This Week's Best Live Music, January 18 to 24


S.L.U.M. Fest Hip-Hop Awards will take place at 2720 Cherokee this Saturday, January 23. - PHOTO BY THEO WELLING
  • Photo by Theo Welling
  • S.L.U.M. Fest Hip-Hop Awards will take place at 2720 Cherokee this Saturday, January 23.

Twelve degrees outside? Unacceptable. If we are to survive this frozen tundra, we must keep moving. Maybe a little ass-shaking music would help, like this week's S.L.U.M. Fest awards. Maybe something with soul, like New York's Zusha. Still cold? How about some neck-breaking, full-body spasms at the Enforcer show? Leave your coats at home; let the music warm you.

[Disclaimer: Morally we must insist that you don't actually try to go about your business outside without a coat on this week, but frankly if you are dumb enough to try it maybe this is just a Darwin thing. FULL PICKS BELOW:]


8 p.m., $10-$15. The Firebird, 2706 Olive St., St. Louis, 314-535-0353.
By Daniel Hill
"Kavana," an aspect of the Jewish faith that translates roughly to "intention," is a state of mind said to be necessary to complete Jewish rituals. “To us, kavana means giving more of yourself,” says Zusha percussionist Elisha Mlotek. “It’s the direction of the heart.” A saying purports that "prayer without kavana is like a body without a soul." New York's Zusha, whose debut album is named Kavana, needn't worry: The Hasidic group is overflowing with soul, with soaring three-part harmonies delivered with passion and fervor. Kavana landed the group at No. 2 on Billboard's World Albums chart.


Emily Wallace
9 p.m., free. Broadway Oyster Bar, 736 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-621-8811.
By Daniel Hill
Emily Wallace has been performing in St. Louis bars and nightclubs for sixteen years — that means her singing career is now old enough to drive a car. Have you any artistic pursuits that you've pursued for that long? If so, more power to you, but most people tend to abandon that stuff as the grindstone of life whittles them down to dust. But maybe that's too cynical. In any case, Wallace's dedication is paying off, as the hyper-talented performer was nominated for an RFT Music Award by this publication just last year. Catch her now while it is still free to do so.


Kaki King
8 p.m., $17-$25. Old Rock House, 1200 S. 7th St., St. Louis, 314-588-0505.
By Christian Schaeffer
From the RFT Music archives: Guitar virtuoso Kaki King has won over stadium-size talents such as Dave Grohl and beloved boutique songwriters such as the Mountain Goats' John Darnielle with her intuitive fretwork and sweetly cooed vocals. But King hardly needs the name-checks from famous musicians; one listen to her songs places the guitarist in her own class. Her style can move from percussive and sharply punctuated to lithe and jazzy, depending on the mood, but there's always one foot in conventional forms and one foot in brave experimentalism. You can pull traces of Andrés Segovia and John Fahey from King's work, but she's just as capable of forging her own style as she is borrowing from the masters.


Enforcer w/ Warbringer, Cauldron, Exmortus
6 p.m., $20. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050.
By Daniel Hill
This is a show truly worth the whiplash you will be feeling the following morning. All of the bands on the bill are relative newcomers to an old game, coming onto the scene in the early to mid 2000s with sounds of thrash and death and British heavy metal in tow. Though the beginning of this century's massive thrash metal resurgence has largely waned at this point, these acts have proven themselves to have considerable staying power, and by combining forces they ensure one hell of a night for St. Louis' metalheads.


Jessica Lea Mayfield
8 p.m., $12-$15. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-773-3363.
By Roy Kasten
When Jessica Lea Mayfield flipped the Americana script for a bunch of dollar bin '90s grunge CDs she wasn't trying to remake herself. Whether or not she played old-time country with her folks in Kent, Ohio, bands like Foo Fighters and Stone Temple Pilots were her childhood soundtrack, and she never cared who knew it. Her last album, Make My Head Sing, was louder and sludgier than anything she'd assayed under Dan Auerbach's tutelage, but the album was most memorable for lilting pop meditations like "Standing in the Sun" and "Party Drugs," on which she confesses that she may be the "most fucked up" in the room, but she's not ready to OD on a motel bed. Mayfield's dream songs are nothing if not deliciously dark. 


S.L.U.M. Fest Hip Hop Awards w/ J.R., Saint Oeaux, Indiana Rome, Bates, Less, the Domino Effect, Sal Calhoun, Nick Menn, A-Game, TruthDoIt, Mistro Freeyo, Tie Tailor, Nato Caliph, Nite Owl, Lyfestile
8 p.m., $10. 2720 Cherokee Performing Arts Center, 2720 Cherokee St, St. Louis, 314-276-2700.
By Daniel Hill
The St. Louis Underground Music Festival — also known as S.L.U.M Fest by acronym aficionados — really should require no explanation at this point. Now in its seventh year, the event is the largest hip-hop festival in the region. If you are new to the St. Louis hip-hop scene, or if you just want to see some of the finest acts our city has to offer all together in one place, then this event is a can't-miss.


Weekend For Bernie Fundraiser Day 2
w/ Blank Generation, Mathias & the Pirates, Letter to Memphis, Michael Franco, Zach's Wrath 7 p.m., $10. The Demo, 4191 Manchester Ave, St. Louis, 314-833-5532.
By Daniel Hill
Day 2 of the Demo's big Bernie-boosting celebration sees even more St. Louis acts feeling the Bern. Day 1 would have just as easily made it into this post as well, were it not for the powerhouse that is the S.L.U.M. Fest awards — Brother Lee and the Leather Jackals, the Wilderness, Dibiase, LoopRat, Ramona Deflowered, Billy Brown and DJ Joe Lucky will be the entertainment for that Saturday night show. But if you can't make that one, Sunday is just as stacked with talent and fervor for political action.

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