The Ten Best Rock Clubs in St. Louis
Selecting Riverfront Times' Best of St. Louis 2012 was no picnic. Choosing the winner meant several worthy candidates would go unmentioned -- until now. In this RFT Music series, we're working our way through notable runners up in a number of categories. This week: The best blues clubs in St. Louis.
Todd Owyoung Machine Head at Pop's Nightclub
It almost goes without saying, but we'll say it anyway: There's just not a better place to hang out in St. Louis, for various and sundry reasons, than Blueberry Hill. But let's tick a few of them off: They've got great food, including world-class burgers; a wide array of beers; and ambiance -- in the form of bar owner Joe Edwards' lifelong obsession with collecting records, posters, comic books, satyr statues, you name it -- that's second to none. You can go there to play darts, pinball and video games; smoke a fine cigar; pump some quarters into the jukebox; or just wait around for Bob Costas to show up. And the the Duck Room, arguably our town's finest small-sized music venue, presents terrific national acts and monthly gigs by St. Louis' own Chuck Berry.
Jon Gitchoff Sleigh Bells at the Firebird in 2010.
The Firebird undoubtedly deserves a place on a list of the city's Best Rock Clubs, but in this case the word "rock" may be a bit of a misnomer. Yes, the club frequently caters to a rock crowd, but its overwhelming appeal is primarily in its eclectic how-the-fuck-did-they-get-that-band booking. No matter what your personal tastes are, it is likely that one of your favorite bands has been to the Firebird. An inquisitive look at the club's 2012 concert calendar reveals staggering findings: Sludge-metal punk the Melvins sold out the joint in May. Hip-hop tastemakers Diplo and Chiddy Bang played an unannounced Axe-sponsored show in March. Death-metal legend Deicide hasn't played a show in St. Louis in fifteen years -- guess which club convinced the band to come to town. Still not a believer? We'll just throw out a few more names for good measure: Naked Raygun, Gaslight Anthem, Lil B, Mission of Burma, Doomtree, Mayer Hawthorne and the County, Propagandhi...skeptical still? You probably listen to some obscure genre of music, like "sissy bounce" -- and you probably didn't realize that even the Queen Diva, Big Freedia herself knows that in St. Louis, the Firebird is the place to be.