St. Louis Symphony's "Music You Know" Series Draws Inspiration From the Familiar

Dilip Vishwanat
Music director David Robertson leads the St. Louis Symphony.

Have you ever really thought about where you hear classical music? No, really thought about it? Once you know what to listen for, you'll notice that orchestral pieces are everywhere, from video games to cartoons to presidential inaugurations. It's kind of scary how often we're surrounded by beautiful scores, and it's even scarier how often our brains take them for granted.

A new program from the St. Louis Symphony aims to change that, though. Through a series dubbed "Music You Know," the symphony will lead music lovers through famous classical pieces they may have heard outside of a traditional concert event. Music director and conductor David Robertson will further enhance the audience's surprise by explaining the historical and cultural origins of the music and why the pieces lend themselves so well to everyday use.

"We have a huge repertoire of pieces that the audience isn't necessarily going to know by the title," Robertson says. "That's part of the fun of these concerts — the joy of actually discovering, 'Oh, that's what that is!' and saying, 'Wow, that's really cool!'"

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Pokey LaFarge Signs to Rounder Records

Categories: Live and Local

Steve Truesdell
Pokey LaFarge, performing at the Casa Loma Ballroom in December 2013.
St. Louis' Pokey LaFarge announced late last week that he has signed a deal with Nashville's Rounder Records, which since 1970 has served as home to big-name acts such as Robert Plant, Béla Fleck, Ween, Son Volt and many more.

LaFarge has spent much of 2014 touring the world -- with stops across the United States, New Zealand, Europe, Australia and India -- as well as finishing up work on the followup record to 2013's self-titled LP, which was released on Jack White's Third Man Records.

See also: Watch Pokey LaFarge's Performance on Letterman

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Tonight's Found Footage Festival to Include VHS Hilarity from St. Louis

Courtesy of the Found Footage Festival
Hosts Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett share wacky VHS stories during a Found Footage Festival show.

The Internet thrives on virality. If you watch it, you share it. It's how YouTube stars are born, and it's why an eleven-minute homage to '90s sitcom credits has racked up 2 million views in less than a week.

But those millions of viewers are watching at different times, in different places and on different devices. What's missing is a group of friends -- possibly high, possibly gorging on Domino's -- gathering in a living room to laugh uproariously and give each other the "What the fuck?" look every time a dude on an infomercial insists that his cat-training video will bestow riches and sexiness beyond viewers' wildest dreams. That's where the Found Footage Festival comes in.

Uh, the crazy-video part, not the stoned-and-hungry part.

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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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