2008 Music Awards Nominees: Best Rock Band

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(Victoria, by Stephen Seebeck)

Victoria www.myspace.com/victoriastl Solely based on appearances, Victoria is one of the unlikeliest trios in the city. Spark plug drummer Steve Andrews sports tattoos up and down his arms, while lanky bassist Chad Rogers favors thrift-store finery and singer/guitarist David Moore looks like an archetypal rock star in the vein of Robert Plant. But by referencing Aerosmith, Pearl Jam and Led Zeppelin (along with modern cats Kings of Leon), the trio’s musical chemistry makes any surface differences disappear -- from the first incendiary riff to the last sweaty groove. -- Annie Zaleski Main Stage, 6 p.m.

MP3: Victoria, "Holy Roller"

The Incurables www.myspace.com/theincurables The Incurables’ live show is always a good reminder of why it helps when a band’s musicians have a more than rudimentary knowledge of their instruments and know how to compliment each other as a group. Featuring the songs, guitar and voice of St. Louis music scene veteran Jimmy Griffin --and a supporting cast that is more or less a who’s-who of the local rock scene over the past fifteen years -- the group brings a straightforward, no-nonsense rock show filled with catchy choruses and spot-on harmonies. Comparisons include Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, but Griffin and Co. have the range to bring plenty of heaviness to the table -- and it’s this attention to dynamics that really captures the audience. -- Shae Moseley Pi, 11 p.m.

(Riddle of Steel, by Matt Hughes)

Riddle of Steel www.myspace.com/riddleofsteelband Riddle of Steel’s rhythm section -- bassist Jimmy Vavak and drummer Rob Smith -- is forever locked in like a heated game of Tetris, while vocalist Andrew Elstner has one of the most unique voices in town; his nonchalant vocals are as silvery-metallic as Failure's Ken Andrews in places and as menacing as QOTSA's Josh Homme in others. Throw in this year’s classic rock-leaning 1985 (an album that manages to avoid sounding stale or derivative) and it’s always time to throw your devil horns up – way up – in celebration of this trio. -- Annie Zaleski

MP3: Riddle of Steel, "Quiet Now"

7 Shot Screamers www.myspace.com/7shotscreamers The 7 Shot Screamers made the jump from good to great in the past few years by broadening the scope of rockabilly to include more than hollow-body guitar licks and walking bass lines. There’s a wide swatch of hook-heavy bubblegum-inspired pop on the band’s most recent full-length In Wonderland. Of course, the four-piece can still rip it up on stage: Magnetic front man Mike Leahy croons sweetly and swaggers with confidence, and watching bassist Chris Powers Jr. alternately romance and punish his upright bass is worth the price of admission alone. -- Christian Schaeffer Halo Bar, midnight

MP3: 7 Shot Screamers, "World Domination Ball"

(7 Shot Screamers)

Wormwood Scrubs www.myspace.com/thewormwoodscrubselectricalband Its name evokes Charles Dickens’ London, all urban desperation and devolution, and its sound suggests the heavier, meaner side of various British invasions, from Them to the Animals to Led Zeppelin. But the Scrubs are a classic American rock band, with singer and keyboardist Larissa Dalle moaning with country-blues soul and guitarist and singer Jason Rook peeling off psychedelic guitar solos. Though the band hasn’t fully broken through to local (let alone national) audiences, it’s toured successfully in Europe and the UK. It’s time their homies caught up with them. -- Roy Kasten Pi, 7 p.m.

MP3: Wormwood Scrubs, "Ain't Ready"

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