United we rock: Fair St. Louis, now in its 26th year, is already known for its (over)abundance of food, fireworks, military fly-overs and general festival fun. But don't forget that, much like Jimi Hendrix's rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner," the sound of freedom ringing sounds a lot like wailing guitars. To that end, march down to the Budweiser Stage on Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard (at the base of the Arch's grand staircase) on Saturday, July 1. The festival grounds open at 11 a.m., with family-friendly hip-hop youngsters B5 the Bad Boy Records quintet recently featured on Disney's High School Musical soundtrack taking the stage at 1 p.m. Local modern rockers Greenwheel perform tracks from their powerful new EP, Bridges for Burning, at 3 p.m., while Grammy-nominated pop-wordsmith Jason Mraz headlines at 8 p.m. On Tuesday, July 4, grounds open at 5 p.m. Selections from St. Louis singer-songwriter Jonathan Cour's melodic A Motion Picture Scene EP gets toes tapping at 7 p.m., followed by '90s alt-rock heroes Hootie and the Blowfish at 8 p.m. Performances are followed by a fireworks display both evenings at 9 p.m. Admission is free on both days, and blankets, lawn chairs and coolers are permitted; alcoholic beverages are not. For more information, visit www.fairstl.com.
Righteous riffs: Don't let the band name Paul Brown and the Killing Devils fool you. Though its moniker hints otherwise, the group is more akin to Patron Saints of Classic Rock. Join the local guitar gods at Rock Island (8658 South Broadway, 314-638-7536) Saturday, July 1, as they celebrate the release of their epic, eighteen-track CD, Red Spider (check out song clips at www.pdbrownmusic.com). $8 in advance (visit www.metrotix.com) or $10 at the door gets you into the party; PB&TKD's stripped-down groove'll get you on the floor from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
Grooving for a good cause: Sadly, eternal Loop hotspot Cicero's (6691 Delmar Boulevard, University City, 314-862-0009) recently lost one of its best-loved waitresses. At 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 5, local funk-rockers the Upright Animals and jamsters Madahoochi and Impala Deluxe present Leah Benefit, with all proceeds going to her family. "Leah was the most lovable person ever," writes Upright Animals rhythm guitarist Ben Peters in an e-mail. "Her family deserves to have as much support as they can.... It would mean the world to us." The show is all ages; tickets are $5 ($8 for minors).