The 10 Best Concerts in St. Louis This Weekend: December 8 to 10

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18andCounting & TheOnlyEnsemble celebrate new EP Animal Skins alongside Mathias & the Pirates at a dual release show on Saturday at Ready Room. - Photo by Mabel Suen
Photo by Mabel Suen
18andCounting & TheOnlyEnsemble celebrate new EP Animal Skins alongside Mathias & the Pirates at a dual release show on Saturday at Ready Room.
For all this "buy local" talk, few take that mantra to heart when talking music or art. With at least four local release parties, a benefit show for Puerto Rico and a holiday festival put on by 92.3 FM, there are more reasons than ever to see a homegrown, grass-fed local show. Let this weekend be the start of a relationship between you and the St. Louis music scene.

If you're already a die-hard, treat this list as a starting point to explore all the music this city has to offer.


21 Savage w/ YoungBoy, Never Broke Again
8 p.m. Pop's Nightclub, 401 Monsanto Avenue. $40. 618-274-6720.
21 Savage's jagged trap beats and deadpan delivery do much to sell his lyrics, dark and deranged as they are. His whole vibe feels akin to a jilted horror flick — one that would feel cheap if not for his own rap sheet and violent past. Only four years ago was he shot on his 21st birthday, and the knife tattooed to his forehead pays tribute to his deceased brother. Sure, this might be horror hip-hop, but it's made with practical effects and not low rent CGI. This year's Issa Album is blissfully self-aware, right down to the title's reference to this interview where 21 Savage famously says "issa knife."

Wax Fruit w/ Hands and Feet, Nth
9 p.m. The Heavy Anchor, 5226 Gravois Avenue. $7. 314-352-5226.
If the synth leads in Wax Fruit were relayed via guitar or bass, they would fit right into a post-punk mold. Even without the rip of live drums, the beats here pour a concrete mix for gloomy songs to stand atop. The duo behind Wax Fruit builds the kind of sonic set pieces that can change the air pressure in a room, and luckily the two are content with being kind. Hands and Feet wields an equal mastery of mood with his synthesis of electronics and live instrumentation.

Western Medication w/ Sundowning, Mom
9 p.m. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway. $5. 314-328-2309.
By Roy Kasten
Shoegazers with a jangle jones as tenacious as their hooks don’t come around often. And they’re even less likely to emerge from Nashville with their sense of humor intact. Western Medication pulls it all off with last year’s weirdly dreamy ‘90s throwback The Entertainers’ Secret, an album that sometimes sounds like R.E.M. covering Echo and the Bunnymen or a stoned Oasis goofing off with a cartoonish text-to-speech program. Mostly, though, Western Medication finds inspiration when looking up from its pedals and letting it all rip in a swirling, charging, fuzzily melodic wall of sound. These dudes would rather rage than drone. Sometimes they even dance their blurry asses off.


18andCounting & TheOnlyEnsemble / Mathias & the Pirates Dual EP Release Party
8 p.m. The Ready Room, 4195 Manchester Avenue. $10-$12. 314-833-3929.
By Daniel Hill
St. Louis' renowned FarFetched Collective comes out in force this weekend, with EP releases from two of its finest affiliated acts. First off, Stan Chisholm, who performs with his backing band as 18andCounting & TheOnlyEnsemble, will release Animal Skins, their first since last year's TheBirdsAtThisHour. That release came in the physical form of a stenciled brick with a download code; this year's EP has a similarly interesting format, comprising a download code and a 40-page booklet of photos and lyrics. The only track released so far is a rap re-imagining of Bjork's 1997 song "Hunter." And if you think it's weird that a hip-hop artist would cover Bjork, you clearly need to better familiarize yourself with Chisholm's genre-bending work. Mathias & the Pirates' album, much like its music, will be available in a more conventional form, delivering 25 minutes of unabashedly '90s influenced, golden-era hip-hop — "so basically the kids will hate it," as the group promises in a press release. Each act demands your full attention.

