Each week we bring you our picks for the best shows of the next seven days! To submit your show for consideration, click here. All events subject to change; check with the venue for the most up-to-date information.
The Opera Bell Band
12 p.m. Saturday, June 15. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Avenue. $15. 314-773-3363.
Fister will be performing at the Ready Room on Saturday, June 15.
You can run out of adjectives and genres trying to describe the Opera Bell Band — a local quintet that mixes a hodge-podge of folk styles with theatrical tomfoolery — but consider “musical theater of the absurd” as a good starting point. Shane Devine heads up the group, which uses a battery of acoustic instruments to summon the good-time ghosts of ragtime, calypso and bluegrass, but the OBB’s presentation, complete with clownish grease paint, floppy hats and an emcee called Butternut the Pilot, turns a regular gig into an experience. And sure enough, its release show for debut album Bell-Slide
doubles as a shrimp boil, a pie-eating contest and much more.
Ryan Koenig and the Chardonnays (one of his dozens of ad-hoc outfits) and psych-folk weirdos Mother Meat round out the bill.
Fister 10 Year Anniversary
8 p.m. Saturday, June 15. The Ready Room, 4195 Manchester Avenue. $10 to $12. 314-833-3929.
It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years since Fister first unleashed its brand of Bronsonic doom metal on St. Louis’ unsuspecting music fans. Its early slogan (“If it’s too slow, you’re too young”) has held up nicely over the last decade, as Fister’s forte has proven to be the kind of creeping, suffocatingly slow audible death played at a volume that could even wake the likes of Matt Pike out of his soundest slumber. No longer a local secret, Fister has become one of St. Louis’ most vital metal exports. Here’s to ten more years.
Metal Thrashing Mad:
Opening the show will be likeminded metal acts Thorlock, Slow Damage and Blackwell.
8 p.m. Wednesday, June 19. Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Boulevard, University City. $13 to $15. 314-727-2277.
Four million spins on Spotify may not be a lot to Dave Matthews, but to Will Varley and his extraordinary song “Seize the Night,” it means $20,000 (give or take a grand after the usual suspects take their cut) and a hint that the future is not as fucked as the song (and his ouvre to date) would imply. “If you know where you are when you wake up, something’s wrong,” he sings on the refrain, with that instantly fetching Brit accent for which the former colonies remain suckers. That voice, backed mostly by just guitar, a little hopeful harmony, light percussion and electric licks, delivers songs of wonder and wandering, comic fatalism and cosmic insights that come with a bit of whiskey in a cup and a busker’s eternal earnestness. See him now in small club; he won’t keep playing them for long.
The Tallest Man on Earth, Sam Amidon and M. Ward may be better known than Varley, but as a songwriter he’s very much their equal.
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