SXSW: St. Louis Wrap-up, Part Two

Saturday night was the big St. Louis show-hopping night for me, with the 7 Shot Screamers kicking things off at the Dirty Dog Bar (which was basically the old Creepy Crawl on steroids). A small but enthusiastic crowd didn't dampen the band's enthusiasm, as all of its touring has made the quartet a psychobilly force. Vocalist Mike Leahy jumped around the stage like a wriggling kid and Chris Powers abused his upright-bass, all in the name of tight, fast, loud tunes (and a great cover of "Paint It Black"). No wonder Cali heroes Nekromantix tapped the group to open its CD release shows in April. Courtesy of freelancer Jaime Lees, take a look at video taken during the show. Beware, there's a sound crackle -- but you get the idea.

At this point, my camera ran out of batteries. Oops!

Finn's Motel was my next stop (har!), playing outdoors on a patio tucked away off of an alley. A criminally small crowd was there to see the quartet play a set of solid, charming pop songs. The meticulous sounds frontman Joe Thebeau crafted on last year's Escape Velocity translated quite well in concert, bringing to mind shades of Guided by Voices and Superchunk. See my previous post for Joe Thebeau!

The Affair was the mystery band from town that snagged an official showcase, someone I didn't know had even applied until I happened upon the group's name while perusing SXSW's Web site. Tunes on its MySpace reveal musicians indebted to At the Drive-In's scissor-kicking chords and Rage Against the Machine's viscous funk grooves — although the set I saw the band play was far less interesting. Disappointingly generic emo-screamo tunes morphed into tunes with a reggae beat that aped the Police (complete with yelping vocals reminiscent of Sting) and then turned almost jam-band noodly. (Unconfirmed as of presstime is whether the end-of-set quip note that it was changing its name to Monsters of Jazz is true.)

As an added bonus, here's another 7SS video. It's hard to see the group, but the sound is much better.

-Annie Zaleski

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