The 2002 RFT Music Awards Showcase

The name has changed, but the song remains the same

11 p.m.: Practically the grand old men of the scene (they've been around, like, two years), the Spidersare still destroying stages all around St. Louis with admirable frequency. Combustible Jaxon is one of the most charismatic frontmen this city has produced in quite some time, and guitarist Sleazus Christ has grown into a worthy onstage foil for him. The band proved it could back up the stage charm on record with last year's EP "It's Breakin' My Mind." Strongly influenced by garage-punk ravers such as the Dwarves and the New Bomb Turks and getting closer to matching their inspirations all the time, the Spiders should start making a splash in the national punk scene any day now.

Cicero's
7 p.m.: The Honkeys provided one of the highlights of last year's showcase when they pulled a sweaty and bespectacled fan from the Duck Room crowd and enticed him into leading them through a blistering version of the Misfits' "Where Eagles Dare." Who knew surf instrumentals and horror-punk went hand in hand? The Honkeys' beach-blanket riffs, punk hearts and office-drone looks make for an interesting shindig, even if the delectable dancing Saltines are no longer part of the festivities.

8 p.m.: If sounding like the Kingsmen is wrong, the Gentleman Callers don't want to be right. This long-gestating mod/garage band finally began playing shows earlier this spring, and the wait's been well worth it. Featuring members of mid-'90s punk & rollers El Gordo's Revenge, the Gentlemen Callers have given up on most of what passes for punk these days, instead looking back to about 1965 for inspiration, drawing from bands such as the Sonics, the Standells and the aforementioned Kingsmen. Punctuating songs with cheesy keyboard splashes, unnecessary "c'mon"s and gloriously simple guitar solos, the Gentlemen Callers play every show as if it's toga night at the Animal House while still allowing their punk roots to show through.

9 p.m.: DJ Alexis has been at the center of the St. Louis dance community since way before she was legally allowed to club-hop. Her parties, which stretched from the mid-'90s to the '00s and were thrown under her That Girl moniker, are legendary, some of the seminal early St. Louis raves. As a DJ, Alexis spins rich, thick vocal house, music that's jazzy and propulsive. She's also a member of the Hothouse Sessions -- Alexis on turntables, Chris Hansen on percussion and a brass section composed of trumpeter Kasimu and trumpeter/trombonist La Mar Harris -- who throw down a hard amalgam of live and recorded house music every Thursday at Rue 13 and monthly at Miso's in Clayton.

10 p.m.: No self-respecting jam band appreciates that label, and CPB, we're guessing, is no exception. Sure, it's a convenient way to ghettoize the Cicero's regulars, a way to warn concertgoers of the inevitable odor of patchouli and American Spirit cigarettes that's sure to hit them like a Mack truck should they decide to check out such a band. All the so-called jam bands favor, duh, instrumental jams -- meandering sonic explorations that might, depending on your state of mind and frame of reference, remind you of Sun Ra or Frank Zappa, of Miles Davis or the Allman Brothers, of Funkadelic or Phish. CPB might be a jam band, yeah, but that doesn't mean they're idle noodlers, throwback potheads who can't get over the loss of Jerry Garcia. If you've got them pigeonholed as granola-crunching, Birkenstock-shod latter-day Deadheads, you might be in for a surprise. This eccentric sextet features a trombone and saxophone, and it's as likely to throw down some Afro-pop à la King Sunny Ade as it is to cut loose with the obligatory white-boy-blues extendo-jams.

11 p.m.: One of those bands that never really fit in any of the standard categories, Jive Turkey is tailor-made for the Groove Band slot -- an ambiguous designation, maybe, but by far the most accurate. Drawing equally from hip-hop, rock, funk, jazz and R&B, the esoteric octet makes party music for people who don't care about artificial boundaries, genre distinctions or petty pigeonholes. Don't let the cornball name fool you: Jive Turkey takes its music seriously -- seriously enough to do it right, not so seriously that it seems pretentious. To paraphrase the immortal Dick Clark, it's got a good beat, and you can groove to it. Over the past few years, Jive Turkey has acquired a devoted fanbase and a Slammy statuette to prove it. Unfortunately for us, the band's getting ready to move to San Diego -- make sure you send them off in style.

Delmar Restaurant & Lounge
7 p.m.: It's only appropriate that the Music Awards Showcase lineup at the Delmar Restaurant & Lounge kicks off Sunday with a performance by John Norment. The tenor saxophonist par excellence is a weekly regular at the Lounge -- holding down the prime Saturday-night slot with his Allstars group for the past few years. Norment has also been a key contributor to the local jazz scene for decades, and his string of recent nominations in the Jazz category is long-overdue recognition for his efforts. With roots that go back to the Black Artists Group and the cutting-edge music of the '70s, plus plenty of work within the St. Louis R&B/blues tradition, Norment has the experience, the talent and the spirit to take an audience in any musical direction he chooses to explore. And wherever the music takes him on Sunday, it's sure to set a high standard for the musicians that follow him onstage.

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121 comments
Lizette E.
Lizette E.

Currently sitting on a barstool in the middle of a drunken musical ruckus. My life is pretty weird/great.

 
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