All Aboard for Fun Times: St. Louis show highlights for October 26-27

All Aboard for Fun Times Train

Here are some options for those not fixated on Games 6 and (hopefully) 7:
Wednesday, October 26
Adrian Belew Power Trio & Stick Men
Old Rock House  1200 S. 7th  8-11  $26 advance/28 door (all ages)  Smoke-free
A night for fans of prog rock. From the ORH website:

King Crimson players Adrian Belew, Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto keep very busy individually when Crimson’s not active, but now, a historic joint tour: Adrian Belew Power Trio will headline the bill, with Stick Men (featuring Tony and Pat) opening.
And of course, how could they resist joining together for a Crim-centric extended encore – after their respective sets we’ll see them reconfigure as Ade/Tony/Pat trio, morphing into the double trio lineup like King Crimson featured in the ’90s.
The tour name, 2 of a Perfect Trio, harkens to the King Crimson song “3 of a Perfect Pair”
Adrian Belew’s trio features the amazing bassist Julie Slick, and NYC drummer Tobias Ralph – perfect complements to Belew’s extraordinary guitar playing and singing.
Stick Men presents Tony Levin’s virtuosic playing on the Chapman Stick, with Pat Mastelotto giving his unique progressive drumming on both acoustic and electronic drums. Markus Reuter rounds out the band, playing his self-designed touch style guitar.

Stag Nite with Escalade / Alley Ghost / Chris Baricevic with Chris Powers
El Leñador  3124 Cherokee  10-1  $5  Smoke-free

E is a solo artist who performs layered techno-pop. AG offers the songs of Bob Reuter with a passionate, rough-at-the-edges mix of rock, blues and folk. I’m not sure of what CB sounds like, but he’ll be doing it with AG bassist CP.
Starts after 9, with a $5 cover (21+ only). $1 Stag cans until midnight, with food available. Smoke-free.
Thursday, October 27
Stumped: A benefit show for Pete Stein
Theodore / The Funs / Alley Ghost / Nrml Ppl
Off Broadway  3509 Lemp  8-12  $7 (+3 under 21)  Smoke-free 
Enjoy an evening of music and other activities to assist with care and rehabilitation for this young man, who lost his feet in a tragic incident with a freight train (a cautionary tale for those who romanticize the vagabond lifestyle).

T offer powerful songs of love, loss and pain, based in roots rock and performed with a compelling affection for cacophony. TF are a Chicago guitar/drums duo playing minimalist rock that’s distorted and chaotic. AG as described above. NP play hectic, distorted hardcore punk. Raffles and a silent auction will also occur.
Ume / False Moves / Peach
Firebird  2706 Olive  8:45-12  $10 (+2 )  Smoke-free
Austin trio U (ooh-may) have a ’90s alternative-rock sound that contains elements of groups like Sonic Youth, Pixies and Smashing Pumpkins in it. FM are a group of players from several other groups around town; the only other show I’m aware of them playing was for “An Undercover Weekend” as Interpol, so I can’t offer an assessment. A post-grunge hard rock sound that has a bit of Concrete Blonde to it from P.

Read a recent KDHX interview with Lauren Larson of Ume here.
Your humble servant,

Dick Caveat

‘Don’t do anything that you dislike’ An interview with Mike Doughty / El jiggity

Since leaving Soul Coughing in 2000, Mike Doughty has released a couple of EPs, a half dozen records, toured in a few configurations and played here at KDHX (twice!). This year he’s got two albums out, “Dubious Luxury” and “Yes and Also Yes.” He was kind enough to take a few minutes to chat with me about the new albums, music and other odds and ends.

Nick Cowan: So how’s life treating you, everything cool?

Mike Doughty: Doing pretty good, I just put this band together for the fall tour and I’m super stoked about them. I’ve got the right drummer, Scrap’s gonna play electric bass, and Dan Chen, who I played with a bunch of years ago. He decided to not play on the road anymore but called me up and wanted to be part of it. So, I’m really excited.

So who’s the new drummer in your band on this tour?

His name is Pete Wilhoit. He played in Fiction Plane, and Dan Chen knew a guy who knew a guy and came up with Pete.

Why a full band this time? Last time it was you and [bassist] Andrew “Scrap” Livingston.

Basically, I wanted to do it. The album is a very bandy type of album and I want to have that fully expressed on the tour. But a lot of it was that I just wanted to do it to switch it up.

