The 10 Best Shows in St. Louis This Weekend: May 6 to 8

May 6, 2016 at 5:44 am
Crazy XXX Girlfriend will perform at Old Rock House this Friday - Photo by Neil C. Luke
Photo by Neil C. Luke
Crazy XXX Girlfriend will perform at Old Rock House this Friday
Hell of a weekend, this one. Between Cinco de Mayo celebrations and honoring your mom for Mother's Day (REMINDER!), you may think that your dance card is already full before you even make your way to the music. Too bad: This weekend is stacked. Friday in particular is bursting, with a stop by Aimee Mann and a slew of local acts (including the Vanilla Beans at the Tap Room, Crazy XXX Girlfriend at Old Rock House and Search Parties at Off Broadway) filling venues throughout town. Check out our full picks below:


Search Parties w/ Bruiser Queen
9 p.m., $10. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-773-3363.
By Christian Schaeffer
Perhaps it's appropriate that Search Parties' debut EP, the seven-track Strange Woman / Soul Revival, has a title more befitting a lost Doors single than pensive but forceful indie rock. Early in the album, the band uses some of the language of rhythm and blues influenced rock & roll — snaking guitar lines, roiling organ chords, soul-deep vocals — to convey emotionally knotty material that might elsewhere be the provenance of emo aggression or sad-sack indie mopery. There are traces of those and other such genres on the album, but throughout Search Parties uses muscular, rhythmically driven arrangements and Elliott Pearson's strong voice to push these songs toward the anthemic.

Crazy XXX Girlfriend w/Bally Table Kings playing as The Who
9 p.m., $10. Old Rock House, 1200 S. 7th St., St. Louis, 314-588-0505.
By Jeremy Esssig
"I wrote these songs because I always had a chip on my shoulder," says Tracy Swigert, speaking in front of Kevin's Place on Cherokee Street. "You always see guys rocking, and I was like, 'I want to do that. Why can't I do that?'" Her band Crazy XXX Girlfriend released its debut EP Dick Magnet in March of last year. Its songs are rife with unapologetic carnal imagery, and the band's live show, Swigert explains, is a mix of rock & roll and burlesque. "'Dick Magnet' — it's meant to be kind of funny. It's poking fun at douchebaggery," she says, her bright green eyeshadow contrasting with her blond highlights. "Guys who expect to just have girls falling all over them — it's the same kind of concept, but it's from a woman's perspective."

DJ Mahf
9 p.m., $5-$7. Thaxton Speakeasy, 1009 Olive St., St. Louis, 314-241-3279.
By RFT Staff
Known for his ability to move crowds, dig deep in the crates and always keep it funky, DJ Mahf walks a fine line between artistic turntablist and party-rocker. Born and raised in St. Louis, he began experimenting on the decks when he was in high school. Since, he has played just about every major venue in the region & has been all over the world spreading his signature sound.

Aimee Mann
9 p.m., $35-$40. The Sheldon, 3648 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, 314-533-9900.
By Roy Kasten
Though she has never been especially prolific, the wily and wiry Aimee Mann has built up an extraordinary body of work that includes one of rock's great solo debuts (Whatever, her first album after disbanding 'Til Tuesday), one of the most satisfying concept albums (2005's The Forgotten Arm), one of the strongest soundtracks (her suite of songs for Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia) and one of the best Christmas albums ever. She's also an effortless collaborator, whether working with the rocker Ted Leo, the craftsman Jon Brion or the hubby Michael Penn. Her music jangles and swings and lilts and storms; her songs wed the head and the heart, and her voice always carries you away.

Brian Owens CD Release Show
7:30 & 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $21.50. Jazz At the Bistro, 634 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 314-534-3663.
By Jason Rosenbaum
Don't call Brian Owens an overnight success. The Ferguson native has been making music on his own and with others for more than ten years, including as a lead male vocalist of Sidewinder, a U.S. Air Force band that effectively blew up the Internet in 2011. The group appeared on a number prominent television shows, including Entertainment Tonight and The Ellen Show. Owens has since pursued a solo career after Sidewinder was decommissioned, resulting in numerous EPs and records. Now the talented singer is joined by a backing band, the Deacons of Soul, and together they will release the Beautiful Day EP at Jazz at the Bistro this weekend.

