This week, Lil Boosie takes on the Ambassador, Arcade Fire returns to play at Chaifetz Arena, local rapper Nato Caliph presents a showcase at Blank Space and the Faint performs at the Ready Room. From country and indie-pop to psych rock and hip-hop, here are our critics' picks for this week's best concerts.
Soulard Blues Band Monday, April 21, 9 p.m. @ Broadway Oyster Bar - $6 By RFT Staff The Soulard Blues Band has gigged around town for more than 25 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 (88.1 FM), 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
Bug Chaser Tuesday, April 22, 9 p.m. w/ Linear Downfall, Boreal Hills, The Carondelettes @ Blank Space - $6 By RFT Staff From the 2012 RFT Music Awards: Bug Chaser will overwhelm your festival with strange costumes and short shorts. It will blow your fuses with insane light shows and way, way too many people onstage playing a strange assortment of instruments. And all the gangly impracticality of this band is nothing to the music, which is a loud, exuberant, wonderful rock & roll séance. There is no manner, no influence, no attempt to do anything but get weird and express something about the strange things that move all of us. It all may sound surreal or exaggerated, and if so, it's because you haven't seen it happen. So fix that as soon as you possibly can.
Jimbo Mathus & the Tri-State Coalition Wednesday, April 23, 8 p.m. w/ Jess Charles Hammock @ Off Broadway - $8-$10 By Roy Kasten From this 2011 show preview: At this point in history, it should be unnecessary to reference the Squirrel Nut Zippers in contextualizing Jimbo Mathus' music. Yes, he founded that band, and he's never tasted commercial success on the order of the 1996 crossover hit "Hell." But his post-Zippers career has been prolific and potent, more blues sting than ersatz swing. As a producer and guitarist he's worked with Andrew Bird, Buddy Guy and the daughter of Charley Patton. [In 2010] he jammed with fellow Mississippi hellhounds Luther Dickinson and Alvin Youngblood Hart in the South Memphis String Band and then wrote and directed a musical called Mosquitoville: Mississippi Songs and Stories. Along with Jack White and Tom Waits, Mathus is simply one of the blues' greatest living evangelists and innovators.
Backslider Thursday, April 24, 9 p.m. w/ Shaved Women, Life Like, The Warden @ CBGB - $5 By Jimmy Eberle From The Best St. Louis Punk/Hardcore Shows: April 2014: This show will be brimming with the meanest riffs in town. Who wants to take turns guessing which band's singer will come the closest to bleeding/sweating/dying of exhuastion? Philadelphia's Backslider is stopping off on south Grand to challenge STL DIY to good ol' fashioned anger contest. The band is top-tier fast, hardcore punk and Philadelphia is one of our best sister cities, covered in garbage, drugs and morons looking to have good times in basements/dive bars. Let's give 'em a hell of a welcome to Nellyville.
Lil Boosie Friday, April 25, 8 p.m. @ The Ambassador - $50-$100 By Calvin Cox It has often been said that there's no such thing as bad publicity. Rapper Lil Boosie would likely agree, as his career seems to be picking up right back where it left off after his highly-publicized release from prison last month. The Louisiana native was locked up on drug charges in 2009 at the height of his popularity, shortly after the release of Superbad: The Return of Boosie Bad Azz and the subsequent launch of his own record label. Although some of Boosie's more violent lyrics were used against him while he was on trial for first-degree murder (for which he was acquitted), he's retained a loyal fan base throughout the south and is regarded as an icon on the underground rap circuit.
Will the Circle Be Unbroken: A Tribute to the Carter Family Friday, April 25, 8 p.m. @ The Sheldon - $35-$40 By Roy Kasten The 1972 album Will the Circle Be Unbroken is one of the most important musical documents in American history. Think that's hyperbole? Think about the first time Doc Watson met Merle Travis, the first time Mother Maybelle Carter recorded with dozens of her musical heirs, the first time the counterculture truly had a summit with old-time music and bluegrass traditionalists. John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was there, and will be at at the Sheldon Concert Hall -- along with John Carter Cash -- to host this tribute to the Carter Family, whose songs form the foundation for that landmark album and so much after it.
The Faint Saturday, April 26, 9 p.m. w/ The Hussy @ The Ready Room - $20-$23 By Christian Schaeffer Always the most difficult band to pin down in Omaha's diverse millennial music scene, the Faint became the architect of a sound that quickly took on a life of its own. The band's conceit wasn't exactly brand new -- musicians had long since proven that synthesizers could be every bit as aggressive as guitars -- but the quartet's mix of metallic, skittering synths and propulsive rhythms was as danceable as it was dark. This year's Doom Abuse marks the Faint's first full-length in six years, and vocalist Todd Fink continues to throw darts at modernity while the band flogs its brutalist grooves. Wisconsin-based duo the Hussy will warm the stage with guitar, drums and a pocket-full of psychedelic garage rock.
Nato Caliph Saturday, April 26, 10 p.m. w/ Truth Universal x DJ Waht, Quanstar, Lyriqs Da Lyriciss, DJ Def D, Marcel P. Black, Sol Asar, Allwise360, Domino Effect, Lyfestile, KD Assassin & Jah Orah @ Blank Space - $5 By Joseph Hess From this recent profile: Whether he's writing for new tracks or booking shows, Nato stays humble, with a strong sense of community. That humility shows in the poster for his next show, on which his name sits at the very bottom, despite his role as its main promoter. Catch him, along with ten-plus additional performers, at The Build at Blank Space on Saturday, April 26.... Although the spectacle of a release party doesn't appeal to Nato, the upcoming gig could be considered one. The poster even features a photo of Nato holding a copy of Understanding Understood. But, true to his humble form, he prefers to keep the focus on the touring performers, like Truth Universal from New Orleans and DJ Waht from Memphis. A huge roster from the North, South and Midwest populate the bill, making for a huge show Nato likes to call "The Build."
Arcade Fire Sunday, April 27, 7:30 p.m. @ Chaifetz Arena - $26-$60.50 By Katie Moulton From this 2011 show review: "We're still getting used to this arena-rock thing," Win Butler said last night. "But shit, a room's a room. Let's go!" With that, he and the indie-rock juggernaut he fronts launched into "No Cars Go," seven of its eight members singing full-force from the front of the stage.... Arcade Fire's arrangements are dense, playful, variegated and tight -- and therefore don't vary much from the recording when played live.
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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