The Conformists bash out dumb punk rock, and they do it quite well. At a recent Hi-Pointe gig, the band showed that it's still possible to create angry, adventurous punk and that lead singers with shaved heads can still be compelling. The shaved head does need to toughen his vocal cords -- his scream is pretty wimpy -- but if you just ignore it and pay attention to the sound their guitarist makes, you'll be fine. It's rudimentary, but within his constraints he's experimenting, squawking and wah-wahing his way toward Gomorrah.... If new St. Louis band Jerry Mathers would stay the hell away from breaking into dumbass raps in their songs, they'd be great; when they do stay away from said raps, they bash out interesting hard rock. When they rap, they sound like every other white-boy band out there. They get loads of bonus points for their two Matherettes, though; the harmonizing ladies at stage right add a dose of levity to the proceedings, and when you're banging out punk-rap, or rap-punk, levity is your only saving grace.
Loads of decent gigs this week; every once in a while the stars align in St. Louis and it actually appears as though we've got a strong, vibrant rock scene (though the lion's share of you rock fans still suck; if you want a good scene, you have to actually go out and support it).
Place at the top of this impressive list a band we slobbered all over a few weeks back called Sullen. They're playing three gigs this week, and if you can manage to pull yourself away from your oh-so-important needlepoint projects, you'll be grateful. They gig at the Way Out Club on Thursday, Nov. 18, with Idgie.... Word is Son Volt's two-night stint at Mississippi Nights this week will be their last shows for a "long, long time," whatever that means.... Ultraman returns once again to bang out the hearty man's punk at the Creepy Crawl, hot on the heels of their opening gig with Agnostic Front. At that show, says leader Tim Jamison, "one kid even told me that we stole the show. I take that as a positive remark. It makes up for the kid telling me it was cool to see someone as old as me still skating. OK, so I started skating before he was born, but does it really make me old?"
Finally, perpetual go-getters Metropolis are sponsoring one of their benefits on Friday, Nov. 19, at the Way Out Club, this one with an identifiably Crone-ian stamp: Geoff Kessell; Tony Vrooman and Jake Brookman of Vitamin A; Danny Hommes and Mike Burgett of the Wingnuts; Marc Chechik of Waterloo; Mark Cook; Cobalt Blue, featuring Rebecca Ryan and Tim Redmond; and EJ Fitch and Scott Roever of the Treeweasels. The show's being presented for a good cause, to benefit the students at Bryan Hill Elementary School in the College Hill area of North St. Louis.
Send all local tapes, tips, discs and detritus to "Radar Station," The Riverfront Times, 6358 Delmar Blvd., Suite 200, St. Louis, MO 63130; e-mail: radarstation@ rftstl.com.