Ben Folds, SLSO Sex Up Powell Hall 4/13/14: Review, Setlist

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Michael Wilson
Ben Folds and the St. Louis Symphony made beautiful music together.

In this week's print edition, renowned pianist and songwriter Ben Folds makes the case that going on a date at the symphony is akin to foreplay -- that the atmosphere is a perfect prelude to a little bump and grind. We could say that about many musical endeavors. After all, music and sex have been intertwined for a very long time -- well before Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus pantomimed the nasty at the Video Music Awards or Elvis Presley had his gyrating lower half cut off from the Ed Sullivan Show.

But there's certainly something about a live orchestra that inspires a rush of blood to our private parts, so as we set out to review Folds' second of two nights with the world-class St. Louis Symphony, we decided to track which songs created the biggest stirrings in our loins. Spoiler alert: we didn't have to fake a damn thing.

See also: Sex and the Symphony: Ben Folds Explains Why Orchestral Music is the Best Aphrodisiac

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Middle of the Map Fest Doesn't Disappoint in its Fourth Year

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Photo courtesy of Jim Vondruska
Yoni Wolf of Why? at Kansas City's recordBar

Four hours west of St. Louis lies a Midwestern city rife with curiosities. Its denizens may seem familiar to the eyes of St. Louisans, but the terrain is alien enough to mask itself in the guise of a pseudo-adventure. This place is called Kansas City, and the reason for the gathering is the Middle of the Map Fest.

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Review: Greg Brown and Bo Ramsey Deliver the Blues at the Sheldon Concert Hall 1/31/14

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Jim Herrington
Bo Ramsey and Greg Brown

The night before Greg Brown and Bo Ramsey returned to St. Louis and the Sheldon Concert Hall, there was a show at a club across town that featured a rock band called the Hold Steady. You've probably heard of them, and you've probably heard about that sold-out show. The words "joy" and "powerful" and "community" and "party" were tweeted as often as fists were pumped, and speaking just for myself, my feet never touched the ground until Craig Finn and his ten-year-running band left Lemp Avenue for another show in Louisville.

But there's more than one way to skin musical transcendence.

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St. Louis Symphony Shakes Up Powell Hall with Elvis Tribute 11/10/13: Review, Setlist

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Elvis.com

Powell Hall was hoppin' with Elvis Presley fans Sunday afternoon, and there was no way anyone could call 718 North Grand Boulevard "the end of Lonely Street."

Wait, why were Elvis fans at Powell Hall? Isn't that the home of the St. Louis Symphony, you ask? Well, yes. But for one special performance, the spirit of rock and roll's favorite son could be felt alongside the violins, clarinets and French horns of our city's award-winning orchestra, and we couldn't help falling in love.

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Nine Inch Nails Triumphantly Comes Out of Retirement at Chaifetz Arena 10/1/13: Review, Photos, Setlist

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Todd Owyoung
Trent Reznor can manhandle a mic stand like nobody's business. See the full slideshow of photos from the show.

Let's just put this out there right now: Trent Reznor never retired.

OK, yeah, Trent Reznor took Nine Inch Nails out of the touring business for a few years while he got married and won an Oscar and did a whole bunch of other neato stuff. But last night's show at Chaifetz Arena proved that, despite the time off, the man never really left the stage. During the third stop on NIN's "Tension" tour, Reznor's "comeback" ended up being an exhilarating "come again."

And we almost missed it, dammit.

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Review: An Under Cover Weekend 7 Delivers Two Nights of Memorable Music

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Dots Not Feathers, performing as Queen
Here we are again. The weekend has succeeded in melting into Monday, and An Under Cover Weekend is embedded in lore until next September. The annual event, which draws sold-out crowds to the Firebird each year has left us until next September. An Under Cover Weekend 7 showcased the technical prowess of bands like the Feed and the Incurables, and the simple beauty of Scarlet Tanagers' harmonies. It gave Bredon Jones of Last To Show First To Go reason to flex vocal muscles he wasn't even sure he had. It also gave rise to a new guard who will satisfy St. Louis' stomach pains for another show-stopping act like Via Dove, who after five cycles bid AUCW adieu.

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Har Mar Superstar Gets Sexy at the Firebird: Review, Photos and Setlist

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Kristan Lieb
Har Mar Superstar | DJ Billy Brown
May 7, 2013
The Firebird

The boilerplate description for Har Mar Superstar marries the looks of a young Ron Jeremy with the music and stage presence of something between R. Kelly, the Neptunes and Tony Clifton -- but really, all comparisons fall short. Har Mar Superstar is one-of-a-kind.

See Also:
- Har Mar Superstar at the Firebird - Slideshow

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Bob Dylan and Dawes at the Peabody Opera House, 04/23/13: Review and Setlist

Bob Dylan | Dawes
April 23, 2013
The Peabody Opera House

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He's leaving in the morning just as soon as the dark clouds lift: No photo credentials issued on this tour, but last night's main event looked kinda like this dude.

For Bob Dylan's visit to St. Louis last night -- his first since October 2010 and the fourteenth stop on his current tour -- the Peabody Opera House (14th and Market streets; 314-241-1888 ) stage was backed by a full-height semicircular black curtain with four lighthouse-grade spotlights suspended in front of it that occasionally commenced to glow like so many massive moons orbiting Planet Bob.

Bob Dylan has finally become what he has probably always dreamed of being: an old bluesman. That's a good thing, too. He's small in stature, smaller than ever, thin and bandy-legged. And he commands a stage like no other artist. Make no mistake about it: His bell still rings.

See also:
- Bob Dylan Alive and Kicking at the Chaifetz Arena, 10/21/10
- Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan at the Fox Theatre, 10/22/07

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Mykki Blanco at the Demo, 04/18/13: Review, Photos and Setlist

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Liz Miller
Mykki Blanco | DJ Billy Brown | 18&Counting
April 18, 2013
The Demo

Mykki Blanco cuts a commanding figure on stage. At last night's show at the Demo (4144 Manchester Avenue; 314-652-3366), the self-described "acid punk rapper" owned the room. The small venue was far from packed, but during Ms. Blanco's captivating, visceral 50-minute set of songs -- mostly off mixtape Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Prince/ss -- felt like a sold-out Saturday night show.

This all wasn't lost on Mykki Blanco: She told the audience to enjoy the intimate show, as she'll probably be playing bigger venues the next time she's in town.

Based on last night's performance, no doubt she will be.

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Purity Ring at Plush, 04/06/13: Review, Photos and Setlist

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Nick Zargoza
Purity Ring | Blue Hawaii
April 6, 2013
Plush

Its been a little over two years since Alberta-based musicians Megan James and Corin Roddick released their first song under the name Purity Ring. In that time, the pair have played Pitchfork, released the full-length Shrines, collaborated with Danny Brown and covered Soulja Boy. Their music blends hip-hop beats by Roddick with James' ethereal, feathery vocals, performed live with a haunting light show timed to match the music. And Saturday night they took a near sold-out crowd at Plush (3224 Locust Street; 314-535-2686) underground, transforming the stage into a hazy, supernatural cave.

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