Out Every Night: The Best Shows From December 17 to 23

NRBQ - Wednesday @ Off Broadway
NRBQ - Wednesday @ Off Broadway

Plenty of excellent shows this week; particularly as we enter the weekend -- local releases galore. We'll get into that in more detail on the weekend post though.

Supposedly, the world is ending this weekend as well. I know what you are thinking, and I don't really buy it either, but then again there were those remarks from NASA over the weekend about the increased solar flares and sunspot activity, so who knows? One thing I can assure you, as the guy who has been inputting many of these events into a calendar, is that there will be no shortage of "end of the world" parties at which to ride out our final hours. Again though, more on that in the weekend post -- check out this week's picks below.

Joe Pastor Trio Mon., 8:00 p.m. December 17 @ BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups - $5 By Christian Schaeffer The gap between "drummer" and "percussionist" can often seem vast. It's one thing to keep a beat; it's quite another to paint a rhythmic picture with drums, melodic percussion and other sundry items that, in the right hands, can add new dimensions to a song. Local musician Joe Pastor is a capital-p Percussionist: He can certainly keep a groove on the drum kit, as he has done for everyone from jazz and blues players to performers in Branson stage shows. But his dexterity on the vibraphone makes Pastor a rhythmic secret weapon, and Pastor's compositions draw on jazz traditions as well as avant-garde and classical tropes. Back to Front: As a long-time sideman, Pastor has played alongside Javier Mendoza, the late Johnnie Johnson, Kim Massie and the Soulard Blues Band, to name a few.

Kim Massie Tues., 10:00 p.m. December 18 @ Beale on Broadway - $7 By Annie Zaleski Although the word "diva" is so overused it's almost a useless descriptor, Kim Massie is one vocalist who deserves the honor. With its brash, gospel-influenced strains of vibrato, Massie's voice can be as big and broad as Aretha Franklin's, but it contains just enough Etta James-ian blues to undercut this strength with sorrow. When Massie sings the standard "At Last," you can close your eyes and imagine her voice as a vocal preacher, laying down the lyrics like audible commandments, just as easily as you can imagine the sound slinking down a smoky stage moonlit by a lonely spotlight. Massie is always -- and effortlessly somehow -- magical, spiritual and glowing.

NRBQ Wed., 7:30 p.m. December 19 @ Off Broadway - $15 By Roy Kasten From this 2008 article: Terry Adams isn't in the mood to talk about the past. "I didn't know you wanted to go that far back," he says on the phone from western Massachusetts. It's not that he's lost his legendary sense of humor, though. "So, I want to ask you, what happened to Louis between Louisville and St. Louis? He became a saint. So what happened? He did something good heading West? This is a question I'm asking your readers." If you know, Terry Adams, founder of NRBQ and one of the very greatest piano players in rock & roll, is all ears. He always has been listening, after all, for those rock & roll spaces where most serious artists fear to tread. Whether on a free-jazz take on the Bonanza theme song, a proto-psychobilly rave-up about "Flat Foot Flewzy," a blues-funk workout called "Howard Johnson's Got His Ho-Jo Workin'" or a nasty kazoo ride that asks the eternal question, "Who Put the Garlic in the Glue?" Adams and NRBQ (the New Rhythm and Blues Quartet) set the gold standard for how deliriously fun and musically brilliant an American band could be.

Dale Watson Thurs., 8:00 p.m. December 20 @ Off Broadway - $15/$18 By Roy Kasten For Dale Watson, country music has always been a Janus-faced master, urging him between the extremes of dancing and despair, fun and fever, trucking and tenderness. He's the sharpest, swinging and least clichéd of the traditionalists who never stood a chance in the post-Merle Haggard era of mainstream country music. His greatest songs -- "Whiskey or God," "Blessed or Damned" and "I Hate These Songs" -- live up to Hag's finest. They're working class, even if his primary audience isn't, and the stories they tell, via rich language and a rippling baritone, turn back the clock to a time when the best honky tonk Saturday night of your life never seemed to end. What's Next: Watson is prolific but hasn't release an album since 2011's The Sun Sessions. Look for I Lie When I Drink in early 2013.

A Very Mayan Christmas Fri., 7:00 p.m. December 21 w/ Bug Chaser, Kisser, Maximum Effort, Black Panties, The Bad Dates @ St. Louis Skatium - $8/$10 By Kiernan Maletsky As with many things masterminded by neanderthal alien band Bug Chaser, this one is kitchen-sink insanity: A Christmas cookie competition with cash prize! Roller skating! Disco shit! The Skatium's relatively new full bar! And the St. Louis noisemaking all stars -- in addition to Bug Chaser this show features Kisser, Black James, Maximum Effort, Black Panties and the Bad Dates (and possibly more). Apparently this date is significant in certain cultures as well, so if you're into hell beasts and horsemen, this might be a good place to find some like minds to roll into oblivion with. What a Picture is Worth: Go look up Pat Grosch's poster for this one. He was named the RFT's best poster designer of 2012, and this might just be his masterpiece.