The 10 Best Concerts in St. Louis This Weekend: December 15 to 17

click to enlarge St. Louis ex-pat SZA performs both Sunday and Tuesday at the Ready Room. - Cover art for CTRL by SZA
Cover art for CTRL by SZA
St. Louis ex-pat SZA performs both Sunday and Tuesday at the Ready Room.
From 105.7 The Point's Local HoHo Show to Ho Ho Hardcore over at the Sinkhole, holiday shows are in full effect and will continue to grow, reaching critical mass in the next week. For those wanting an escape from the constant leak of Christmas music: good luck. Luckily St. Louis has enough options, including concerts that are undoubtedly free of Yuletide spirit, whatever that means.


9th Annual Funky Butt Brass Band Holiday Brasstravaganza
9 p.m. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Avenue. $18-$28. 314-498-6989.
Just by virtue of delivering a damn good show every year, Funky Butt has made its Christmas concert a tradition for south city showgoers. These annual events took new form back in 2011 when the group released Shiny Christmas Balls, a record that showcases the band's distinct take on old favorites. With A Funky Butt Family Christmas, the crew brings guests and collaborators from nearly a decade of holiday shows into the fold for a familial take on Christmas classics with a sincere love for the source material. If your Friday is taken up by a company party or last minute shopping antics, keep in mind that this year's Brasstravaganza goes down on both Friday and Saturday at the same brass time, same brass place.


Ho Ho Hardcore w/ No x Thanks, Lowered A.D., Church Key, Family Medicine, Kill Their Past, Magmadiver
7 p.m. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway. $5. 314-328-2309.
Oklahoma outfit No x Thanks knows just where to poke and prod while using its sculpted punk as a blunt instrument. By attacking at just the right angle, the band hits all the vital spots with brash and pointed lyrics. The breakneck set is streamlined with enough fat cut to deliver on a promise of pure intensity. Outside of Santa hats and an ugly sweater or two, expect minimal gimmicks — nothing to disrupt this six band power run. Bring a new, unwrapped toy for Toys For Tots or expect to pay a minimum donation of $5 at the door for Women's Safe House of St. Louis.

New Music Circle Fundraiser w/ Alex Cunningham and Kevin Harris
3 p.m. Barnes & Noble, 8871 Ladue Road. Free. 314-477-3813.
For maybe thirty minutes on a cold Saturday in December, this particular Saturday to be precise, holiday shoppers will scan the shelves at a Barnes & Noble bookstore while an experimental pop-up show takes place only feet away. And who better to help raise funds and awareness for St. Louis' premiere purveyors of avant-garde than violinist Alex Cunningham and sound artist Kevin Harris? A portion of sales goes to benefit New Music Circle while a portion of the clientele will be at least a little confused. It's a win-win for everyone involved.

Radiator Hospital w/ Pineapple RnR, Posture, I Could Sleep in the Clouds
8 p.m. Foam Coffee & Beer, 3359 Jefferson Avenue. $7. 314-772-2100.
Radiator Hospital takes on power pop with the kind of brevity befitting a punk or hardcore band. Songs here can run under two minutes and, in the rare instance they last longer, the Philly outfit seems intent on never wasting time. Twee-sensible riffs outline vocal leads that charm with whimsy and subtle sing-song tendencies. St. Louis' own Posture has members spaced out through the country, and this show offers up a rare shot to see the power trio's wiry indie punk in its native habitat.

105.7 The Point Local HoHo Show w/ Tidal Volume, *repeat repeat, Sigmund Frauds, We Should Leave This Tree
7 p.m. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Boulevard. $12-$15. 314-726-6161.
Sure, the Point isn't always associated with local music (that honor goes to KDHX) but the station has more than dabbled in the scene, helping to hoist up a number of St. Louis bands over the years. The lineup on hand delivers the station's same range of hard-hitting alternatives to rock and punk. The Point has put in the effort so its fans can dip their toes into the undercurrent of local bands. If anything, consider this a possible bridge to future favorites.

Uniquely Percussive
8 p.m. El Leñador Bar & Grill, 3124 Cherokee Street. $8. 314-875-9955.
Headed by drummer Drew Gowran, this show offers a dynamic set of percussionists spread throughout the grounds at El Leñador. Performers will play 12-minute sets in rapid-fire succession for a solid four hour block of distinct percussive voices. Drummers from Golden Curls, the Potomac Accord, DinoFight!, The Human Monster and many other local bands make up this showcase to benefit the St. Louis Legal Fund. Hit this link to contribute to the cause directly.


18andCounting & TheOnlyEnsemble
4 p.m. Vintage Vinyl, 6610 Delmar Boulevard. Free. 314-721-4096.
If you were unlucky enough to miss his EP release party for Animal Skins at the Ready Room last week, this matinee offers up rapper Stan Chisholm, known best as 18andCounting, backed up by TheOnlyEnsemble, for an intimate matinee in the Loop. Chisholm himself is no stranger to Vintage Vinyl, as he digs from the crates to fuel his work as one of St. Louis' most inventive turntablists. This event sees his work coalesce into a hip-hop show that couples dense instrumentation with a distinct lyrical rip.

Charley Crockett
8 p.m. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Avenue. $12-$15. 314-498-6989.
By Roy Kasten
When it comes to the neo-busker revival, there’s plenty of blame to go around. Emo, EDM, Sam Smith Pandora stations — even the most wired millennial will eventually crave the day when the whole global entertainment complex crashes and the only sound left is Taylor Swift tap-dancing in front of a shoe box on Music Row. Dallas, Texas-based blues shouter and boot-heel stomper Charley Crockett isn’t heralding a new Depression; he’s shaking up the unplugged, Fedora folkie scene by drawing on his Creole-Cajun heritage, channeling tent-revival gospel, jazz-funeral marches and steel-guitar burnished country without a trace of pretense. His old-time sound and style isn’t faddish; it’s a swinging, jumping, street-corner symphony.

Danny Barnes
7 p.m. The Stage at KDHX, 3524 Washington Avenue. $12-$25. 314-925-7543.
While Danny Barnes might have made a name for himself with the Bad Livers throughout the '90s, he is now widely renowned as one of the best banjo players in the United States. KDHX hosts this intimate event where Barnes will explore his dense discography and compositions, which start with bluegrass and venture into sub-genres of country and jazz. For those aspiring pluckers out there, Barnes will also head a banjo workshop earlier in the day at the Folk School of KDHX.

8 p.m. The Ready Room, 4195 Manchester Avenue. $25-$85. 314-833-3929.
By Daniel Hill
Many local fans of R&B singer-songwriter SZA were left disappointed when her St. Louis show in support of her debut album, June's Ctrl, sold out in less than ten minutes. But to the delight of those same disappointed folks, a second show was added — and it too sold out in record time. To those disappointed fans that remain: Seriously, why have you been sleeping so hard? Stub Hub tickets at more than $100 a pop are your best shot at this point, but if that is too cost-prohibitive you may just find yourself stuck in your bedroom with Ctrl on repeat, jealous of your fellow St. Louisans who have faster trigger fingers. Don't get too down, though. Considering her ability to effortlessly fill an 800-capacity club two times in only three days, it is pretty much a guarantee the fast-rising singer will be back — and probably in a much larger venue next time. SZA was born in St. Louis before moving to Maplewood, New Jersey, where she was raised. Let's make sure she gets a hero's welcome upon her return.
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