You’ve got two albums out right now, both of which are very different, “Yes and Also Yes” and “Dubious Luxury.” What was the spark that made you think, “Man, I’m gonna do these two records right now?

Well, “Dubious Luxury” I had been tinkering with for years and was in shape to be released two years ago, but I never found the right moment to do it, so I just put it out before “Yes and Also Yes ” came out. And of course, “Yes and Also Yes ” is the meat of what I do as a singer-songwriter.

I think a lot of folks know you as a singer-songwriter with other vibes going along with it.

Yeah, I totally tried to make sure everybody knew “Dubious Luxury” wasn’t a singer-songwriter record. Hopefully people listened to the snippets before they spent their money. It’s way different. I don’t sing on it for one thing.

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KDHX photography highlights: October 16-22

In the past week of photos Nate Burrell captured the essence of the hair flip with a little help from indie rock duo’s Mr. Gnome and Sleepy Kitty. The pint-size ferociousness of Melt Banana fit perfectly within the walls of Cicero’s and the Australian Pink Floyd show stopped by the Fabulous Fox Theatre and put not only shrimp but some classic rock on the barbie.

Blind Pilot opened for Brett Dennen at the Pageant but didn’t leave town without first making a stop by the Magnolia Avenue Studios to record a few songs and chat with DJ Allen Dahm of Bittersweet Melody.

Also at the Pageant last week was Matt Nathanson whose catchy rock riffs and comedic ramblings charmed the crowd. In-studios included a session with Trombone Shorty and Bobby Bare Jr. And finally, Harvest Sessions came to a close amidst sunny skies with the likes of Lliam Christy, Rough Shop and Scarlet Tanager.

To see the full articles and complete photo galleries check out Music News and for the KDHX in-studio experience head to Live Performances. It’s all on

Sleepy Kitty

Sleepy Kitty at Cicero's. Nate Burrell

Mr. Gnome

Mr. Gnome at Cicero's. Nate Burrell

Melt Banana

Melt Banana at Cicero's. Dustin Winter

Melt Banana

Melt Banana at Cicero's. Dustin Winter

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Concert review: Hawthorne Heights screams, impresses at the Old Rock House, Tuesday, October 25

The Dayton, Oh. quintet appeared on stage as lead singer and guitarist JT Woodruff beckoned the audience to leave the upper level of tables at the Old Rock House and join Hawthorne Heights near the stage.

“What is this? Applebee’s?” Woodruff asked. “Why are you all sitting down?” A girl in the crowd wearing a top hat screamed, “Fuck Applebee’s!” Screamer and lead guitarist Micah Carli laughed and said, “That’s right, fuck Applebee’s!” The words became the slogan for the evening.

Woodruff checked his distortion pedals, spun the volume knob on his orange-sparkle guitar to ten and began “Life On Standby” from 2004′s “The Silence In Black and White.” The song dissolved from its subdued, palm-muted guitar to a screamed chorus, “Now she’s gone! She’s not coming home!” Woodruff’s clean vocals mixed with Carli’s screams to create an emo, post-punk pastiche rivaling Silverstein. On “End Of The Underground” drummer Eron Bucciarelli banged out rolls before the chorus exploded. Woodruff reassured the audience, “Please know that you’re not alone.” Carli’s screams reinforced the sentiment and sent the audience moving in the pit.

Kids young and old screamed along with “Blue Burns Orange,” “I know it’s hard to make this work when you’re all alone.” Hawthorne Heights proved their knack for coupling heart-broken, teenage angst-riddled lyrics with crushing power chords and devious melodies. Hit “Saying Sorry” featured the band asking the audience “to make this count” in the face of “the same old story.” The song’s alternating guitar work — clean, muted verses and distorted strumming — blended moments of energy and quiet reflection with finesse.

Before “Drive,” Woodruff worked to change the guitar effects on his pedal board while bassist Matt Ridenour entertained the crowd, “I have no comment on who I think should win the World Series.” Woodruff having fixed his guitar problem, chimed in, “I’m glad we’re here tonight and not tomorrow, so we don’t have to deal with all those fucking baseball fans.” The audience shouted, “Go Cardinals!”

