By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
If you pile all the cool little events on top of each other this week, all the itsy one-offs and interesting tidbits, the mound created is huge and, er, glowing; there's nothing all-consuming going on, not one single event that will draw the masses and blow their heads apart (though the promoters of each event would no doubt beg to differ). However, these little offerings, taken as a whole, provide a fantastic snapshot of St. Louis 2000 in all its jumbled glory. Or, to put it in Rob Breszny-speak: It's a good week to remove your blinders, splash some water on your pretty face and venture outside the rut you call your life. Below, a few nuggets.
For a while there, the rumor was that Lo, the downtown spot voted Best New Club by both the readers and critics at the RFT, had a curious policy of not booking drum & bass DJs, preferring instead to concentrate on more palatable forms of electronic dance music. They'd breach that unspoken policy from time to time, mainly during the Washington Avenue Beat Festival, but more than one DJ was advised to nix the jungle when he began to spin it. That mandate, though, has vanished, and Thursdays have become the property of Faded Crew, the most established jungle troupe in the city. Every Thursday, Tré, B-Wise, Jim K. and others tag-team on the turntables, and those interested in checking the latest in jungle sounds and all the various too-many-to-keep-track-of subgenres are advised to pay witness. And with Lo's recent acquisition of a 3 a.m. license, you can check it for an extra few hours.
Attention, Ben Harper heads: St. Louis hometowner Eric Person has been one of Harper's sidemen, a credit that, among the obsessives, should mandate attendance at the Backstage Bistro this weekend (Person played sax on Harper's Will to Live). Among jazz heads, though, Person's work with Harper is the least of his accomplishments: He's also been a regular member of psycho-jazz drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson's band, has played with Dave Holland's band, has been a member of the World Saxophone Quartet and has performed with the amazing trumpeter Dave Douglas. Person returns to his hometown from his Big Apple digs to perform a four-night stint at the Bistro, starting Wednesday, Oct. 25, and stretching through Saturday, Oct. 28.
Though the Barkers are officially an Austin, Texas, band, they'll always be at least partially considered a St. Louis entity because of this city's love affair with Alice Spencer, formerly of Three Merry Widows and current long-distance member of the Geyer Street Sheiks. She and husband Will Walden, along with the rest of the band, return to St. Louis to perform at Blueberry Hill's Duck Room on Friday. Word from Walden is that the Barkers are headed into the studio to record with ace Texans David Garza (you know, Dah-veed) and J.D. Foster, a producer best known for his work with the Silos, Syd Straw and, most importantly to our ears, Marc Ribot. The combination is a perfect one: The Barkers are at their best when roaming astray of the standard Austin twang, when they -- like Ribot and Garza -- stretch to touch that weird world of American songwriting that knows no genre. Walden says that the band has had offers from labels, but nothing so far has struck their fancy. They begin recording the Garza/Foster sessions in November.
Last year's Superstars of Love party, Spooks in Space, was a great one, packed and rolling with the sounds of Sandra Collins (who apparently played last week at Liquid, though no one knew about it) and a transcendent set by Detroit techno king Carl Craig. The Superstars are attempting to replicate that party's success this year with the unfortunately named Spooks Sin Space party, held in the same space in Columbia, Mo. This year's party was to have featured Jacques Lu Cont (a.k.a. Les Rhythms Digitales), but he apparently flaked last week; in his stead, though, will be the Detroit techno artist Ectomorph, doing a live PA. Also featured will be former St. Louis-boy-gone-big-time Terry Mullan, Lenny Dee and a host of others.
Also on Saturday night will be a potential great show at the Centro Sociale featuring bassist Darin Gray, along with two Chicago percussionists, Glenn Kotche and Tim Barnes. Gray knows the two through their mutual work with Jim O'Rourke in his touring band, and the two percussionists, who compose their music (it definitely won't be two dudes slapping congas), have worked with a load of Chicagoans up there, including Jon Langford and Sally Timms, the Boxhead Ensemble, Jeff Tweedy, the Essex Green and countless others. The show starts promptly at 8 p.m., so get there on time, winners. (Side note: You'd be forgiven if you hadn't the foggiest idea that this show was happening at the Centro; apparently one of the Centro commandments these days is "Thou shalt not promote our shows." It's been frustrating around here, learning after the fact about shows performed at the collective on the Hill. Case in point: the recent Zeke Sheckshow, which we would have pushed the hell out of had we known about it. Or maybe it's just us. Either way, music fans, there's good music going on constantly at the Centro, but if a tree falls in the woods....)