Out Every Night: The Best Shows in St. Louis From December 16 to 22
With the holiday season in full swing, lots of bands pull out the stops. El Monstero hits the Pageant for its annual string of holiday season shows, Sarah Bollinger graces the Gramophone with her blue-eyed soul for a special Christmas show and Pet Rock invades the Livery with a tape release. Besides these shows, read ahead for plenty more picks from our critics, and stay tuned for our weekend post for more happening over the weekend.
Todd Owyoung for RFT El Monstero starts its string of holiday season tribute shows this weekend.
Cage the Elephant
Monday, December 16, 7 p.m.
@ Pop's Nightclub - $28-$32
By Steve Hardy
From this 2010 show review: Cage the Elephant is a quintet, but on Friday night at the Pageant, the group might as well have performed under the name, "Matt Shultz and Friends." Although the vocalist kept the banter to a minimum -- from a "Thank you" here to a "Hey everybody, look at this kid who looks exactly like Jay Reatard" there -- he flung himself around (and off) the stage like a puppet having a seizure. He unexpectedly dove into the pit and bounded from table to table around the venue, while his voice jumped from high to low -- between screaming and then suddenly channeling Violent Femmes' Gordon Gano.
Tuesday, December 17, 9 p.m.
@ Blueberry Hill - $12
By Roy Kasten
Because he favors an acoustic guitar and a harmonica rack, Tim Easton will always be saddled with the singer-songwriter descriptor. But like Steve Forbert, he has twangy busking in his blood and, like Paul Westerberg, he's a punk who has read one too many books. Not Cool, Easton's most recent album, is just that: a sweaty and sinewy set of acoustic blues, rockabilly and ballads that swings like a rail splitter and spins some memorable yarns. Easton may be, as he claims in one song, a "Crazy Motherfucker from Shelby, Ohio," but he's got a heart of rock & roll gold.
Pet Rock: The Musical Cassette Release
Wednesday, December 18, 8 p.m.
w/ Skarekrau Radio, Little Big Bangs, Animal Teeth
@ Livery Company - free
From The Ten Best Holiday Shows to See in St. Louis This Season: In September, local impresario Johnny Vegas officially moved his south city shindig, Stag Nite, to Livery Company. Grab a dollar Stag and check out one of his most raucous line-ups yet. Pet Rock: the Musical releases a cassette while an all-star cast of noisy punk and rock misfits meet up to wild out with guitars on. The following Stag Nite happens on Christmas Day, featuring Arson for Candy, the Hobosexuals and Jack Grelle.
The Sarah Bollinger Band
Thursday, December 19, 8 p.m.
w/ Jesse Gannon Truth
@ The Gramophone - $5-$7
By Mabel Suen
From this 2013 profile: Sarah Bollinger's blue-eyed soul fuses elements of influence from a lifetime of listening to vocal greats like Aretha Franklin, Eva Cassidy, Stevie Wonder and Billie Holliday. Her big voice and even bigger heart comes through in each of her smooth, jazz-tinged ballads, which contemplate the complicated juxtapositions of love and life. Her songs showcase a squeaky clean clarity occasionally sprinkled with what she fondly refers to as "St. Louis grit," emphasized by dreamy piano playing and sassy, precise horn pops thanks to members of the Funky Butt Brass Band.