The 10 Best Concerts in St. Louis This Weekend: January 12 to 14

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CaveofswordS performs on Saturday for FarFetched Collective's  Prologue VII release show at the Firebird. - PHOTO VIA ARTIST BANDCAMP
  • Photo via artist Bandcamp
  • CaveofswordS performs on Saturday for FarFetched Collective's Prologue VII release show at the Firebird.
As the city plunges back into a mini ice age, St. Louis offers the kind of hot and heavy shows that would feel right at home in the dead of summer. For one, Tef Poe unleashes Black Julian 2 with a party at the Bootleg while the FarFetched Collective celebrates the release of Prologue VII — a compilation starring the likes of 18andCounting, Damon Davis and many more — at the Firebird.

This guide to the weekend ahead should help you find heat despite the constant airing of grievances from Old Man Winter. 

FRIDAY, JANUARY 12


Big Head Todd and the Monsters w/ Ronnie Baker Brooks
8 p.m. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Boulevard. $29.50-$32.50. 314-726-6161.
On last year's New World Arisin', Todd Park Mohr leads his Monsters down a cavernous style of big radio rock, showing little relent in terms of riffing. The songs here pulverize in a way that could easily draw in lapsed fans of 1993's Sister Sweetly, a record that went Platinum on the heels of singles "Circle," "Broken Hearted Savior" and "Bittersweet." The new record's muscular funk and blues-ridden rock manages to make way for tight jam-banding, a quality that bridges Big Head Todd and the Monster's live show to its in-studio work.

The Free Years w/ Party Dress, Dear Genre
9 p.m. The Ready Room, 4195 Manchester Avenue. $3. 314-833-3929.
The Free Years pulls apart indie pop with a playful candor, making for fresh yet funked up songs. The lackadaisical vibe that's typically paired with beach bum bands is present here, but that's not to say the trio takes a lazy approach. By letting go and letting what needs to be loose be just that, the layers of guitars, keys and drums fall right into place with wit and whimsy. This is a locals-only kind of night with the moody Party Dress and the self-proclaimed "slacker pop" of Dear Genre.

Nequient w/ Dodecad, Sunwyrm, Beyonder
9 p.m. The Heavy Anchor, 5226 Gravois Avenue. $7. 314-352-5226.
By forcing sludge into the confines of D-Beat, Chicago's Nequient offers up a blackened brand of metal burnt to a damn crisp. While nipping and tucking the tone could work to clear up any vagaries, the five-piece revels in the crust it creates, owing some of its propulsive rip to the melding of chordal noise. If 2015's Infinite Regress is any indication, the band's nihilism for the years ahead comes with a consolation gift of fine-tuned metal.

Pancake Productions 17th Annual XRII w/ Altamira, The Jag-Wires, L'il Smokie
7 p.m. San Loo, 3211 Cherokee Street. $5. 314-696-2888.
Rob Severson is a man of many hats — and many names. Googolplexia is a mouthful, but it's also his alter ego fueled by accordion, distorted ukulele and a cappella oddities. As "R0b" he heads Pancake Productions with a buttery fist, helping hoist up the efforts of Bunnygrunt, Dubb Nubb, the Vanilla Beans and many more through tape and CD releases alike. The hallmark of the label, Pancake Productions samplers, have tapered off in recent years but still offer a look into the ghosts of St. Louis' past, present and future. Browse the Bandcamp for all the label's syrupy selections before hitting this annual celebration put on by the Pancake Master himself.

Willy Porter and Carmen Nickerson
8 p.m. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp. $20 advance. All ages. 314-773-3363.
By Roy Kasten
If you need another flat-top guitar hero, look no further than Willy Porter, a blindingly fleet and maddeningly nimble player. If you’re trying to get the hang of fingerstyle picking, you’ll either curse the dude or forsake all and follow him. Fellow Milwaukeean Carmen Nickerson has taken that tip, joining Porter for last year’s minor Midwestern folk gem appropriately called Bonfire to Ash and hitting the road for a tour that showcases their harmonies and spiritually-focused lyricism. Nickerson’s dusty, bluesy phrasing offers a warm counterpoint to Porter’s charred baritone and unpredictable guitar excursions, and the two get what many folkies miss: the way rhythm sets a good story song alight.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 13

New Music Circle Presents: International Contemporary Ensemble
8 p.m. Pulitzer Arts Foundation, 3716 Washington Boulevard. $10-$20. 314-754-1850.
When International Contemporary Ensemble came to St. Louis in 2014, flutist Claire Chase lead the group with works inspired by the Pulitzer's exhibit at the time. On this venture, Chase brings pianist Cory Smythe and multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey as core members of ICE, performing works written by Sorey himself and the legendary Pauline Oliveros. This event continues New Music Circle's ground-breaking 2017/2018 season, which has seen the likes of Battle Trance, John Wiese and the Steve Swell Quintet.

Old Souls Revival Album Release Show w/ Pono Am, Le'Ponds
8 p.m. Saturday, January 13. Old Rock House, 1200 S. 7th Street $10. 314-588-0505.
By Christian Schaeffer
Two years ago Old Souls Revival, a rock band with traces of Americana roots, released I Will Let You In, an album that asserted the band’s lead singer Neil C. Luke as a compelling and magnetic word-slinger. The band is back with an expanded line-up and a new, self-titled record that sees its release at this weekend’s show. OSR worked at the Cherokee Street studio Native Sound and the sound is a little leaner, cleaner and more direct this time around; Luke still holds the center with a slightly raspy but always big-hearted delivery, and the band even dips its toe in blue-eyed soul on “One-Woman Man,” a duet with Allie Vogler that also features horns from the Funky Butt Brass Band.

Prologue VII Release w/ 18andCounting, CaveofswordS, Subtle Aggression Monopoly, Scrub, Hands And Feet, Blank Generation
8 p.m. The Firebird, 2706 Olive Street. $10. 314-535-0353.
FarFetched Collective stands as an institution of forward-thinking, progressive music in the realm of electronic and hip-hop. While not firmly slotted in either genre, the roster on offer shares this "it" factor that is hard to describe yet easy to decipher in acts such as 18andCounting and Blank Generation. CaveofswordS brings its own brand of aural noir with dark wave while Hands and Feet crafts sonic setpieces in real-time. If Prologue's seventh release in as many years shows a snapshot of the label, then this show is both a stage play and a preview of the months to come.

Tef Poe Album Release Show
9 p.m. The Bootleg, 4140 Manchester Avenue. $5-$10. 314-775-0775.
By Daniel Hill
Now that St. Louis' most visible underground rapper Tef Poe has proven himself to be an Ivy-League intellectual after securing a Nasir Jones Fellowship and presenting at Harvard, he's going back to what he does best: releasing scorched-earth, take-no-prisoners hip-hop. Tef's Christmas release of Black Julian 2: Never Satisfied seemed like it was dropped out of nowhere, but its sharp production and incisive lyrics prove Tef put the work in. All told, it might frankly be his best release to date, with an overall cohesion that masterfully showcases the skills of one of St. Louis' finest.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 14

Laith Al-Saadi w/ The Scandaleros
8 p.m. Old Rock House, 1200 South 7th Street. $20. 314-588-0505.
It's no secret that singer-songwriter Laith Al-Saadi never wanted to win The Voice in 2016. While the top prize of $100,000 was tempting, the chains that came with the record deal on offer never appealed to him. Once a finalist, he now enjoys all that TV exposure with a new found flexibility. Expect his terse and succinct songcraft to mix with a few choice covers sourced from a recent four track tribute to Jimi Hendrix released back in September.


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