Here's How St. Louis Band We Bite Becomes the Misfits: Photos

Theo Welling
We Bite as the Misfits.

True tribute bands have it rough. In their quest to bring an authentic experience to die-hard fans, they attempt to recreate everything perfectly, from the music to the costumes to the makeup. It's not an easy thing to pull off, especially if you're celebrating one of the most influential artists in recent decades.

But that's exactly what We Bite has been doing as its members share their love for horror-punk pioneers the Misfits. Billing itself as "the Midwest's premier Misfits tribute," the band already has earned a reputation for authenticity after just a few months of playing the local music scene.

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St. Louis' Kentucky Knife Fight to Call It Quits With a Farewell Show November 22

Corey Woodruff
"It's a mystery to me. I can't get it. I can't understand it."

Nate Jones' frustration is palpable. As a guitarist for Kentucky Knife Fight, he has played to packed crowds in St. Louis and healthy-sized audiences throughout the Midwest, but his band never quite broke through in the way its members hoped and thought it would. Accordingly, the group is ending its nine-year run with a final show at Off Broadway on November 22.

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A Look Inside Jazz at the Bistro's New State-of-the-Art Jazz Center (Photos)

Categories: Live and Local

The Harold and Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz. | Photos by Mabel Suen
Last May, Jazz St. Louis announced a $10 million expansion for a new jazz center that would completely reinvent Jazz at the Bistro (3536 Washington Avenue) as we know it, with state-of-the-art architectural and acoustic design. Only four months later, the doors of the newly dubbed Ferring Jazz Bistro debuted to a sold-out crowd during a grand-opening celebration featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. RFT Music stopped by shortly thereafter for a tour of the new digs.

See also: Jazz at the Bistro Announces $10 Million Expansion for New Jazz Center

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Artist Karl Haglund Shares Stories Behind Paintings for Billy Bragg, Ryan Adams & STL Musicians

Courtesy of Fugitive Art
Karl Haglund's paintings of the late Bob Reuter's guitars.

We all know that a musician makes art, but in some cases, a musician makes art. Tangible art. Visual art.

Karl Haglund is just such an artist. A painter from Charles City, Iowa, Haglund grew up with creative parents, forging his own paths through both music and craftsmanship. As an adult, though, Haglund has managed to merge his interests, painting extremely detailed guitars and sharing musicians' stories of what makes these instruments so personal and special.

"I see an old guitar that's beat up, and I think of it as a work of art instead of just an instrument," Haglund tells RFT Music. "I see the guitar as its own piece of art in itself."

See also: Painter Karl Haglund Brings St. Louis Musicians' Guitars to Life On Canvas

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Behold the Triumphant Return of Thor Axe

Categories: Live and Local

Rejoice, ye unwashed peasants, for your kings have returned. The mighty Thor Axe, once named "Best Side Project" by this publication, will be gracing the stage of the Luminary Arts Center this upcoming Monday, October 13. The band will be joined by Athens, Georgia's Bit Brigade, a group known for live-performing the soundtracks to video games as they are being played onstage in real time (for this tour, the Legend of Zelda is the game to beat).

The pairing makes sense, since Thor Axe's shred-heavy instrumental metal seems tailor-made to the video-game world as well.

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Town Cars Celebrates Its New CD, Hearts and Stars, This Weekend

Photos by Melinda Cooper and Jess Luther
If you've been to a local show over the past few years, you've likely seen Melinda Cooper play. She's performed with the likes of Union Electric, Humdrum, Cassie Morgan & the Lonely Pine, Celia's Big Rock Band, and most recently (this past Friday, in fact), as an auxiliary member of Bruiser Queen. Despite this pedigree, Cooper has seldom performed her own material. With Town Cars, however, she has stepped into the lead. Over the past couple of years, Town Cars has played around the city with a revolving lineup, generally including drummer Corey Woodruff and keyboardist/vocalist Jenn Malzone (better known as the leader of Middle Class Fashion). This week, Town Cars releases its debut CD, Hearts and Stars, on its own Extension Chord label. It's a solid, to-the-point listen, with a sound steeped in everything from 1990s indie rock and 1970s singer-songwriters.

