STL Up Late Is Back -- and on the Prowl for a Network To Call Home

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

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STL Up Late in a 2014 sketch lampooning homophobia in the NFL.
Local comedy powerhouse STL Up Late is back on for Season 4 at Satori Theater.

Actually, "back" may be too strong a word. In between seasons, the cast and crew of the sketch comedy show stayed more than busy with writing sessions, video production, a trip to LA to check out Jimmy Kimmel and, oh yeah, a live taping for a pilot episode. And that's only part of what they're up to: Many (and likely all) of the 30-plus cast and crew members not only have full-time jobs, but are also a part of an assortment of live productions across the city.

See also: STL Up Late Brings Comedic Relief to Your Saturday Night

With the taping wrapped and Season 4 just around the corner, RFT Music had a quick chat with executive producer Josh McNew and Eric Christensen, the show's host and director.

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How St. Louis' American Wrestlers Signed to a Respected Label Before Ever Playing a Show

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Press photo via Fat Possum Records
Gary McClure of American wrestlers.
Late in 2014 mysterious rumblings from a few music blogs told tales of a reclusive Scotsman living in Missouri. He was releasing music under the name American Wrestlers, but no one knew his name, his pedigree or his story. That such a vaunted record label as Fat Possum Records, onetime home of the Black Keys, would be releasing American Wrestlers' music only led to further intrigue.

The reality is a little more mundane. Gary McClure, the man behind American Wrestlers, lives a quiet existence with his wife in Benton Park. By day, he unloads trucks for UPS. In his free time, he records rippling, kinetic rock songs on a bare-bones setup. When asked about the mystery behind his band's rollout, McClure shrugs off the idea of self-promotion, something the soft-spoken 34-year-old is not especially skilled at.

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Andrew Frank Crowned Champion of Make Me Laugh St. Louis, Heads West to Alaska

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

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Corey Woodruff
Andrew Frank performing at The Elvis Room.

St. Louis comic Andrew Frank has proven himself to be one of the most talented, committed and dynamic comedians working in the city. In the past six months he landed himself the opening spot at the Pageant for Anthony Jeselnik, worked a clean set at Lumière Theatre for Kevin Nealon, regularly showcased at independent shows across the city and continues to feature at the Funny Bone on a monthly basis. He's a staple in the open mic scene and, given the opportunity, will perform on multiple shows a night.

This past week he displayed how hard work can and will pay off. Make Me Laugh, a nationally touring amateur standup comedy competition, crowned him the funniest comic in St. Louis. And just a day later, Frank skipped town to join the Comedy's Best Kept Secret tour alongside Dan Frigolette and Erik Anker. The tour will head all the way to Anchorage, Alaska, stopping in ten cities along the way. Frank will also receive professional head shots and a website to better promote his comedy career.

RFT Music sat down with Andrew Frank after his recent set at Taytro's Bistro in Festus and picked his brain about his next moves, as well as his expectations for the tour.

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Paula Poundstone Wants You to Fear Incontinence, at Least Once

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

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Paula Poundstone to appear at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

A humorist quite unlike any other, Paula Poundstone carries the experience she picked up from years of improv into a spontaneous and delightful live show. Channeling the spirit of standup, improv and sketch comedy, her performance is a comedic trinity to be revered. One of the most loved and admired by fans and comics alike, Poundstone refuses to simply sit and revel in her accomplishments.

Poundstone is slated to perform at the Sheldon Concert Hall on Saturday, March 28. She was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions via e-mail. (And like a true and honorable pro, she gracefully cut right through David Cross calling St. Louis humorless.)

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Fleetwood's Back: Mick Fleetwood Talks Making New Music with His Band's Classic Lineup

Categories: Interviews

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Danny Clinch
Fleetwood Mac's classic lineup, together again.
By Hans Morgenstern

Over the course of the 38 years since the release of Fleetwood Mac's masterpiece, 1977's Rumours, the group's members have come and gone for a variety of reasons -- madness, romantic turmoil and creative tension chief among them. All the while, the rhythm section -- drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie -- has stuck it out.

Speaking by phone from a Dallas hotel room, Fleetwood says, "I will take some credit that I've always been, almost to the point of being obsessive, saying, 'We've got to keep going. We've got to keep going, dude.'"

