St. Louis: Here's How to Improve Your Music Scene, According to You


Effort

pillow-talk02.jpg
Mabel Suen
Pillow Talk at CBGB on Grand.

Jeff Robtoy (vocals) of Pillow Talk:
The St. Louis music scene could use... "more bands that tour consistently, put out records, promote themselves and become recognized on a national level. There are so many crummy bands that are popular not because they are interesting or talented, but because they come from money, a cool part of the United States, or are not afraid to promote their product. St. Louis bands could really be big if they tried a little harder (myself included)."

Julio of Kenshiro's:
The St. Louis music scene could use... "more drive to get outside. St Louis is great but I feel like it needs a different approach to making it nationally. There's so much fantastic music being made in the city, I wish I could see So Many Dynamos headlining Coachella or something like that. I've gained a lot of respect for the scene because I discovered that I actually enjoy the music quite a bit, so I would like to see those bands propelling themselves into the national territory so that the country starts looking at St Louis and realizing the scene is worth a lot more than what people think."

Appreciation

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Mabel Suen
Kevin Harris at Floating Laboratories in South City.

Kevin Harris: " I can really only speak for a very small section of the music community, that of mostly non-traditional music (music that does not seek to utilize formulas developed within the context of historical music traditions). This type of music has had an impact on my life because of its high degree of authenticity.

If music does not reference tradition, it becomes impossible to use popular models of critical examination, such as comparing music to existing forms to arrive at qualitative determinations. This necessitates the need for a unique type of appreciation - an appreciation also absent from the tradition of music appreciation. It forces the audience to be creative and truly question what it means to "like" a particular style or piece of music (mostly what people think they like is really just what they are familiar with.

There have recently been studies on the way long and short term memory interact with one another when listening to music. It turns out that when musical information is stored in short term memory, it is also passing through our long term memory to reference stored musical info. The sets of information are bound together into groupings that produce satisfying feelings when musical information is familiar to us). This process teaches us that sound can be beautiful, challenging, cerebral, emotional, and an entire world of complexity when it is arranged in novel ways, and just as this process shows the importance of approaching music without preconceived notions and expectations, it can also be used to show the importance of approaching all aspects of life with an open mind.

So... what can the non-traditional music scene in St. Louis use? Good critics who understand this music and tell others why it is so appealing. This community needs a voice, representatives to tell the story and inspire people."

Galen McGreehan (drums) of Quaere Verum:
The St. Louis music scene could use... "more people that realize how amazing the St. Louis music scene is. There is so much talent in the metal scene right now and people just don't seem to realize it. Everything Went Black. The Lions Daugher. Jack Buck. My Name is a Weapon. Bastard. Nolia. Exempt. Alan Smithee. Inimical Drive. Sine Nomine. Crush it to Death. As Earth Shatters. Final Drive. Blackfast. Casino. Heavy Arms. Icon and Anchor. A Dark Orbit. Every single one of these bands is doing something different. Everyone is forging their own path, these are talented musicians and if you like metal and you want to support local music, go see these bands."

Gabe Karabell and John Birkner of Bad Dates:
The St. Louis music scene could use... "'a kick in the pants.' We have a lot of talented people and awesome bands, but that's just one piece of a music scene. A lot of the folks who work behind the scenes -- booking shows, running venues and record stores, writing blogs and zines, releasing records -- go unappreciated and can't sustain the financial costs involved. So they move away or drop out."

Do you know a project or band that should be considered for this series? Drop a line to fillintheblank@riverfronttimes.com.

Previously from our Fill in the Blank series:
- The Glass Cavalry
- The Blu Skies
- Animal Teeth
- Popular Mechanics
- Brotherfather
- Bad Dates
- Beauty Pageant
- Pillow Talk
- The Tennis Lesson
- The Funs
- Brothers Lazaroff
- Quaere Verum
- MME
- Sarah Bollinger
- Little Big Bangs
- Everything Went Black
- Lions Eat Grass
- Kevin Harris
- Laika
- Heavy Horse
- Barely Free Partial Prisoners
- The Defeated County
- Lizzie Weber
- Kenshiro's
- B.E.L.L.A.
- Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship
- Humdrum
- The Blind Eyes



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49 comments
Dan Tiefenbrunner
Dan Tiefenbrunner

Here's a suggestion: fire the fucking sound guy at the ready room. every single fucking time i see a concert there the vocals are completely unintelligible.