Fivefold – The Farewell Show w/ Ashland, Modern Gold
8 p.m. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Boulevard. $15. 314-726-6161.
If the comments under Fivefold's farewell video on Youtube are any indication — "noooo, just discovered you :(" being the most upvoted — the band had just started to break through. Not that it hadn't found an audience in its ten years of active writing, recording and performing. These are local boys playing bold and heavy rock with streamlined riffs and a taut style of songwriting. Maybe posthumous fame will drag the band out of retirement, but it's best to not count on such haughty dreams. This Saturday looks to be everyone's last shot at seeing the band — that goes for both newcomers and dedicated fans alike.

Jinglefest 2017 w/ Old Dominion, Locash, Walker Hayes, Delta Rae
6 p.m. Family Arena, 2002 Arena Parkway. $40-$63. 636-896-4200.
New Country 92.3, otherwise known as St. Louis' long-standing country station WIL-FM, continues a holiday tradition that fuses contemporaries with old favorites and young up-starts. This years' Jinglefest is no different with Nashville's gritty Old Dominion at the helm, hitting St. Louis on its own victory lap around the country following the release of Happy Endings this past August. 

Low Weather Album Release Show w/ The Longshot, Kelly Latimore
9 p.m. The Heavy Anchor, 5226 Gravois Avenue. $7. 314-352-5226.
Low Weather's own Bandcamp page has a neat Easter egg that could be missed if you weren't looking for it: #BenWasInFoxing. What looks like an inside joke does give a peak into Low Weather's lineup, which factually features a former member of premiere emo outfit Foxing. To celebrate the release of Hard To Tell on vinyl, the band has brought together its friends and musical family for a live clinic on lo-fi indie rock played with a tilt.

Orphan Welles EP Release w/ the Fade, Polyshades, Pono AM
8 p.m. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Avenue. $10. 314-498-6989.
By Christian Schaeffer
New-ish local trio Orphan Welles calls itself a "baroque pop" band, a genre designation that will have fans of the Zombies, the Association and the Left Banke licking their chops. It’s better to say that the band updates some of those signifiers — there’s not a harpsichord in sight on the band’s demo record or lead single “Shattered Love” — but swooning synths paired with sweetly heartbroken vocals will be a winning combo for fans of smart, precise power pop. Brandon Creath leads this group with assists from Christopher Bachmann and Chris Bennett, and Orphan Welles’ debut EP sees its release with a multi-band bill this weekend alongside the Fade, Polyshades and Pono AM.

Sea of Resistance - A Benefit Show for Puerto Rico w/ The Vigilettes, Pirate Signal, Accelerando, Bagheera
8 p.m. CBGB, 3163 South Grand Boulevard. Free.
By Christian Schaeffer
From The Vigilettes Is One of This Year's STL 77:
If Hollywood’s endless onslaught of superhero movies has taught us anything — that’s a big “if” — it’s that a little collaboration among super-powers can have world-saving, box-office-breaking effects. For south city quartet the Vigilettes, a little superhero schtick goes a long way to describing their all-for-one appeal; the four women in the band share singing and songwriting duties, creating a sound that’s indebted to Breeders-style guitar rock while leaving room for some experimentation. The group’s debut 4,3,2,1 came out in the fall, but guitarist and singer Caitlin O’Toole was teasing new material in conversation as early as last year. “We already have a lot of new songs that we’ve already been playing live,” she said. “There is definitely gonna be another release – maybe an EP.”


Blues Society IBC Showcase w/ Torrey Casey & The Southside Hustle, Kingdom Brothers Duo, Eugene Johnson
3 p.m. BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 South Broadway Street. $10. 314-436-5222.
Who said music wasn't a competition? Like the Oscars, Grammys or any other institution that rewards artistry and effort, there will always be those who hope to extol the sweat of one's brow. And the International Blues Challenge is one of many ways to recognize the muscle of St. Louis' songwriters. Consider this a matinee showing of this year's local champions in the following categories: Best Band, Best Duo and Best Self-Produced CD.
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