This Sunday, from noon-8 p.m., the place to be is Compton Hill Reservoir Park on South Grand Boulevard (by I-44). First, it's a rare opportunity to see a live performance by Puerto Muerto, who have moved back to Chicago after spending their summer in St. Louis (and what better place to spend the summer, we ask, assuming you can't make it to Guam?). Second, it's a benefit picnic -- a "Celebrity Barbecue," to be precise -- for Double Helix, the organization that brings us KDHX (88.1 FM), arguably the best and certainly the most deserving radio station in town. The Celebrity Barbecue promises a full seven hours of entertainment, including music (live and recorded), tours of the gorgeous water tower (one of our city's most impressive architectural treasures), beer and barbecue, and games of skill and chance. But the last reason, and one that will no doubt interest our many enemies, is that Radar Station will allow herself to be dunked, repeatedly and humiliatingly, by those of you with pocket change, a minimal amount of strength and coordination, and any little bone to pick with us. You can finally get us back for ignoring that demo you sent us, for capriciously dismissing your genius, for blowing off your record-release party. Rather than slave over another pointless screed to the editor, why not head to the dunking booth so you can drench Radar Station's irritating ass? You'll be doing your part to support St. Louis' community radio station and its television counterpart, DHTV, and you'll be avenging yourself in a safe, constructive, ego-redeeming way.
"Barroom" Bob Putnam, co-owner of the Way Out Club and Double Helix board member, acts as emcee for the fundraiser, beginning around noon. Here's the lineup:
At 12:30 p.m., John Uhlemann (Music of the Hills) and Dancers present an Eastern European folk performance. At 1 p.m., Bob Reuter serves up his idiosyncratic, soulful country-folk. At 1:30 p.m., JB Bauer spins his beloved mix of soul, lounge and esoterica. At 2 p.m., hardcore country-roots revivalists the Rockhouse Ramblers get the crowd two-stepping. At 2:30 p.m., Gene Roberts, the lovable host of the great classic-country show Country Function and Bluegrass Junction, sustains the honky-tonk vibe for another half-hour. From 3-4 p.m., three live acts take the stage: Jan Douglas, Puerto Muerto and Bernie and Barbara McDonald. At 4:30 p.m., Erica Lewis spins the best in contemporary and classic reggae. At 5 p.m., KDHX DJs and local musicians Tom Ray, Art Dwyer and Ron Edwards deliver searing live blues. At 5:30 p.m., Sherry Danger, host of Dangerous Curves, offers an eclectic half-hour of estrogen-laced rock, soul and jazz. At 6 p.m., Doug Morgan, whose show The Underworld was honored last year in the "Best of St. Louis" issue, lays down indie rock, hip-hop and soul. At 6:30 p.m., Wes Almond, host of The Science (broadcast from the Duck Room), mixes up the hip-hop. At 7 p.m., Slammy champs Sexicolor send everyone home with throbbing hearts and ringing ears.
And if all that's not enough to bring you to Reservoir Park on Sunday afternoon, you'd better damn well be in Chicago, at Ladyfest.
Ordinarily we don't bother to mention musical events that take place outside the St. Louis metropolitan area. But when it's an event as huge as Ladyfest and, more important, one that features both a St. Louis band and a band that summers here occasionally, we'll gladly make an exception. This weekend (Aug. 16-19), in the Wicker Park, Logan Square and Humboldt Park neighborhoods of Chicago, an estimated 2,000 people will converge to enjoy such gynocentric-rock luminaries as Barbara Manning, Janet Bean (Freakwater, Eleventh Dream Day), Le Tigre, the Need, Sally Timms -- and, oh yeah, the Star Death (estrogen content 100 percent), St. Louis' most brilliant art-punk trio, and Puerto Muerto (estrogen content 50 percent), the Chicago residents and erstwhile St. Louisans extolled elsewhere in this section.
The event, which costs $70 for all four days, includes more than 100 musical acts. Inspired by Ladyfest 2000 -- a six-day festival held in Olympia, Wash., last July -- the Midwest version boasts a lineup that's sure to impress all but the most committed misogynists. Needless to say, it's a gigantic honor for the Star Death and Puerto Muerto, and we salute them. Not many bands ever have the opportunity to play for a crowd that big -- and, frankly, fewer still are up to the challenge. We're confident that the Star Death and Puerto Muerto will do our city proud.
Speaking of the Star Death, the high-profile gigs just keep falling into their laps. Just months after opening for seminal punk band Fugazi, the Star Death are now plotting a weeklong Midwest tour with the Butchies, a band who recently backed Indigo Girl Amy Ray on her solo tour and whose singer owns the critically acclaimed grrrl-rock and queercore label Mr. Lady (home of Le Tigre).
Farrarophiles, take note! Jay Farrar, former frontman for Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt, has just signed a deal to release his first solo effort, Sebastapol, sometime in September. After his deal with Warner Bros. unraveled, Farrar decided to put out the anxiously awaited CD on Artemis, which bills itself as the biggest-selling independent label in the country. Home to both the Baha Boys (they of the vomit-inducing stadium anthem "Who Let the Dogs Out?") and Steve Earle (whose E-Squared label is a subsidiary), Artemis seems like a good home for St. Louis' most enigmatic and illustrious songwriter.