Riverfront Times Music Awards '04

Ring, Cicada

Though they've added vocals to a smattering of songs, Ring, Cicada are still mostly known for their instrumental work. Ring, Cicada's genre is hard to categorize -- it probably falls under the category of post-rock, whatever that means -- but it's easy to say what the band does well: mixing punk and metal edge with progressive adventurousness. The four-piece group is incredibly tight on record but even more impressive live. With a rock-solid rhythm section holding the anchor, the dueling guitarists aim for the sky, their metallic, interlocking lines spiderwebbing across the synapses like a really good hit of some drug that dulls the senses and enhances them at the same time. Who needs talk when you can make guitars speak? 8 p.m., Cicero's

The 7 Shot Screamers

Any band can have some measure of success in a local rockabilly scene: Get the clothes and the hair just right, play a few well-chosen covers and a few originals that sound like carbon copies of those covers. The 7 Shot Screamers are a success, and they definitely have the clothes and the hair just right, but they've avoided the pigeonhole. Winning fans outside of the insular scene by adding glam and punk influences to their solid rockabilly base, the Screamers also bank on their incendiary live show to win over new converts. The group does play a well-chosen cover here or there but, despite its background, this band is an original. 10 p.m., Duck Room

The Trip Daddys

Why do the Trip Daddys capture -- year after year -- the loyalty of St. Louis rockers from across the genre continuum? Because they know the difference between remaining true to the original spirit of rockabilly and being stuck in a rut of stale re-creations. They're not fixated on sounding exactly like an ersatz Johnny Burnette or Gene Vincent, complete with authentic '50s dust on the mics. Instead, they channel the spirit of the drag strip and the gin joint with fearsome tempos, wild vocals and, of course, Craig Straubinger's crazy-ass guitar solos. The Daddys have owned the rockabilly scene for ages now, and their unhinged abandon in pursuit of pure rock thrills shows no signs of abating. 7 p.m., Main Outdoor Stage

Best Garage Rock

The Cripplers

Often, calling something "dependable" is a backhanded compliment -- a dependable car isn't flashy enough to be called anything else. The Cripplers are the most dependable garage-rock band in St. Louis, but in this case that word isn't just empty praise. Around before the millennium turned, these guys have ruled the scene for some time with their gritty, grimy guitars and unique dual-vocal attack. Trimming the fat from its sound over that time, what we have now is St. Louis' own answer to the New Bomb Turks -- a no-frills rock band playing in a style that's been around forever but, when played this well, will never get old. 11 p.m., Hi-Pointe

The Electric

A typical song by the Electric begins with that most basic unit of rock & roll: the riff. It's not an ordinary riff, either -- it's the kind of slick, back-to-basics, Chuck Berry riff that Marc Bolan of T. Rex would rise from the grave to steal. Then come the pounding drums, often augmented by a laudable amount of cowbell or tambourine. The bass drives the song forward. The vocals come in like Elvis gargling broken glass and at the chorus the song explodes in a gang of chants. At 1:53 the song ends, but worry not: These four glam-garage guys have tunes to spare. 7 p.m., Duck Room

Gentlemen Callers

This isn't your dad's garage rock. This is your garage rock, the kind you wish you could have played in your garage, and probably tried to. Bassist Kevin Schneider, guitarist/organist Mike Young, drummer Matt Picker and guitarist Mike Virag play their instruments like a rumble between the Jets and the Sharks, a tangle of youth that looks and sounds wonderfully jilted, with licks that make for worn vinyl and dirty sheets. Blending the sound of a prom circa 1985 with sharp and tinny British blues, the fans of the Callers rejoice to hear that the band has an album due soon and are ready to make born-again rockers out of the rest of us. Let the conversion begin. 9 p.m., Duck Room

The Phonocaptors

There are three sides to the rock & roll triangle that is the Phonocaptors. Wild man Scott Hermes pounds the drums with reckless abandon, powering the relentless groove. Keith Voegele holds down the bottom end, playing a furious bass that stays locked into Hermes' rhythms without ever missing a chance to contribute a neat melodic run. Though the three always play lined up even on the stage, Jason Hutto is the frontman, the charismatic guitarist with a seemingly endless arsenal of electrifying riffs and humbucking leads. Hutto is the singer and chief songwriter, though the background vocals of Hermes and Voegele add pop luster to the mix. Put them all together, and you've got passionate, exciting and, most importantly, catchy rock & roll brilliance. 12 a.m., Halo Bar

Tomorrow's Caveman

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