Whenever Kiernan Maletsky (remember that guy?) first announced to our small freelance music writing staff that Daniel Hill would be taking over the reigns at RFT Music, it was sort of emotional. Kiernan put in some really heartfelt words. It was nice. Daniel's response? He assured us all that the section would maintain similar momentum but with "a little more Bart Simpson-style mischief."
When I hit up Google to find photos for some of the bands coming through town this week, it only seemed appropriate to use this fan-drawn likeness of Bloc Party. You can check out more of Nattalia Alonso's work here. The Pageant welcomes them along with Reel Big Fish and Corey Smith this week. Read on for some more highlights including The Bad Plus, Natural Child and more.
Foxing Mon., 7:00 p.m., January 14 w/ State Lines, Run Forever, Ethnic Women, Flawless @ Blank Space - $5 By RFT Staff The revival of late-'90s-style emo among the barely legal demographic of Midwestern indie punks is upon us, and Foxing is poised to become the movement's local torchbearer. The quintet's members -- some of whom cannot legally purchase booze -- are lifers in the making, having honed their craft in bands like Hunter Gatherer, Family Might, Badger Hunt and Torchlight Red. With its pedigree, Foxing could apply its skill set toward vulgar displays of technicality, but instead it opts to make the live show a passionate and frighteningly vulnerable experience. What makes Foxing unique is the strange elegance that can result from its willingness to bare its collective bones; in rare moments, the band sheds its similarities to Cap'n Jazz and resembles a less emotionally distant Broken Social Scene.
Reel Big Fish Tues., 8:00 p.m., January 15 w/ Dan Potthast, The Pilfers @ The Pageant - $22.50 By Allison Babka Mainstream ska-punk bands often get thrown onto '90s fad lists, lumped together with Hypercolor t-shirts and Gak as "that thing that happened that one time." But despite pop radio's quick dismissal of the genre, bands like Reel Big Fish have continued to skank away with energetic brass, distorted guitar and catchy lyrics for more than twenty years. Relentless touring with third-wave ska standouts such as Less Than Jake, Goldfinger and Let's Go Bowling has ensured that RBF fans get the most bang for their concert buck, and with The Pilfers and St. Louis's own Dan Potthast on the Pageant bill, this show will be no exception. 'Toon Time: Reel Big Fish stars in and performs "A-W-E-S-O-M-E" in an episode of Waterman, an animated web series that ran 2003-2009. The band also performs the show's theme song, a cover of J. Geils Band's "Give It to Me."
The Bad Plus Wed., January 16 through Sat., January 19, 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. @ Jazz at the Bistro - $32/$37 By Ryan Wasoba From 2012: Last time The Bad Plus rolled through Jazz At The Bistro, the trio played with the fire of a group intent on proving itself. This time around, pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson and drummer David King appeared comfortable and relaxed, even when the tempos blazed. The band is touring behind its first album of all original material Never Stop, and its setlist at the 7:30 set on Friday reflected this fact. Gone were the repurposed pop songs, the games of "name that tune" that the trio tends to use as a crutch. By playing its own songs, the Bad Plus forced the crowd to tune in to its impressive, occasionally innovative musicianship.
Natural Child Thurs., 9:00 p.m., January 17 w/ The Brainstems, Rat Heart, Flaming Death Trap @ The Firebird - $10 By Jaime Lees Natural Child is known as a party band, but that's not to say the music isn't good - after years of constant touring and working the 24/7 hustle that is SXSW, the Nashville band is primed for a breakthrough. The music is babe-and-booze-influenced dirty rock & roll, and though it is fun, it's not necessarily low-brow. It's the three members of Natural Child themselves that have the low-brow sense of humor, maintaining a funny online presence that highlights their intoxicated everyman ways. This is a tour kick-off show, so expect extra high energy and on-stage shenanigans. Get loose and participate - don't fight it, just dig it.
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