Town Cars celebrates Hearts and Stars with a listening/release party this Saturday, October 11, at the Tick Tock Tavern. Cooper and I met at her rehearsal space deep within the Lemp Brewery complex to discuss Town Cars, as well as her own upbringing and musical past.

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Liquor License Protest Against the Ready Room Fails, Agreement Pending Between Neighbors

Categories: Live and Local

Jason Stoff for RFT
The Ready Room in the Grove.
In July RFT Music took an in-depth look at noise complaints arising from Forest Park Southeast residents regarding neighboring music venues the Ready Room (4195 Manchester Avenue) and the Demo (4191 Manchester Avenue) in the Grove. In late August the Demo's liquor license protest came to an end after a peaceful resolution between club managers and area resident Rachel Siegert. A written compromise, mediated by city excise commisioner Bob Kraiberg, outlines specific soundproofing goals and event limitations while allowing the Demo to re-open and carry on business as usual.

The Ready Room managers and its residential neighbors, on the other hand, have yet to reach a concrete agreement. After a hearing with Kraiberg on September 4, the official liquor license protest filed by residents Brad Fratello and Doug Moore failed due to a lack of signatures.

See also: The Demo's Reopening Over Labor Day Weekend

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Pü Fest Is Real and Happening This Weekend

Categories: Live and Local

Greg Houston
A comic dramatization of this weekend's festivities.

This Saturday and Sunday, September 6 and 7, more than 30 bands will perform in the basement of Empire Hall in south St. Louis for Pü Fest. The lineup, comprised of acts from all over the country, highlights the abrasive underbelly of American music in 2014.

Despite its tongue-in-cheek name, Pü Fest isn't meant to be a cynical jab at this weekend's mainstream-friendly LouFest. Local organizers Mike Herr, Luc Michalski and Patrick Boland only want to provide an alternative -- one with an intensely local component -- something LouFest is lacking, despite its name.

See also: Pü Fest to Debut in St. Louis This Fall

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The Demo Sets Its Sights on Reopening Labor Day Weekend

Categories: Live and Local

Steve Truesdell
The Demo managing partners Brandon Cavanagh and Mike Cracchiolo.
Exactly two months after closing its doors owing to neighborhood noise complaints, Grove-area music venue the Demo (4191 Manchester Avenue) has made significant progress toward reopening. At a hearing with the excise commissioner last Tuesday, the venue's managing partners reached a compromise with the residential neighbors who initially filed the complaint, resulting in the revocation of the protest as well as the subsequent approval of the business' liquor license.

"We now have a few more steps to take with the state, and we will be open," says Cavanagh, who anticipates a soft opening on or around Labor Day weekend, with a grand opening in the works for a weekend in September. The Demo also successfully completed an Indiegogo campaign last Friday, exceeding its $10,000 goal.

See also: Music Record Shop Opens in the Grove In Between Ready Room and Demo

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STL Open Media Integration Center to Occupy Former KDHX Building

Categories: Live and Local

Photo by Mabel Suen
The new home of STL Open MIC on Magnolia Avenue.

"There's a thousand little ideas behind every big idea," says William Gelb, acting Executive Director of the St. Louis Open Media Integration Center (Open MIC). His big idea involves transforming the former KDHX 88.1 FM building, located on Magnolia Avenue in the Tower Grove East neighborhood.

Gelb is no stranger to the space. He might be better known as his alias Wil Wander, DJ of Elevated Rhymestate on KDHX. Gelb, a graduate of UMSL's Nonprofit Management and Leadership Program, seeks to change the old space into a general center for media in south city.

Using the infrastructure once built for radio, he and his team of volunteers aim to provide local artists with the means to record and expand upon their art. And while the station once used the space specifically for recording, Gelb imagines many more possibilities:

"Three parts to the mission are to enable musicians to access tools, space and education. Anything that is media is within our range of possibilities. We're going to work and collaborate with other organizations. They'll be able to use our multi-purpose rooms for their classes and education as well," he adds.

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