11 P.M. DJ Needles

Nominated for: Best DJ

DJ Needles' story begins in 1994, when he started DJing house parties with only tapes and CDs. Over the next few years Needles slowly began cultivating his record collection, and in 1998, he dropped his first mixtape, featuring Pete Rock, A Tribe Called Quest and Black Star. Judging by those three artists alone, it's safe to say that Needles is an underground and classic hip-hop aficionado. A Needles set covers all the bases: groove, funk, afrobeat, house, Latin, hip-hop, '80s and '90s R&B, soul, jazz, breakbeat and indie music. He calls his DJing style polyrhythmic, and his sets certainly live up to the descriptor. — Tara Mahadevan

1 A.M. Billy Brown

Nominated for: Best DJ

Billy Brown is an integral part of St. Louis' flourishing house scene. The work he and his fellow local club rumblers put forth enables St. Louis to garner attention from global trap and bass phenomenons, including Diplo, Baauer and A-Trak. From his and Corey Ography's Get Serious throwdowns at Atomic Cowboy to Jay Fay's insertion into the national conversation, St. Louis' homegrown talents are many, but it is Brown's potent beat cocktail that puts him ahead of the pack. Billy Brown culls '90s B-list pop samples and bubbling beats, spewing out ebullient blips of afro-trance and Europop in the place of reckless turntablism. — Blair Stiles


10 P.M. Ransom Note

Nominated for: Soul/Funk

Big Soul is an appropriate title for Ransom Note's fine second LP. The lineup of this group can swell to eight or nine members, and its latest batch of songs can be as smooth as 1,000-threadcount silk sheets or as vital and sizzling as any guitar-based rock band in town. Merv Schrock remains a commanding presence on the record, with a voice that can be expressively raspy or sweetly honeyed. "Russian Blue" floats like a lullaby, while "Are You Waiting" finds his bandmates locked in on a steely (Steely?) groove. The record is a good step forward for Ransom Note, but the live stage is where these songs take flight. — Christian Schaeffer

11 P.M. Brotherfather

Nominated for: Best Indie Pop

Looking past the occasional harmonic quirk, the tension in Brotherfather's music comes from the band's restraint. We know these guys can wail — Chris Turnbaugh handled bass duties in local progressive band Groupthink, and Dustin Sholtes drummed in the jazzy math rock outfit Primary Colors — but the quartet chooses to lay back for the majority of its debut Walk It Off, spotlighting John Krane's conversational delivery, comparable to a twangless Jeff Tweedy. When the instrumentalists take over, Nicholas Horn's fuzz-bathed guitar leads the group into Pavement-esque explosions, proving Brotherfather would rather self-destruct than self-indulge. — Ryan Wasoba

MIDNIGHT Dance Floor Riot

Nominated for: Best Cover/Tribute Band

Dance Floor Riot would have you know that it was the first band to christen the stage at Ballpark Village in St. Louis. DFR is right to be proud of that gig opening for Third Eye Blind, and it deserves props for being one of the most eclectic cover bands in town. Led by singers Mike Alexander and Brandon Wicks, DFR applies its straight-ahead rock approach to a dizzying range of covers from every genre this side of bluegrass. Tackling 2Pac, the Black Keys, Macklemore, Muse and even some classic rock by the likes of Bon Jovi and the Beatles, the band is nothing if not unpredictable in its mission to give the party what it wants: the hits. — Roy Kasten

Layla Lebanese Restaurant

7 P.M. Ellen the Felon

Nominated for: Best Singer/Songwriter

Last November finally saw the release of Bang Bang Bang, the long-awaited debut album by pianist/vocalist Ellen Cook (better known as Ellen the Felon). A record of experience born out of a few turbulent years, Bang Bang Bang translated tragedy into a complex but danceable melange of boogie rock, jazz, tango and slow balladry. All of the ornate arrangements are balanced out by a rocking left hand that pounds the low notes and a playful vocal delivery that make Cook's shows a blast. Showgoers can expect inspired covers and mischievous banter alongside her formidable chops. — Bob McMahon

8 P.M. Chris Ward/Acorns to Oaks

Nominated for: Best Singer/Songwriter

Between hosting loudQUIETloud on KDHX (88.1 FM) and co-hosting his live interactive game show Loser at the Heavy Anchor, Chris Ward hasn't made a lot of time for his Acorns to Oaks project lately. But when he does play, Ward holds nothing back. Flying mostly solo, sometimes accompanied by former St. Louisan Kate Peterson Koch, Ward summons the intensity of a full band when he strikes chords, stomps on a bass drum and emphatically hollers tales alternately hilarious, abstract and gut-wrenchingly sad. Acorns to Oaks employs folk strumming patterns and melodies but pummels them with a fervor that's pure rock & roll. Even quiet moments brim with emotion and always build to a thrilling conclusion. In short, Chris Ward is the perfect singer/songwriter for those who hate singer/songwriters. — Bob McMahon

9 P.M. Matt Harnish's Pink Guitar

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