Song of the STL

On Saturday, September 4, we tuned in to local musical frequencies in their vast and varied incarnations. What we heard, all day and all night:

By 11:30 the club's filling, and DJ Boo is dropping the bombs. Chingy's "Right Thurr," Terror Squad's "Lean Back," Lil' Flip's "Sunshine." Slowly the dance floor fills, and movement starts to consume the 300, which will continue to multiply, then turn crazy as the beat gets transformed into movement. When Boo drops Petey Pablo's "Freek-A-Leek," the crowd locks into a universal springboard beat, and the booties start poppin'.

24, 34, 46, good and thick
And once you get it she'll work wit it
Pretty face and some cute lips, earring in her tongue
And she know what to do wit it

Midnight on the north side, and we're just getting started. -- Roberts

7:46 a.m.: Hallelujah, it's morning! Wake up with the 
St. Paul choir.
Jennifer Silverberg
7:46 a.m.: Hallelujah, it's morning! Wake up with the St. Paul choir.

12:08 midnight
The Way Out Club
St. Louis

Saw Is Family lead singer Louie Guise is dressed in full black robes, white face paint, a long straight black wig and a Viking helmet. The drummer's wig is green. The bassist sports red-and-black-striped sleeves -- and no shirt. If you saw them coming out of a dark alley, you'd either run for your life or laugh.

No matter what they look like, the members of St. Louis' own Saw Is Family bring serious rock, a loud and nasty amalgam of punk and metal that explodes out of the speakers. It would knock the crowd on their asses, if all but one of them wasn't already sitting down. As the Saw Is Family kicks ass as though the throngs of Budokan are screaming at their feet, the crowd watches as if The Importance of Being Earnest were unfolding before them onstage.

"Okay," Guise says when the song is over. "Now we're going to play some punk rock!" -- Harper

1:46 a.m.
The Rocket Bar
St. Louis

Though the Rocket Bar's anything but a meat market, there's no denying the sex in the air when the clock ticks past 1:30 a.m. As folks in ironic tees and black-rimmed glasses swill Pabst and shoot Jäger, the jukebox betrays the fact that at least one denizen has lovin' on the brain. When the Pixies' "Gigantic," an ode to a well-proportioned fella, drops off, it's replaced by the electro-chanteuse Peaches, semi-chanting over a primitive beat:

Sucking on my titties like you're wanting me

Calling me all the time like Blondie
Check out my Chrissie behind
It's fine all of the time

Cymbal crashes fill the air. A girl with cat-eye glasses and a Sonic Youth T-shirt with the sleeves cut off to reveal her tattooed biceps bounces, mouths the words as the chorus hits:

Fuck the pain away
Fuck the pain away
Fuck the pain away

-- Harper

2:11 a.m.
St. Louis

The front room at Velvet is packed with throngs grooving to DJ Charlie Chan. The main dance floor isn't as crowded, but there's still action to be had. And in the back of the club stands Darryl, the archetypical big broad bouncer, separating the common folk from the VIP room filled with... absolutely no one.

"Well, nobody reserved it tonight." Darryl explains. "And so we thought we'd keep it clean for [Sunday night's] Beat Fest." -- Harper

3:03 a.m.
KDHX (88.1 FM) studios
St. Louis

Lee Whitfield is acting fast. The Kyuss song is almost done, and the last thing community radio wants is dead air. But Whitfield gets some CDs in the player and gets his cans on his head before silence fills the room and the airwaves.

He runs through the previous few songs for his listeners and promises AC/DC and Fu Manchu in the near future.

"And for you Seattle-heads out there, it's time to break out your heroin. A big R.I.P. to Layne Staley, he's not with us anymore, but here he is for you rockers and rollers."

Cue Alice in Chains. -- Harper

3:06 a.m.
Larry Flynt's Hustler Club
Washington Park, Illinois

She mounts the pole, hangs upside down by her knees, naked except for four-inch heels, making a strong case for adding a stripper pole to the gymnastics all-around at the 2008 Summer Olympics. It's not gold she's after tonight, of course, but rather the green, grinding her chest-flesh against willing heads in time to the Beastie Boys' "Hey Ladies."

As Brandy or Candy or Jade gathers her sweaty singles and heads offstage, a patron offers a critique to his buddies. "That was OK, but what they need is some real booty music, like some Lil Jon or something. Old school, new school, whatever, something to get down to."

His friends all nod in agreement. -- Erik Alan Carlson

4:09 a.m.
Wal-Mart on South Kirkwood Road

You gotta hand it to this fine country: If you're cruising down Interstate 44 at four ayem and some community-radio DJ gets Alice in Chains stuck in your mind, you can pull off the Lindbergh exit, stop right at the front door of Wal-Mart and, for less than $10, pick yourself up a copy of the Seattle band's greatest hits. Even better, while you're at it you can grab a DVD of Purple Rain and the total still won't hit $20. Hell, if you want, you can pick up a drum kit, bass and electric guitar and start your own Prince/AIC cover band.

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