The 10 Best Concerts in St. Louis This Weekend: April 24-26

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Murder by Death returns to St. Louis alongside Pistols & the Sisters and Union Rags tonight at the Ready Room. - PHOTO BY STEVE TRUESDELL
  • Photo by Steve Truesdell
  • Murder by Death returns to St. Louis alongside Pistols & the Sisters and Union Rags tonight at the Ready Room.

Two of the country's best soundtrack-esque rock bands return to St. Louis on Friday and Saturday -- Murder by Death and ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, respectively. Free-jazz legend Gerald Cleaver also brings his group Black Host to the Stage at KDHX for New Music Circle's final show of the 2014-'15 concert season.

OK, a show of hands. How many of you are catching all three of Pokey LaFarge's release shows this weekend? This weekend's already moving too fast. Go out and take a breather, and maybe see another show.

FRIDAY, APRIL 24

Murder by Death w/ Pistols & the Sisters, Union Rags Friday, April 24 The Firebird 8 p.m. | $16-$18 Murder by Death injects strong Gothic vibes into grandiose Americana. Somber sections with a subtle depth are played with the sort of needlepoint precision you might expect from a symphony orchestra. Songs range from cold and inert to colorful and raw -- it's the kind of breadth that a band can only employ after fifteen years of laborious work.

Pokey LaFarge Album Release Celebration Friday, April 24; Saturday, April 25; Sunday, April 26 Off Broadway 8 p.m. | $20-$30 RFT contributor Nick Horn took a look at the new album and caught up with Pokey ahead of this weekend's trio of shows. He had this to say:

The resulting album is LaFarge's most contemporary-sounding one to date, both in terms of its slick, eminently digestible production (thanks to renowned producer Jimmy Sutton) and LaFarge's uniquely postmodern eclecticism. Something in the Water blends a carefully curated handful of nostalgia-inducing early- and mid-twentieth-century American styles to create an album that comes across as simultaneously familiar and fresh. "Underground" juxtaposes swinging jungle beats a la Cab Calloway and the Missourians against Bo Diddley-esque distorted electric guitar and ragtime-y rhythm banjo. In the wistful waltz "Goodbye, Barcelona," snappy castanets contrast a twangy country guitar, doubling the bass line. On "Bad Girl," archtop guitar and pedal-steel harmonies hearken to the Western swing of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, while LaFarge's vaudevillian vocals sound something akin to a younger, rowdier Al Jolson, both in their boisterous volume and fast, wide vibrato.

See also: Pokey LaFarge on His Rounder Records Debut, Something in the Water

Sleater-Kinney w/ THEEsatisfaction Friday, April 24 The Pageant 8 p.m. | $25-$30 Since Sleater-Kinney resurfaced this past year, the band has risen to the same prominence it left behind in the mid-aughts. This time, the band enjoys the success that follows a few years of nostalgia, a hit sketch-comedy show (Portlandia a la Carrie Brownstein) and a mass media market that's much more accepting of, let's just say it: an "outspoken woman." Fans of opening act THEEsatisfaction can catch the hip-hop duo down the street for free at Vintage Vinyl around 4 p.m.

Suzy Bogguss Friday, April 24 The Sheldon 8 p.m. | $35-$40 Never mind her platinum-selling records or many Grammy or Country Music Awards. Singer Suzy Bogguss returns to her roots with her latest record Lucky, which pays tribute to the influential Merle Haggard. This show brings that homage into a live setting, blending country's past and present to bring us a glimpse of its future.

SATURDAY, APRIL 25

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead w/ Your Favorite Enemies, Boyfrndz Saturday, April 25 The Ready Room 7:30 p.m. | $18-$20 ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead helped pioneer the soundtrack-style approach to rock music in the late '90s and followed with a string of successful records that married a dramatic live sound with an unrelenting sense of melody. Source Tags & Codes, the band's first major-label release, received critical acclaim and ultimately proved to be a seminal piece of the American rock canon as post-rock would become a tangible genre in the years that followed. A safe bet for sure, but bring earplugs.

