Music Showcase Schedule

The complete low-down on this year's nominated acts

Head On Collision
Head On Collision features former members of Very Metal — and while this thrashing-mad group certainly deserved to commandeer that moniker, their new name works well with the highway-accident-gruesome artwork on 2005's Arise from the Wreckage demo. Their dual guitarists play lockstep full-speed riffs, like chained-together sprinters racing to the manic beat of Jason Brooks ' drums. Singer Todd Robbins sounds like a demon-possessed version of Mighty Mighty Bosstones' Dicky Barrett, gruffly enunciating lyrics about grave topics. Should Head On Collision claim this category, their reign will be bloody. (AM)

Ornament of Disgrace; Even if they don't win this category, Ornament of Disgrace have already landed one hell of a consolation prize: the local-support slot for October's St. Louis appearance by the legendary Celtic Frost. With a core group (guitarist Andy McKay, drummer Paul Collier, singer John Kingdon) that first formed in 2001, Ornament of Disgrace have perfected their musical chemistry, enabling them to concoct unfathomably complex death-metal compositions that only improve when re-created live. OoD is currently completing a full-length, though fans might still be parsing their dizzying 2005 EP, Christ Fails. (AM)

Many in town thought that the prolonged silence from LoFreq — i.e., its lack of shows and new music — meant that the band had broken up. But in reality, the power trio fond of describing itself with the adjective "thunderboogie" is alive, well and recording new tunes (vocalist/guitarist Gary also helps out at Tension Head on Cherokee Street). Judging from past recordings, there's no reason that future LoFreq tunes will be anything but stoner-sludge gems amped up on AC/DC riffage. (AZ)

Bennie Smith
9 p.m., 609
Jennifer Silverberg
Bennie Smith
9 p.m., 609
Johnny O & the Jerks
9 p.m., Halo Bar
Johnny O & the Jerks
9 p.m., Halo Bar
Delmar Loop

Best Hip-Hop Artist

The Earthworms don't pretend to be hardcore. Well, OK, they pretend, but nobody believes them. Instead, their hopeful, positive, surreal lyrics expose them for what they are: really nice guys. Kama and Mathias, formerly of Core Project, share the mic with Black Patrick, and the turntables are manned by DJ Mahf, who is almost as talented as he is cute. The production shines on their debut, No Arms, No Legs, Just a Head and a Body, but see their live show for the chance to hear DJ Crucial's remix of their song "OneTwo" — and to see Mathias cutting a rug in his own unique way. — Ben Westhoff
9 p.m., Blueberry Hill's Elvis Room

Spaide R.I.P.P.E.R.;
Spaide R.I.P.P.E.R. still isn't signed, but could he still be the self-proclaimed "people's champ" if he was on a label? We don't think so. Fact is, we like Spaide's status as the biggest St. Louis rapper no one outside of town has heard of. We like his growl, his braids and the way he doesn't curse in his songs. (Sure, he talks about cutting suckas up, but you can't have everything.) On second thought, it may be rude for us not to wish Spaide the national success he so covets, so we'll just say this: Don't forget us when you're famous, homey. (BW)
10 p.m., Blueberry Hill's Elvis Room

Big Will/Da SLU Cru
Saint Louis University is known for many things, but being a hotbed of freestyle rap isn't one of them. So while it's curious that Da SLU Cru rep their hometown school, these fellas don't turn out backpack rap. Frontman Big Will is a six-time champ on BET's 106 and Park "Freestyle Friday" competition, throwing down an easy, slightly menacing flow. Big Will and his partner, Tyrant, rhyme over fuzzed-out Funkadelic riffs and minimal beats, threatening to create a new style of St. Louis rap. We'll see what they come up with. (CS)
8 p.m., Blueberry Hill's Elvis Room

Ruka Puff;
Ruka Puff's album title proclaims I'm A Star — and with his high-rise Mohawk and flashy jewelry, he already looks the part. A member of the Supreme Team collective, Ruka spits rugged rhymes over grimy bass-heavy beats. Whether rapping about footwear (and delivering the most intimidating "don't step on my Pradas" warning ever issued) or comparing shoes to rims ("High Tops"), this mountainous MC economizes syllables. At the clubs, a commanding bark carries more weight than an ostentatious vocabulary. (AM)
11 p.m., Blueberry Hill's Elvis Room

Black Spade
Black Spade has one foot firmly placed in the old school — the school led by A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, that is. Like those pioneers, Spade favors a sample-delic style of hip-hop where classic soul-jazz merges with socially conscious storytelling. Throw in his molasses-smooth, laid-back flow — a delivery that has nothing to do with Nelly's drawl and everything to do with Anthony Hamilton's croon — and Spade's poised to kick back like it's 1975 all over again. (AZ)

Best Hip-Hop DJ

If you ever stumble upon a large cache of high-caliber rap, hip-hop or R&B twelve-inches in the used bins at Vintage Vinyl, chances are you've just discovered the latest collection purge by Needles. But it isn't reinvention that's kept the affable DJ consistently near the top of the St. Louis scene; it's seamlessly mixed sets. Whether you're seeing Needles spin at Boogaloo, the Hi-Pointe or 609 — where he helms the long-running "jazzyphatnappy" night of laid-back soul, Afrobeat, hip-hop and more — he drops encyclopedic music knowledge and mad skills almost as much as he drops killer beats. (AZ)
11 p.m., Pin-Up Bowl

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