A to Z admires David Bowie for many things: his alien electronic experiments, his crunchy glam glitter riffs and, of course, his impeccable fashion sense. But for this column's purposes, we love the Thin White Duke for his infamous self-improvement couplet: "Time to face the strange/Ch-ch-changes."
In this case, A to Z likes to pretend he's referring to the RFT's annual music awards, a gala event whose timeline is a bit different than that of years past. The musical showcase this year will take place on Sunday, September 10, with a national headlining act to be announced in the coming weeks. We'll also be announcing the winners of the music awards in our annual Best of St. Louis issue on September 28.
But, of course, what hasn't changed is that these awards honor the best music St. Louis has to offer. You'll see some different nominees this year, along with old favorites. (And yes, genres are a sticky thing, so keep the outrage about choices to yourself; A to Z doesn't want to hear it. We laugh at the Grammys as much as you do.) So without further ado, here are this year's nominees, as chosen by a panel of local experts and myself:
Best Blues: Bennie Smith, Henry Townsend, Marquise Knox, Big George Brock, Soulard Blues Band
Best Club DJ: Kid Delicious, Flex Boogie, Mike Gow, Adrian Fox, Scotty Mac
Best Electronic: The Bureau, Femme Fatality, Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship, Murder Happens
Best Funk/R&B/Soul: Coultrain, Isis Jones, Kim Massie, the FuFops, LaMar Harris
Best Garage/Rockabilly: Gentleman Callers, Vultures, Johnny O & the Jerks, 7 Shot Screamers, Tripdaddys
Best Hard Rock/Metal: Head-On Collision, Ornament of Disgrace, Harkonin, Cross Examination, LoFreq
Best Hip-Hop Artist: Big Will/Da Slu Cru, Black Spade, Spaide R.I.P.P.E.R., Ruka Puff, Earthworms
Best Hip-Hop DJ: Needles, Crucial, Charlie Chan Soprano, Agile 1, Trackstar
Best Indie Band: Tight Pants Syndrome, Bunnygrunt, That's My Daughter, So Many Dynamos, Ghost in Light
Best Jam Band: Madahoochi, Dogtown Allstars, Fundamental Elements, Devon Allman's Honeytribe, the Schwag
Best Jazz Artist: Willie Akins, Erin Bode, Hamiet Bluiett, Dave Stone, Darin Gray
Best National Artist: Living Things, Son Volt/Jay Farrar, So They Say, Caleb Engstrom, Nelly
Best New Band: Finn's Motel, Est.1974, The Rats and People, Berlin Whale, James Will & the Engines of Creation
Best Noise/Experimental: Grand Ulena; Ring, Cicada; Conformists; Dancing Feet March to War; SkareKrau Radio
Best Punk: The Beating, Blacked Out, The Pubes, Sex Robots, Corbeta Corbata
Best Reggae/Ska: Murder City Players, MU330, Dub Kitchen, Dubtronix
Best Rock: Red Eyed Driver, Love Experts, LaPush, Riddle of Steel, Ludo
Best Roots/Americana: Bad Folk, Waterloo, Magnolia Summer, Dirty 30's, Bottle Rockets
Best Singer-Songwriter/Folk: Bob Reuter, Casey Reid, Joe Stickley, Jonathan Cour, Grant Essig
In show news, come to BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups (700 South Broadway; 314-436-5222) on Sunday, July 16, starting at 7 p.m. for the Bennie Smith and the St. Louis All Stars Legacy Concert. Smith was recently diagnosed with lung cancer, and the concert which will feature Smith jamming with Rich McDonough, Tom Maloney and Gus Thornton, among others is being held in honor the 72-year-old, who's been a fixture in the St. Louis scene for more than 50 years.
If you miss the jam on Sunday, though, fear not: It's going to be recorded for a future CD and DVD release. The latter is being produced by the St. Louis Blues Society and RFT staff writer Malcolm Gay, and will be part-documentary, part-concert film focusing on Smith and his legacy.
Also, A to Z ran out of room for Local Motion this week on the Critics' Picks page, but if we had the column inches, we'd be talking about the CD release party for Redding at the Ground Floor Club (215 East Main Street, Belleville, Illinois; 618- 277-1026) on Friday, July 14. The young quartet just released its self-titled debut this week, and the songs which are full of feathery falsetto, mellow guitars and more earnestness than a poetry major's blog resemble those of U.K. cuddle-poppers (Travis, Aqualung) and sensitive American rockers (Jimmy Eat World, Sense Field) alike. The show starts at 8 p.m. and costs $5.