The weeks roll on, the weather warms and the shows are picking up. Detroit's Slum Village will hit 2720 Cherokee this Monday, celebrating both the life of former member J. Dilla, who died in 2006, as well as a new partnership between Blank Space and 2720 — watch this space for more on the latter later this week. Voodoo Glow Skulls brings its madcap hybrid of ska-punk to the Duck Room on Wednesday — the band has been coming to STL a lot lately, and its shows never lull in energy. Rapper Freddie Gibbs hit Fubar on Friday — coincidentally, he and Dilla have something in common, and its name is super-producer Madlib. Fans of either one do well to check out the other, rest assured. Check out our full picks for the week below.
MONDAY, APRIL 11
w/ Guilty Simpson, Phat Kat, Black Milk, Black Spade, Looprat, Nappy DJ Needles
8 p.m., $10. 2720 Cherokee Performing Arts Center, 2720 Cherokee St, St. Louis. 314-875-0233.
By Daniel Hill
In addition to serving as a tribute to the late J. Dilla, a master Detroit producer and rapper in the city's underground hip-hop scene who passed away in 2006, this show will introduce the St. Louis to the new Blank Space / 2720 Cherokee partnership. Blank Space proprietor Kaveh Razani is partnering up with 2720's Joshua Loyal (as well as eight more partners) to transform 2720 into an entity that makes better use of its sprawling space and its management's considerable booking resources. Come for the music, stay for the burgeoning community.
TUESDAY, APRIL 12
8 p.m., $12. The Demo, 4191 Manchester Ave, St. Louis, 314-833-5532.
By Derek Schwartz
Dilly Dally combines elements of pop, grunge, rock and punk into a whirlwind of tones and styles that keep the listener constantly on their toes. Throughout the group's latest record, Katie Monks’ vocals ricochet back and forth between sweet, sing-songy hooks and full-on screams, often without a moment’s notice. “I personally have all kinds of emotions,” Monks explains. “I’m coming from a really sweet home, and then every time someone fucks me over or I meet somebody who’s just really mean it really infuriates me. It really ticks me off people aren’t just nice to each other. So that’s why there’s the sweet and the tough on the record and in our art.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13
Voodoo Glow Skulls
7 p.m., $12-$14. The Duck Room at Blueberry Hill, 6504 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314-727-4444.
By Daniel Hill
You do know that ska is making a comeback, right? The same twenty-year cycle that so often brings forgotten trends roaring back into our collective consciousness is to blame — or thank, depending on your opinion about upstroked guitar chords and wind instruments. Luckily, Riverside, California's Voodoo Glow Skulls has been rendering even the impure, punk-damaged version of the genre more than listenable ever since the late '90s, when the oft-derided third-wave subsect of ska dominated the airwaves. Now 27 years in and with more than 1 million records sold, the sextet the Casillas brothers built shows no signs of slowing down.
THURSDAY, APRIL 14
w/ John Moreland
8 p.m., $25-$35. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-773-3363.
By Jeremy Essig
On a June morning in 2006, Lucero frontman Ben Nichols played solo in the back of the Loop record store Vintage Vinyl in an attempt to promote his band's Twangfest performance that night as well as its recent album, Nobody's Darlings
. For a crowd of ten to fifteen people, Nichols took requests, joked that certain songs would require a bloody mary and generally behaved as though he was singing for a group of drinking buddies. Over the last decade, intimate moments like that have allowed Lucero's hybrid of folk, country and punk to go from playing one night as part of a festival to headlining two nights at Off Broadway, as the band will on April 15 and 16. The Memphis act's unique live show, according to bassist John C. Stubblefield, has helped cultivate a loyal fan base.
FRIDAY, APRIL 15
8 p.m., $18-$20. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050.
By Tara Mahadevan
Freddie Gibbs' honesty ultimately makes him a more multidimensional rapper. He banks much of his career on being real, which is the spirit of his label, ESGN. His ability to work with Madlib — which he says was "like trying to piece together a puzzle" — is a testament to his adaptability, and it was a boost to his artistry. Madlib helped Gibbs become a sharper and more genuine lyricist. Gibbs has financed his career with zero backing from a major label and no radio singles. He's garnered endorsements from companies such as Adidas all on his own. And he considers it just another part of his growth.
SATURDAY, APRIL 16
9 p.m., $12-$15. The Ready Room, 4195 Manchester Ave, St. Louis, 314-833-3929.
By Roy Kasten
On the heels of the soul revival comes the funk revival, split between quasi-traditionalists like the Budos Band and the New Mastersounds and quasi-jammists like the Greyboy Allstars and Dumpstaphunk. What unites the factions is percussion, often with a heavy Latin influence. Seven-or-more-piece LA band Orgone lays the percussion on rich as molé poblano and twice as thick, with svelte lead singer Fanny Franklin sweetening the Afro-Latin rhythms with a surprisingly muscular and sensual delivery. The band is named after Willhelm Reich's quintessentially far-out theory of the universal life force. Orgone's sound will make you feel it.
SUNDAY, APRIL 17
7 p.m., $49.50. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161.
By Jonathan Zwickel
In the cluttered, money-mad landscape of modern R&B and soul music, the figures that stand tallest stand alone. Prima donnas like Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill have the creative vision and iron-fisted drive necessary to elevate themselves among their peers; Usher and R. Kelly work their mack-daddy game as lone wolves on the prowl. The point is trite but true: you can't be top dog if you're playing second fiddle. Unless you're Philadelphia neo-soul duo Floetry, that is. Between Natalie Stewart and Marsha Ambrosius, there are no dogs, no fiddles, no hierarchy, no competition. For these two, working in tandem is the only way to operate. And whether you put a hyphen, a slash or an ampersand in the genre title doesn't matter to either of them or change their outlook on their art.