Riverfront Times
Riverfront Times

These are all really great suggestions, folks! Thanks for being so thoughtful! (Er, most of you.)

Karl Richards
Karl Richards

The number one complaint from people in St. Louis who would like to attend shows but dont, "I would come to the show, but I can't stay out that late on a work night." Maybe get some week night shows that don't end at midnight?

King T-bone Willingham
King T-bone Willingham

I know that The 105.7 The Point and KDHX do local music stuff but it is very limited. I would like to see other formats reach out and mix in local artists with the regular rotation. Yes, in the beginning it would be a slow take off, but eventually things would be booming. It would be a win, win, win...for the station, the scene and the city as a whole. There is soooo much good music out there.

Steve Bruns
Steve Bruns

Well, speaking as someone who goes to at least one concert a month, here are the dots that bands and venues fail to connect: the venue matters, acoustics matter, and audiences matter. Venue: What's truly sad about the passing of the Grammophone (and Plush) was that these were places where the surroundings added to the concert-going experience. Good food, a seat if you want one, interesting surroundings--not just a blank box. Add in some great house music too, while I wait for the show to start, and I'll walk away with a better impression, regardless of the band (think: Duck Room.) Acoustics: Hey venues, design your space for sound. Hey bands, mix your sound for the space. An example of what NOT to do-Kate Nash at the Ready Room. Here's an artist whose lyrical word-play is her main calling card, and you couldn't hear a damn thing she said because of the acoustics of the room and the sound mix. It all came out a garbled mess. And the cranky old man in me insists on adding: match the volume to the space. I've never had a concert ruined by a mix that was too quiet, but there surely have been a few where it was too loud. Audiences: Yeah, it is really hard to drag people off their comfy sofas and pull them away from their internets. Saint Louis is notoriously bad for wanting to stick to the familiar and comfortable. Knowing that, maybe it wouldn't hurt to think about comfort when designing your space. Do you have decent food options? Optional seating? Heat/AC? Bands, maybe throw some "comfort food" our way, and do a cover of something that helps audiences connect to you AND your music (without pandering or being untrue to what you do.)

Ralph Habig
Ralph Habig

Here is one of the biggest problems in St Louis PROMOTION. I rarely hear of bands in this town from anything other than random word of mouth. The bands themselves need to get out there and let themselves be known. Best examplae. I DJ a once a month Metal spin on the first Thursday of every month at The Crack Fox called The Thursday Underground METAL. It has been going on for almost three years now and we get a pretty decent turnout. My issue is Other than Galen McGreehan from Quaere Verum who has actually DJed a gig with us before. Not one band has came in and talked to me and handed me music to listen to and try to get it out there for people to hear. I am more than willing to play music from local bands and I want to see the scene boom again. I just see no one taking personal responsibility for themselves and finding new venues of promotion. If bands want help. They need to seek us out. And by that I mean the people who are willing to help. I mean come on 3 years and 0 people at a bar that everyone in this town confesses to love. Something may be out of whack people lol

Steve Severino
Steve Severino

A better music festival like Lollapalooza or Kanrocksas

Daniel Drake
Daniel Drake

You can't get paid until you've kicked lots of ass But yeah there's plenty of thriving genres that don't intermingle. I wanna see more bills with local hip hop, pop rock, psychobilly grunge stand up comedy etcetera. We aren't that big of a town and there's no reason we don't all know each other by now

David Maness
David Maness

Also. If you're concerned about money then you're in the wrong field of life. I've seen bands pass on great opportunities to get their name out/rock out to people that want to see live music because theyre concerned about getting paid.

David Maness
David Maness

Less drinking and more watching. Even though they often times go hand in hand. Its good and bad but a lot of shows are more social events rather than music loving/watching events. The "dit" scene knows what's up like skeletal lightning fest in champagne Illinois and dither diy the documentary. They've formed a national clique and the support is amazing. Easy to tour and everyone watches every move of any out of town band.

Spencer Phillips
Spencer Phillips

Only click I know is the sound it makes when I plug my god damn guitar in...

