By Roy Kasten
By Kris Wernowsky
By Chaz Kangas
By Joseph Hess
By Julie Seabaugh
By Mike Appelstein
By Rachel Brodsky
By Kelsey McClure
You can vote for your favorite bands and artists through midnight Sunday, June 7, either online, by filling out the ballot in this week's RFT or at the various RFT Music Showcase venues. For info on the RFT Music Showcase -- wristband sales, maps and such -- go here.
The Bottle Rockets
The idea of a Lifetime Achievement award might seem a little strange to long-time fans of the Bottle Rockets. During its fifteen-plus years of touring and recording, Brian Henneman's outfit has never rested on its laurels or demanded credit for being one of alt-country's sonic architects. Instead, the quartet has weathered lineup shifts and record-label hassles by staying true to its smart, broad-shouldered roots-rock. In fact, Bloodshot Records will release a new BoRox LP, Lean Forward, in August — and the core elements of the band's sound (Henneman's steely eyed but good-natured lyrics and loud guitars with equal amounts of twang and bite) will no doubt be on display. — Christian Schaeffer
Fuck-it-all twee-punk rock shouldn't age gracefully, but in the case of Bunnygrunt, which formed in 1993, lineup changes and stretches of obsolescence have only made the Matt Harnish-led project stronger, noisier and livelier. Karen Ried rounds out the core duo, although the pair has long been supported by a revolving cast that transforms delirious primitivism into the sonic equivalent of a pillow fight to the death. The band's songs have hit the movies, and its following is properly cult, but Bunnygrunt retains an undefeatable spirit of spontaneity, wit and fun-for-the-sake-of-fun that is the essence of rock & roll. — Roy Kasten
The Delmar Restaurant & Lounge, midnight
Even when Kim Massie isn't singing a blues song, the lady still sings the blues. Her voice is full-bodied, soaked through with emotion, and imbued with a lifetime of love and heartache. Along with her band, the Solid Senders, Massie holds court twice a week on Beale on Broadway's tiny stage, and even while seated, she can command the audience's complete attention as she takes requests and exhorts the patrons to fill up the tip jar. Whether she sings something by Led Zeppelin or by her beloved Aretha Franklin, Massie owns each song with a gospel choirmaster's grace — and a juke-joint singer's knowing wink. (CS)
Murder City Players
For many, reggae isn't about innovation as much as its love of a traditional musical language. This is certainly the case with the Murder City Players, which has stayed true to the genre throughout its 26-year career. With devotion and discipline, the band has avoided the temptation to follow trends or exploit the occasional ska resurgence. In other words, Murder City is fluent enough in reggae to edit Desmond Dekker's Wikipedia entry — or faithfully cover the Wailers, like it did at last year's An Under Cover Weekend. New music is in the works (release date and format: TBA) but rest assured that the act still parties like it's 1967, one upbeat at a time.— Ryan Wasoba
The Pageant, 8:15 p.m.
The Trip Daddys
It's hard to think of another St. Louis band that so purely channels the city's diverse and rich musical history. But as long as the music rocks, it's all the same to local rockabilly vets the Trip Daddys. For nearly fifteen years, the trio has been churning out authentic St. Louis rock & roll: a no-nonsense mix of old-time hillbilly blues and Western swing augmented by machine-gun-burst guitar solos. Craig Straubinger's high-intensity stage theatrics and tinges of Misfits-esque punk edginess further keep the group's sound from drowning in nostalgic reverie. — Shae Moseley
Halo Bar, 11 p.m.
Best Americana/Folk (Traditional)
The back-to-basics Americana and Replacementsy rock of Leadville belies the catchiness and distinctive sweetness of singer Tom Buescher's tunes. On the forthcoming Time Kills, mandolins, acoustic guitars, Telecasters, accordion, fiddle and full-band harmonies weave in and out, creating sonic stories of roads taken and abandoned, risks won and lost. And so Leadville isn't so back-to-basics after all, and there's nothing folk about them — this is rock & roll with a warm, rootsy heart. (RK)
Riddle's Penultimate Café & Wine Bar, 9 p.m.
It's unfortunate for St. Louis that the Linemen recently called it quits as a result of vocalist/songwriter Kevin Butterfield's move to Montreal. But the band's legacy remains vibrant: It released two solid albums (2007's Through Side One and this year's Reconsider) and brought a refreshingly gimmick-free brand of straightforward, classic-country music to venues around town. The perfectly controlled cracks in Butterfield's silky tenor croon banter with Scott Swartz's pedal-steel flourishes, while the veteran rhythm section of Greg Lamb and John Baldus perfectly rounds out the Linemen's pure, delicate sound. (SM)
In storytelling and joke-making, things are always better, funnier and rife with more possibility when they're arranged in sets of three. (For proof, see the story of The Three Little Pigs and the TheThree Stooges.) This rule holds true in music as well, at least when considering Rough Shop's singer-songwriters. Individually, Andy Ploof, Anne Tkach and John Wendland possess distinct voices and refined songwriting styles; together, the trio combines folk, rock, blues, bluegrass and jazz with an amiable grace and expert chops. (CS)
Pi, 10 p.m.