The evening began with one-man folk-punk spectacle Hamell on Trial, who humorously berated the early crowd for not giving him a warmer welcome. After giving instructions on how he expected to be received, he walked into the greenroom and returned, his entrance attaining applause and hollers much more to his liking. From there he performed a set of quirky, socially-enlightened songs about race, politics, inequality and his vintage Gibson Acoustic, all with the sort of wit and wink that answered the question, "What if Rip Taylor played punk?"
The humid June evening marked Aesop Rock's first time in St. Louis and (possibly) the first time Kimya Dawnson has stepped on a stage in Mound City since the Moldy Peaches opened up for the Strokes in 2001. While the Firebird didn't get to hear "No Jumper Cables" or "Who's Got The Crack?," together as the Uncluded, the duo brought something familiar as well as unexpected with just about every cut from their 2013 debut "Hokey Fight" and shamelessly candid stage banter. There were moments that one may dare describe as twee, a slap bass solo and an incredible performance of "Walk Like Thunder" from Kimya's 2011 release "Thunder Thighs."
All photos by Bryan Sutter.