I try to be gracious when folks thank me for helping to organize these KDHX benefit and tribute nights. But it’s mostly selfish on my part. There’s nothing more purely fun and gratifying than being in a packed club, surrounded by friends and fans of KDHX, and hearing a slate of terrific St. Louis bands sing the songs of my heroes.
Friday night, May 27, 12 bands/artists played the songs of Bob Dylan for nearly five hours. They only scratched the surface of such a catalogue, but the scratches were deep and lasting all the same.
My highlights from Shot of Love, in chronological order.
Cassie Morgan and the Lonely Pine (aka Beth Bombara) singing “Corinna, Corinna” early in the evening. No, Bob didn’t write that one, but it’s a song that still demonstrates the not-so-secret origins of his music. Morgan captured the tone beautifully.
Elly Herget and Evan O’Neal of the Skekses tackling the little known “Billy,” an outtake from Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Emcee Cat Pick noted that the melody is identical to Neil Young’s “Powderfinger.”
Ryan Spearman filled in at the last minute for an injured Riley James. And he did so with a sweet and serious version of “The Times They Are a Changin’.”
Joe Stickley and Sean Canan turning in an elevated and swinging “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go.”
Rough Shop tackling the rarely covered “Isis” and Anne Tkach really getting into the vocal delivery.
Cumberland Gap doing the wonderful waltz “Wallflower.” Greg Silsby is one of the best singers in St. Louis.
The return of Rebecca Ryan to the stage in St. Louis as lead singer of the Sparrows. To say the band’s version of “I Want You” was sexy is to somewhat understate matters.
Magnolia Summer getting all the rock lead out for an angry and loud “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues.”
Dave Grelle of the Feed owning “Simple Twist of Fate” with a precise and beautiful piano melody.
Pretty Little Empire rocking “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You” as hard as it’s ever been rocked. Video evidence below.
Karate Bikini rising to the occasion with a loud, thrilling “Like a Rolling Stone.”
Bothers Lazaroff swinging all the way through “Summer Days” and then leading everyone in “I Shall Be Released” and an unsanctioned but delightful “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35.”
If you missed the party, fear not. We’ll have video and photography for you soon, and who knows, perhaps we’ll do it again in a few years. Happy birthday, Bob.
“…you’re the one that’s been causing all them riots over in vietnam. immediately turns t a bunch of people an says if elected, he’ll have me electrocuted publicly on the next fourth of july. i look around an all these people he’s talking to are carry blowtorches / needless t say, i split fast go back t the nice quiet country…”(2)
during the second song last night at off broadway, “Corrina, Corrina” played by Cassie Morgan and the Lonely Pine, i leaned over to my friend and said, “I really like this song.” i could have said that all night. over beers, over anything. Shot of Love — a 12-band, five-hour marathon tribute concert celebrating Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday — a testament to the diversity and ability in our local music scene to cover the range and depth of Dylan’s lengthy career. “70, f**k you Keith Richards,” Roy [Kasten] joked, and the FCC-fill-the-blank joke. we associate icons with iconic symbols, or so I thought when i eyeballed the Skekses beginning “Boots of Spanish Leather” with the harmonica cage, or the even the whistle in “Highway 61 Revisited” which produced a healthy group giggle. Ryan Spearman, he played “The Times They Are A-Changing” — “played it pitch perfect,” i’m told outside and i’m sad i wasn’t there. Joe Stickley and Sean Canan offered an upbeat hullabaloo “Buckets of Rain” when i returned but not before going to the bathroom.
Rough Shop joked, “We’re going to play an extended version of ‘Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands.’ We’ve got 30 minutes, right?” I might have misquoted by a word or two or four but ya get the idea. oh, and Cat [Pick], i heard ya say it was going t b your first MC on last monday drive time “and you do it well.”(3) A beautiful “Wallflower” bounced from the warm strings of Cumberland Gap, and i overheard someone say, “don’t be ridiculous. the best Dylan is ’66, no need to differentiate. royal albert hall, that’s the best Dylan,” to which, a woman responded, “i like his ’80s stuff.” “christian Dylan?” “what do you mean?” and i stopped caring when the Sparrows lead singer, Rebecca Ryan, delicately tapped her left fingers on her left blue jean thigh to a sexy, slowed-down, bass-heavy rendition of “I Want You” and an electric “Oxford Town” — an exercise in “tonal breath control.”(4)
writing a Bob Dylan tribute article is about as difficult as a Mark Twain look-a-like contest if you’re a twelve-year-old boy who can’t grow a mustache or fit properly into a white suit. and your mother won’t let ya smoke a cheap cigar. current events come an go don’t you know and i don’t like my picture taken. Magnolia Summer, “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues.” yep, “i’m going back to South City, i do believe i’ve had enough!” and who was that on the moving piano on “Simple Twist of Fate.” “The Feed,” you answer. [Dave Grelle, to be specific.] “why allen ginsberg was not chosen t read poetry at the inauguration boggles my mind.”(5) i could hear Pretty Little Empire outside. again regret except i met nine beautiful strangers / consuming meat an cigarettes an sitting. Karate Bikini pleased with “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” and “Like a Rolling Stone,”
[end of pause]
while Brothers Lazaroff delivered a tender “Most of the Time” and the brothers invited all musicians to return t the stage. when I first saw that electric Sleepy Kitty poster, I wondered who and what and how it would all end and i was surprisingly shocked at the obvious an beautiful choice — “I Shall Be Released.” unison is funny bird with serious wings.
