The Bad Plus
Ferring Jazz Bistro
7:30 & 9:30 p.m. | $35
The last few years have been rife with change for Jazz St. Louis, but the Bad Plus is always a constant, bringing prog-rock infused jazz to town. For the past decade, the Minneapolis trio has kicked-off each year in St. Louis with original works alongside contemporary covers of classic songs, regardless of genre. By infusing improvisation and an avant garde edge, the band subverts expectations to help create a true concert experience. Its sound propels well beyond what anyone could consider background music and practically demands a listener's ear. This unrelenting approach might be more punk rock than most punk bands. Read more about the Bad Plus in this week's music feature, penned by RFT contributor Nick Horn.
Hillary Fitz w/ Ian McGowan & the Good Deeds, Richie Kihlken Band
9 p.m. | $8
When St. Louis-native Hillary Fitz came home for the holidays, she packed her few fleeting weeks here with an appearance on the FOX2 morning show, a couple concerts at the Broadway Oyster Bar and a spot on Jackson Howard's album release party. On this night, the singer-songwriter says goodbye once again before departing for Spain to continue her education. Arrive on time for Ian McGowan & the Good Deeds, a fresh indie-folk outfit with subtle jazz leanings.
Stars Align w/ DJ Tau R Us, DJ Puzzle Pisces, DJ Jillian, DJ Leonardo DiCapricorn
9 p.m. | $5
Astrology is a party and everyone is invited. That's what brains behind Stars Align: An Astrology Dance Party would like you to believe. This month's spin, the Capricorn edition, kicks off 2016 with several DJs in rotation: Tau R Us (Grant Nikseresht), Puzzle Pisces (Jake Leech), Jillian and Leonardo DiCapricorn provide the soundtrack to what's hopefully a long night of stargazing. The resident Astrologer, Denise Ulett, offers mini solar return chart readings and Courtney Lee Photography provides a photo booth to, you know, commemorate the fact that you now know your future and it's all downhill from here. For a different vibe altogether, head down the street to Blank Space for Spin Cycle, a free house and techno spin featuring DJs Aaron Jacobs, Bradford and Spike Stephens.
The Vigilettes w/ Accelerando
Foam Coffee & Beer
8:30 p.m. | free
Too often are acts shoehorned because of one defining feature. The Vigilettes is an all-woman rock outfit, but don't call it a "girl band." (Actually, there is a group out of Dublin named Girl Band and it's made up of four white men. Go figure.) The band's pop-ridden grunge has plenty of heft but leaves space for simple, catchy licks backed up by fierce beats that practically live in-the-pocket. Accelerando weaves tightly wound alt-rock, keeping listeners wrapped around its collective finger with an infallible set of songs.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 9
Bernie Sanders 2016 Fundraiser w/ Sleepy Kitty, Illphonics, the Feed, the Fog Lights
8 p.m. | $10
To the astute readers of this music blog hoping to use the inclusion of this Bernie Sanders Fundraiser to cite what you perceive as a leftist bias: Eat my shorts. If any presidential candidate is worthy of mention on a music blog, Senator Sanders certainly fits the bill. He and his wife helped establish 242 Main, one of America's longest running all-ages venues. Northeast punk scenes adore him so much that several memes have appeared, likening Sanders to a well-versed scholar in the history of hardcore and punk music. On this night, a diverse set of bands led by luminous duo Sleepy Kitty hope to raise funds and awareness for a candidate whose potential presidency was once thought to be impossible.
Blizzard Babies w/ Skin Tags, Drag, Sunday Candy
Foam Coffee & Beer
9 p.m. | $5
Heavy surf-rock via Chicagoland rains down on Foam in the form of Blizzard Babies, a femme-filled foursome rife with wiry riffs. The band might even bring the first snow of the season with them. Drag is made up of members from local favorites Life Like and Posture, but the band sounds astray from its musical DNA. While early Sonic Youth is a drab comparison, the spirit here is similar in that pop sensible songs are cracked open by a constant urge to explore. Skin Tags is subtly experimental, taking a loose approach to grunge rock at mach speed. Snowed in on a Saturday night sounds alright.
Forteana w/ Key Grip, Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship
The Heavy Anchor
9 p.m. | $7
While "detail-oriented" is a phrase typically reserved for job resumes and Craigslist ads shilling out call center jobs, Forteana made it their mission to cram every little space with sordid bends over oddly-timed stabs. Songs feel less like progressive rock and more like obsessive compulsive punk minus the vocals. The human voice can lend a context contrary to a band's music but with Forteana, the songs feel pure and driven while never hiding behind the kind of narration lyrics can provide. This trio is apt at describing itself as "Claustrophobic Jazz" is a song title from its 2013 demo. Drummer Mike Hansen plays double duty in both Forteana and Key Grip, lending sharp and biting breakbeats under the cacophony of good company — he is a choice percussionist among St. Louis' finest experimental artists.
The Lion's Daughter Album Release Show w/ Black Fast, Fister, Hell Night
8 p.m. | $8-$10
The Lion's Daughter is no longer a poorly-guarded secret by greedy St. Louisans. Back in May, the group signed with French label Season of Mist, home to Pentagram, Christian Death, Morbid Angel and many other metal acts of yore. Recent years have been an exciting time for fans of the genre, and earlier this year RFT caught up with several local acts whose reach has extended far beyond the river city. Three of the four bands featured in that story will share the stage along with newcomer Hell Night. 2015 was undoubtedly a turning point, but St. Louis is still in the midst of its own metal renaissance.
Traxman w/ DMY
10 p.m. | free
DMY aka Derek Yeager and his TEKK DJZ crew have been turning out the kind of gigs that would pack warehouse spaces in Chicago, but the scene for St. Louis is still small. That room to grow attracts the kind of talent that likes a good challenge, such as legendary Footwork producer Traxman, who has produced music for upwards of twenty years. Expect the backroom at Layla to fill with sights and sounds deserving your undivided attention. But maybe watching is not your bag; Footwork embraces collaboration and that means participation. Show what you got in the good company of DJs and dancers alike.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 10
Hideaway Restaurant & Lounge
8 p.m. | free
The Hideaway feels like a brick-for-brick restoration of a rich swinger couple's basement circa 1961. The joint is no less classy on a Friday or Saturday night, but this Sunday offers a mellow reprieve from the previous nights. For many in south city, seeing Mark Dew around the holidays is a family tradition and this post-New Year's weekend offers many the chance to make up for lost time. His piano renditions of classics from the past eight decades are just the right kind of quirky, which mingles well when the regulars take the mic for a drunken duet. But take heart, young ones: This is a place where your cheesy dance moves will do just fine.
Follow Joseph Hess on Twitter or contact him through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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