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Concert review: Chromeo and Mayer Hawthorne deliver a dance party punch at the Pageant, Monday, October 24

Chromeo at the Pageant, October 24, 2011

Louis Kwok

It was a night of time machine rock at the Pageant as Montreal synth duo Chromeo lifted up a respectable Monday crowd, many of whom were beaten down by a Cardinals World Series loss moments earlier.

The duo entered the stage to chants of “Chrom-eee-ooh. Ooh-ooh!” The variation on Prince’s “It’s Gonna Be A Beautiful Night” has become their birdcall. Their stage setup was memorable, with trademark sets of glowing women’s legs serving as their synth stands. Keyboardist P-Thugg wore a Cards hat and a Birds on the Bat jersey and looked a bit like Turtle from Entourage.

Launching into hits off their 2010 album, “Business Casual,” the duo took a neon-bedazzled crowd back to the sounds of the 1980s, complete with bleeps, bloops, all kinds of synth effects, super heavy bass and totally tubular drum fills. All of it was delivered with great funk timing, which is what makes normally intolerable effects very dance-inducing. I can’t say I’ve seen many Pageant crowds more pumped than the one last night.

Musical highlights included “Tenderoni,” “Hot Mess,” “Night by Night,” “Don’t Turn the Lights On,” “Bonafied Lovin’ (Tough Guys)” and “Call Me Up.” No single song stood out over the others as most of Chromeo’s tracks do sound similar to one another. Their aim was clearly to keep the dance floor throbbing and swaying, as opposed to blowing people away with their songwriting prowess.

A special moment came during the encore when they played their late friend DJ Mehdi’s song “I am Somebody,” on which Chromeo was originally featured. Mehdi was killed in an accident just as Chromeo’s current tour began in Dallas last month.

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Album review: A new Bearfoot tells an old ‘American Story’

“American Story”

Bearfoot has gone through changes along the way, though the lineup on its latest release is the greatest departure from the original set.

Famously forming at a music camp in Alaska, the band really came into the public consciousness just prior to the release of the band’s last album, “Doors and Windows.” Seeing them live at that time was infectious — all smiles, this seemed like a group of friends out on a lark and having a great time. I saw them at Merlefest in 2009, and during their set they said they came up with a song, literally, while driving to North Carolina from Alaska and wanted to try it out.

The song was “Good in the Kitchen” and it sparkled, the band all the while looking like kids who had just discovered a new favorite toy. They seemed to be having as much fun as the audience, perhaps a bit genuinely surprised at all the attention they were getting.

And they were also making fantastic music together. Their visitation to the Carter standard “Single Girl” was breathtaking, with an arrangement that allowed all of the heartbreak and regret of the song to come forward. I loved it, lots of people loved it. Odessa Jorgensen’s vocals were layered and complex; the twin fiddle work was brilliantly tight and Mike Mickelson’s guitar work inspired.

But things change, and with success come other pressures. Spending so much time in a van so far from home can’t be easy, at least not all the time. And whether it was those pressures, or others, the changes to the band since the last release to this have been profound. “American Story” is the debut of the new set, and in the promo material surrounding the release, the members can’t keep from calling it the “new” Bearfoot. The only members that remain are Angela Oudean, a wonderful fiddle player and harmony vocalist, and Jason Norris on mandolin. Both great musicians in their own right, but neither has fronted the band, and arguably neither was responsible for its emotional core. That remains true in the new line up as well. That Oudean and Norris both appear in the background of the promo photos on the band website is, well, appropriate.

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‘Always in pursuit of that elusive great song’ An interview with Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers

Patterson Hood

For the past 15 years Drive-By Truckers have stayed extremely busy. The Athens, Ga. based group has released nearly an album a year, toured to support their output and served as the backing band for other luminary musicians like Booker T. Jones and Bettye LaVette. All the while Patterson Hood, guitarist and main songwriter, has been at the center of it all.

Recently, I got the chance to ask Hood some questions via e-mail, in advance of the Drive-By Truckers appearance at the Pageant on October 28. Hood and I discussed his recent hand injury, the plusses and minuses of live shows and getting a chance to slow down a bit over the next year. Here’s what the prolific writer had to say.

Scott Allen: First, an update on your breaking news in late August: You wrote on the Truckers’ website that you had fallen at your daughter’s school with a glass water bottle in your hand. The bottle shattered upon impact, shards of glass embedded into your left hand, which is a guitarist’s bread and butter. How is your hand healing?

