If Illinois' recent smoking ban creeps past the Mississippi River into Missouri, Commoners – formerly known as the Brian Sullivan Quartet — may suffer harder than most local groups. This isn't to say the outfit is a bunch of nicotine addicts or future lung cancer sufferers, but its straight-ahead, bebop-influenced jazz conjures up images of smoky Manhattan nightclubs in the early '60s. The quartet's swinging blend of standards and originals is ideal dinner music for a night on the Delmar Loop, but it is more than mere background music. When drummer and band leader Brian Sullivan channels Tony Williams or Elvin Jones while playing an open solo or trading fours with his bandmates, you may feel like you need a cigarette afterward. (RW)
Brandt's, 8 p.m.

Best Live Act

The cheesy rock-crit slang term "power trio" seems tailor-made to describe Victoria. Like the feral spawn of Kings of Leon, Jon Spencer and the Doors – long-haired vocalist/guitarist David Moore even resembles Jim Morrison emerging from a roaring hurricane onstage – the three-piece worships at the altar of rumbling riffs and baby-makin' boogie. Bassist Chad Rogers' tush-wiggling and crowd flirtations prevent Victoria from being too serious, while drummer Steve Andrews' steady beat-keeping further keeps the fulcrum balanced. (AZ)
Main Stage, 6 p.m.

For a skinny white dude, Jon Hardy sure packs a lot of soul into his performances with the Public. The songs from last year's Working in Love drip with emotion and conviction, and Hardy channels his passion directly into his microphone. The band plays a mish-mash of Americana-influenced rock & roll and Motown-indebted pub-rock, and the members of the Public bring the same intensity to their parts. If you happen to catch a show when the Public is augmented by a horn section, get ready for an evening of E Street–worthy rave-ups. (CS)
Main Stage, 2 p.m.

It's not a stretch to call Dave Grelle the hardest working keyboardist in town. When he's not conducting the live incarnation of the Earthworms or sitting in with the Incurables, he leads the piano-centric trio the Feed. By running his electric piano through a barrage of effects, Grelle has erased the need for a guitar in high-energy, soul-powered rock & roll. His co-conspirators Ben Reece (saxophone and bass) and Kevin Bowers (drums) contribute crack musicianship, harmony vocals, and no small measure of style and verve to the band's live performances. (CS)
Blueberry Hill's Duck Room, 4 p.m.

7 Shot Screamers is such a good – nay, make that consistently good – live band, that it's almost too easy to take the quartet for granted. Whether we're talking about its many jaunts out of town (including its upcoming appearance at North Carolina's Heavy Rebel Weekender fest) or its intimate gigs at the Way Out, the Screamers' electric mind-meld of rockabilly, gutter-twang and punk always bleeds with unrestrained aggression, energy and (with apologies to Iggy) raw power. (AZ)
Halo Bar, midnight

Neither sound demons nor indifferent crowds deter So Many Dynamos from tearing up stages from coast to coast. In fact, the more the spazzy dervishes tour out of town, the more polished their live show becomes. Old-school math-rock convulsions "Progress" and "We Vibrate, We Do" mesh perfectly with new, synth-saturated songs such as "New Bones" and "Ghosts." Plus, it's a small miracle that guitarist/vocalist Ryan Wasoba hasn't yet slipped a disc from so violently throwing his body around onstage. (AZ)
Main Stage, 4 p.m.

It's more than just the V in his name that brings vaudeville to mind at Vandalyzm's shows. The man does it all: He sings, he dances, and, perhaps most important, he makes you laugh. Usually flanked by his hard-hitting hype man Gotta Be Karim, Vandalyzm always has a few songs that get the crowd dancing, a few more that leave them nodding their heads in awe at his lyrical prowess — and one, "Old Girl," his ode to MILFs, that has audience singing along and laughing. (KH)
Main Stage, 5 p.m.

Best Local Release {on a label}

Melodic, infectious pop music is given several iterations on the ten tracks that comprise New Sense, the debut from Grace Basement. Though now playing out as a full-fledged band, leader Kevin Buckley composed, performed and recorded the entire album by himself. His sharp songwriting and musical prowess have given way to a varied platter of indie rock. The country-folk gem "Santa Fe" would have been a top ten single in 1973, and the burbling, playful "Caught" injects a little bit of pop-psychedelia into the mix. (CS)
Pi, 9 p.m.

An apt exhortation to fans and detractors alike, Shame Club's Come On honors classic rock heroes without resorting to musty dinosaur gestures. Guitars scream like bottle rockets or twist lazily like a kite – mimicking Led Zeppelin and Motörhead as much as Sly and the Family Stone or Queens of the Stone Age — while golden-throated vocalist Jon Lumley howls and moans with the effortless agility of the greats. Unheralded drummer Ken McCray's monstrous playing anchors On's melodic rhythm section; his drumsticks look like mere toothpicks as he obliterates grooves with ease. (AZ)

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St. Louis Concert Tickets

Concert Calendar

  • December
  • Mon
    22
  • Tue
    23
  • Wed
    24
  • Thu
    25
  • Fri
    26
  • Sat
    27
  • Sun
    28
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