By Ray Downs
By Lindsay Toler
By Danny Wicentowski
By Lindsay Toler
By RFT Staff
By Lindsay Toler
By Allison Babka
By Lindsay Toler
Best New Artist -- The Spiders
Capturing that excitement in the studio should be the Spiders' next goal. The sole Spiders release is an enjoyable but decidedly lo-fi CD-R demo, four songs recorded quick and cheap, giving just a hint of what the band can deliver live. With any luck, they'll record again soon, releasing a proper full-length CD and hitting the road, spreading their chaotic gospel across the great punk underground. They've got the heart, they've got the momentum, they've got the enthusiasm and now they've got the Best New Band Slammy award. All that and $2 will get you a cup of coffee at any Starbucks in America, so it'll be interesting to see where the Spiders go from here.
-- Matt Harnish
Best Rock Band -- Sexicolor
"We're expecting the inevitable Nelly backlash to work in our favor," declares Rodney DiLema, ersatz manager of Sexicolor, on the St. Louis supergroup's Web site, with regard to the quartet's nomination for Artist of the Year.
Alas, the anti-rock conspirators won that round, for the "rapper" took home that title. But fans of ginormous guitar-driven megarock took heart in the fact that Sexicolor trounced the competition in the Best Rock Band Category, avenging last year's surprise defeat. Industry experts predict it's only a matter of time before Spitzie, Jason, Joe and Scott deafen Americans from coast to coast.
"Sexicolor are rock & roll -- not modern rock or alternative rock or rap-rock or any other bullshit term," declares Homer Fong, local rocker and survivor of several Sexicolor shows. "They're rock & roll the way nature intended, just some guitars, a bass, drums and an assload of amps."
Fong's assessment of the band is supported by several other drunken longhairs staggering out of the Hi-Pointe after Sexicolor's million-watt assault. Most of their comments are unprintable because of the copious vomiting and "devil-horning" that took precedence over actual words, but the general consensus is "Sexicolor are the fucking shit, man!"
Indeed, Sexicolor's charms hold sway over a wider audience than just Camaro-driving alcoholics. Their debut album, The Look and Feel of Sexicolor, garnered them precious column inches in this paper's own techno/electronic/house/dance haven, Radar Station, and even earned the band a retraction of Radar Station's prior "Rock is dead" stance. No small feat for an album that contains no samplers, sequencers or Frenchmen.
That's not enough for loyal fans such as Fong: "Nelly sucks. Yeah, yeah, he sold an assload of records last year, but so what? Michael Bolton sold, like, 9 million records in one year, and you don't see anyone making him Artist of the Year. He'll be gone like Coolio in another year, but Sexicolor will still be kicking ass! Rock & rollllllll!"
That might be the outlandish claims of another hepped-up dropout, but stranger things have happened. Last year's also-rans are this year's winners. Maybe next year the trend will continue, and rock & roll will regain its supremacy. Power chords to the people!
-- Paul Friswold
Best Jazz Artist -- Dave Stone Trio
In a year of repeat winners in various Slammies categories, the first-place finish in Best Jazz by the Dave Stone Trio just may be the most impressive. First, look at the incredible talent that the group had to beat to win again: the energetic, always exciting pianist Ptah Williams; two of the finest sax players in the area, Willie Akins and John Norment; polished vocalist Jeanne Trevor; and up-and-coming singer Erika Johnson. The closeness of the voting results reflects the high level of musicianship common to all the contenders.
Given the fact that the Dave Stone Trio's victory in this category in 2000 was their first, a follow-up win this year suggests that last year's triumph was no flash in the pan. Saxophonist Stone, bassist Eric Markowitz and drummer Kyle Honeycutt have proved their staying power through dedication and commitment to the basic element of jazz, improvisation. If you've ever been in the audience at Mangia Italiano for an appearance by Stone, Markowitz and Honeycutt, you know these guys don't set any barriers or limits on the musical turf they choose to explore.
But what's most impressive are the depth of knowledge and instrumental skill that the three players bring to the stage. Stone and Markowitz have been playing together for years, first in the Webster University jazz-studies program, then with some of the area's top-notch musicians. They are both avid students in the John Coltrane school and have developed a deep rapport that gives their musical explorations depth and cohesiveness. And in Honeycutt, they've found a kindred spirit.
All three guys expand their musical experiences beyond the trio setting. Stone brings together some of the area's most talented avant-garde jazz musicians (with Markowitz usually along for the ride) in his Free Jazz Unit. Musicians such as Jim Orso and Syd Rodway frequently sit in with the trio, bringing their own personalities to the musical explorations. As a result, hearing the Dave Stone Trio perform live is always an adventure -- and always a unique experience. With a second consecutive Slammy win in the Best Jazz category, the Dave Stone Trio solidifies its reputation as one of the most interesting and influential groups in the St. Louis region.
-- Terry Perkins