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
If Stan Chisholm had a Wikipedia page, you'd find his name under the disambiguation of "hustle." Undoubtedly he'll get his own place in the all-important People's Encyclopedia some day, but you'd be hard-pressed to find the guy resting on anything remotely laurel-like. If he's not putting up an art installation or destroying the dance floor with deep cuts, he's releasing a monthly mix or teaching little kids about art. A 2010 recipient of our own MasterMind Awards for his interdisciplinary approach to art and music, Chisholm attacks everything with equal vim, no matter if he's busting a low-key set at Lola or getting rowdy at a one-off. While other DJs are busy jawing their ersatz "do work" philosophy, Chisholm's one of the few whose output is rivaled only by his ambition.
9 p.m., Club Amnesia
The line between music and art is frequently blurred; Eric Hall twists it into pulsating sound shapes. The artist/composer/improviser/producer/DJ is also a member of a half-dozen collectives (Grandpa's Ghost and N. Nomurai are two), and he taught a workshop on improvisation at this year's Crankfest. He carves out time to perform solo, whether at installations at various art galleries or in more traditional club settings. His sonic palette mixes whorls of hip-hop, jazz, doom metal and more to craft a wholly original artistic experience. (RFT)
BEST SOLO ARTIST (FEMALE)
That was fast: Just two years after picking up a guitar for the first time, Langen Neubacher has already established herself as one of the strongest songwriters on the scene. She brings a frenetic devotion to whatever she's doing, whether it's music or her grass-roots organization, Self-Sufficient St. Louis, through which she's building the Dave Hagerty Community Garden next to Off Broadway. An appearance on the STL Loud Volume 1 EP now sounds like a benchmark from several evolutionary phases ago — and it came out in January. Look for Neubacher to release a recording of her own in the near future, featuring her fragile ode to the St. Louis community in "A St. Louis Love Song: What High School Did You Go To?" and more from her catalog of slaying open-mic confessions. (KM)
7 p.m., Flamingo Bowl (Palm Room)
Childhood is never too far behind Celia Shacklett: Growing up in a remote western Kansas town, she developed a fan-mail correspondence with Bruce Cockburn in her teens, and his music and eventual friendship helped her endure lonely times in her early life. (Years later she would pair with him on her 2009 album, Transformateurs.) But bluesy vocals and gut-wrenching lyrics aside, Shacklett comes across as sunny and optimistic — which serves her well during her varied family-friendly performances around town and December's Yuletide Xpress Secular Holiday Sing-Along. Additionally, she fronts Celia's Big Rock Band and is a member of Fire Dog, and she devotes time to the young artists at the South City Open Studio and Gallery for Children. Little wonder, then, that last year she was the recipient of a Visionary Award from Grand Center Inc. (RFT)
7:45 p.m., Lucas Park Grille (Patio)
Fans of Natalie Merchant's more soulful moments will find a kindred spirit in Beth Bombara. Whether performing on her own or as part of Cassie Morgan and the Lonely Pine (or recording as Beth Bombara and the Robotic Foundation, for that matter), the Grand Rapids, Michigan, native can be counted on for soothing, self-assured vocals. For Lonely Pine, she provides harmony vocals, percussion and glockenspiel, but she's also released the EP Abandon Ship on her own, and her latest full-length, Wish I Were You, came out in November. The album's name comes from the first line of the song "Can't Win," a countrified rat-race lament that's laced with clever turns of phrase — and is more upbeat than its title and subject matter suggests. (RFT)
9:30 p.m., Lucas Park Grille (Indoor)
Morgan Nusbaum (Bruiser Queen)
Formerly of St. Louis' own twee-poppers the 75s, bassist Morgan Nusbaum has struck out on her own in the wake of that band's unfortunately premature demise. As the lead singer of taut trio Bruiser Queen, she gets an opportunity to showcase her full-throated yell, which is reminiscent of both Corin Tucker and Kristin Hersh at their most agitated. As a solo artist, her songs are quieter and more hushed but no less intense. In "Let It In" and "19," you can almost hear the emotions rush up from behind. Currently Nusbaum is hard at work completing her first solo album; this is an excellent opportunity to hear her continuously budding work.
8:30 p.m., Rosalita's Cantina
Ellen the Felon
Ellen Cook plays theme music for drifters, telling empathetic stories about simple pains and pleasures. She belts her songs with minimal accompaniment: a keyboard, sometimes drums (Matthew Reyland, a.k.a. the Mattranome) and once in a while the harmonium she obtained so she wouldn't have to be tied to an electrical outlet. Not much for convention or image control, Cook seems most comfortable while singing. That's true regardless of her audience, whether it's five people on a street-lit corner of Cherokee or a couple hundred at the Pageant, where she headlined the most recent Homegrown Showcase. (KM)
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