Benefit shows and Christmas-themed parties alike populate this weekend's list, but this is just a precursor of things to come. Expect tribute shows and more large-scale events for charitable causes from now until December 25. On Saturday, Bruiser Queen hits that sweet spot of inventive booking with a holiday theme with their "12 Bassists of Christmas," an event that features a different area bass player for each song in the duo's set. Check out our full picks below.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4
Cave States w/ Beth Bombara, Justin Johnson & William Godfred
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.
Y98 Mistletoe Show w/ Third Eye Blind, Nate Ruess, George Ezra, Michael Franti, Karmin
7 p.m. | $20
The Y98 Mistletoe Show kicks off a full month of holiday parties with a solid lineup of award-winning songwriters that would typically demand a much higher ticket price, were it not the season of giving. Known for that one song that goes "do-do-do-do, do, do-do-do," Third Eye Blind headlines the station's annual concert with an stacked lineup — none of which could be considered an opening act. That's $4 a headliner, folks.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 5
10th Annual Dan Kelley Christmas w/ J. Gilton, Shark Dad, Mayor Sheriff, the Dan Kelley Christmas Band
The Heavy Anchor
7 p.m. | $7
Dan Kelley, known for his drum chops as part of Bassamp and Dano, brings rip-roaring holiday cheer to the Heavy Anchor. And it's all for a good cause — the $7 admission goes to benefit Otis Woodard's Peace Park and Lutheran Outreach. This show marks one decade of classic Christmas covers mixed with rock and roll. Expect a few familiar tunes and original jams alike from Shark Dad, who released its debut just earlier this year, J. Gilton, Mayor Sheriff and the Dan Kelley Christmas Band, a super group of sorts formed just for this show.
Bruiser Queen’s 12 Bassists of Christmas w/ Mike and Jenny of Tortuga, Soddy Daisy, the Vigilettes
8 p.m. | $10
Forget power trios, Bruiser Queen is one of St. Louis' most beloved power couples, grinding out high-energy rock with the bombast of a full backing band. On this night, the duo explores what could have been by adding a third member to the band, but there's a catch: each song features a different bassist. Think musical chairs cranked to 11 with a tinge of Christmas cheer.
The Delta Saints w/ The Rat Rod Kings
9 p.m. | $13-$15
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.
School of Rock: All Together Now w/ Valley, Spatula, We Are Like Computers, Kenshiro's, Waves, Sonder, Digby Very Scared, the Miles
6 p.m. | $8
School of Rock is that dojo of modern rock and roll every 40-something wishes they had growing up in the '70s and '80s. At least the artform isn't lost on today's youth and School of Rock exists to help ensure its survival for future generations. The performance-based program puts youngsters in an actual band, helping players not only learn their instrument but also work on collaboration and interpersonal management. This concert is a benefit show featuring original music from several local bands that range from indie rock to garage and metal.
Ultraviolents Album Release Show w/ Blight Future, 3 of 5, Powerline Sneakers
Foam Coffee & Beer
8 p.m. | $5
While its members might be better known for their other bands (DinoFight!, Mariner, Van Buren), this trio has been together for the better part of a decade. Starting off as some strange horror-punk/noise-rock hybrid (think classic punk meets the likes of Melt-Banana), the Ultraviolents have evolved into wiry, complex string of riffs and odd-time signatures while retaining the driving heft of straight-ahead, propulsive punk. Expect power pop from Powerline Sneakers and frantic post-hardcore by way of Blight Future.
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.
Protests & Punk shows, while making other plans: Musings of a grumpy old gay man
Foam Coffee & Beer
7 p.m. | $5
This week I sat down with local activist, academic and music lover Stephen Houldsworth to discuss the intersection of punk and protest. On this night, he presents a combination of spoken word and storytelling that bridges two parts of the community. Read more about Houldsworth and his event in this interview featured in the latest print edition of RFT.
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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