Photo by Anna Webber
Car Seat Headrest will perform at the Ready Room on Monday, September 5.
Hot damn; it's a three-day weekend! Celebrate your extra day of freedom even as you mourn the end of summer with some live music. This weekend brings the Big Muddy Blues Festival, now an all-local affair, to Laclede's Landing on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday is the release party for the Nora-Fest compilation, featuring nearly a dozen of St. Louis' finest punk and metal acts — all proceed go to the Stray Rescue of St. Louis. Sunday brings Cree Fest IV to Off Broadway. Check out our full picks below:
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2
w/ Roland Johnson 8 p.m., $10. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-773-3363.
By Christian Schaeffer
Naming your band after St. Louis’ most divisive foodstuff is certainly one way to plant your flag, but the instrumental four-piece known as the Provels references musical traditions from several points along the Mississippi River. The group leans into the soul-jazz made manifest by groups like the Meters and Booker T. and the MGs — it doesn’t hurt that keys player Phillip “Spanky” Manaois is a Hammond organ disciple who doesn’t mind lugging a 150-pound Leslie speaker to and from gigs just to dial in a proper tone. Guitarist Jim Peters is his sparring partner in the group, and on last year’s self-titled album he and the rest of the band made hay with spirited originals and fun, funky covers of tracks including Outkast’s “So Fresh, So Clean.”
Big George & The Houserockers
10 p.m., $10. BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222.
By Jenn DeRose
Big George Brock is drenched in the authenticity that younger bluesmen — those under 75 years old — would shoot their own mothers for. Everything about George Brock is big, even his style: Brock's huge frame is consistently covered by vibrant pinstriped suits and his head is crowned by panama hats that barely contain the shimmering curls below. His bejeweled hands make his harmonica and microphone look like children's toys as he leisurely draws them towards his mustachioed face and blows harp with the arresting power earned from a lifetime of work.
w/ Spectator and Hands and Feet
9 p.m., free. Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust St., St. Louis, 314-241-2337.
By Christian Schaeffer
Sarah Downen has continued to expand the parameters of her Golden Curls project since dropping its debut EP Warm Fiction in 2012. That collection offered a few different pathways for Downen and her feathery delivery, which paired so nicely with the shape-shifting production and narcotic instrumental tracks. The band’s current incarnation features drummer Philip Zahnd and Stephen Favazza (of Hands and Feet) on guitar and other manipulations. The group’s “Black Forest,” on this year’s edition of FarFetched’s Prologue comp, finds Golden Curls in a dubby, trippy headspace that’s a bit more beat-centric than its debut EP.
Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m., $29.50-$50. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161.
By Julie Seabaugh
Get the Used onstage, away from studio slickery and trickery, and the diminutive Bert McCracken and his bandmates still deliver the goods with the same urgent, nearly desperate energy they banked on to get them the hell out of Orem, Utah. Providing McCracken's not puking, that is. Or bad-mouthing exes and former friends. There's always been plenty of creatively productive drama festering behind the scenes, but here's hoping the Used are over the over-dramatics from here on out.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 3
Big Muddy Blues Festival
w/ Big George Brock, Marsha Evans and the Coalition, Boo Boo Davis, Arthur Williams, Roland Johnson, David Dee, Renee Smith, Big Mike Aguirre & the Blu City All Stars, Jeremiah Johnson, Soulard Blues Band, Love Jones, St. Louis School of Rock, Skeet Rodgers & the Inner City Blues Band, Pennsylvania Slim, Tom Hall, Brian Curran, the Bottoms Up Blues Gang, Tommy Halloran, Erika Johnson & Tom Byrne, the Dust Covers
Saturday and Sunday, 1 p.m., $8-$10. Laclede's Landing, N. First St. & Lucas Ave., St. Louis, 314-241-5875.
By Christian Schaeffer
St. Louisans don’t need to be reminded of our city’s contribution to blues music too often — heck, the name of our scrappy NHL team makes it hard to forget — but the recent opening of the National Blues Museum downtown stands as an apt memorial to the river city’s relationship to the art form. It’s fitting, then, that the annual Big Muddy Blues Festival will use the museum as one of its stages as blues music fills the outdoor and indoor venues. The festival is always a high-water mark for local music fans, but the fact that all 45 acts performing this year are St. Louis artists is another reminder that the blues were not just born and bred here — the music continues to thrive and grow.
Nora-Fest CD Release Show: A Benefit for Stray Rescue of St. Louis:
w/ The Lion's Daughter, Quaere Verum, Cujo, Alan Smithee, bastard, At War Within, Grand Inquisitor, Path of Might, Shitstorm, Leon Lamont, Sidelined
5 p.m., $10. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050.
By Daniel Hill
Featuring 25 St. Louis bands covering 25 classic punk tracks — from GG Allin to Joy Division, Fear to Refused — the Nora-Fest compilation album is an excellent way to hear your favorite local bands playing the songs that got you into underground music in the first place. It is also the perfect way to honor Nora, Encapsulated Records' studio mascot, who was tragically hit by a car earlier this year. But more than all of that, it is a fantastic way to support a great cause: 100 percent of all proceeds from the sale of the compilation, as well as door money from this show, will be donated to the Stray Rescue of St. Louis, where Nora herself spent some time before being adopted.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 4
Cree Fest IV
w/ Cree Rider Family Band, Old Capital Square Dance Club, Cara Louise Band, Les Gruff and the Billy Goat, The River Kittens, 4th City Rag, School of Rock
2 p.m., $10. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-773-3363.
By Christian Schaeffer
“I wanna be in a family band,” Cree Rider and his wife, Cheryl Wilson, sing on the lead-off track to last fall’s Let the River Rise
. They’ve gotten their wish. Together with their titular Family Band (Jordan Heimburger on guitar, Andy Coco on bass and Russ McCannless on drums), Rider and Wilson have increasingly taken their show on the road to neighboring cities, delivering heartfelt and genteel folk-rock around the Midwest. (To sell the “family band” image even more, Wilson and Rider’s son is often in tow.) Rider’s songwriting has continued to evolve with each album he releases, and he positions himself as both a student and standard-bearer of St. Louis’ alt-country heritage.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 5
Car Seat Headrest
8 p.m., $15-$17. The Ready Room, 4195 Manchester Ave, St. Louis, 314-833-3929.
By Roy Kasten
It only took thirteen albums, but Car Seat Headrest has finally broken out of the DIY underground. With their Matador Records debut Teen Denial
, Will Toledo and his gang of pop-addicted punks sharpened everything about the Seattle-based songwriter's smart-ass slacker attack. He still sounds like Jonathan Richman (had Richman grown up listening to the Pixies) and he still groks everything and anything – stabbing horns, avalanching guitars, metronomic cowbells, pretty acoustic guitars, prettier synths – to celebrate post-teenage malaise and dreams. Inspirational line: "If we learn how to live like this maybe we can learn to start again."