The 10 Best Concerts in St. Louis This Weekend: February 17 to 19


Ikue Mori returns to St. Louis on Saturday for a night of solo and duo performances alongside trumpeter Nate Wooley. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
  • Photo courtesy of the artist
  • Ikue Mori returns to St. Louis on Saturday for a night of solo and duo performances alongside trumpeter Nate Wooley.
Our picks for the weekend mostly sidestep the bustle of the season's pre-Mardi Gras excitement in lieu of local favorites at the Old Rock House and Schlafly Tap Room, with shows featuring Tone Rodent, River Kittens, Old Salt Union and more. Sure, Sting and Bon Jovi are both in town, but we have a pet pageant (at Delmar Hall) to talk about. You already know what you like, so hit this list to uncover new favorites in the days ahead.


Gateway Pet Guardian’s 4th Annual Les Boondoggle Ball 2017 w/ Stone in Love, The VCRs
7 p.m. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Boulevard. $35-$40. 314-726-6161.
True to the show's namesake, all proceeds will benefit Gateway Pet Guardians, a local non-profit that saves and rehouses stray animals in the Metro East. While Stone in Love offers a faithful tribute to Journey, the VCRs plays a more broad set of hits from both the '80s and '90s, so expect a wide range of rock-flavored faves. Music is great and all, but the pet pageant taking place between the bands is more than worth the price of admission.

Old Salt Union w/ The Last Revel, River Kittens
9 p.m. Old Rock House, 1200 S. 7th Street. $10-$12. 314-588-0505.
Old Salt Union injects blues and jazz into the bluegrass genre to craft a distinct set of songs rich with both classic and modern leanings. The Illinois boys avoid being typecast as just another country band by producing honest music that respects tradition without being bound to it. This night celebrates the group's newly announced contract with Compass Records, the Nashville-based label known for acts such as Colin Hay, John McSherry and the Infamous Stringdusters.

Other People w/ L.S. XPRSS, Brooke and Dawn
9 p.m. Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust Street. Free. 314-241-2337.
By Christian Schaeffer
From Other People Delivers Twelve Songs of Pop-Rock Bliss on New LP:
Jeremy Goldmeier and Bob McMahon are life-long friends, former college roommates and, in Other People, co-leaders of a pop-leaning rock trio. Yet despite these many connections, the two approach songwriting from different angles. McMahon writes slightly detached narratives built around smart, unflashy guitar patterns, while Goldmeier's forceful piano and emotive delivery suggest a more theatrical direction.

Palberta w/ Little Big Bangs, The Chair Enthusiasts
8:30 p.m. Foam, 3359 South Jefferson Avenue. $7. 314-772-2100.
Brooklyn's Palberta shoves post-punk down the stairs then drags the genre back up before anyone can catch on. The trio's crooked songs sometimes come out with a twee stench, tricking the listener into thinking they might be hearing pop before twisted riffs lash out with little warning. The band's rendition of "Hot Cross Buns" sums up its playfulness and irreverence in kind — a foil to the typically vicious no-wave genre that Palberta currently leads.


Ikue Mori and Nate Wooley
8 p.m. The Luminary, 2701 Cherokee Street. $20. 314-773-1533.
By Christian Schaeffer
The long-running New Music Circle has spent more than 50 years not just challenging and engaging its audiences but forging new musical partnerships with iconoclastic artists as well. This week the NMC hosts individual and collaborative performances by Ikue Mori and Nate Wooley; their sets will seek contrast and commonality between acoustic and electronic instruments. Mori, a Tokyo native and longtime performer in New York’s avant-garde, works primarily with computers and samplers. Wooley is a trumpet player who experiments with technique as well as technology, using amplification systems to further alter his instrument.

Tone Rodent w/ Subtropolis, Bear Cub
9 p.m. Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust Street. Free. 314-241-2337.
Under the moniker Tone Rodent, Adam Watkins has led an amorphous crew of shoegazing strummers and hard-hitting drummers for more than fifteen years. While the lineup circulates every few years or so, the core of strong, simplistic songs emboldened by layers of melody remains unscathed. Both Subtropolis and Bear Cub offer their own skewed take on rock to round out a frills-free bill of exploratory bands for the low price of zero dollars.

Valerie June
8 p.m. Blueberry Hill Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Boulevard. $17 to $20. 314-727-2277.
By Roy Kasten
Authenticity may be one of the most overrated critical concepts, but honesty isn't. With her reedy but warmly cooing voice, eerie gospel rhythms and melodies that could make the Carter Family swoon, Valerie June is one of the freshest and most genuine artists in Americana music. It's been four years since her breakthrough record Pushing Against the Stone, and since then she's recorded stray tracks, written for heroes like Mavis Staples and honed her elusive soul-twang style. This year finally sees the release of a follow-up, The Order of Time, an album at once philosophical and physical, with June charging ahead into rockabilly and spacious chamber-folk with absolute mettle and, yes, honesty.

Voodoo Talking Heads w/ Sean Canan's Voodoo Players
9 p.m. Old Rock House, 1200 S. 7th Street. $10. 314-588-0505.
Sean Canan's Voodoo Players collide with the storied songs of Talking Heads for a tribute act that fuses both bands' styles into a shapely set. This interview, conducted by 4th Whistle Studios, follows Canan and company as they prepare to debut Voodoo Talking Heads in late 2015. This concoction comes with a flavor all its own, so both new and longtime fans alike should feel welcome.


Frances and the Foundation w/ the Static Vibe
8 p.m. Fubar, 3108 Locust Street. $8-$10. 314-289-9050.
Much like the '80s worship of the early aughts, the '90s are back in full effect (even if some claim they never left). Frances and the Foundation feel plucked right out of the angst-filled decade, namely 1996 — the year grunge allegedly died. Not that the Foundation would be responsible for such a feat, but it does hits items on both the alt-rock and grunge checklists, which makes for a smooth transition between our favorite decade's biggest music trends.

Lily and Madeleine w/ Cassie Morgan
8 p.m. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Avenue. $12. 314-773-3363.
If the songs on Lily and Madeline's latest record Keep It Together weren't heartfelt enough, the pair offers an introspective look into the album over at its website. The Indianapolis duo exudes the kind of vibe you might find on NPR (made evident by its Tiny Desk Concert) or the house system of a coffee shop, yet its live show offers a full band with the chops to back up the polished production found on recordings.

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