The 2012 RFT Music Showcase Lineup for June 2

The 2012 RFT Music Showcase is here: This Saturday, June 2, more than 80 bands and artists from St. Louis will give a crash course on this city's vibrant musical output. It's more than you can hope to hear. So that's why, in the pages that follow, you can find a brief introduction to each performer or group. Plan your day using the schedule on page 22, and, if you're anything like us, you'll have ditched your careful plot by 6 p.m. in favor of just wandering from venue to venue.

But this is just a glimpse of all the great things happening in St. Louis music. The lineup for the showcase is drawn from our list of nominees for the RFT Music Awards — all 125 of them are listed at right. You can find more information about each of them at And, of course, the talented artists in this area are too numerous and nimble to be contained in one festival or awards series. Your new favorite band, whether it appears in these pages or not, may be within an arm's length.

Outdoor Stage

2:00 Nite Owl (Hip-Hop Solo)
With more than eight albums (that's original albums, not including mixtapes) and countless shows under his belt to date, Nite Owl has been recognized as one of the hardest-grinding emcees in the 'Lou for several years running. Local Celebrity snagged the top-selling spot at Vintage Vinyl when it dropped last year, and his upcoming release, Collabo Queens, is full of promise as well; it's slated to boast twenty all-new tracks, each featuring verses from one of nine female rappers. Regardless of his consistency, one shouldn't take Nite Owl's work ethic for granted. The 37-year-old veteran has plans for a few more projects — such as a greatest-hits album recorded live at Blueberry Hill — but he says that by the time he hits 40, he'll be calling it a wrap. Calvin Cox

3:00 DJ Sir Thurl (DJ)
Well-known as "The Official Party Starter," Sir Thurl has been a force on the St. Louis hip-hop and party scene for more than fifteen years. DJ Kut — Nelly and the St. Lunatics' "flagship" DJ — took him under his wing and brought him into the game, and ever since, Sir Thurl has spun for nearly everyone who has come up in the area, including gold-selling artist Murphy Lee. Sir Thurl is the CEO of Allstar DJ Service and has a prime spot on Hot 104.1 FM as half of the Lou Gotti Boyz — with DJ Cuddy — and the host of STL Playlist Mix. He DJs at the Loft and the JunKyard Bar and Grill and recently collaborated with Murphy Lee on the mixtape Mr. Winter Time: I'm Cold. Tony D'Souza

4:00 Yo Banga (Hip-Hop Solo)
An OG with the north side's JeffVanderLou Bloods, Yo Banga didn't start rapping until he spent nearly five years in prison on drug and weapons charges. Since his parole in 2008, he's gone on to become the "Tupac of St. Louis." His music comes directly from his life on the streets; his gritty lyrics pull no punches about the violence or glories of the gangsta lifestyle he once lived. In 2011, he released his first full length album Fresh Out The Blender, and has opened at the Ambassador for Rick Ross, T.I., Mystikal and Birdman. Having lost numerous friends to prison or gang turf wars, Banga hopes his music will influence current gang members to scale down the killings in America's "Most Violent City." TD

5:00 Warm Jets USA (Rock)
For more than a decade now, Jason Hutto has been one of St. Louis' premier ambassadors for overdriven, loud rock. Prior bands, such as Sexicolor and the Phonocaptors, pummeled our town with righteous riffage and raucous shows, so it's no small feat that Warm Jets USA might be Hutto's most aggressive act yet. In Chris Keith and Evan Bequette, Warm Jets has a rhythm section that can match Hutto's guitar heroics decibel for earsplitting decibel. The power trio mines late-'80s and early '90s indie rock for its punishing sound (Dinosaur Jr. is a notable touchstone). But underneath the layers of glorious fuzz and bludgeoning drums are smartly written rock anthems that hit at a gut level. As proven by ballads like "Down on the Record," Warm Jets doesn't need all the sonic carnage to create affecting rock. Still, the power of its hellacious assault is impossible to deny. Bob McMahon

6:00 Bug Chaser (Psych)
Hailing from the state streets of south city, Bug Chaser continues to fill the gaping void for fans of organic krautrock and intergalactic psychedelia. While its effective use of repetition recalls the trance-inducing hooks of Can and Neu!, the band's fluid motion easily transitions to the unrelenting progression of psychedelic forefathers Chrome and Hawkwind. Where contemporary bands often lose themselves in the endless monotony of weed-filled jams, Bug Chaser focuses its songwriting into a dynamic blend of warring guitar riffery and syncopated rhythm. Offset by vocalist Pat Grosch's teen-wolf howl, the band jettisons forward through eight-minute songs with a hard-edged gnarl not of this world. Unlike the analog elite of the 1970s, guitarist Jake Jones and soundscape artist Jeff White's full embrace of the digital age allows their innovative production and on-point sampling to bloom into a sonic collage of futuristic proportion. Josh Levi

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