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Saturday, December 26, 2015

The 10 Best Concerts in St. Louis This Weekend: December 25 to 27

Posted By on Sat, Dec 26, 2015 at 8:17 AM

2015 RFT Music Award winner Nappy DJ Needles performs on Christmas night as part of Gift Rappin', a night of old-school hip-hop at Blank Space.
  • 2015 RFT Music Award winner Nappy DJ Needles performs on Christmas night as part of Gift Rappin', a night of old-school hip-hop at Blank Space.

While some are busy sharing memories from the past year and building top ten lists of whatever, others are crossing items off the old "holiday obligations" list. That's right, late December is not the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. Think of the poor souls working retail or the barista with a bum knee sweating bullets while filling those five dollar cups of coffee. Consider the following shows a reward for all the hard work the holiday season brings. And please, tip whoever does the dirty work in your life. 


El Monstero
The Pageant
7 p.m. | $27.50-$50
Last year, local artist Curtis Tinsley and I penned a series of web-comics to preview upcoming shows in St. Louis. To this day, our three-panel piece on El Monstero still remains one of my favorites. See for yourself in the RFT Music archives. 

Gift Rappin' w/ DJ Willpower, Nappy DJ Needles
Blank Space
9 p.m. | $5
Nappy DJ Needles clearly needs no introduction. He was voted Best DJ in St. Louis in the 2015 RFT Music Awards and his radio show, Rawthentic, airs every Wednesday night from 11 to 1 on KDHX. Not only is Needles hip to the newest cuts (just check his Top 20 of 2015), he's got a lust for the old-school, and he clashes the classics in his typical spins with finesse. It's all vinyl, all night — not an iPod or Macbook in sight. 


A Very Ugly Sweater Christmas Show w/ New Mayans, LOGOS, Jon Heisserer
Blueberry Hill
9 p.m. | $10
Unabashed and unarguably American, ugly sweater parties have become a time-honored tradition since the days of the Cosby Show. Whether or not that mixes with alternative rock is really up to New Mayans, who hope to pull off this X-Mas after-party with a live preview of its upcoming album Odyssey. If anything, LOGOS is a tried-and-true purveyor of heavy rock in the city, making this show a sure bet. 

Biased STL Showcase and Zine Release w/ New Lives, Bike Path, Yonsei, Sleeping Cranes, Oakwood Estate, I Actually
The Demo
7 p.m. | $7
Biased STL (located at plasters the innards of St. Louis' local scene up on a blog for all to see. By searching through the site's archive, one will find repeat terms: post-hardcore, emo and punk. Those tend to be the focus, but folk and oddball acts are given the spotlight, too. While still relatively new, Biased STL already provides more in-depth interviews than other local blogs that started strong but quickly fizzled out. This zine release brings the blog's scene-centric commentary full-circle by returning to print form. The lineup is a solid mix of bands you might find while reading the site, but that's sort of the point here. 

Posse In Effect: A Tribute to The Beastie Boys
The Ready Room
8 p.m. | $10-$12
By Daniel Hill
The annual touring-act seasonal lull reaches its climax this holiday week, which is OK in our book — it gives St. Louis' ever-talented local artists an extra chance to shine. In keeping with this city's love of cover shows (see: El Monstero, Street Fighting Band), two of our Critic Picks this week are of the tribute-band variety. This one is a doozy. Local promoter Dwight Carter brought together a veritable super-group to tackle the songs of New York's illest: Scottie Rivers and Jason Karr (12 to 6 Movement, Death & Taxes) will be joined by Bob Cannella (formerly of Fat Trash) to play the act's MCs, with drummer Brian Sullivan (Redheaded Strangers), guitarist Matt Sawicki (Suburban Pro Studios), bassist Drew Franklin (Big Brother Thunder and the MasterBlasters) and DJ Mahf rounding out the act.

