This week's Most Triumphant Beard of the Week award goes unequivocally to Map's and Atlases' Dave Davison, whose facial hair would be worthy of IFC's cut-throat Whisker Wars competitions -- if that show is still a thing, anyway (I sure hope so, but doubt it). Jack Passion would be proud. Maps and Atlases play the Firebird this Saturday night.
Other notable shows in town this week -- albeit with less-than-notable facial hair, comparitively -- include live-looping multi-instrumentalist Emily Wells on Tuesday (no beard at all), folk-punker Tim Barry on Wednesday (stubble at best), and Bobby Bare Jr. on Saturday (occasionally bearded with pretty solid mustache). Click through to see the rest of our picks.
Sessions Big Band Jazz Mon., 8:00 p.m. May 7 @ BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups - $10 By Terry Perkins It's been a long time -- more than a half-century -- since the glory years of big-band jazz. But despite several changes in musical formats and styles, and the economic pressures that made keeping large bands together an extremely difficult proposition, big-band jazz has never really gone away. It's just gotten a little more difficult to find. There's no better place and time to discover the continued vitality of big-band jazz than BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups on Monday night. There you'll find the Sessions Big Band -- but one thing that's a little hard to find is a seat when Sessions is performing. The place usually fills up by the start with a mix of area jazz fans, conventioneers, tourists searching for a taste of local music and a few young music students as well.
Emily Wells & The Portland Cello Project Tue., 7:00 p.m. May 8 @ Old Rock House - $12-$20 By Kiernan Maletsky Let's just end the conversation about the dissolving of genres right here with Emily Wells. She's a lifelong, classically trained violinist who in a recent interview said, "there is nothing like a well-mic'd bass drum." Plus, she has a cover of Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy" that is the least touristy any white person with a stringed instrument has ever sounded covering gangster rap. Her new album, Mama, is a spectacular daydream on which Wells plays a minor orchestra of instruments, looping phrases until they become mantras. Independent Music Plays Here: Thank you to Tim Rakel, who introduced us to Emily Wells by playing her music on his Mystery Train show on KDHX (88.1 FM).
Tim Barry Wed., 7:00 p.m. May 9 @ Off Broadway - $12-$14 By Scott Heisel From this 2010 show preview: The punker-gone-solo route is a familiar path for many frontmen. In the past few years alone, the singers of Thrice, Hot Water Music, Lucero and dozens more have explored their folksier, quieter side -- with mixed results. Avail leader Tim Barry predates the trend, with his first solo release coming in 2005. Since then, he's won over a legion of followers with his deceptively simple songs and detailed storytelling. But just because Barry's without a backing band, don't think he's any less punk: He recently broke his hand onstage during one of his shows in a fight with an unruly audience member. It might not be Black Flag musically, but it sure is in spirit.
Midwest Mayhem w/ Little Rachel, Nee, Five and Dimers, Aaron Kamm and the One Drops, Warm Jets USA, Bob Reuter's Alley Ghost, Javier Mendoza, The KDHX Blues Band, Tight Pants Syndrome, Funky Butt Brass Band, The Folk School of St. Louis Showcase, and more Thurs., 6:30 p.m. May 10 @ City Museum - Donate to KDHX for Admission By Timothy Lane From this 2007 write-up: Fact is, there's nowhere to stand and not be touched by the cacophony that swirls through this place. The combination of music -- the electric hootenanny sounds of Strawfoot in one room mixing with the lowdown blues of Marquise Knox in another -- blending with the weird visual embellishments that comprise the City Museum's interior makes for a complete sense of vertigo. Dizzy on your feet, you are. Meanwhile, women riding bicycles costumed as horses and dragons pedal around lyrically. Downstairs you have people lined up to have stick-on tattoos pasted to various parts of their bodies. A group has massed in the Cabin Inn to listen to a comedic guitarist singing about how fucking doesn't cost anything. Much laughter. There are plenty of songs about sex, but not so many in which the word "fucking" is actually used, and this amuses people, this word, like a long belch or a fart amuses people.
The Polyphonic Spree Fri., 8:00 p.m. May 11 @ Blueberry Hill - $20 By Ryan Wasoba Although most credit Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene for the trend of non-ska bands whose roll calls reach into double digits, The Polyphonic Spree RSVP'd its thirty plus members for that party back in 2000. Those who pegged the Dallas group as a novelty because of its cult aesthetic were silenced by the joyous track "Light And Day/Reach For The Sun," which was commercially successful in that it succeeded to land in numerous television commercials. The Polyphonic Spree's continued success and existence is a testament to both mastermind Tim DeLaughter's songwriting and the strength of the buddy system, defeating the naysayers by outnumbering them. Notable Alumni: Annie Clark (alias St. Vincent) and Man-Or-Astro Man's Brian Teasley have donned the robes of the Polyphonic Spree, and current drummer Jason Garner also plays in the Paper Chase.