By Roy Kasten
By Kris Wernowsky
By Chaz Kangas
By Joseph Hess
By Julie Seabaugh
By Mike Appelstein
By Rachel Brodsky
By Kelsey McClure
9/8: Plush is the starting point for the Brave New World of collective FarFetched. The FarFetched Collective is a diverse community formed by Damon Davis of Scripts 'N Screwz, which includes (but is not limited to) prolific producer Adult Fur, electro-folk abstractor Black James, barely legal beatmaker Remi Sorbet and rapper/DJ/visual artist 18andCounting. The collective hosts the Brave New World concert at Plush, a monster of a show and a physical manifestation of Davis and crew's forward-thinking and genre-crossing ideology. For Brave New World, FarFetched's already genre-sprawling roster is joined by dance drone duo Ou Où, lo-fi songsmith Mikey Wehling and the Reverbs and moody trip-hop act CaveofswordS among many others. In previous years, such an event would be unprecedented in this city, but the FarFetched showcase is just one example of the collaborative spirit that defines St. Louis in 2012. The open-door atmosphere common to hip-hop and jazz circles is infiltrating the often insular structures of rock bands. Groups like Old Lights and the Union Electric have nuclei of core members with lineups that constantly shift and rotate, making each one more of a miniature collective than a rock band. Local heavyweights So Many Dynamos and Kentucky Knife Fight increasingly invite guest musicians onstage for shows, adding both depth and danger to their performances. Members of Dynamos are crucially involved in the St. Louis Arts Project (SLAP), whose 2012 conference highlight is a mass improvisation by the area's electronic music masters. Tef Poe and Rockwell Knuckles, two forces behind hip-hop collective the Force, each drop solid mixtapes heavy on featured artists. Adult Fur (a.k.a. Ryan McNeely) makes a cameo on Poe's War Machine 2 and produces a chunk of Rockwell's Take Me to Your Leader; McNeely also releases RÁN, an album featuring tracks remixed by pop siren Née, Trifekta and noise guru Eric Hall among others. Hall assembled the most vast collaborative work in St. Louis this year (and possibly any year) with the Site/Sound project at Laumeier Sculpture Park. Hall brought together more than 70 local noise, folk, rock, classical, hip-hop, pop, electronic and metal artists to provide companion pieces to the park's artworks. Site/Sound, Brave New World, SLAP and innumerable other musical collaborations not only bring attention to the wealth of creativity and talent in this underdog city, they make the divisions so often drawn between musicians of different genres and communities seem insignificant in the process. (RW)
9/16: Lee Fields and the Expressions shows St. Louis what true soul is at Lola.
9/18: LouFest joins with a major music-festival-production company. After three years of steady growth, St. Louis' indie-music festival gets a boost from C3 Presents, the organization responsible for Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits. The partnership between the Austin-based company and the small St. Louis founding contingent will allow for more stages and a wider appeal in 2013. (KM)
10/6: Eric Hall commissions 81 songs by St. Louis artists to correspond to the art on display at the Laumeier Sculpture Park. The exhibition, called Site/Sound, opens this day.
10/9: Jimmy Tebeau is finally sentenced. Jimmy Tebeau, bassist of local Grateful Dead tribute band the Schwag and organizer of Schwagstock, pleads guilty to the charge of "maintaining a drug-involved premise." After a five-year investigation into the extra-curricular activities of Schwagstock, Tebeau is sentenced to 30 months in the clink, fined $50,000 and forced to abandon Camp Zoe, the 350-acre plot in Shannon County where he hosts the annual festival. Tebeau was far from the only musician who found himself in court this year — Nelly's tour bus would be detained in Texas the day after Tebeau's sentencing, for one thing.
Brian Keith Dotson might be the most infamous local music criminal of 2012. The singer of nu-metal band Shattermask is arrested for multiple charges of statutory rape and sodomy in April, but only after a few days dodging the police while his face graces CrimeStoppers billboards. The Dotson fiasco is so notorious that it overshadows the arrest of Martin Evanick six months later. The drummer, who dresses like a clown when playing with Collinsville Cookie Monster metal band the Core of Your Nightmares, is held without bond for charges of producing child pornography. The rest of Evanick's band shuns him, Shattermask breaks up, and Nelly lashes out at his now ex-bodyguard via Twitter. However, Jimmy Tebeau's supporters never turn on him; the evening of his sentencing, he is given a de facto farewell party at the Old Rock House, where he plays onstage alongside the Jerry Garcia Band, smiling wide even after his legal fate is sealed. (RW)
10/10: Nelly's tour bus is detained in Texas with 36 bags of heroin, ten pounds of marijuana and a loaded gun. Crew member Brian Keith Jones claims ownership of all of it and is arrested.
10/11: The Sheldon Concert Hall and Art Galleries turns 100. The most perfect-sounding venue in St. Louis celebrates its 100th season with some of its biggest names, including the Magnetic Fields, Carolina Chocolate Drops and Nick Lowe. But on this night, the space is overtaken by traditions closer in age to the building. A gala attracts three or more generations of devotees, who sip wine in the lobby at intermission and talk about the specific magic of the Sheldon: The opera singer warming her audience while snow visibly fell in the windows behind her, the string quartet who held them breathless, the country artist whose every strum of her acoustic guitar rang crystalline through the hall. (KM)