This week's list is a bonus-deluxe-super edition, with TEN shows instead of the usual nine, on account of this Tuesday getting twice its usual attention. There's good reason: Tuesday night features separate appearances by both ska legend the Skatalites and nihilistic post-punk pioneer Swans. They're both going to be terrific shows, and its a shame they can't be combined, but somehow I don't think there's much crossover fan-dom in the groups' audiences.
Which got me thinking....what if we created a new kind of music that crossed Swans' crushing no-wave nihilism with the Skatalites' infectious up-beat rhythms? Up-strokes on the guitars coupled with crippling, existential depression, all supported by the strangest sounding horn section ever. My working title for the band is "The Swantalites" but I'm not married to it.
Update: We'd like to send you to the Skatalites show -- improve on The Swantalites for the name of this Franken-band. Our favorite gets into Off Broadway for free tonight.
In other news, Waka Flocka Flame is playing the Pageant tonight, and I think it is desperately important that you watch this music video immediately. Spoiler alert: Featured prominently is an eight-foot-tall partially animatronic rooster and a diamond-bedazzled Foghorn Leghorn pendant. So yeah....the rest of our picks follow.
Waka Flocka Flame Mon., 7:00 p.m. October 22 w/ Wooh Da Kid @ The Pageant - $25-$27.50 By Kiernan Maletsky From this 2011 show review: Waka Flocka Flame, who is one actual album and three years into his career, is your hysteria-inducing, panty-dropping, totally uncontested king of Super Jam Four. And he didn't even headline -- that honor went to Ludacris, perhaps because neither Waka Flocka nor Wiz Khalifa (the second-biggest draw) actually have enough material to justify an hour-long set. But let's not get confused: A teenage girl looked me in the eye and then elbowed me in the dick to prevent me from moving past her to the photo pit during Waka's set. For Ludacris, I could have stood right in front of the stage and spun around with my arms outstretched without hitting anyone.
The Skatalites Tues., 8:00 p.m. October 23 w/ Murder City Players @ Off Broadway - $20 / $23 By Roy Kasten Many of the giants of the golden age of ska and reggae have fallen, but many still skank among us. Rock steady and ska pioneer the Skatalites has survived the passing or retirement of most of its original members, with only septuagenarian alto saxophonist Lester Sterling and singer Doreen Shaffer connecting the band to its glory days of the early '60s. But because the Skatalites have always been a shifting association of musicians, adaptable as the backing band on scores of essential reggae and ska recordings, its reunions and regroupings have been consistently satisfying -- and its current live show a potent, joyous celebration of blistering brass and relentless rhythms. What to Wear: Leave your tight two-tone digs at home; come dressed to dance -- wild and free -- or don't come at all.
Swans Tues., 8:00 p.m. October 23 w/ A Hawk and a Hacksaw @ The Firebird - $22-$25 By Paul Friswold From this album review: This is the sound of drowning in your own lungs. This is concussion and suffocation, the shambolic waste of the perpetual drunk thrashing desperately to stay afloat and swallowing greedily when he slips under the surface. This is the hacking, dry-heaving moment of willful, welcome negation. This is the long unbroken stare into crusted weary eyes that wonder at still being alive despite the self-inflicted damage. This is the horrific splendor of Swans during the dying days of the '80s, when they were killing themselves to create something beautiful.
Stevie Stone Wed., 6:00 p.m. October 24 @ Pop's Nightclub - $15 By Calvin Cox From this 2010 show review: Columbia, Missouri, native Stevie Stone held the warm-up spot. Stone, who's signed to Ruthless Records, has been gaining an underground following of late largely thanks to "Midwest Explosion," a collaboration with Tech N9ne which he released earlier this year. His gritty, raspy voice (similar to DJ Kaos) and fluid delivery are well-suited for his hardcore style.
Jim White Thurs., 8:00 p.m. October 25 w/ David Beeman @ Off Broadway - $12 By Roy Kasten The full title of Jim White's 1997 debut The Mysterious Tale of How I Shouted Wrong-Eyed Jesus tells you almost everything you need to know about this Southern gothic savant. What it doesn't tell is how much beauty his music contains, how he orchestrates voices and whistles, loops and found sounds, pedal steel and banjo into small, dark movies of Southern life. In their beauty they rise above primitivism and local color and become universal. That transcendence is everywhere apparent on this year's Where It Hits You, his first studio album in five years, and one of the funniest and wisest country-folk albums of the year. Once in a Lifetime: Jim White rarely tours widely enough to bring him to St. Louis. This week's show could be your first and last chance to see this true genius in action.
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