By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
Dave Stone TrioThanks in large part to his weekly stint at Mangia Italiano, saxophonist Dave Stone is something of a south-side saint, a bespectacled hero of the horn and a favorite of South Grand dwellers. While this has helped make him known around town, it's also made him easy to ignore. That would be a mistake: His trio works mostly in the realm of jazz standards, and it does so with respect to its musical forebears, while using the framework of these classics to showcase considerable improvisational talents. (CS)
Riddle's Penultimate Café & Wine Bar, 8 p.m.
Brian Sullivan Quartet
Drummer and band leader Brian Sullivan isn't genre-shy. He's gotten his rocks off with the Tripdaddys and swung with twang-punks the Round-Ups, but he's best known for bridging the gap between progressive, electrified jazz and traditional hard bebop. He has the flair and range of a gifted percussionist, crafting sounds and polyrhythms from his kit like a master conguero. His quartet, a mainstay from the Delmar Lounge to Erato, features a rotating cast, but at this Sunday's showcase he'll be joined by Bill Schafer on tenor sax, Sadeeq Holmes on keys and Bob DeBoo on double bass. (RK)
Brandt's, 9 p.m.
Best Live Act
The true test of a live band is whether it can convert non-fans by the end of a show. That's Berlin Whale's special talent. While all the quartet's songs quiver with shimmy-shaking rhythms snugly lace up those dancing shoes "Sweet Sixteen" is clearly its best song. An off-kilter keyboard drones, then white-tornado drumming and see-sawing riffs chime in; all crescendo together into the song's opening lines, which sound like they're being sung by a gang of misfit cheerleaders. (AZ)
Cicero's, 10 p.m.
Femme Fatality built its whole concept around an electroclash-y live show: two dudes hopping around on stage, singing over pre-recorded keyboard compositions and tarted-up like the teenage girls who comprise their audience. But Femme Fatality quickly stopped being a joke and became one of the most marketable bands in town. With the recent addition of three new band members, multiple instruments and a record contract (with Atlanta label Stickfigure), things are getting serious. What began as a funny idea has now grown to fill a big, gaping hole in the city's electro scene. Hey, somebody's got to make the kids dance. (JL)
Riddle of Steel
After spending a few years cycling through drummers, Spinal Tap-style, Riddle of Steel has finally settled on Rob Smith (who's also in Traindodge and resembles Animal the Muppet live) a gesture toward lineup continuity that's made all the difference in the band's live shows. In fact, the phrases "face-melting," "brain-bending" and "eardrum-bursting" come to mind to describe the power trio's rock maelstrom, which is a heady mix of meedly-meedly-meeriffage and Failure-style melodic sludge. (AZ)
7 Shot Screamers
Tours with punk legends (i.e. X's Exene Cervenka) and the occasional one-off big-deal gigs (the CD-release parties for Nekromantix in California, a gig at SXSW) have helped the 7 Shot Screamers become one of the city's rowdiest bands. Chris Powers manhandles his upright bass as if it were half its size, while singer Mike Leahy darts around the stage like a toddler on a sugar high whether the band's lashing out punkabilly originals or an appropriately doomy cover of the Stones' "Paint It Black." (AZ)
Main Outdoor Stage, 5 p.m.
So Many Dynamos
So Many Dynamos are always on the road with somebody, whether it's a Nintendo-core outfit (HORSE the Band) or a group that's a bit more up its stylistic alley (nerd-rock heroes Harvey Danger). The quartet's tight, entertaining live set certainly reflects this constant pavement-pounding: Drummer Norm Kunstel's beats stop on a dime in synch with Aaron Stovall's robotic-precise keyboard, while guitarists Ryan Wasoba and Griffin Kay provide plenty of self-deprecating humor and manic thrashing from the sides. (AZ)
Cicero's, 9 p.m.
Best Local Release (on a label)
Blinded BlackUnder the Sunrise (SideCho)www.myspace.com/blindedblack
This emo sextet has turned heartache and disillusionment into hard-hitting epics. Under the Sunrise doesn't skimp on glossy production, but its slickness doesn't detract from the complexities of Blinded Black's arrangements it's an integral aspect of the band's sound. Singer Jeff Nizick leads the band through time changes and tempo shifts while the twin guitars switch between chugging chords and nimble solos. Chuck Kraus may be the band's secret weapon when he steps in on harmony and background vocals and his synthesizer leads add a touch of spaced-out prog-rock to the mix. (CS)
Finn's MotelEscape Velocity (Scat)www.myspace.com/finnsmotel
2006 was the year that Joe Thebeau stepped back into the spotlight, taking time away from his role as trusted sideman (in Magnolia Summer, among other bands) to reintroduce his considerable songwriting talents to this city. Escape Velocity deals with middle-age and suburban stasis through references to the myth of westward expansion (specifically the Arch, as heard on "Eero Saarinen") and the promise of scientific advancement. Like a more hi-fi version of Guided by Voices, Finn's Motel stuffs clanging guitars, tossed-off hooks and moments of pop brilliance into these seventeen tracks. (CS)
Halo Bar, 9:30 p.m.
Casey ReidCephalclog (Big Muddy)www.myspace.com/caseyreid
Casey Reid is nothing if not authentic or rather, to be more specific, the wizened blues and folk tunes on his debut are as heartfelt and genuine as music gets. Crafted with a merry band of junkyard misfits, Cephalclog resembles a joyous religious revival. Washboards scrape, a patchwork choir harmonizes, sparse guitars pluck, and Reid's sandpaper voice intones tales of heartbreak and hope creating a collection that's nothing short of a total-spirit catharsis. (AZ)
Market in the Loop Outdoor Stage, 3 p.m.
Sex RobotsSex Robots (Roadhouse Tunes)www.myspace.com/sexrobots
Here's the best (and most appropriate) way to listen to the Sex Robots' self-titled album. Pick the next sunny, insanely warm St. Louis summer day. Insert the trio's CD into the car stereo. Roll down the windows all the way. Find the nearest freeway on which to go juuust above the speed limit (in other words, avoid 64-40). Crank the volume as far as it'll go. Enjoy the catchy-as-flypaper tunes, which span ragged power-pop, old-school-punk and bar-band bluster. Repeat as needed. (AZ)