You think you've seen it all, eh? Wrong, kiddo. Get out your expendable income and prepare to give in to an impulse buy. The Advertising Club of St. Louis (wait, it gets better) holds its fifth annual Adstock Battle of the Bands at 7 p.m. at Blueberry Hill (6504 Delmar Boulevard, 314-727-0880). Your $10 admission ($7 for Ad Club members) gets you in the door to witness seven bands compete for glory and fabulous glory on the battlefield of rock. But wait, there's more! Each band represents a local advertising agency and all the musicians are staffers. "Day job," indeed.
With the sort of enthusiasm that only an advertising creative can muster, Paul MacFarlane of Nashid, the only all-original band in the competition, riffs on the event.
"Imagine a south-county beer bash with oldies and pop tunes with much karaoke potential," persuades MacFarlane. "It's a popularity contest. If your band has lots of friends, you can 'win' the prize of having the most fans. Serious, challenging, passionate, creative music usually goes over everyone's heads. We go on first at 7. After we finish, the beer and 'wooooo' tunes will begin as the musical channel is changed from Discovery back to Nickelodeon. If one goes to Adstock for a laugh, a laugh can be had."
If you're curious about Nashid (www.nashidband.com), or if you believe that the good-time party rock of One Inch Head (last year's winners, pictured), the Crunge, Pro Bono, the Drone Tones, Consenting Adults and the Sales Force will make you younger and more attractive, join others in your demographic at Adstock for a laugh. -- John Goddard
You Can Dance if You Want To
There are some things in this world that everyone should experience: being soaked in a summer rainstorm, heartbreak, a visit to Graceland and Riverdance. Riverdance? Yes, Riverdance. Since 1994 Riverdance has combined Irish music, song and dance into an explosive and stirring expression of our most primitive spirit. Don't you want to discover your primitive spirit (or at least enough oomph to get your toes tapping)? Of course you do! Michael Flatley, a.k.a. "The Lord of the Dance," is long gone, but the passionate heart of Riverdance never belonged to one man; it beats inside all of us. Riverdance? Yes, Riverdance. There will be eight performances at the Fox Theatre from Tuesday, April 13, through Sunday, April 18. Tickets range from $25 to $65 and can be purchased at the Fox box office (527 North Grand Boulevard), by phone at 314-534-1111 or online at www.fabulousfox.com. -- Amy Helms
Is a long way from Iowa
At the Iowa Writers' Workshop, author John Dalton was once told by another student that discussing his work would be "like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic." With all due respect to Kate and Leo, the publication of Dalton's first novel, Heaven Lake, warrants him not only a berth in a lifeboat but one of those bright-orange flotation vests as well. The novel draws on the author's own experiences in mainland China and Taiwan in its story of a young American missionary's travels and his discovery of just how much he doesn't understand about the world or himself. At its heart a love story, the novel aims to illustrate how faith, identity and sense of purpose can be torn asunder and reshaped by one colossally stupid decision. Dalton reads from Heaven Lake at 7 p.m. at Left Bank Books (399 North Euclid Avenue, 314-367-6731) on Thursday, April 8, and again at 2:30 p.m. at Barnes and Noble-Crestwood (9618 Watson Road, 314-843-9480) on Saturday, April 10. -- Andrew Schubert
Welcome to Panda Park
FRI 4/9 The 90 Day Men's newest long-player, Panda Park, is a challenging recording chock-full of gorgeous piano-driven melody, solid guitar work and steel trap-tight rhythms. Challenging, as applied here, is both good and bad. Good in the sense that the 90 Day Men offer up some of the finest progressive musicianship around, bad in that it's difficult to get past singer Brian Case's vocals. At best his howl is like a convulsing mental patient; at worst, it's like Rufus Wainwright with his balls caught in a vice. Still, this Chicago quartet (three-quarters of which are former St. Louisans) will undoubtedly jam-pack the Rocket Bar (2001 Locust Street) tonight, as they have many times in the past.
The one and only Lady Harmonicus hear (ha!) to educate the masses on the harmonica. This instrument, a.k.a. (albeit somewhat inaccurately) the mouth organ, mouth piano (OK, the Lady made this one up), harp or goofus (the real name of a 1920s novelty keyboard harmonica -- a close cousin of the traditional variety), is one that everyone can learn to play, provided the student knows how to breathe. The harmonica is portable and cheap (some are only $20), and classes are offered online. There's even a club to join: the Gateway Harmonica Club (www.gatewayharmonicaclub.org). Check it out at 1:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the St. Louis County Library-Weber Road branch (4444 Weber Road, 314-638-2210). One question before class is dismissed: Why aren't there more lady harmonica players? -- Alison Sieloff