Ellen Cook
Ellen Cook

We also need more dancers. I'm sick of seeing people posted at shows with their fucking hands in their pockets.

Ellen Cook
Ellen Cook

And Scott, I've seen more and more press about locals bands. Most of it wasn't folk. I'm not folk.

Ellen Cook
Ellen Cook

Less lists and more genuine reviews.

Scott Haskenhoff
Scott Haskenhoff

For the RFT to stop covering music. They don't know shit about it. Mr. Ben said it best in the article "There's obsession with paying tribute to indigenous folk music from half a century ago, which the RFT oozes orgasmic love for."

Thomas Joseph Leb
Thomas Joseph Leb

Need a public space with music festival infrastructure. CityArchRiver plan is not going to be much of a public benefit, that's a shame. Forest Park is alright, but too far removed and obviously the city can't make sure vehicles are relatively safe during a two day event. Imagine a festival that you go to during the day, then in the evening smaller more intimate acts play at venues all over town. That is how many cities are doing it, like THE FORECASTLE FESTIVAL in Louisville or Telluride Festivals

Jay Ejh
Jay Ejh

A heavy metal weekend festival (outdoor)!!!

Neil Ghanti
Neil Ghanti

More eclectic music festivals that feature local talent. Maybe set up the festival in a popular place like forest park or tower grove park. Lou fest is a waste of a festival in our city because they bring in national acts but none of them are much better, if at all, than what the city has to offer. I think it's cool the city is trying to do create something like lollapalooza is to Chicago because it is better than nothing but instead of trying to model our festival after so many better and long standing ones, lets take a book out if New Orleans page and do something similar to their jazz and heritage festival. Keep the name Lou fest but feature the LOU. 4 stages that could either vary in genre or be genre based stages. Could have a blues/soul stage, a bluegrass/folk stage, a jam/reggae stage, a metal stage, a hip hop stage.. etc. Maybe a national/regional act or 2 for each genre to help with promoting. As long as the core is local talent, it will help get more bands out there and get people hip to what they are all about. It will also give St. Louis something positive to take pride in. Just a thought..

Kody Sullinger
Kody Sullinger

It really needs heart the scene has fell to the way side in the past 5 years... I hate to say it, I played for the past few years in the night clubs and hole in the walls, honestly there were only a handful of bands out of the 100 or so we played with that were really worth a damn and worked hard at the craft. I like metal but seriously there is only so much a city can take....

Bryan Carnes
Bryan Carnes

Van Halen and the red rocker! either together or separately!

RC Hunt
RC Hunt

More Metal \m/ Antagonist \m/ in 2014!!!

Tony Bologna
Tony Bologna

Legitimate tours that stopped here instead of Bret Michaels and Sick Puppies 8 times a year.

Larry Cox
Larry Cox

The St Louis new British arrival Mark Palmer and his new band coming in 2014. And yes it's rockin!

Rip DiGiorno
Rip DiGiorno

This sounds like a lot of whining to me. Maybe we just need some better bands? Of course there aren't enough "fans" when the music is mediocre.

tefpoebookings
tefpoebookings

including the hip hop guys, and other genre's that you're probably not a fan of in the conversation might also help....coughs coughs...coughs ..diversity right?

justinlpoole
justinlpoole

There is only one thing that will improve the Saint Louis Music Scene. More fans. When someone figures that shit out we'll all be fine. We have the venues, we have talented and original bands of every genre of music, we have blogs, photographers, bookers and promoters all trying their fucking asses off to put on entertaining shows. Now where the fuck do we find the fans?

Jeremy_Niemeyer
Jeremy_Niemeyer

I believe when he stated "indigenous folk music from half a century ago" he meant traditional rock and roll.


JosephHess
JosephHess

@tefpoebookingsAre you insinuating that I'm not a fan of hip-hop or that I only cover music that I'm a fan of? Because neither is true. What I cover as a music writer is based on what I feel merits attention, regardless of genre or my personal preference. 

Artists who identify as hip-hop were asked this question and either dodged it or didn't have something positive to say. Granted, I didn't go out and ask every hip-hop artist the same question, but I didn't do the same for folk, funk, punk, rock, metal, blues, jazz or noise communities either. The only favoritism I played here was in the content of the comment. Was the comment insightful, helpful or positive? If so, I included it.

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