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
One Lone Car
While most past-fetishizing pop bands aim their adulation toward the '60s, '70s or '80s, One Lone Car sets its stylistic Delorean back a mere fifteen years, to a time when catchy, four-chord alt-rock songs reigned supreme. In fact, "Twenty-Three," from March's EP23, would feel right at home on a Buzz Cuts infomercial: The song borrows Gin Blossoms' open-chord jangle, Better Than Ezra's vulnerable choruses and Superdrag's "ba-ba-bas." Coincidentally, the hard-touring One Lone Car has shared stages with all three of these bands. (RW)
Main Outdoor Stage, 3 p.m.
If the Ramones were punk sisters (mostly) instead of brothers, it might have sounded something like the 75s. The trio of Morgan Nusbaum, Laurel Mydock and Scott Lasser plays loud, primeval and danceable rock with songs that capture the wisdom of children facing up to aggression ("I Wanna Kill My Boyfriend") and relationships born out of boredom ("Finders Keepers"). The style may echo the cute-and-cynical K Records aesthetic, but the 75s is redeemed by volatile rhythms and pure power chords. (RK)
Cicero's, 7 p.m.
Black For A Second
To hear singer Joe Jordan describe it, the past year has been like "having an IV of beer and pot in my arm." That is to say, Black For A Second's hectic local show schedule has put the typically introverted singer into the spotlight more often than he's used to. The talented group's sound veers between punk and indie rock, carried by guitar-driven melodies and Jordan's impressive, throaty vocals. After numerous lineup changes — and demos that only made it into a few hands — Black For A Second is looking to record a full-length this year. (NL)
God Fodder might have the most tasteless punk single in St. Louis history. In fact, its way-too-soon song "Shoot the Mayor" — guess what it's about — was a jaw-dropper even among hardcore punks. But for a group that sounds remarkably like Toronto's popular Career Suicide (whose own Sars EP raised eyebrows), God Fodder is staying obnoxious and perfecting its sound: jangly, distorted guitars and snotty vocals from singer Ratatpat. The group's recording its highly anticipated debut LP this summer. (NL)
Halo Bar, 8 p.m.
The Humanoids started out playing Bad Brains medleys at basement keg parties about three years ago.The quintet has progressed musically, but it's largely kept its formula intact, which is a testament to its stable lineup. The Humanoids is recording this month for a still-untitled full-length record, its third release. "The record has not been easy," says guitarist Greg Stinson. "It is my first time being a part of writing [a record] this long, and I want nothing more than something that is great from beginning to end. Let's just say many, many riffs and 'almost-songs' have lost their lives at the chopping block." Stinson also says a two-week tour of the Northeast is planned for this summer. (NL)
Halo Bar, 9 p.m.
The brand of punk Left Arm unleashes isn't as traditional as the other nominees in this category, but it's no less valid. The trio's roots are firmly in the proto-punk garage, all sloppy dirt-rock à la the Stooges and MC5, and its heart is with proto-grunge howlers such as Mudhoney. Accordingly, Left Arm traveled to Detroit last year and worked with Jim Diamond (the White Stripes) on some songs; the resulting single, "Electric Babies," screams out of the speakers like a bottle rocket, all frenzied vocals and a raucous riff mudslide. (AZ)
Blueberry Hill's Elvis Room, 8 p.m.
Although Sack Lunch shares members with hardcore band God Fodder, its music is saturated in pop-punk melodies and nasally vocals that stick with listeners all day. But the St. Charles-founded duo of Jake Jones and Luc Michalski (and a cast of backing musicians) has moved beyond its days covering vintage Blink 182 songs. Although its new songs are still obnoxious, funny and in no way earnest, the growing number of originals reveals enormous potential. (NL)
Fraternal twins Marc and Alec Plant formed Suburban Smash two years ago, playing all-over-the-place hardcore punk that didn't impress many in local circles. But after lineup changes and rewritten songs, the band took the punk scene by surprise with an impressive 2008 demo that conjured Void and the chaotic side of early-'80s hardcore. In the past year, Suburban Smash has landed on the bill of nearly every worthwhile local punk gig, which has helped it tighten its set and accrue an ever-growing fan base. (NL)
Blueberry Hill's Elvis Room, 9 p.m.
Best Rock Band
You don't need to be a virtuoso to be a great rock & roller — punk was founded on this principle — but it sure as hell doesn't hurt. Just ask the three members of the Feed (keyboardist Dave Grelle, bass/sax player Ben Reece and drummer Kevin Bowers), who are all highly proficient musicians. But the trio's on-the-fly intuition makes its music click. When the Feed jams, either on its own pop- and blues-based songs or on its deep arsenal of cover songs, the show becomes a game of musical hot potato in which everyone (especially the audience) wins. (CS)
Main Outdoor Stage, 6 p.m.