Schlafly Beer's 24th Anniversary Party w/ Ransom Note, Big Mike Aguirre and the Blu City All Stars
Schlafly Tap Room
8 p.m. | free
As a music venue, Schlafly Tap Room has undergone a number of transformations. The show space, once located across the hall from the pool tables and dart boards, was renovated in 2013 and now features a modest stage with full sound treatment. This is the Tap Room that most showgoers know, but Schlafly hides an even larger space upstairs, which is usually reserved for receptions and the like (I should know, I've crashed one before). While Ransom Note and Big Mike Aguirre are the two main draws here, consider "throwback" prices on drinks. Yes, a beer costs roughly the same on this night as it did in 1991. 

Thor Axe w/ Bug Chaser, Dracla
Off Broadway
8 p.m. | $10
Mud House on Cherokee might be a hot spot for grub and coffee on Cherokee, but its staff is comprised of young rock royalty here in St. Louis. Dracla (an intentional misspelling of Dracula) drinks a bag of blood on stage while ripping through riffs like a fang through flesh. Bug Chaser brings dual drummers and way too many guitars for hook-heavy songs that bathe in static and hum. Lastly, Thor Axe is a band that members of So Many Dynamos started as a joke, but this is serious metal with a tongue placed so firmly in cheek that it's tearing through the skin. 

The Tory Starbuck Project w/ Eric Hall, Berdella, Slave Cable
The Heavy Anchor
9 p.m. | $7
Seeing Tory Starbuck on stage always begs the same question: Who is this for? He twists noise and whatever kind of wave he wants to play around his finger with whimsy, owing to no influence because, well, he doesn't quite sound like anyone else. And experimental music is named as such for a reason — there is always a chance for failure. Starbuck takes the kind of risks that others would never consider and, in that way, he plays for himself and himself alone. Saying that he throws caution to the wind implies that he ever gave a cautious thought in the first place, and that's what makes him so inventive. 


Big Muddy Records 10th Anniversary and Holiday Bash
Off Broadway
5 p.m. | $7
By Nick Horn
The evening will kick off with the Southwest Watson Sweethearts, followed by Bob Reuter's Alley Ghost, the Loot Rock Gang, Tortuga, the Rum Drum Ramblers, Jack Grelle and the Hobosexuals, as well as a one-time-only performance by the Strange Places, a group Baricevic put together to perform some of his own material. In addition to the music, the event will feature food from new south-city favorite Gooseberries.

Read more: Big Muddy Records Celebrates Ten Years

Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Scottrade Center
3 & 7:30 p.m. | $36-$72
By Jeff Niesel
In its nineteen-year history, TSO has played more than 1,600 shows for more than 11 million fans, officially making it one of the world's biggest arena-rock acts. For the past several years, the band's winter tours have consistently ranked in the Top 10 for attendance and grosses; back in 2009, Billboard called it one of the "Top Touring Artists of the Decade." Last year's 2014 Winter Tour grossed more than $51 million in 52 days; it played to nearly 1 million fans. This year's Ghosts of Christmas Eve production will hit 60 cities across North America to perform 100 shows. Based on TSO's multi-platinum DVD and long-running PBS fundraiser, the concert follows the journey of a young runaway who, on Christmas Eve, breaks into an abandoned vaudeville theater seeking shelter from the cold. She then experiences "ghostly visions" from that concert hall's past. The band will also play past hits such as "Christmas Eve Sarajevo 12/24," "O' Come All Ye Faithful," "Good King Joy," "Christmas Canon," "Music Box Blues," "Promises to Keep" and "This Christmas Day" during the two-hour concert.

Read more: How Trans-Siberian Orchestra Created the Biggest Rock Show in the World

Note: Though we wish we could, we can't feature every great show happening in town in just one post. Peruse the St. Louis concert calendar for more ideas, and let everyone know what else you're looking forward to seeing this weekend in the comments below. To be considered for coverage in RFT Music, submit show info online or drop us a line anytime.


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