This week's list of shows includes several stops in town from fan favorites including the Pixies, Neutral Milk Hotel and Bob Schneider. For more info on these shows, read on. For more picks for the weekend, stay tuned for a list of recommendations on Friday.
mewithoutYou Monday, February 3, 8 p.m. w/ Bald Eagle Mountain, Search Parties @ Off Broadway - $15 By Ryan Wasoba From this 2008 show review: I tucked away into the back of the crowd as mewithoutYou took the stage, opting to watch the show from afar as opposed to experiencing it from within. As the set began, fists were pumped and songs were sung along with, and I was certainly taken back with the fact that, although I had associated them with a scene of musicians that weren’t good enough to succeed on their own without milking the Christian rock market -- where standards are lower and kids are hungrier and richer -- the band actually rocked. mewithoutYou satisfied the anxious crowd with its driving, moody, hard-hitting indie rock, reminiscent of a faster version of Cursive’s Domestica, while its front man bounced around the stage while delivering half spoken/half sung vocals.
Al Holliday & the East Side Rhythm Band Tuesday, February 4, 8 p.m. @ The Gramophone - free By Christian Schaeffer From this 2013 album review: Al Holliday is a 25-year-old, white, Collinsville, Illinois-bred pianist and singer who makes his debut with twelve original songs on Made It Through the Mill, Again. We might as well get the biographical information out of the way upfront, because very few of those details are readily apparent on the disc. He sings with a depth and grit and twang not usually found in the metro area, and his comfort with Chicago blues, big-band soul and barrelhouse piano shows scholarship beyond his years. His voice is just growl-y enough that listeners may write it off as a pastiche of Randy Newman, or Joe Cocker, or Fats Domino, or some amalgam of all three. It may be, but Holliday owns it and uses it to sell these familiar-sounding tunes.
Neutral Milk Hotel Wednesday, February 5, 8 p.m. w/ Elf Power @ The Pageant - $36-$40 By Mike Appelstein From this 2013 show review: Mangum took the stage and grabbed one of his four acoustic guitars. Other than his grey-flecked, almost rabbinical beard, he looked basically like the same guy from the late '90s, complete with his standard brown thrift-store sweater and green hat. Opening with "Two-Headed Boy," he spend the next hour performing a selection of NMH songs. He played all but three songs from Aeroplane, a few from On Avery Island, and the single "Engine." "Oh Sister," a live favorite that never made it to vinyl until the 2011 box set, was an unexpected surprise. For someone who saw Neutral Milk Hotel in the '90s, the acoustic format took some getting used to. Those shows were joyfully ramshackle affairs, with band members coming and going while Mangum flopped and jumped around the stage.
Pixies Thursday, February 6, 7 p.m. @ Peabody Opera House - $39.50-$59.50 By Gavin Cleaver From "The Pixies in 2013: What Exactly Did Kim Deal Even Quit?": I'm not sure what a Pixies line-up with no Kim Deal would even look like, as I don't think anyone's ever considered someone else wielding that bass guitar, but this is surely the acid test of how committed the remaining Pixies are to their reunion. Can they possibly recruit a new bassist to a band that last released new music in 1993 and has been inactive since 2011? Either this is the end for the reformed Pixies, in which case no one can possibly complain about a reunion run which, although it died a quiet and peaceful death, enabled a new generation to see a legendarily influential band whose influence grew and grew in the decade since they had disbanded at the top of their game (well, alright, Trompe Le Monde wasn't perfect), or this is a fresh beginning.
