This week, plenty of touring acts stop into town including Broncho, Charlie Wilson, Wussy and Man Man. Sleepy Kitty also releases its album at Off Broadway, and there's plenty more where that came from for the weekend. Keep reading for this week's show recommendations, and stay tuned 'til the end of the week for even more.
Broncho Monday, January 13, 8 p.m. w/ Maximum Effort, Hoonbag Moonswag @ Melt - $5 By Bob McMahon It's almost unfair how Broncho makes instantly memorable music out of rock's most tired chord progressions. One of the scrappy garage-punk quartet's best songs, "I Don't Really Want to Be Social," mostly revolves around a two-chord riff. Broncho sells these simple foundations in a couple ways. First, the group plays them through cutting stop-start rhythms anchored by Nathan Price's economically creative drumming. Broncho then layers on snappy guitar leads and catchy vocal hooks that are often bolstered by charming shout-along choruses. Filter it all through dirty guitar and drum tones that strike the ideal balance between grit and clarity, and you have skuzzy pop perfection.
Kim Massie Tuesday, January 14, 10 p.m. @ Beale on Broadway - $7 By RFT Staff Although the word "diva" is so overused it's almost a useless descriptor, Kim Massie is one vocalist who deserves the honor. With its brash, gospel-influenced strains of vibrato, Massie's voice can be as big and broad as Aretha Franklin's, but it contains just enough Etta James-ian blues to undercut this strength with sorrow. When Massie sings the standard "At Last," you can close your eyes and imagine her voice as a vocal preacher, laying down the lyrics like audible commandments, just as easily as you can imagine the sound slinking down a smoky stage moonlit by a lonely spotlight. Massie is always -- and effortlessly somehow -- magical, spiritual and glowing.
Jack of Heart Wednesday, January 15, 9 p.m. w/ Little Big Bangs, Wild Hex, Shitstorm @ Plush - $5 By Mabel Suen Jack of Heart hails from the south of France and brings its tongue-in-cheek, '50s-style psych rock to St. Louis during a month-long trek across the states. Garagey sounds, simple lyrics spoken through thick accents and even the occasional barks make up its danceable pop tunes studded with distorted guitars. Local openers Little Big Bangs, Wild Hex and Shitstorm play the perfect counterparts to Jack of Heart's raw approach to rock and roll. The latter are still fairly new to scene while Little Big Bangs have a history of energetic sets to live up to. Come early and stay for the whole show.
Marquise Knox Thursday, January 16, 6 p.m. @ Blues City Deli - free By RFT Staff Though the renewed interest in pre-WWII blues among some younger St. Louis musicians has produced some interesting music over the last couple of years, many blues purists still see singer-guitarist Marquise Knox as the most likely candidate to push the music forward in the future. Immersed in the sounds of Mississippi, St. Louis and Chicago blues since his birth just 21 years ago, Knox was mentored as a teenager by, among others, the legendary Henry Townsend, who knew Robert Johnson and recorded in every decade from the 1920s to the 2000s. Heralded as a potential star since before he was old enough to have a driver's license, Knox now is showing every sign of being able to deliver on that promise. His most recent recording, Here I Am, shows real progress in his singing, playing and songwriting, and Knox has been logging serious mileage playing club dates and festivals in both the U.S. and Europe. In a town filled with veteran blues musicians -- many of whom might plausibly be candidates for this award -- Knox's youth may have helped him get noticed initially, but his real talent and continued growth have helped keep him deservedly in the spotlight.