The Best Concerts in St. Louis From February 23 to March 1

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This week brings the calm before March's storm of touring acts coming to and from SXSW -- a great side effect of festival season. Don't let the cold cripple your love for local music -- DJ Crucial's release show at Blank Space on Friday is a good place to start. For fans of blues, punk and hip-hop, there's a great gig every night this week. Read on for just a small sample of our city's vibrant music scene.


The Stone Sugar Shakedown Monday, February 23 Cicero's 8:30 p.m. | $6 From Best Jam Band St. Louis 2012: When the average citizen thinks of jam bands, names like Phish and Widespread Panic come to mind. But Led Zeppelin jammed too, and Stone Sugar Shakedown's blues-steeped explorations tend to resemble the latter. The band sounds and looks transplanted from the 1970s, with hints of the Blues Brothers and Funkadelic, and it doesn't hurt that singer Tracy Gladden can alternately channel Grace Slick and Roberta Flack. It is no surprise that Stone Sugar Shakedown is incredibly active with appearances at clubs and festivals throughout the Midwest. The band is a crowd pleaser; it is sometimes funky, sometimes psychedelic, but it always infuses its tunes with an energy that only true believers in the power of rock can embody.


Kevin Gates Tuesday, February 24 The Ready Room 8 p.m. | $22-$25 By Charles Purnell Baton Rouge's Kevin Gates has never been one to pull punches. Between his endlessly entertaining social media presence and puzzling media interviews, the XXL 2014 Freshman Class alumni has released a string of projects to an ever-growing fan base. With his latest mixtape Luca Brasi 2, Gates continues to separate himself from the latest generation of Southern rappers with his direct lyrics, infectious energy and unique brand of introspection that only he can provide.


Don Williams Wednesday, February 25 River City Casino and Hotel 8 p.m. | $47.50-$77.50 By Roy Kasten Texas native Don Williams first emerged as a songwriter in Nashville in the early '70s, a time when lush countrypolitan music was devolving into soft pop with the likes of Marie Osmond and John Denver blurring the focus past recognition. Williams, however, had a warm, supple baritone and an understated but moving feel for ballads that connected his style to major figures like Lefty Frizzell and Ray Price. Over the years, Williams has been covered by everyone from Eric Clapton to Bonnie "Prince" Billy, and if you're a fan of bands like Lambchop, you owe it to yourself to seek out the source of that deep, rich country-pop sound.


click to enlarge The Best Concerts in St. Louis From February 23 to March 1
Photo by Moss Kurgansky

Nick Moss Thursday, February 26 Blues City Deli 6 p.m. | free By Christian Schaeffer In the six months since Michael Brown's death and the unrest that has sprang from Ferguson, musicians at home and abroad have registered their thoughts, their rage and their hope within their music. No shortage of hip-hop acts used their songs as social and political platforms, but Nick Moss prefers to use the language and music of the blues, hip-hop's musical grandaddy, to say his piece. He released "Shade Tree" in late November, calling it "a reflection of St. Louis civil unrest." In the gospel-tinged song, Moss sings from the perspective of a man whose neighborhood is changed forever by violence and distrust. The song reads like a sad realization, but something about Moss' tremulous, soulful voice gives a glimmer of hope amid the pain.

Follow through for more concerts happening in and around St. Louis all weekend long.

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