The Vanilla Beans w/ We Should Leave This Tree, Marie and the Americans
9 p.m., free. Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust St., St. Louis, 314-241-2337.
By Christian Schaeffer
Somewhere along the line, amid a flurry of releases and a steady stream of gigs on local stages, the Vanilla Beans became St. Louis' best electro-twee band. And that's not as narrow of a genre as you might think — the group marries simple pop dynamics (boy/girl harmonies, sing-song lyrics) with digital drum beats and burbling synth. It's a mix that's modern and timeless, befitting a band that reportedly bonded over a shared love of Daniel Johnston, but also quickly advanced past any kind of faux-naïveté — you don't write songs this catchy on accident.


Fiesta 76 w/ AJ & The Jiggawatts, Ronkat of the P-Funk All Stars, DJ Mahf, Break Night, Birthday Boy Mark Lewis, Hal Greens, DJ Needles, DJ Alexis
8 p.m., $10. 2720 Cherokee Performing Arts Center, 2720 Cherokee St, St. Louis, 314-276-2700.
By Daniel Hill
Headed to Cherokee Street's big Cinco de Mayo celebration this Saturday? Perhaps you are looking forward to the bashing of a giant Donald Trump pinata outside of Yaqui's at sundown? Regardless, there is no need to leave when the night falls — get your fill of tacos and margs and then head to 2720 for the afterparty. This event has a '70s theme, and the many artists and DJs performing will be unleashing a healthy mix of funk, soul, disco, house, latin music and hip-hop all night across two stages.

Rusty Nail w/ End Of The Show, Ali Ruby
9 p.m., $7. The Firebird, 2706 Olive St., St. Louis, 314-535-0353.
By Christian Schaeffer
Given St. Louis' deep Irish roots and love for rousing drinking songs, it's a wonder a band like Rusty Nail didn't surface sooner. The septet plays an even split of rock & roll and Irish folk music, veering more toward the anthems of Flogging Molly than the boot-stomping Gaelic punk of Dropkick Murphys (though both bands, along with genre godfathers the Pogues, get a hat tip in the liner notes). The band, to its credit, doesn't pander with cheap sentimentality or boozy sing-alongs, though the dark tint of these songs can get a bit blinding at times. Guitarist Alvan Caby is a fair vocalist and is supported ably by the band — the rhythm section brings a steely rock sensibility, while the fiddle and tin whistle add the appropriate set dressing. These moments of well arranged, properly proportioned music show the discipline needed to keep a seven-person band in check.


Denise Thimes & Friends Special Mother’s Day Concert
5:30 p.m., $25-$45. Blanche M Touhill Performing Arts Center, 1 University Dr at Natural Bridge Road, Normandy, 314-516-4949.
By Roy Kasten
If there must be a First Lady of Jazz in St. Louis, one should look no further than Denise Thimes. With more than two decades of performing behind her, Thimes has won the respect of everyone who is anyone in jazz, both regionally and nationally. It takes a special singer not to be overpowered by the likes of Clark Terry, James Moody or Earl May, and Thimes is simply that: special. Her voice can be delicate, almost gauzy in its tone, but even when she's embracing a ballad there's always a sense of pure and playful jazz swing to her phrasing. And though she is technically flawless, Thimes is not about the technique. She's about the honest emotion that only a voice like hers can express.

Big George Brock
6 p.m., $5. BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222.
By RFT Staff
Whether the endpoint is St. Louis, Chicago, Memphis or somewhere else, the path of the blues inevitably seems to lead back to a starting point in Mississippi. Although he's made his home in St. Louis for most of his adult life, that's where Big George Brock is from, and the sounds of his home state still resonate in every note he sings and plays. One of a dwindling number of bluesmen of his generation still working, Brock occupies his own niche, with a sound both rougher and more idiosyncratic than such great Chicago bands as Muddy Waters, but more polished than the minimalist juke-joint combos still found in the deep South.