New Music Circle presents: Black Host w/ Gerald Cleaver, Cooper-Moore, Darius Jones, Pascal Niggenkemper, Brandon Seabrook Saturday, April 25 The Stage at KDHX 7 p.m. | $20 Led by powerhouse drummer Gerald Cleaver, Black Host brings raw, dissonant jazz that invites the dents and cracks that come with use and age. This group doesn't take a slapdash or sloppy approach, but the timbre from simply playing hard is ever-present, invoking a punk-rock aesthetic. Last year's Life in the Sugar Candle Mines, released on Northern Spy, showcases the luminous band in pure form. Raw jazz spews without remorse, spitting a full tonal frenzy through warped strings, pristine keys and razor-sharp rhythm. On this night, Cleaver is joined by Cooper-Moore, Darius Jones, Pascal Niggenkemper and Brandon Seabrook -- the definitive form of Black Host to say the least.

Crazy XXX Girlfriend w/ Tok, DinoFight!, Tiger Rider Saturday, April 25 The Heavy Anchor 9 p.m. | free Maybe you saw these ladies strip to their skivvies and deliver hot-blooded rock during Lo-Fi Cherokee two weeks ago, but don't feel too bad if you missed out. Crazy XXX Girlfriend prefers to play every show sans shirts or pants, and mixes its skinship with mean riffs. This night doubles as a four-year anniversary for the Heavy Anchor, so admission is free, drinks are on the cheap and the lineup reads like one of our "best of" lists for local rock & rollers.

The Relationship w/ Gringo Star, Superslag Saturday, April 25 The Demo 7:30 p.m. | $16-$18 The term "super band" is exclusively reserved for acts like the Relationship. By bringing together personnel from Weezer, U.S. Bombs and Bravery, the band feels more like the alternative-rock Illuminati, and its songs follow suit. The video above was taken from last year's Weezer Cruise, which was exactly what it sounds like.

SUNDAY, APRIL 26

Circa Survive w/ Balance and Compsosure, Chon Sunday, April 26 The Ready Room 8 p.m. | $20-$23 Circa Survive seemed to piggyback on the Mars Volta in the mid-aughts, hitting that same vein of Hot Topic screamo meets prog-rock nerdism. Concept records and long-winded lyric sheets aside, the band earned staying power by not wearing out its welcome, something at which its contemporaries failed miserably. Dense songs still unravel with a casual pace, and the band is brief only when it needs to be.

Juicy J Sunday, April 26 Pop's Nightclub 7 p.m. | $35-$40 By Daniel Hill Since moving away from his musical foundations in the Three 6 Mafia to pursue a solo career, Memphis rapper Juicy J has found considerable success. From joining Wiz Khalifa's Taylor Gang crew to signing a solo deal with Columbia Records to his feature on Katy Perry's huge "Dark Horse" single in 2013, J has been consistently proving that his Hustle Till I Die mentality is one that pays off. And his upcoming album, Pure THC: The Hustle Continues, is said to include the likes of Mike Will Made It, Dr. Dre and Timbaland as producers, meaning it can reasonably be expected to make a big splash when it drops as well. In this case, album titles are not just clever names. Da Mafia 6ix -- DJ Paul's new name for what remains of the Three 6 Mafia -- will be performing in St. Louis at the Mad Magician the night prior to this show. J does not have a show booked on his tour for that night, and Da Mafia 6ix does not have a show on the night of J's performance, either. Let's all start getting our hopes unreasonably high now.

Note: Though we wish we could, we can't feature every great show happening in town in just one post. Peruse the St. Louis concert calendar for more ideas, and let everyone know what else you're looking forward to seeing this weekend in the comments below. To be considered for coverage in RFT Music, submit show info online or drop us a line anytime.

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