By Bob McMahon
By Allison Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By Carolina de Busto
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
Head On Collision
Head On Collision isn't like other metal bands. For one thing, its members smile constantly. And though it still sports the Flying V and performs the requisite headbanging, Head On Collision is different (and so good) because of the tuuunes, dude. There's no joking when it comes to the music; it's dead serious when it comes to rocking you. Each member has a distinct job: Bassist Dave Carr bumps out a backbeat, guitarist John Hancock thrashes and guitarist/vocalist Pat McCauley wails all on top of drummer Jason Brooks' brutally hard hits. They're authentic without being obnoxious a rare quality in their genre. With the support of a new record label (Beer City Records), HOC are planning to hit the road even harder than the booze in 2008. (JL)
Like a grizzly bear roaring awake from a winter's slumber, Shame Club has recently come out of hibernation for shows perhaps because the quartet is on the verge of releasing its long-awaited next album, which it worked on with Carl Amburn (Riddle of Steel). As before, expect its tunes to resemble Led Zeppelin going on a road trip with Queens of the Stone Age to the California desert controlled substances optional, but encouraged. (AZ)
Blueberry Hill's Duck Room, 6 p.m.
Blending the foggy tones of doom metal with a propulsive space-truckin' pace, Spark Thugs provide a serious buzz for headbanging stoners and classic rockers alike. Tony Stone's roaring blues-infused baritone, strong enough to soar above his high-volume guitar leads, recalls Glenn Danzig, Jim Morrison and Ian Astbury. On the impending EP American Shogun, this power trio rides heavy grooves like a mythical hero corralling a minotaur, with strong, steady hands on the thrashing beast's reins. (AM)
Blueberry Hill's Duck Room, 9 p.m.
Best Hip-Hop DJ
Look, anyone can download some Young Jeezy onto his MP3 player, hook up a couple of speakers and call himself a hip-hop DJ. Velveeta can also sit on a shelf and bear the label "cheese." But that nasty orange cube ain't the real deal, friend, and neither is DJ Look-Wutz-on-My-iPod. You want a hip-hop DJ who still hauls around the crates, who can barely move through his house without falling over vinyl, who plays out every week without fail. You want Needles. On Sunday nights, he rocks U. City hot-spot 609. On Wednesdays he hosts a new DJ night, Tableturnz, at Filter. And every Monday he holds it down along with his legendary DJ partner, G.Wiz, on KDHX (88.1 FM)'s The Remedy. The man is absolutely everywhere. If you haven't seen Needles spin, you're probably under house arrest. Brooke Foster Blueberry Hill's Elvis Room, 8 p.m.
DJ Trackstar is...a DJ. Yep, it's right there in the name. But here's the rest of it, the stuff that won't fit on CD covers and show flyers: Trackstar is a hip-hop scholar. He's a mentor to dozens of kids, an inspiration of the highest order. He's a savvy businessman and a tireless supporter of the STL scene. He drinks too much Red Bull. He has to drink that much Red Bull. How else could one person put out thirty mixtapes in less than four years? Trackstar's mixes juxtapose national heavy-hitters (Jay-Z, Ghostface Killah) with up-and-coming St. Louis talent. The brilliant emcee Lupe Fiasco one of his hip-hop heroes hosts his latest release, Boogie Bang 7. And you'll find Trackstar spinning in the Halo Bar every Friday night. He's a DJ, remember? (BF)
Pin-Up Bowl, 8 p.m.
On a track from his album Noodle-Arm Whimsy, Chicago rapper Serengeti opines: "DJ Crucial's dope." The man speaks the truth. Crucial isdope. And inventive. And wildly talented. Proof can be found on last year's amazing Test Presses and Dub Plates, which starts out strong (the beyond-legendary DJ Premier does the intro) and never lets up. Of particular note is "Slum Lords," a collabo with the Committee that blows most other life-in-the-STL tracks out of the water. Check out Crucial's live skills at one of his many gigs (he's a regular at chic Loop spots, including Delmar Lounge and Modai). And when you see him, be sure to say congrats he and his wife, the equally dope DJ Agile One, welcomed twin boys to the family in March. (BF)
Pin-Up Bowl, 9 p.m.
Charlie Chan Soprano
Charlie Chan Soprano comes by that final appellation honestly. No, he's not involved in the waste-management business (we're pretty sure), nor does he have a strange preoccupation with ducks (we don't think) but like HBO's larger-than-life Tony S., Charlie Chan Soprano is a force of nature, a presence that cannot be ignored. He's the godfather of the St. Louis DJ scene, no doubt. But where Tony is haughty, Charlie Chan is humble; his involvement in the community is nearly as legendary as his skills on the decks. Everyone knows and respects Chan, from the old-school heads to the kids coming up. He plays out tirelessly and some less-than-stellar battle emcees might know him as the Hi-Pointe Café's judge, jury and executioner. Hey, somebody's gotta be the heavy, capice? (BF)