Cat Power's Solidarity in Song at the Firebird 8/24/14: Review

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Nick Schnelle
Cat Power performing at LouFest 2011.
When St. Louis last saw Chan Marshall, she was performing on a dark stage in Forest Park at LouFest 2011. Though barely visible as the sun went down, she and her expert, frenzied band bent the blues to their will. You couldn't see her, but if you heard her, you recognized it as the most powerful set at the festival.

This was before the release of her largely self-played, ambient-rock album Sun -- for financial and emotional reasons, her most prolonged and difficult project. These days, those who follow Marshall on the social platforms know her for her all-caps, ideogrammed barrages, coming and going as if she were addicted to every progressive RSS feed on the planet. Instagram activism from indie-rock stars is generally wince-inducing. With Cat Power, it's another glimpse, like it or not, into the manic, unfiltered spirit behind her music.

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Billy Bragg Performs Surprise Set at the Royale For Ferguson: "Liberty and Justice for All!"

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Bryan Sutter
Billy Bragg addresses a crowd of about 100 people on the Royale's patio. See more photos here.

Billy Bragg stood at the microphone toward the end of his set at the Royale, thoughtfully looking up into the night sky as he tried to put words to what's happening in Ferguson.

"The true enemy is our own cynicism," Bragg finally told the audience. "We have to fight to overcome that cynicism. We have to show the world that St. Louis is not a cynical place, a place where people give in to their worst impulses."

Bragg, known worldwide for speaking out against human-rights violations and bigotry, performed an hourlong set at the Royale on just a few hours' notice, deciding to stop in St. Louis as he made his way south to Arkansas on a photography tour of the old Rock Island Line railroad path for Aperture magazine. Several performances over the next week are planned, but Bragg and fellow guitarist Joe Purdy already have made a habit of impulsively playing where they've felt moved to do so, such as outside a school in Illinois where teachers were striking for better pay. St. Louis was just such an impulse stop.

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5 Things We Learned During Miley Cyrus' 'Bangerz' Tour at Scottrade Center

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Bryan Sutter
Miley Cyrus has kicked "Hannah Montana" to the curb for good. See more photos here.

If last night's gleeful tongue wagging and enthusiastic dry humping were any indication, Miley Cyrus has definitely licked whatever ailed her this spring.

After cancelling her original April date due to hospitalization for an illness, Cyrus made good on her promise to make it up to St. Louis during last night's rescheduled "Bangerz" tour show at Scottrade Center. The former Disney star slid down a giant tongue, pranced around the stage and engaged her audience with passion, and though the show wasn't perfect, it certainly was amazing to see. From gyrating bears to shout-outs to her "hillbillies," Cyrus gave her all.

See also:
- Slideshow: Miley Cyrus Brings the 'Bangerz' Tour to Scottrade Center
- Hospitalized Miley Cyrus Cancels Tonight's Scottrade Show
- Sorry, Miley Fans, You Need to Buy New Tickets to the Rescheduled St. Louis Show


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Budweiser's "Made in America" Concert at the Pageant Was Kinda Epic

Categories: Show Reviews

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Forgive us for not getting this review up the day after Budweiser put on its "Made in America" concert featuring Girl Talk and the Floozies. But with free Budweisers being tossed about the Pageant like Dubble Bubble at a kiddie parade, we were in no condition yesterday to write anything remotely intelligible.

See also: See Girl Talk at the Pageant for Free, Courtesy of Budweiser

So, now that we've had a day to come to our senses, let us unequivocally state the following: Budweiser's "Made in America" pit stop through St. Louis on Tuesday was -- if not the best concert of the summer -- certainly the best party of the season.

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Mötley Crüe Bids Farewell to a Packed House at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater

Categories: Show Reviews

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Press Photo

My love affair with Nikki Sixx began in 1985. I was a nine-year-old Catholic schoolgirl -- plaid jumper, Barbie lunchbox, Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper -- and he was the bad boy rocker with jet black hair and a penchant for setting himself on fire. It was an unlikely match, one sparked by my mom's odd willingness to let me sit in front of MTV and watch long-haired, leather-clad men swill Jack Daniels (so long as I got my homework done). Yet here we are, thirty years later -- after all of the affairs, booze, failed marriages, his heroin overdose, my brief dalliance with electronica -- as strong as we were when our eyes met over the small screen to the tune of "Home Sweet Home."

But last night, I had to say goodbye.

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Arcade Fire Chooses Pageantry over Music 4/27/14: Recap, Setlist, Photos

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Jason Stoff
Win Butler of the Arcade Fire gets off on confetti. See more photos.

A severe thunderstorm may have been raging outside Chaifetz Arena last night, but within its walls, the Arcade Fire was busy whipping up a different type of shower.

On April 27, 2014, the gazillion-piece band from Montreal made it rain at least five times during its first St. Louis show since 2011. There was no water or dollar bills to be found, though -- this downpour was all confetti. Three bursts during opening song "Here Comes the Night Time," an explosion during "Normal Person" and a blowout during "Reflektor" set up and maintained a party atmosphere that encouraged nonstop reveling, and fans happily complied.

But the deluge of showboating occasionally made us want to hide under the pink umbrella we'd brought in with us.

See also:
- Slideshow: Arcade Fire at Chaifetz Arena
- Arcade Fire Concert Dress Code: The Ultimate Guide
- I Kinda Like It: Tales of an Arcade Fire-Ambivalent Music Journalist


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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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