Music at the Intersection is bringing an embarrassment of riches to St. Louis–based music lovers this weekend.
For the second annual festival, organizers tapped more than 50 acts to play across four outdoor stages over two days, with top-notch performers including Erykah Badu and Gary Clark Jr. topping the bill. While those acts are no-brainers, digging further into the lineup can be dizzying, with an array of talent that is world-class in nature and staggering in its ambition.
But have no fear: RFT is here to help. Here we have a list of six can't-miss acts performing at the festival this year. They are our picks for the most interesting, most groovy, most unexpected and the most flat-out cool. These are legendary artists from around the country, across the globe and from our own backyard, and they all have one thing in common — they're here to make you dance. It'd be best not to let them down.
NandoSTL came about his success honestly, even humbly. The St. Louis rapper started writing and performing his own music in 2018 as little more than a creative outlet, a way to break up his routine and keep things fresh. A family man with children and a career, he didn't even bother to promote his debut, 2018's Good Vibes EP. But talent like Nando's can't be kept secret for long. Soon the budding artist was a full-fledged social media sensation, thanks to the viral success of standout tracks "I Don't Even Smoke" and "All Night Long." Nando followed up with the 2019 single "Outside," which earned him the People's Choice award at 2020's SlumFest, where he was also named the Best New Artist. It's easy to see why Nando's music resonates with so many people; his sound is refreshing and expansive, with live instrumentation and elements of funk, soul and gospel undergirding a poetic, storytelling approach to his vocals. Now a rising star in his own right, Nando has since played multiple sold-out shows in his hometown, released another banger with 2020's critically acclaimed Bamboo EP and is set to drop his debut full-length this year, featuring a track with none other than the Ghost of Freaknik himself, rapper T-Pain. See what all the fuss is about during his Saturday set at 1:10 p.m. on the Field Stage.
Foxing is somewhat of an outlier on Music at the Intersection's lineup. The vast majority of the acts playing the festival dabble in jazz, blues, funk, soul and roots music, with a bit of hip-hop thrown in for good measure, while Foxing works more in the world of indie rock. Initially finding success with its 2013 album The Albatross, the St. Louis act has one-upped itself with each new release, culminating in last year's stunning Draw Down the Moon. The critically acclaimed album is still marked by the emo intensity of the band's early work but also incorporates elements of danceable synth-pop and huge, arena-rock choruses, bringing a fully fleshed-out sound and a level of conceptual maturity that has made the group one of the hottest acts in all of St. Louis. The ambition of that album was matched only by its rollout, which saw the group working with Emmy-, Tony- and Grammy-award-winning actor André De Shields on a music video for its title track; recording a concert film at the Grandel that was only available to stream for 24 hours upon its release; and even creating a series of Dungeons & Dragons-style puzzles that unlocked exclusive content through the band's website. It's fitting, then, that Foxing be a part of the most ambitious music festival the city has to offer, and the group will surely walk away from this show with a slew of new fans who may not have caught them otherwise. Expect the unexpected during the band's 1:45 p.m. set on the Washington Avenue Stage on Saturday.
Jazz-funk act Hiatus Kaiyote is traveling nearly 10,000 miles to St. Louis from its hometown Melbourne, Australia — the least you can do is hear them out. Not that that's a big ask; since playing its first gig in 2011, the group has swiftly become a critical darling, with such luminaries as Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors, Erykah Badu, Questlove and even the late Prince counting themselves as fans. The band's lush, spacey instrumentals, replete with elements from across the musical spectrum including electronica, R&B and tropicália, pair beautifully with singer Nai Palm's exquisitely soulful vocals, and its latest, 2021's Mood Valiant, even garnered the group a Grammy nomination in the Best Progressive R&B Album category. Unsurprisingly, sampling Hiatus Kaiyote songs has become a common practice in the world of hip-hop, and the band has seen its work borrowed by such superstars as Anderson .Paak, Kendrick Lamar, Drake and Beyoncé in recent years. Catch the highly buzzed act's set at 5:50 p.m. Saturday on the Washington Avenue Stage.
Keyon Harrold presents "Jazz & The Birth of Hip Hop" feat. Black Milk, Chris "Daddy" Dave, Alex Isley & More
You'd be hard pressed to find an artist more qualified to present a show focused on jazz's inextricable influence on hip-hop than Keyon Harrold. The trumpeter and singer-songwriter has a career that has taken him all the way to the White House, where he performed with rapper Common as part of NPR's Tiny Desk Concert series. He's worked with everyone from Jay-Z to Mobb Deep to 50 Cent to Big K.R.I.T. Additionally, the Ferguson native serves as the artistic adviser for Jazz St. Louis, a position he's slated to hold until 2024. And the artists he's brought along for the ride are equally up to the task. There's Detroit rapper Black Milk, whose credits include work with Slum Village, J Dilla and Pharoahe Monch; there's Houston's Chris "Daddy" Dave, a first-call session musician who has lent his percussive skills to everyone from Raphael Saadiq to D'Angelo to PJ Morton; and of course there's New Jersey singer-songwriter Alex Isley, daughter of Isley Brother Ernie Isley and collaborator with artists including Scarface, Tank and the Bangas, and 9th Wonder. It's a murderers' row of top-notch jazz and hip-hop talent, and it's sure to be one of the standouts of the entire weekend. Be prepared to be taken to school during the group's 6:15 p.m. Saturday set on the Field Stage.
George Porter Jr. & Dumpstaphunk perform the Meters
The New Orleans sound comes to St. Louis in a big way this weekend, as the Big Easy sends two of its finest acts up the Mississippi to pay homage to the Meters, who alongside James Brown are widely credited among the originators of funk music. There's certainly no one better suited to perform such a tribute. George Porter Jr. is a New Orleans legend, a crack bass player and vocalist who was a founding member of the Meters when he was still in his teens. Dumpstaphunk is meanwhile one of NOLA's most celebrated modern funk acts, serving up filthy, ass-shaking grooves and bottomless low end, and featuring two members who are blood-related to the late Meters frontman Art Neville. Expect a high-energy set of swinging sounds and colossal grooves as the hybrid group digs into the Meters' storied catalog, with funk classics "Cissy Strut" and "Look-Ka Py Py" serving as the tip of the iceberg. Get ready to get all the way down during the band's Sunday performance at 5:15 p.m. on the Washington Avenue Stage.
Robert Glasper with special guest Terrace Martin
If you happened to catch the dramatic reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air from earlier this year, then you are already familiar with the work of Robert Glasper and Terrace Martin. The duo, who have known each other since they met at jazz camp in 1996, teamed up to score that project, and also worked together in the supergroup Dinner Party, along with Kamasi Washington and 9th Wonder. Perhaps most notably, they also worked together on Kendrick Lamar's groundbreaking To Pimp a Butterfly album, with Glasper lending his keyboard and piano skills to five songs and Martin popping up on nearly every track as a producer and instrumentalist, playing horns, keyboards, vocoder and the alto sax. It makes sense that they would collaborate so frequently — their chemistry is undeniable, and their musical chops are legendary, with four Grammy wins and a double-digit number of nominations between the two of them. Witness modern jazz royalty in the flesh on Sunday during their 7 p.m. set at the Washington Avenue Stage.
Music at the Intersection takes place in the Grand Center Arts District on Saturday, September 10, and Sunday, September 11. Tickets range from $69 to $129, with VIP options that can go as high as $650. For the full schedule and ticket information, visit musicattheintersection.org.