By Carolina de Busto
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
Best Blues Artist
Bottoms Up Blues Gang
The Bottoms Up Blues Gang singer Kari Liston, guitarist Jeremy Segel-Moss and harmonica player Adam Andrews has earned a following the old-fashioned way: by playing its music (a mix of originals, blues and covers) in person and in front of as many people as possible. Perhaps taking a cue from the itinerant troubadours of yesteryear, who always traveled light, the trio has parlayed a voice, a guitar and some harmonicas into (by its count) more than 275 shows a year for each of the past several years. Dean C. Minderman
Big George Brock
When Big George Brock plays the blues, he's coming from two places: rural Mississippi (where he was born) and St. Louis (where he's spent much of his adult life). His music is a raucous collision between the electricity of urban blues and the more idiosyncratic sounds usually found only on front porches and in backwoods juke-joints. As one of the few remaining St. Louis bluesmen of his generation still active, Brock may be a treasure, but he's no museum piece: He can still sing, play harp and put on a show to rival the best in the business. (DCM)
Tom Hall comes across as a quiet, laid-back kind of guy, both onstage and off, but his guitar playing speaks volumes. After a number of years spent playing electric lead guitar with several popular local blues acts, he began concentrating mostly on solo acoustic performances. His style has since evolved to incorporate blues, folk, country and more into an apparently seamless whole. Hall's guitar technique is impressive, but his musicality, taste and imagination are what really set him apart from the crowd. (DCM)
Riddle's Penultimate Café & Wine Bar, 9 p.m.
When people see Marquise Knox perform, they can't help but notice that the singer, guitarist, and harmonica player is still in his teens. However, Knox isn't just good for his age; he's just plain good. Like many young musicians, he's still developing his instrumental and songwriting skills, but Knox's strong vocal abilities and precociously poised stage presence have already helped him make his mark after just a couple of years as an active participant in St. Louis' bustling blues scene. (DCM)
Brandt's, 11 p.m.
Casey Reid is a young blues musician with a beautiful, guttural singing voice. His haunting, dirge-like moan sparkles with unique and lusty authority even if he uses this gravelly groan to take on traditional blues topics such as love, loss and ladies. Though other musicians frequently back Reid, just his voice and his acoustic guitar are enough to carry songs. Why? His technique he slaps and pulls the strings rather than strumming them adds an extra layer of chugging, lazy lamentation to his gritty and intricate compositions. (JL)
Market in the Loop Outdoor Stage, 3 p.m.
DJs often seem to be competing with each other to see who can make the most seamless song transition, or who can throw down the most obscure, hard-to-find wax. But Scotty Mac needs none of this white-label pretense. He seems to be in the DJ game for one thing only: to make some booties bump. He plays "house" music, a danceable genre of electronica rooted in disco and jazz. He spins tenacious tracks featuring big-voiced divas and comfortably predictable beats that manage to keep the energy high and the clubbers shakin' it. (JL)
Pin-Up Bowl, 10 p.m.
DJ Foster's list of professional accomplishments is steadily growing, including scoring the coveted opening spot for Green Velvet at Dante's a few months ago. As he nears ten years of experience playing hard Nine Inch Nails-style techno in front of huge crowds, DJ Foster has recently stepped up his game. His sets were always crowd-pleasing, but there's a new fluidity, a new smooth sexiness to his style. While thick beats drive most electronic music, he has found the ability (and agility) to both work the beats and lift them to a new tech-y, minimalist sound. (JL)
Pin-Up Bowl, 7 p.m.
Rob Lemon is more than just a nocturnal club guy and hard-working scene promoter: He's also a phenomenal progressive-house DJ and producer (he's one-third of X-1). From the monthly parties he hosts at the Upstairs Lounge to running his nightlife Web site (www.velocitystlouis.com) to helping to create chart-toppers (X-1 's "Hypnosis" ranked on Beatport, an online source for electronic music), Rob Lemon is instrumental in keeping St. Louis bumpin'. And he's even won a prestigious RFT Best of St. Louis award! Alison Sieloff
Pin-Up Bowl, 11 p.m.
Adrian FoxNot only are St. Louisans fans of Mr. Adrian Fox, but so are the folks in Miami: This DJ represented our fair city at the Ultra Music Festival during the 2006 Winter Music Conference. His sets happily bounce from soaring vocal tracks to the booty-shakers everyone loves, and they perfectly suit any space, from the tiniest lounge to the largest outdoor party. Plus, this tatted fox likes to have a crazy good time and isn't that all anyone can ask for in a DJ? (AS)