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
For years we've filled this space with concert suggestions, exhorted you to peel yourself out of the lawn chair and go hear some tunes. But there's something different this time around.
Yes, we all know it by now: The Dow keeps dipping to levels that make investors tremble and hedge-fund managers hide under their fancy desks. With this in mind, we sought out shows that won't run you any more than $12 per ticket (and many are absolutely free). And a funny thing happened on the way to the poorhouse: We found that some of the cheapest shows are also some of the coolest. Consider that St. Louis' gift to you — we're just paying it forward.
Music in Full Bloom
The Whitaker Music Festival returns to the Missouri Botanical Garden for another full season of terrific tunes. Every Wednesday evening (June 3 through August 5), the garden comes alive with jazz, folk-rock, swing and world music. Admission is free after 5 p.m.; the concerts, which are performed in the Cohen Amphitheater, begin at 7:30 p.m. Food and beverages are available for purchase, or you can save a few bucks by bringing in your own picnic supper (our favorite economic-downturn pairing is Three-Buck Chuck and ham pinwheels, but you are probably classier than we are). This year's stellar lineup includes Grammy-winning jazz pianist Peter Martin (June 3), charming swingsters Dizzy Atmosphere (July 1), world-music faves Farshid Etniko (July 22) and more. Call 314-577-9400 or visit www.mobot.org for more information.Keep on Rockin' in the Free World
And, less than two weeks later, you can see three more great bands at another great venue: White Rabbits, the Subjects and John Hardy & the Public play the Firebird on June 10. This show is $10, but are you really going to complain about paying $3.33 per band? We didn't think so. Do more fun price-per-band math on June 18, when Gentleman Auction House, the Mhurs (another RFT Best New Band nominee), Mayola and Van Gloria tear it up at Off Broadway. And — as if you needed an excuse to attend something called Zombie Party! — the Firebird welcomes Time Again, Opposites Attack, Suburban Disturbance and the Four Flushers on June 30 for just $10. (Save $2 by wearing a zombie-themed costume, but try not to shout "Braaaaaains!" in the middle of a set, which is bad zombietiquette.)
For more information about Off Broadway's shows, call 314-773-3363 or visit its site at www.offbroadwaystl.com. And for details about the Firebird shows (and a full schedule of other great, super-affordable concerts), call 314-535-0353 or visit www.firebirdstl.com.Motown in the Gateway City