Every month, RFT Music's concert fanatics highlight a hodgepodge of the best shows happening around town -- from hip hop and metal to noise and experimental. Here's a selection of these picks combined with our weekly critics' picks and beyond. Stay tuned to our weekend best bets post on Friday for even more recommendations over the weekend.
Laika Monday, May 12, 8 p.m. w/ Flesh Born, Lions, Gilliam @ Lemp Arts Center - $5 By Mabel Suen From this 2013 profile: When asked to describe his own music, guitarist and vocalist Mike Brown of Laika says, "It's something that continues to push us as musicians. It's aggressive and fast at times but slow and emotional at others. It's a mix of feeling and indifference. We're all aggravated and angry. This is a way for us (or at least me) to sort out our heavies... It doesn't do anyone any good when it sits inside. I'd rather scream them in people's faces." Rooted in screamo and the melodic side of finger-tapped math rock (a la Piglet, Don Caballero and Tera Melos), the trio creates high energy music that peaks, resolves and moves on in a scatter shot manner from song to song. Structures wax and wane between harried quick-paced attacks to slow, dense sections of emotionally-driven yells dripping with disdain.
DJ Mahf Tuesday, May 13, 10 p.m. @ Pin-Up Bowl By Blair Stiles From the 2013 RFT Music awards: DJ Mahf works from some place in his brain that pumps out enough enthusiasm to make his work look easy. Performing with a chilled zeal, the Indyground DJ interplays dense minutes of thumping samples with crackling movie clips and fine-tuned, one-and-two-handed scratches. He has already banged around Kansas City's spirited Middle of the Map Festival with labelmate Brett Gretzky, crossed the northern American border and cut and pasted for Red Bull's Thre3style competition this year. Whether live or replayed through Indyground's streaming footage, Mahf exudes the enjoyment he feels: In tempo he bobs at the waist, moving faster in the moments when he is inundated with the floor's energy, always looking pleased. It is Mahf's obvious enjoyment of his craft that puts his sets so squarely in the spotlight.
Lumpy & the Dumpers 7" Release Wednesday, May 14, 8 p.m. w/ Cabeza Twins, Scary & the Scrapers, Bathhouse Boys, Mainland Divide @ Plush - $7 By RFT Staff From the RFT Best of St. Louis 2013: Straight from the demented brain of a man who calls himself "Lumpy" (a.k.a. Martin Meyer, former drummer of St. Louis punk favorite Sweet Tooth), Lumpy & the Dumpers is a band tailor-made to occupy the deepest, darkest corners of subterranean spaces. Like the musical equivalent of the 1984 B-movie C.H.U.D., Lumpy and his band of "cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers" (better known as the Dumpers, a.k.a. "the best backing band in punk") ooze slime and nastiness as readily as they churn out infectious riffs and bafflingly catchy choruses. (We still don't know what it means to "face the meat," but we've been assured that one of these days we will find out.) It didn't take long at all for this former one-man, four-track project to take on members and form a life of its own, building blog buzz and already touring the Midwest this year.
Slayer Thursday, May 15, 7:30 p.m. w/ Suicidal Tendencies @ The Pageant - $32.50-$35 By Rick Giordano From "The Best St. Louis Metal Shows: May 2014": Slayer was that super awesome band that put out four or five of the best metal albums ever created before the guy who wrote all the good songs died and they kicked the founding drummer out for asking about his paycheck. Then the band's singer became a Catholic and the remaining wah-wah pedal player, who legally changed his name from Kerry King to Tribal Tony in the early 2000s, turned the band into a merchandising outfit and starred in a Jagermeister commercial wearing sunglasses indoors. Go for Exodus, stay for Suicidal and then throw hot dogs at Kerry King and see how many he catches in his mouth. RIP Jeff.