Between catching CaveofswordS on the roof of the City Museum or seeing Blondie on Art Hill, this holiday brings an experience well above the typical show. Of special note is the one item on our list that does not technically qualify as a concert: Lo-Fi Cherokee at the Public Media Commons. Bill Streeter's video series basks in the many screens at PMC, showcasing a snapshot of St. Louis music. Those wanting a more low-key vibe should look elsewhere -- this list is all party, all the time.
FRIDAY, JULY 3
Everything Went Black EP Release Show w/ Fister, Big Blonde, Braddock, Blight Future Friday, July 3 The Firebird 8:15 p.m. | $8 For Brandon Hoffman, vocalist of Everything Went Black, this night marks not only the release of a new EP but also the official inauguration of his own record label, Hrtwrk Collective. Expect limited edition cassettes alongside special releases on vinyl in the very near future. Relative newcomers Big Blonde and Blight Future join a weathered roster of local heavies -- so arrive on time, lest ye be a sucker.
Lesionread w/ Logan Locking, Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship, WHSKY JANETor Friday, July 3 Foam Coffee & Beer 10 p.m. | $5 Lesionread's artist page clearly reads: "I went to school to be an architect and graduated now im doing this." This one-man band builds secret hallways and trapdoors into his own pop apparitions. Heady yet danceable, Buffalo native Shawn E. Lewis tends to trim the fat, leaving only a lean machine built on endless grooves. Arrive on time or miss opener Whsky Janetor (she'll politely ask you to "fertilize the land for her").
Lo-Fi Cherokee Big Multi-Screen Experience Friday, July 3 Public Media Commons 5 p.m. | free Surely you know the score. Every year, videographer Bill Streeter holds most of Cherokee Street ransom for a street-wide event dubbed "Lo-Fi Cherokee." By pairing bands and local businesses (such as post-punk band Trauma Harness inside Master Pieza's cozy little storefront), Streeter promotes both worlds. On this night, catch Lo-Fi Cherokee in, ironically, high definition throughout the Public Media Commons space. Eighteen videos from eighteen acts will be strewn across the Commons' gigantic screens, providing a concentrated look at the state of local music in St. Louis in 2015.
Steve Earle & the Dukes w/ The Mastersons Friday, July 3 Old Rock House 8 p.m. | $35 Seven marriages in and sixteen albums later, Steve Earle has taken a turn toward the blues. Not that his sharp wit has been replaced, but a downtrodden croon or two is bound to peak through with backing by the Dukes, his revolving cast of bandmates. Searing guitar runs hot over rock-solid beats, but don't expect Earle himself to get too unhinged. Beneath the bustle lies a smooth operator.
Tok w/ Bass Amp & Dano, Wolfpussy Friday, July 3 Schlafly Tap Room 9 p.m. | free Has winning an RFT Music Award for consecutive years gone to Tok's head? Hard to say. But since we're on the subject, the trio once sent us at RFT a styrofoam head covered in pink paint with oozing brains. Meditate on that and consider this: What price would you pay to see grunge-rock in its purest, unmitigated form? If your answer is anything above zero dollars, then you'll be delighted to know that this gig is free to all.
The Trip Daddys 20th Anniversary Show w/ Old Capital Square Dance Club Friday, July 3 Off Broadway 8 p.m. | $7 It's hard to say if Daddy Craig Straubinger is a traditionalist. While rockabilly is seen as some subsect of rock, the Trip Daddys have been doing whatever they damn well please for, well, two decades now. Each song takes its own twists and turns, starting from the same spot but always ending in that common ground of country, twang and straight-up punk. Celebrate twenty years with the band at its home turf: the stage at Off Broadway.
SATURDAY, JULY 4
CaveofswordS w/ Bruiser Queen, Planet Eater Saturday, July 4 City Museum - Rooftop 7 p.m. | free* See that asterisk above? That's because this show is only technically free. General admission will net you access to the City Museum itself, but this event happens on the roof, requiring a pass. As for the exact location? Follow your heart. Actually, use your ears instead, since those are most commonly used for hearing and listening. Consider this a showcase for Boxing Clever Records, who offers two of St. Louis' most exciting acts on vinyl.
Fair St. Louis w/ Kool & the Gang, Blondie, Melissa Etheridge, Natalie Stovall and the Drive, Parmalee, Chris Young, MC Lyte, American Authors, Tony Toni Tone Thursday, July 2 through Saturday, July 4 Forest Park 6 p.m. | free By Daniel Hill In years past, Fair St. Louis' biggest hook was its price point -- at "free," the event really can't be beaten on that front. Artists such as Brett Michaels, one of the headliners in 2013, weren't exactly the most exciting for diehard music fans, but hey, it's an excuse to get out of the house, right? But all that changed with last year's move to Forest Park. The expansive space ramped up everything, including the lineup: This year's event includes the Mowgli's, Blondie, MC Lyte, Morris Day & the Time, Kool & the Gang and more, providing ample incentive beyond frugality to spend a day (or three) in the sun.
SUNDAY, JULY 5
Fountainsun (Daniel Higgs and Fumie Ishii) Sunday, July 5 Joe's Cafe 7 p.m. | $8-$10 Back in late March, Lungfish-frontman Daniel Higgs brought his project Fountainsun to St. Louis for a fairly last-minute affair. While the band first hit town with little notice, word of mouth continued to spread, inciting tonight's return. The duo, which also includes musician Fumie Ishii, brings a marriage of disparate banjo and taut, pointed percussion. An elastic beat is stretched but never torn in favor of simple yet striking melodies.
Leggy w/ The Brainstems, Posture Sunday, July 5 Foam Coffee & Beer 9 p.m. | $5 The simple formula for rock & roll involves any number of noises, but with Leggy, the listener gets a mainline to raw, visceral feelings without the heft of weighty pop songs. Simplicity is key, but the art of taking something so tiny, like a single melody, and making it feel bigger than the sum of its parts is a rare feat indeed.
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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