Out Every Night: The Best Shows in St. Louis From November 4 to 10
Friday, November 8, 8 p.m.
w/ Foreign Fields
@ Off Broadway - $12-$15
By John Vettese
From this 2008 show preview: Think of Basia Bulat as a one-woman answer to Antony and the Johnsons. The Canadian songwriter's honeyed melodies and romantic melancholia on her debut, Oh, My Darling, echo New York's premier chamber crooner. "Snakes and Ladders" glides along to classy piano arpeggios and cello counterpoints while she hesitantly wonders in a nervous vibrato, "Who believes in fate anyway?" But Bulat doesn't mope as heavily as Antony does on Darling. Moreover, the album contrasts its lovelorn moments with a tremendous sense of joy: "I Was a Daughter" leaps out of the speakers on the power of its fluttering sixteenth-note handclaps, while "In the Night" may be indie music's first autoharp anthem. These cinematic, adventurous songs swell around miniature orchestral arrangements, not unlike the work Marla Hansen has crafted since striking out from Sufjan Stevens' band. On Bulat's less inspired moments (the jazz-licky "Why Can't It Be Mine"), she sounds like late-era Beth Orton: languid, dull but otherwise inoffensive. When she's on, she has the potential to make hearts melt and soar as easily as Antony.
Mathias & the Pirates
Friday, November 8, 8:30 p.m.
w/ The Palmer Squares, Baytron, Paul Martin
@ The Demo
By Christian Schaeffer
From "Homespun: Mathias & the Pirates": Former Earthworms member Mathias treads tricky ground on this release, his second with the Pirates. On "Jack Palance" he decries the modernity of Twitter, Justin Bieber and hipsters while celebrating the golden era of hip-hop. But there are few overt nods to the old-school in the album's production — the boom-bap 808 hits on "Go With Me" match the uptown soul of the song, and DJ LB's scratches are tasteful and rarely overpowering. So, why does Mathias stick with pirates, instead of the traditional gangster motif? Hard to say, but it's a wrinkle on the traditional outlaw archetype, and the yo-ho-ho shanties don't overwhelm what is a solid and varied program.
Saturday, November 9, 8 p.m.
w/ Kingston Family Singers
@ BANK Projects - free
By Mabel Suen
From a wall of boutique synth boxes brimming with countless inputs, bright orange patch cables protrude every which way, like a series of veins pumping blood through a robot. Experimental artist Kevin Harris coordinates this network of patches to generate a set of modular sounds to manipulate during his performances, which notably feature live, psychedelic video synthesis. At this show, expect video projections and panned quadrophonic sound from both Harris and the Kingston Family Singers. The latter is a Belleville collective of experimental sight and sound that utilizes everything from drone and harsh electronic noise to found sound and video. The artists will completely envelop onlookers with this enclosed installation, so prepare for a surreal experience.
Saturday, November 9, 8 p.m.
w/ The Locals, Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship, Soma
By Mabel Suen
From "Get to Know Kenshiro's": Named after the savage and powerful lead character of classic anime, Fist of the North Star, Kenshiro's packs a corresponding wallop with its raw and relentless garage'n'roll. Simple yet powerful chords shakily traipse between strummed and stabbed motions, and the boomy rhythm section holds down frontman Prato's howls and squealing guitar licks as they attempt to fly away in an electrifying frenzy. The self-described "basement punk for the unworthy" provides with upbeat, dance-worthy songs generated from youthful souls.
The Lone Bellow
Sunday, November 10, 8 p.m.
w/ Greg Holden
@ Old Rock House - $15
By Roy Kasten
If Lady Antebellum isn't careful, the Lone Bellow -- a Brooklyn-based trio that harmonizes as if the Birmingham Community Mass Choir is taking auditions -- will steal the old-time pop zeitgeist out from under its members over-polished heels. Zach Williams, Kanene Doheney Pipkin and Brian Elmquist hold nothing back on this year's self-titled debut, embracing vocal dynamics like they're the key to neo-folk survival (they are; just ask the Civil Wars) and even slipping in a "man of constant sorrow" allusion. Still, the only thing studied about the Lone Bellow is its traveling bible salesmen garb, but with harmonies this good they could dress like mimes and still have country-folk fans swooning. Aberdeen, Scotland-born singer-songwriter Greg Holden opens this leg of the Lone Bellow's tour. He's won notices for penning a single for American Idol-winner Phillip Phillips, but Holden himself has a voice and narrative style worth arriving early for.
Note: Though we wish we could, we can't feature every great show happening in town in just one measly post. Look for plenty more recommendations this Friday in our weekend shows post, and peruse the St. Louis concert calendar for more ideas any time. Let everyone know what else you're looking forward to seeing this week in the comments below, and send show tips any time to firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered for inclusion on these lists.
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