This week, catch the return of Thor Axe along with Bit Brigade at the Luminary, or check out some other great shows in town. Choose from options including Stanley Clarke at the Pageant, Jon Mueller at Foam, Ryan Adams at Peabody Opera House and more. Read on for this week's recommendations, and stay tuned until Friday for more picks for the weekend.
Bit Brigade Monday, October 13 w/ Thor Axe @ The Luminary 8 p.m. | $10 By Joseph Hess From "The Best St. Louis Noise/Experimental Concerts: October 2014": OK, so Bit Brigade isn't ostensibly "experimental," but the concept is niche: One man sits in the center of the stage, speed-running retro games on a projector screen while a live band performs the music - all perfectly in sync. Before the advent of geek culture, gaming wasn't a hobby to wax poetic about, but Bit Brigade celebrates the music of classic Nintendo titles like Megaman and Zelda, and does so with distinct precision. Played with live drums, guitars and keyboard, Bit Brigade provides new arrangements for songs originally programmed on the Nintendo Entertainment System's sound chip.
Stanley Clarke Tuesday, October 14 w/ Bach to the Future @ The Pageant 7:30 p.m. | $25-$27 By Ryan Wasoba From this 2012 show preview: Like Charles Mingus and Scott LaFaro before him, Stanley Clarke helped bring bass to the forefront of jazz ensembles instead of hiding the instrument in the shadow of the drum kit. He is perhaps best known through his collaborations with keyboardist Chick Corea, beginning as members of fusion ensemble Return to Forever and continuing with the pair's Grammy-winning 2011 album Forever with drummer Lenny White. Clarke's big breaks came from seasoned musicians like Corea and Pharoah Sanders.
Sharon Van Etten Wednesday, October 15 w/ Tiny Ruins @ The Luminary 9 p.m. | $15/$17 By Mike Appelstein Listening to Are We There, Sharon Van Etten's fourth album, it's obvious that her songs come from a place of cold, hard experience. Indeed, it's not so surprising that the New Jersey native had to battle her own demons - in particular, her lack of self-confidence and an unsupportive ex-boyfriend - before she set upon her steady, gradual path. Building on 2012's Tramp, Are We There is full of intimate, clear-eyed songs about traumatic memories and trapped circumstances, presented to the accompaniment of hushed, near-orchestral backing. This makes for difficult listening at times, but Are We There retains an icy, translucent sheen, with moments of levity and an ultimate sense of triumph. Get there early enough to see New Zealand trio Tiny Ruins, whose spacious songs have been compared to Nick Drake and Cat Power. We hear a little Bridget St. John influence, too.
Jason Mraz Thursday, October 16 @ Peabody Opera House 8 p.m. | $22-$72 By Christian Schaeffer From this archived show review: Mraz's continued climb to the top is accompanied by a healthy dose of maturity. His songs are always upbeat, but there's a communal consciousness and a holistic spirituality just beneath the good-time vibes. Mraz made his intentions known with his first song, a slightly downtempo version of his hit, "The Remedy." His vocals carried a more soulful payload than the radio version, and the tension crescendoed with the appearance of a horn trio, which gave the song a Latin tinge to go along with the reggae-light upstrokes.