The Side Bar

7 p.m. Fumer
Nominated in Hard Rock
Fumer shakes the brain with oppressive volume. Huge drums carry this wall of guitars via slow, sharp tempos. Fumer's landlocked rock is rife with nihilist lyrics and grunge riffs. Twenty years ago, it'd be sitting cozy in a Touch and Go Records distro, but this is 2013. At first this might evoke '90s nostalgia, but Fumer's angle feels like a proper sequel rather than a retread of worn-out songs. The vocals are delivered from the gut and sit low within the mix. The guitars are overemphasized, and parts often drone with psychedelia. Stoner metal leaks into Fumer's rock & roll, providing a swamped and messy sound that champions timeless rock & roll spirit.—Joseph Hess

8 p.m. Foxing
Nominated in Indie Rock
Foxing's Conor Murphy sings onstage like he is locked away in his bedroom. As he throws his voice around to an anonymous audience, it appears he is without awareness of a crowd presence. When he chooses to sing, he is alone — no PBR-laden palms, no glassy-eyed gazes to distract him. Of course, he is not alone. He is backed by drummer Jon Hellwig, guitarists Eric Hudson and Ricky Sampson, and bassist Josh Coll. Together they appear to labor through their pain and make emo-fied indie punk punctuated with movie clips. To go to a Foxing show or listen to the band's recordings is to witness catharsis through music. Makes sense: There's no placebo to trick the brain into curing itself of discomfort, and half the boys of Foxing are too young to buy alcohol.—Blair Stiles

10 p.m. Bruiser Queen
Nominated in Rock
Loud and messy, lean and mean, catchy and snarling, fast and unguarded, the music of Bruiser Queen demolishes any facile notions of garage rock. Based in just two musicians, lead singer and guitarist Morgan Nusbaum and drummer Jason Potter, Bruiser Queen wouldn't pull a punch if the world depended on it throwing the fight. Nusbaum's range as a singer, from a cutting snarl to a spiraling metallic wail, and Potter's crash-and-jab attack on the drums make for a potent, dance-inducing rock & roll show.—Roy Kasten

11 p.m. Tight Pants Syndrome
Nominated in Pop
Unlike, well, tight pants, power pop never goes out of style — in part because it was never really in style in the first place. It inhabits its own alternate universe of chiming guitars and yearning harmonies. Here in St. Louis, Tight Pants Syndrome has kept the power-pop flame burning brightly for years now. On its newest release, the four-song All Alive EP, the band provides lethal doses of catchy melodies, harmonized hooks and reverb-laden guitar licks. Fans of the first few New Pornographers albums should find much to admire here. If four songs ain't enough for you, sit tight: A full-length CD is expected later in 2013.—Mike Appelstein

Midnight Volcanoes
Nominated in Electronic/Dance
"Energy" is the operative word when it comes to noise-rock duo Volcanoes. Heavily distorted bass and dirty buzzing synths fight with propulsive drums and Eric Peters' screaming vocals in a hectic, invigorating clash. Even the quieter moments brim with tension that usually builds into an explosive eruption. In concert, the duo keeps the adrenaline flowing by never pausing between songs, an impressive feat for a band where both members take turns playing drums (synth loops make this possible). For all the cool noises and lively stage presence, Volcanoes has a knack for catchy, concise hooks that are well suited to the group's tendency to repeat them often. Simply put, those needing more chaos in their music should check out Volcanoes. —Bob McMahon

1 a.m. Bug Chaser
Nominated in Psych
Bug Chaser isn't merely a band. It's an experience. The group's many members make music and present it as a sort of interactive art show. Few bands in town are so on top of their presentation game — this fun-loving crew often dresses up in costumes, plays with themes and offers up hilarious YouTube videos. And while the fans respond well to the constant reflection to their affection, the extra efforts are gravy: Bug Chaser's music stands on its own. It is controlled pandemonium. It's a psychedelic circus. It's full-blown insanity. And it seldom fails to amaze. — Jaime Lees

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