Patterson Hood: Thanks for asking. It’s healing up, slowly but surely. I’m going to physical therapy twice a week when I’m home and working on it on the road. They actually said all the guitar playing helps. I didn’t cut any of the tendons but got really lucky as I cut all around them and had some deep muscle and nerve damage. Then I got some kind of staph infection which really sucked ass, but I’m on the backside of that now. The September tour was miserable but it doesn’t really hurt to play anymore, and my playing is getting back to normal slowly but surely. My goal is to play better than before when it’s over.
The band has been on the road a lot this year and just started a fall tour on October 20 in Cincinnati. While the road can be rewarding it must be a grueling life at times. Do you find it hard to leave your family?

Being a way from my family is by far the hardest thing about my job (except for playing when sick or injured, which sucks, but thankfully doesn’t happen too often). I miss my family, but I try my best to make it up when I’m home by being really active in their lives. I’m a pretty sweet Daddy. 

Where’s the worst food? Are there venues that you play where you say to yourself “Oh no, not this place again?”

We try to eat pretty well on the road, but sometimes you hit those towns where there just isn’t anywhere that doesn’t suck. We usually eat pretty well in STL. Likewise, we don’t play many bad venues anymore. Lord knows we have in the past, but if it sucks we usually don’t go back. We always enjoy playing the Pageant.
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Concert review: The Bo-Keys dazzle at the Gramophone, Sunday, October 23

Jacob Blickenstaff

“You made a wise choice to come and see the Bo-Keys, guaranteed,” Charles “Skip” Pitts told a gathering at the Gramophone Sunday night. He proved to be right.

Pitts is guitarist and singer for the Memphis-based Bo-Keys. He has a deep, prickly voice and has made music history, if not only for contributing the wah-wah part in Isaac Hayes’ “Shaft,” but also for his work with the Isley Brothers and Wilson Pickett. With a Stratocaster in hand and a set of pedals at his feet, Pitts joined the Bo-Keys and kicked off a compact hour of both individual and group talent.

Gospel veteran Percy Wiggins joined the stage after a few instrumentals to perform his ’60s single, “Can’t Find Nobody (To Take Your Place).” Wiggins lends his sturdy vocals to the Bo-Keys’ recordings and did not disappoint during Sunday’s live performance. During a cover of the Bar-Kays’ “Soul Finger,” in which the band was in great form, Wiggins moved to the side of the stage. He leaned over, wearing a suit and tie, and happily shouted the title lyrics into a nearby microphone.

Ben Cauley (founding Bar-Kays member and Bo-Keys’ trumpet player) was not there, though new-schooler Marc Franklin did an exceptional job nailing the dizzying trumpet part in “Soul Finger,” as well as the remainder of the performance. Kirk Smothers provided a confident saxophone to round out the horn section.

Drummer Howard Grimes showcased his solid percussive style. He has a history in the Hi Rhythm Section, an ensemble that recorded with artists such as Al Green and Ann Peebles in the ’70s.

Scott Bomar, who brought the Bo-Keys together more than a decade ago under the Electraphonic label, played bass and chatted up the small audience by saying, “We’re going to take you a little farther down [Route] 55,” before introducing the instrumental “Jack and Ginger” from their latest album, “Got To Get Back!”

During “Jack and Ginger,” keyboardist Curtis Turner started out smooth on the electric organ and played with a style akin to the Memphis-based Booker T. Jones. But the comparison faded as Turner, a large man, stood up and cradled the Nord keyboard in his arms to play a scorching solo that was extraordinary to both see and hear.

A few people came close to the stage, but many were caught off guard by a lone dancer wearing black pants and a tie — he danced intensely (spinning and leaping) during the entire set, pausing only to sip from a plastic cup of water that he placed onstage. Both Pitts and Wiggins were gracious and asked the crowd give him a round of applause for his energy. The dancer hurt his back during the end of the set, which fortunately for him was only an hour. But it was a compact hour that included brilliant covers such as “Catch That Teardrop” as well as the popular original, “Got To Get Back (To My Baby),” with Wiggins on vocals.

For those who didn’t make it, an archive of the Bo-Key’s performance is available on the Gramophone’s website along with a performance by the Rhythm Section Road Show that took place earlier in the night. Andy Coco of KDHX’s Rhythm Section joined a handful of talented musicians including guitarist Teddy Presberg for a set that impressed members of the Bo-Keys and further encouraged them to play their hearts out.

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