With so many activities to choose from, summer is the season of over-committing and double-booking. To prevent such catastrophes in concertgoing, A to Z has pinpointed six must-see local shows in the next few months that you should see.
Tobi Kai & the Strays with 7 Shot Screamers and One Lone Car: Saturday, July 15, the Pageant (6161 Delmar Boulevard; 314-726-6161). Sloan-esque rockers OLC were disappointingly free of charisma the last time A to Z caught them live, but perhaps sharing a bill with rockabilly firebrands 7 Shot Screamers and hell-kitty Tobi Kai will teach them a trick or two.
James Will & the Engines of Creation: Monday, July 17, CBGB (3163 South Grand Boulevard; no phone). Don't let the name fool you: This is the first show of the new project of Julia Sets' James Weber, and it's a thrashing garage-rock good time, reminiscent of early R.E.M. or a drunken Replacements.
Tight Pants Syndrome: Thursday, July 20, Cicero's (6691 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-862-0009). These twee power-poppers have been quiet since February but that's only because they've been busy breaking in a new drummer (former Phonocaptor Scott Hermes) and adding a new female vocalist/Moog player to their ranks (ex-Bunnygrunt Lauren Trull).
Miles of Wire: Friday, July 21, Off Broadway (3509 Lemp Avenue; 314-773-3363). A to Z plans to write more about Miles of Wire's Can You Feel It? in a future issue, but fans of Wilco and Neil Young can't do much better than checking out the quartet at one of their many shows around town.
The Daybreak Boys: Tuesday, August 8, Cicero's (6691 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-862-0009). Another show debut, this time from a heavenly synthpop trio conjuring shades of New Order, the Killers and the Delays mostly thanks to vocalist Ryan Sears' angelic falsetto.
Finn's Motel: Friday, August 25, Off Broadway (3509 Lemp Avenue; 314-773-3363). They won't release their new Scat Records CD, Escape Velocity, until September 19, but Finn's Motel has managed to create one of the finest singles of 2006, the irresistible indie-rock (think Superchunk or GbV) gem "Of Cycles and Engines" (available at myspace.com/finnsmotel). Annie Zaleski