by Joseph Hess
St. Louis Folk and Roots Festival w/ the Tillers, Blind Boy Paxton, Anna & Elizabeth
8 p.m. | $20
While the Tillers play bluegrass with tiny tinges of punk rock, don't mistake those rough edges for anything but passion. The Cincinnati trio builds songs up by laying tiny, twangy layers so it can peel them off with reckless abandon. Along with the Tillers, this two day fest brings Blind Boy Paxton and Anna & Elizabeth on Friday with a strong lineup of Sam Bush Band, Finnders and Youngberg the next night. Both shows are stacked, but Saturday's ticket will cost you double the asking price for Friday. For the freeloaders in the crowd: the fest ends on Sunday afternoon with an old-time fiddle contest in Strauss Park.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26
Bruxism 11 w/ Okendo, Another Pink World, David Burnett
Foam Coffee & Beer
8 p.m. | $5
This is the eleventh installment in Nathan Cook's bi-monthly series that offers a wide range of experimental acts in intimate spaces. Okendo is the solo effort of one J.J. Hamon, who performs a set of modular synth work with many circuits of his own design. He's well known for playing guitar in many bands about town, namely Magic City, Demon Lover and Beth Bombara. Another Pink World is the six-string alter ego of Joseph Raglani, who typically performs ambient electronic music via analog synth (an inverse to Hamon). David Burnett of Beauty Pageant opens the night, but what his set contains remains a mystery until show time.
Les Gruff and the Billy Goat Album Release Show w/ Marie and the Americans, the Desert Fringe, Ben Sturdevant
7 p.m. | $10
Songwriter Billy Croghan leads his band with melodies laid bare on the acoustic guitar. And while the name is mostly smoke and mirrors (this is not a duo and lacks a goat of any kind, much less one of the billy variety), it does show Croghan's penchant for using what simply sounds good to him at the time. His brand of Americana comes loaded with stories of the working class and simple struggles that are almost universally relatable. Underneath the sound comes an optimism missing from other bands of its ilk, bringing a little hope with a heavy helping of harsh reality.
See also: Les Gruff & the Billy Goat to Release Self-Titled Album This Saturday
Lo Luciano Album Release Show w/ Crook3dmuziC, JAY SMOKA, Kokane The Rapper, Key Lo Da Don, Reup Von Wolfgang, No Sleep Gang, Kasze
7 p.m. | $5-$8
Presented by the Black Market Media Group, the release of rapper Lo Luciano's new record HisStory features eight acts performing rapid fire sets for a ticket price that evens out to roughly one dollar per performer. The show is a spitfire of heady beats with poets that range from party-style MCs to fierce players asserting themselves in today's rap game. Fans of hip-hop in general can get a strong dose of the east side — a sweeping introduction to the hip-hop happening right across the river.
Stillwater w/ Peck of Dirt, Free Dirt
Schlafly Tap Room
9 p.m. | Free
By Christian Schaeffer
One of the great things about St. Louis music is that many of our beloved older bands don’t always stay broken up forever. Witness the reunions and rejuvenations of the last twelve months — bands such as the Three Merry Widows and Nadine have played shows after long absences, to say nothing of the second-coming fervor that attended the Urge’s reboot. Go ahead and add Stillwater to that list of born-again rock bands. After two records and some solid regional recognition, the trio hung it up in the late 1990s, though its guitar-heavy rumble became transmogrified in Chris Grabau’s next project, the long-running and amorphous Magnolia Summer. Grabau will reunite with bassist John O’Brien and Michael Rose for this free show, though time will tell if this appearance is more than a one-off among friends.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27
Atomic Blues Festival w/ Marsha Evans & the Coalition, Eugene Johnson & Company, Larry Griffin & Eric McSpadden, Big Mike & the Blues City All-Stars, Joe Pastors Legacy Ensemble, Paul Niehaus & Friends , Bob "Bumble Bee" Kamoske, Ethan Leinwand, the Bottoms Up Blues Gang, MC Marty Spikner
3 p.m. | $10
Another week, another festival. But our city's restless love affair with big scale events helps bring the scene to the layman (you know, those of us who don't go to concerts each and every week). The Atomic Blues Festival is one killer introduction to this city's blues scene, which, for the record, is the genre St. Louis is known for. While Paul Niehaus, Mike Aguirre and Bob Kamoske are among many names you'll see in the blues bar circuit around town, this show brings those gigging musicians together on Atomic Cowboy's outdoor stage for an all-day affair in the sun. Expect collaborations, special covers and, of course, the occasional jam session.
8 p.m. | $25-$27.50
Google Beach House and you'll find articles that proclaim how overrated Beach House is, while nine other major media sites hold the band in high regard as an "unknown" or "underrated gem." Perspective is everything, and from the ground level, we've always seen Beach House for what it is: a duo that cranks out perfect shoegazey pop songs, if such a thing could even exist. Read more about the band's latest record in this week's print edition.
See also: Baltimore's Beach House: "We've Been So Lucky to Do This Band"
D.R.I. w/ Grand Inquisitor, Path of Might, Absala, Guy Morgan
7 p.m. | $15-$18
By Daniel Hill
The legendary Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, better known simply as D.R.I., have finally returned. That's not to say the band that created the crossover sound hasn't repeatedly played St. Louis in the last few years — it has, certainly. But it wasn't until its most recent set in September of last year that the group really sounded right. Credit new drummer Brandon Karns, who handles the group's light-speed tempos with ease. Singer Kurt Brecht claims that Karns' inclusion has been fruitful enough to yield new music, too, which is remarkable considering D.R.I.'s last record was released in 1995. The new songs the group performed at that show displayed great promise; here's hoping something actually becomes of them.
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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