Ruby Fray Friday, February 7, 9 p.m. w/ Town Cars, Cassie Morgan, Aurora Schmidt @ Foam Coffee & Beer - $5 By Mike Appelstein Quick: What do the adjectives "devotional," "brooding," "dark," "folk-rock," "malaise" and "melancholic" have in common? All are terms that Emily Beanblossom, Ruby Fray's lead singer and main force, has used to describe her music. On Pith, the group's debut CD on K Records, the band does capture a deep, drony mood -- one that, like fellow Washington State natives Mount Eerie, seems almost sculpted to accompany the mountains and fog east of Vancouver Island. However, it's not all slow going: Beanblossom and company confidently cover a wide variety of moods. On the lighter side, for instance, "Mint Ice Cream" is a duet with K boss Calvin Johnson, while "Let's Grow Older" is powered by a catchy riff not unlike the most recent Low albums. Get there in time to see Cassie Morgan, whose own melancholic folk songs should go with the evening perfectly, and Town Cars, one of St. Louis' best emerging bands.
Nuclear Winter Metal Fest Friday, February 7, 5 p.m. w/ Quaere Verum, Final Drive, As Earth Shatters, Reconcera, Make It Out Alive, Exempt, Synapse, Hallow Point @ The Mad Magician - $10-$13 By Joseph Hess From this 2013 Quaere Verum profile: St. Louis quintet Quaere Verum shares common ground with Animal Collective and The Dillinger Escape Plan. OK, maybe there's a beard or two present in each band, but that's not it. The name Alan Douches might incite a giggle or two, but his work as audio engineer connects the aforementioned groups, and is responsible for many a favorite record. Quaere Verum takes an experimental approach to metal and its sub-genres, invoking a sound that begs for focus. Douches was called on to master Quaere Verum's album, Ingress.
Anodes/Enta Split Record Release Saturday, February 8, 8 p.m. w/ Laika, Alan Smithee, Better Days @ Livery Company - donations By Rick Giordano Anodes once told a venue owner to "go fuck yourself" after being instructed to turn down, and instead brought the whole audience back to a private, 2 a.m. performance in a rehearsal space -- that should tell you most of what you need to know about this apologetically DIY group. The music is loud, intense and emotional, and not the kind of thing that can be easily interrupted as one would simply pause a tape. Formed in 2011 by members of Orion Pax and Iron Hills, Anodes' sound is equal parts abrasive, melodic and cathartic. This show celebrates the release of a new ten-inch split with friends and previous tourmates Enta, from Champaign, Illinois, who will also be performing. Only 300 copies of these albums were pressed by Skeletal Lightning Records, with 100 on black, 100 on white and 100 on an intriguing "black haze" colored vinyl.
Bob Schneider Saturday, February 8, 9 p.m. @ Off Broadway - $20-$33 By Tom Finkel From this 2011 interview: Without a doubt, a sizable contingent among the Bob Schneider devotees who assemble at tomorrow night's St. Louis tour stop will be hollering for the Austin-based rocker to lead them in time-tested ritual sing-alongs of "Tarantula," "Bombananza" and, yes, "The Assknocker." And their beloved Bob and his band will likely oblige. He'll also draw on the full range of ammo jam-packed in his arsenal, from hooky pop numbers that you've never heard before but suddenly realize you know by heart after he's sung them to you to ragers that will sear your ears to just-plain-true songcraft that sticks to your ribs right where you thought your heart was.
Jason Isbell Sunday, February 9, 8 p.m. w/ Robert Ellis @ Plush By Michael Dauphin From this 2012 show preview: Jason Isbell is today a different character than he was in 2007. Back then, Isbell was feeling his way around as a guy with a new lease on life, shaking off a failed marriage, settling into his new role as a bandleader and no longer serving as a Drive-By Trucker. If Isbell seems more grown up nowadays, musically and professionally, there are reasons for it. Having spent the last year playing solo shows as Ryan Adams' direct support and rocking out with the talented 400 Unit in between, Isbell is a more refined artist today.
Note: Though we wish we could, we can't feature every great show happening in town in just one measly post. Look for plenty more recommendations this Friday in our weekend shows post, and peruse the St. Louis concert calendar for more ideas any time. Let everyone know what else you're looking forward to seeing this week in the comments below, and submit show info online any time to be considered for inclusion on these lists.
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