and then Brothers Lazaroff mischievously ignored the scheduled — i’m guessing by body gestures & apologies — an rolled into an impromptu “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.” good fun. where were you “i have no arguments an i never drink milk.”(6) when you see a band, any band from last night, tell em’ I said hello…they brought their own voice t a tribute which wasn’t easy to pull off.
i’ve heard Dylan recently call this era his middle years. he released his first album in ’62. as a different birthday approaches, i reflect not only upon how Dylan influenced her but for how long — roughly 50 years, or 21% of american history!
(1) This article is a tribute to the mad and beautiful notes inscribed on the back of multiple Bob Dylan albums.
(2) Bringing It All Back Home (1965)
(3) Buckets of Rain
(4) Bringing It All Back Home (1965)
(5) Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
(6) Bringing It All Back Home (1965)
In late 2006, legendary (I don’t use the word lightly) guitarist Tom Hall had his 1931 National guitar (also known as an extension of his body and soul) stolen outside a Soulard bar. The Iron Barley restaurant held a benefit and collected enough money to replace the instrument, and ever since Hall and a constellation of fellow veteran musicians have been paying it forward with annual benefits for good, music-related causes.
This Sunday, January 30, the Iron Barley presents the Fifth Annual Tom Hall Guitar Benefit and Resophonic Extravaganza. Doors open at 3 p.m. and music starts at 4 p.m. Admission is $20, and includes a fried chicken dinner. The performers are a who’s who and rogues gallery of some of the finest players in town: Geoff Seitz, Mark Renard, Jim Nelson, Brian Curran, Kim & Jim Lansford, John Higgins, Kevin Buckley, Charlie Pfeffer, Margaret Bianchetta and many more. Proceeds benefit music programs at Saint Frances Cabrini and Guitars for Vets.
More info available at the Facebook event page.
It certainly didn’t feel like a Sunday evening as Dale Watson took the stage at Off Broadway last night for a KDHX benefit. Veteran honky tonkers, Watson and the Lone Stars inspired too much toe tappin’, boot stompin’ and two steppin’ to believe that anyone would have to be up for work in the morning. The crowd happily took to the dance floor, called out requests and danced away the winter blues.
All photos by Kate McDaniel. See more at my Flickr stream.
Concert photos: Whole Earth Nuclear Ukulele Orchestra KDHX Benefit at the Tap Room, Wednesday, January 19
The Whole Earth Nuclear Ukulele Orchestra held its second annual benefit at the St. Louis Brewery and Tap Room. Many fine musicians in St. Louis came together to help out their favorite radio station, 88.1 KDHX.
All photos by Sara Finke. View more at my Flickr stream.
It was a hot and sweaty electro party last Thursday at the Firebird. The KDHX Countdown to Tron: Legacy party hosted by Kate from Beep Beep Boop Boop was a smash with local DJ talents Kate, Johnny Orr and DJ Coreyography, classic arcade games, glowing body art, a Ducati and the epic bit-crushed symphony of Daft Punk’s film score.
Partygoers excitedly armed themselves with Tron themed t-shirts, customized glowing body art and ample libations. Kate kicked off the evening with a high energy DJ set featuring Bloody Beetroots’ remixes and Simian Mobile Disco’s “It’s the Beat.” Electronic music ruled the evening, and Daft Punk reigned supreme. The DJs kept a common theme through each set playing and remixing various Daft Punk tracks. As the night wore on and beer lubricated the dance floor our DJs really worked the crowd with hilarious yet bumping tracks like Duck Sauce’s “Barbra Streisand.”
Jonny Orr and DJ Coreyography finessed the crowd together taking turns teasing and tantalizing the dance floor with their on-point yet surprising selections. I’ll be the first to openly admit, I cut a rug to a funky remix of Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” after a few drinks. When all is said and done, the KDHX Tron benefit party was the best excuse this year to do the robot while supporting community radio.
All photos by Rebecca Buell.
As you may recall, this past September KDHX presented September Gurls & Boys: A Tribute to Alex Chilton and Big Star at Off Broadway. Over 200 people jammed into the club to sing along to 12 bands from St. Louis (and Edward Burch from Austin) performing some of the best rock songs in the English language.
It was splendid.
Now, after a month of hard work by a team volunteers — including sound engineer Dan Kinney, and videographers Terri Brandt, Melissa James, Ed Kleinberg, Billy Pauley and Kat Touschner — I’m pleased to say that videos from the night are streaming at the KDHX YouTube channel. One song per band for now, perhaps more in the future.
Concert photos: September Gurls and Boys: A Tribute to Alex Chilton and Big Star at Off Broadway, Friday, September 24, Part 1
All photos by Sara Finke. See more photos from this KDHX benefit at her Flickr stream.