p.m. @ Off Broadway $5 By Mabel Suen We can't all afford to head to Austin to witness the city-wide media spectacle that is South by Southwest, so Off Broadway brings the idea on home instead with an entire weekend worth of local bands, beers, print media, records and radio. Seventeen bands assemble over three evenings to showcase a spectrum of sounds that includes the likes of folk and indie to rock and pop. An Abe Lincoln pays the way into the front door each night, and it promises to be an honestly homegrown good time.
He's My Brother, She's My Sister Saturday, Mar. 9, 8 p.m. @ Plush - $10 By Roy Kasten Get past the icky insinuation of incest and an album jacket featuring a quintet of hippy hipsters brushing their teeth and you can hear He's My Brother She's My Sister for what they are: a rock 'n' roll band in the tradition of Delaney and Bonnie and the contemporary anti-heroism of Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs. Wince not at the comparisons, as siblings Rachel and Rob Kolar and their fellow medicine showmen pound out joyous, angry, blues 'n' country setpieces you can, must and will dance to. The sound is as unassuming as skiffle and, by way of primal tambourine and shitty-amp reverse engineering, as loud and ambitious as garage rock ought to be.
The Scurvies Saturday, Mar. 9, 9 p.m. w/ Bass Amp and Dano, Rat Heart @ CBGB - free By Mabel Suen The onset of SXSW means an influx of bands from allover cutting through the Midwest to show off their sounds, including The Scurvies from Minneapolis. Get down and dirty with the old school style (think The Ramones, Rolling Stones and Stooges) quartet in the environment they thrive in best -- a dimly lit dive with plenty of brews to go around. This free show provides a triple dose of punk'n'roll, with plenty of gritty chords to meet your rock quota before the the first week of March is even over.
Tegan and Sara Sunday, Mar. 10, 8 p.m. w/ DIANA @ The Pageant - $30-$35 By Annie Zaleski From a 2010 feature: An archived copy of Tegan and Sara's website, circa 1999, shows a photo of the Quin sisters in full-blown defiant woodland-creature mode. One looks like Sonic the Hedgehog, thanks to spiky, windblown, blond-streaked hair and a pair of sunglasses atop her head; the other looks like a big softy trying to seem tough, with her scrunched-up face, labret piercing and a close-cropped 'do. Someone's making a devil horn; it's slightly out of focus. The snapshot is at once playful and rebellious, innocent and goofy, vulnerable and tough -- and it rather succinctly sums up Tegan and Sara's appeal. The identical twins have amassed a huge, loyal fanbase by being unabashed romantic warriors.