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Pretty Little Empire to Perform Stripped-Down Set at Halo Bar Following Demetri Martin Show

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Daniel Perea
William Godfred and Justin Johnson of Pretty Little Empire.
When comedian Demetri Martin performs at the Pageant this Thursday, March 26, he'll finally have the chance to hang with his new best friends in Pretty Little Empire.

OK, so the St. Louis indie-rock quartet hasn't actually met the former Important Things with Demetri Martin host. In fact, its members are not even sure Martin knows they exist, despite sharing roles in bringing comedy film The Last Time You Had Fun to life recently and having director Mo Perkins as a connection in common.

But maybe all of that will change when PLE performs at the Halo Bar directly following Martin's standup show.

See also: Movie and Television Licensing Deals Provide Exposure for Bands in St. Louis and Beyond

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St. Louis Guitar Heroes Set to Gather at this Weekend's Tritone Guitars Gear Expo

Categories: Interviews

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Nate Burrell
Tritone Guitars' Dave Anderson is St. Louis' one-stop guitar guru.
This weekend, while NCAA fans are ankle-deep in busted brackets, a different kind of obsessive will be gathering for the very first Tritone Guitars Gear Expo. All manner of guitar-slingers, gear-heads and tone-nerds will be on hand at the Metropolitan Artists Lofts in midtown (500 North Grand Boulevard) to check the wares of local builders and guitar technicians. The free event takes place this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is open to the public

The expo is an offshoot of local tech and musician Dave Anderson's Tritone Guitars, which began as a guitar-repair operation and has expanded to include design, consultation and multimedia exploits. The Tritone Facebook group in particular shows the robust interest in bespoke guitar gear located in St. Louis -- posters regularly inquire about set-up tips and advice or offer their gear for sale. Local builders and techs, from Chris Kroenlein's K-Line Guitars to Brad Sarno's Sarno Music Solutions, will be on hand for demonstrations. (Visit the Facebook event page for a full list of participants.)

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DIY Comedy Tour Road Kill Comedy Hits St. Louis This Saturday

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

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Road Kill Comedy Tour
Saturday, March 21, at Art Bar

Five years ago an "alt room" was any kind of space that wasn't a comedy club or theater. And alt rooms were few and far between, especially in St. Louis.

But, oh, how the tables have turned. With the popularity of DIY booking, alt rooms have sprung up all across the country, making it possible for comics to tour nonstop. Sure, there are a lot of variables and headaches to booking outside of a club -- pay isn't consistent, you don't always know where you're going to sleep, and there's no built-in marketing or promotional package. But none of that seems to be scaring comics off the road.

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Swervedriver's Raise: A Forgotten Shoegaze Classic

Categories: Interviews

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Photo by Giles Borg
The Swervedriver of the present.
By Alex Rice

Aside from that glorious stretch from 1990 to 1992, there really hasn't been a better time to be a shoegaze fan than the present day. In the past two years, My Bloody Valentine resurfaced with an album and toured. Ride and Slowdive reunited for their first shows since the mid-'90s. Another less-heralded but just as essential group riding the shoegaze revival is Swervedriver, who is touring on the new record I Wasn't Born to Lose You.

Led by Adam Franklin, the English group's original run lasted from 1989 to 1998 and yielded four full-length records, including the classic 1991 debut Raise. Music fans always throw out My Bloody Valentine's Loveless, the Jesus and Mary Chain's Psychocandy and Ride's Nowhere as hallmarks of the genre, but Raise is perhaps the greatest shoegaze album you never hear about.

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Mod Sun: "Hip-Hop Is Ready for Positivity Again"

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Photo by Eric Gorvin
Mod Sun will perform at the Firebird this Saturday.
By Jack Spencer

Minnesota-born rapper Mod Sun has released a ton of mixtapes and EPs since 2009, under the self-described genre "hippy-hop." Now he's on tour in support of his just-released debut album, Look Up, on Rostrum Records.

An outspoken proponent of self-love in his music, he's continuing his trajectory with this new batch of upbeat tracks. Ahead of his show Saturday at the Firebird, RFT Music spoke to Mod Sun about the journey leading to his new album, and how he fits (or doesn't fit) within the music community at large.

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