Touring acts tend to travel less this time of year but St. Louis has no shortage of shows. Thank the tireless efforts of acts like Mark Dew and the Soulard Blues Band for holding it down week after week. Fans of rock should keep an eye on the legendary Sebastian Bach or the one-two punch of Tilts and Bug Chaser at the Firebird. Treat yourself to a show or two before the hectic holidays and, as always, leave a comment below and let us know what you're looking forward to.
Soulard Blues Band Monday, December 15 Broadway Oyster Bar 9 p.m. | $6 Roy Kasten From the 2014 RFT Music Awards: One day, dear reader, the Soulard Blues Band will be no more. It's just a fact. And one day you'll wonder why, despite all the opportunities every other day of the week, you never saw this St. Louis institution in its prime -- and no, the band's prime ain't over. If somehow you've never danced your ass off when Art Dwyer lays down a bass line as smooth as crushed velvet, or when Marty Abdullah swings his phrasing on "Kansas City Blues" or "Dust My Broom," or when Tom Maloney plays a solo that would make his mentor (the late, great Benny Smith) smile, well you really should. Don't take this band for granted. Pay your respects soon; they've been earned.
Sebastian Bach Tuesday, December 16 Pop's Nightclub 7 p.m. | $10 Allison Babka As rock stars age, one of two things usually happens: They either invest in their craft and come out with stronger material than that of their heyday, or they reinvent themselves so many times that you're not exactly sure what they are anymore. Sebastian Bach is somewhere in the middle, though he leans a bit more toward path No. 2. Since parting ways with metal band Skid Row in 1996, Bach has performed on Broadway, fought with Mötley Crüe's Nikki Sixx and literally turned himself into Maroon 5's Adam Levine for a singing competition. But he's also continued to pump out music, and his fifth solo album Give 'Em Hell shows quite a bit of maturity in both his voice and his songwriting.
Sean Rowe w/ Brian Henneman Wednesday, December 17 Off Broadway 8 p.m. | $10-$15 By Christian Schaeffer If Sean Rowe were content with merely being a folk singer, the effects of his evocative story-songs and his cistern-deep vocals would be compelling enough. It's the range of his songs' arrangements, taken with his John Fahey-esque guitar technique, that make Rowe's records and particularly his shows worth catching, and this year's Madman LP shows Rowe's rusticated pop sensibilities alongside his more discursive sojourns. For a performer more accustomed to small house concerts, Rowe's show promises intimacy even in the relative splendor of Off Broadway.
Tilts w/ Traindodge, Bug Chaser Thursday, December 18 The Firebird 8 p.m. | $10 By Christian Schaeffer Sure, Tilts titled its last LP Quatro Hombres as a nod to ZZ Top, but the album title also speaks to the bond of these four dudes and the riff-rock they revel in. Since guitarist and lead singer Andrew Elstner decamped to Florida, Tilts shows have become few and far between, so this week's holiday homecoming concert has a little something extra. Tilts completists can prep for the show by digging into the recently uploaded digital-only demo collection Dilts on Bandcamp, which kicks off with a song called -- wouldn't you know it -- "ZZ Tilts."
Follow through for great shows happening in the weekend ahead.