This year all signs point to the premise of this blog post being a total lie. Apop Records closed, Jason Hutto moved to Texas, Johnny Vegas' Stag Nite is kaput (so he says), the Gramophone is giving up live music for full-time sandwich slinging, Kentucky Knife Fight and the Blind Eyes threw in their respective towels, south city sleaze-rock staple Lemmons is deader than a doornail and KDHX's Local Artist Spotlight is being discontinued indefinitely. These are only a few among many reasons why the scene seemingly sucks right now. Thanks a lot, 2014.
However, there is hope. Regardless of what the surface seems to say, diving a little deeper into the pool reveals true promise. Both the lovers and the creators of St. Louis music are proving that there is in-fact life after all of this death.
8. The Ready Room. Mike Cracchiolo's latest effort is still bringing in big acts and balancing them out with locals whenever possible, however the size and sound of this place are the biggest and best yet. Even after a few wrinkles in the plan to move the Demo next door, which came through like a champ after a little help from supporters, the Ready Room picked up the slack. From its monster debut with Of Montreal on April 2 to its Run the Jewels show on the night the grand jury handed down no indictment in Mike Brown's killing, this place is a solid venue that puts St. Louis on the map for national acts that might otherwise pass on through to Chicago or Kansas City.
7. Bump and Hustle. Every third Saturday of the month at Blank Space there is a fat ass party. Resident DJs MAKossa, Hal Greens and Nappy DJ Needles put on an all-vinyl funk, soul, disco, reggae (or whatever else they feel like) dance party where people actually show up and shake it on a regular basis.
6. The Undercurrent Series. Coming up on its first anniversary, this collaboration of Chad Eivins' visual art, the Paradoxal Pterodactyl podcast group and local music blog Wrong Division (which is, disclosure, headed up by RFT clubs editor Joseph Hess) crosses experimental music, punk, free-improvisation, spoken word and sometimes even comedy with projected imagery from local artists, all in one three-hour show. They've come steadily in monthly installments throughout this year and, as all shows are recorded, each new show is the release party for the previous show's mixtape. Handmade publications are also available on these nights and round out the all-inclusive DIY feel of it all.
5. Music Record Shop. While there is no real replacement for Apop, Mark Carter is giving it hell in the Grove. His focus on local music and art is drawing a steady crowd. Of course, it doesn't hurt to be situated in-between two venues. Show-goers can kill a little line time browsing the stacks before doors open at whichever place happens to be having an event that evening.