by Joseph Hess
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30
Little Big Bangs w/ Platinum Boys, Heel Turn
9 p.m. | free
By Christian Schaeffer
From Little Big Bangs Brings Punk Intensity with New Album Star Power: The whiplash from genre-hopping, even within songs, makes it hard to pigeonhole this band, but that's probably by design. It speaks to Little Big Bang's method of ripping it up and starting again that the rangy, squalling album closer "Aftermath" dissolves in the band's most gentle moment to date, a fadeout colored by tender drums, plaintive electric piano and piled-on vocals. This coda is as unexpected as it is affecting as the three singers coo and harmonize over a pretty good summation of the punk M.O.: "Fuck their world/we're all we've got." Like Sonic Youth's quieter excursions, the album's final moments serve as a foil to the noise the precedes it, a recasting of the same message with a distinctly different energy.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1
Baroness w/ Earthling
8 p.m. | $20-$25
By Daniel Hill
Savannah, Georgia's Baroness has charted a consistent upward trajectory in underground metal circles since getting its start in 2003, and could at this point easily be considered a “critical darling” thanks to its sprawling and inventive songwriting. The band's upcoming Purple LP — following in name the color-coded precedent set by previous efforts Red Album, Blue Record and Yellow & Green — is its first since a horrific tour bus accident in England injured nine passengers, including members of the band. In the wake of the crash, drummer Allen Blickle and bassist Matt Maggioni, who each suffered fractured vertebrae, left Baroness to be replaced by Sebastion Thomson and Nick Jost, respectively. Preview tracks for the record indicate that, despite the lineup shift, its songcraft remains as sharp as ever.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2
Death Cab for Cutie w/ Wolf Alice
8 p.m. | $40-$45
By Diana Benanti
From the RFT Music archives: This happens. Heroes grow up, their priorities change, their music changes, and truthfully we'd start to hate them if they kept playing the same shit year after year. But most of the audience has grown up right alongside these boys from Bellingham, Washington; our high school and college years were spent with Death Cab in tow, plaintively dripping out of our car stereos and iPods and stuffed into tender moments on Six Feet Under and Grey's Anatomy. They were the underdogs once upon a time, and while that ship may have sailed from the moment The O.C. showed Seth Cohen's bedroom with its Transatlanticism poster on the wall, the band has always managed to maintain a down-in-the-mouth façade.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3
New Music Circle Presents: An artist talk with Silvie Courvoisier & Mark Feldman
6:30 p.m. | free
By Joseph Hess
Preceding the duo's show at the Stage at KDHX on Friday, Swiss pianist Silvie Courvoisier and American violinist Mark Feldman visit Jackson Pianos for a joint performance and presentation on their musical techniques and careers. Courvoisier is embedded in New York's experimental scene, collaborating with John Zorn, Lotte Anker and Evan Parker, just to name a few. Her group Mephista includes Ikue Mori (known for her work in DNA, one of a very small group of bands who are credited with creating the no-wave genre), so she clearly keeps good company. That close proximity with dissonant, sharp-edged jazz informs every part of Courvoisier's approach to the piano. Feldman's track record is similarly star-studded, as his distinct string technique is sought after. His improvisations tend to invoke an underlying structure — a testament to his ability to adapt and craft an atmosphere on the fly.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4
7 p.m. | $10-$12
By Christian Schaeffer
Winter is a dead zone for touring bands — no one wants to be crammed in a fifteen-passenger van, huddling for warmth as they zoom down I-80 to play a show in Des Moines that stands a 90% chance of getting snowed out. So while national shows tend to hibernate for the winter, it’s a good time to spend your show-going dollars on local bills. This weekend features a stacked deck of roots-based St. Louis talent: Chris Grabau (Magnolia Summer) and Danny Kathriner (the Half-Knots) have spent more and more time playing as the Cave States in the past few years, turning out largely acoustic, carefully rendered songs from the middle land. Beth Bombara is coming off a busy fall, touring behind her latest, self-titled LP and as a touring bassist with the Portland, Oregon-based Pink Feathers. And Justin Johnson and Will Godfred have made a mighty noise in Pretty Little Empire, this duo show will give them a chance to air their songs with nothing more than their guitars and shared harmonies.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 5
The Delta Saints w/ The Rat Rod Kings
9 p.m. | $13-$15
By Joseph Hess
Make no mistake, the Delta Saints are Nashville to the core, but the band trades in tradition for a fresh pair of ears raised on the big blues, country and funk of recent years. The drums hit the sweet spot between bebop and big band, breaking the beat under a crooner's dream of swingy sing-alongs. Few bands bridge the gap like the Delta Saints, who sound like a blues crew from the future, back in time to show us the path where pop music pays real tribute to the songs of yesteryear.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats w/ The Moth and The Flame
The Ready Room
8 p.m. | $18-$20
By Roy Kasten
Nathaniel Rateliff grew up 80 miles west of St. Louis, in the river town of Hermann, Missouri. And though he's released a raft of recordings that stomp, strum and bellow with rural grit, this year's turn towards neo-gospel and soul on a debut for the Stax label is more musically ambitious than his previous Colorado-friendly (the bearded bruiser makes his home in Denver) folk-pop efforts. Richard Swift's production has plenty of reverberant boom, but it's Rateliff's voice — part Van Morrison, part Chubby Checker (that's not a diss) — that drives his freshly swinging songs home.
Note: Though we wish we could, we can't feature every great show happening in town in just one post. Look for plenty more recommendations this Friday in our weekend shows post, peruse the St. Louis concert calendar for more ideas and let everyone know what else you're looking forward to seeing this week 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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