Because Cherokee Street Is Basically One Long Street Party

One of 75 reasons we love St. Louis in 2016

Blank Space celebrated Tu Fest in 2015. - PHOTO BY TOM BREMMER
  • Blank Space celebrated Tu Fest in 2015.

On Cherokee Street, you could easily poke your head in on a half-dozen live shows on any given night without breaking a sweat. The street bustles with activity most weekends as if it were throwing a low-key block party, with groups of the city's hippest and hipster-est residents wandering to and fro as the sounds of live music fill the air.

Start at the intersection of Cherokee and Jefferson, facing west. Foam (3359 S. Jefferson Avenue, 314-772-2100) is to your right; stop on in for some garage-rock fun, or maybe some noise artists, or some experimental rock. Walk two blocks to the Luminary (2701 Cherokee Street, 314-773-1533) — if you're lucky the art gallery will be hosting a LAB Series event, which allows local musicians to take over the building, musically and visually, in whatever way they see fit. Look across the street and you'll see 2720 Cherokee Performing Arts Center (2720 Cherokee Street, 314-875-0233), which is in the midst of evolving into a multi-use artistic complex since Blank Space owner Kaveh Razani became a partner this spring. Within you'll find everything from bluegrass to funk, dance music to soul, hip-hop to psych-rock.

Keep going; walk to the end of the block and take a left on Iowa. Tucked away behind Yaqui's is Kismet Creative Center (3409 Iowa Avenue, 314-696-8177). Maybe it'll be hosting a show — it often is — but if not, grab yourself some records to add to your collection. North of Cherokee on this same street you'll find the Casa Loma Ballroom (3354 Iowa Avenue, 314-282-2258) as well, so don't forget your dancing shoes.

Down two more blocks, if you can resist the siren call of the many Mexican food joints lining the street, you will find the aforementioned Blank Space (2847 Cherokee Street, 314-300-8831). In keeping with its name, the venue is intentionally devoid of an official identity — Razani's stated intent upon opening the club was to be a blank page on which local creatives could express their art. Though all are welcome, St. Louis' hip-hop community has especially found a home here. Walk another block, cross the street and stop in at the Blue Pearl (2926 Cherokee Street, 314-349-2222) for some roots music and a quick bite.

Seven blocks, seven venues, but we're not done yet. Walk two more blocks: There's El Lenador (3124 Cherokee Street, 314-875-9955). Remember El Lenador? It hosted Stag Nite for a few years and became an unlikely hipster hub before Stag Nite host Johnny Vegas and the venue's owner had a falling out. Well guess what: El Lenador is back, if September 24's record release show for Memphis rockers Ex-Cult is any indication. Grab a taco and keep walking if the room is quiet. Walk two more blocks. Tip your cap at Fort Gondo (3151 Cherokee Street, 314-772-3628) along the way — the space seldom hosts live music anymore, but its art installations and spoken-word performances are worthy of your time. Your journey ends with some punk rock, or maybe some country, or maybe some blues, at San Loo (3211 Cherokee Street, 314-696-2888), in the space that formerly housed the Livery.

And there you have it. You have poked your head into ten live music venues in the span of eleven blocks. If you didn't see even one act that piqued your interest — well, we don't believe you, but we still have just the advice you need: Come back tomorrow and try again.

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