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There's nothing A to Z likes more than a road trip. She doesn't care to where, whether it's Chicago, Louisville or Kansas City (even rickety I-70 doesn't bother her). In fact, on Saturday, August 5, she trekked out to a park in Lawrence, Kansas, for the Bleeding Kansas Festival, an event put on by none other than Jacki Becker — she of Up to Eleven Productions (uptoeleven .com), a.k.a. the woman who brings the coolest shows to St. Louis.

To make a long story short, the festival had everything a multi-band music event should possess: plentiful water, cheap pizza, quality beer, three stages of music — nay, high-quality music, to the tune of (among others) Death Cab for Cutie, Broken Social Scene, Secret Machines, Keane and Chromeo. Sipping a frosty Blue Moon just after sunset, with a cool breeze and the heartbreaking strains of Death Cab swirling around, was as close to Heaven as A to Z has come lately.

As she surveyed the tranquil surroundings, A to Z couldn't help but wistfully wonder if St. Louis could ever produce such a great event. But then she remembered: Aha! The RFT Music Showcase is mere weeks away, on Sunday, September 10! Prayer answered — at least judging by the list of bands confirmed so far. (It's an incomplete list, so the management requests no hate mail yet, please.) In no particular order:

Rats and People, Gentleman Callers, That's My Daughter, The Bureau, Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship, Bad Folk, Murder City Players, Dogtown All Stars, Madahoochi, Casey Reid, Grant Essig, LaPush, Jonathan Cour, James Will and the Engines of Creation.

Magnolia Summer, Love Experts, Femme Fatality, DJ Crucial, DJ Trackstar, Caleb Engstrom, Kim Massie, Erin Bode, the Soulard Blues Band, DJ Mike Gow, DJ Needles, The Vultures, Johnny O and the Jerks and the 7 Shot Screamers.

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They may have nicknamed their summer U.S. trek "Disgracing Ourselves Across America," but Shondes are anything but an embarrassment. Taking cues from Sleater-Kinney, Rasputina and other socially conscious acts, the New York quartet play the Way Out Club (2525 South Broadway; 314-664-7638) on Saturday, August 19, at 10 p.m. with That's My Daughter and Rats and People.

Casual shoppers at Vintage Vinyl (6610 Delmar Boulevard; 314-721-4096) around 8:30 p.m. on Friday, August 18, should prepare for the rockabilly onslaught of the 7 Shot Screamers. The road warriors are holding an in-store that night to celebrate their new album, 7 Shot Screamers in Wonderland. Showing off a tighter sound that's as radio-friendly and catchy as anything on a major label, Wonderland brings to mind Social Distortion, the Clash and Stray Cats. A to Z wholeheartedly recommends picking it up and supporting one of the Lou's best bands, period.