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Friday, December 21, 2012

The Bands Leading St. Louis' Ass-Shaking Groove Revival

Posted By on Fri, Dec 21, 2012 at 7:48 AM

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And if the Broadway strip remains home to the most consistently greasy sounds around -- rising blues star Nikki Hill keeps a residency at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups and Kim Massie still holds forth twice a week across the street at Beale on Broadway -- Lola on Washington Avenue remains ground zero for urban music gatherings. DJ Hal Greens, impresario of Leisure Studies, has been promoting some excellent and sweaty events, including one of the best shows of the year: Lee Fields & the Expressions on September 16. Look for more in 2013.

2720 Cherokee and the Gramophone continue to keep things exceedingly funky, booking reliable and fresh artists like Nappy DJ Needles, 18andCounting, Thelonius Kryptonite, Theresa Payne, Illphonics and Teresa Jenee. The Old Rock House is doing much the same, and closing out the year with two notable shows from LA's Afrobeat titan Orgone.

Finally, two relatively new bands, the Ransom Note and Jungle Fire, have brought a welcome dose of sexy to the venerable South City scene and the Tower Groove collective. The former -- led by Merv Schrock, ex-Nadine drummer and future Lord of the Lava Lamp Lounge -- is simply the smoothest band in town, somehow transcending its own shtick to make psychedelic soul music Curtis Mayfield would have loved. The latter features the voice of James Fields, the Farfisa of Adam Barr, the flute of Kristen Luther and an astonishing ability to fuse catchy rock and funkadelica into something wholly original. Plus, they've written "Saint Louis Walk," the toughest St. Louis shout-out song since "St. Louie." Jungle Fire is very much a band to watch -- and, much like its many prolific contemporaries listed in this article, to get up off your own ass, lily-white or otherwise, and shake it to in 2013.

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