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Cover Story:
All or Nothing.
Donald Williams of
Super Hero Killer

Up Next • Previews

Avett Brothers

St. Louis Music Park • June 30

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Japanese Breakfast

Pageant • July 15

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Hembree, It's a Dream
Hembree:
It's A Dream!
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Deap Vally:
Marriage
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Big Thief:
Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You
Spoon, Lucifer on the Sofa
Spoon:
Lucifer on the Sofa
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Districts:
Great American Painting

We caught up with the up and coming Nashville songstress at Austin City Limits Festival. Her NYE concert at Delmar Hall was recently cancelled, but you can still check out our interview with Ms Rose. Rolling Stone placed her album, Have A Seat in the top 25 Country albums of 2021—which is a bit of a stretch, as she spans many genres

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Live Reviews
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Late Nights in the Middle of March: Dreamland with the Glass Animals

STORY: Madisyn SIebert PHOTOS: Sean Rider

All of us born before the year 2000 remember the bulky home computer that lived in its own room in the house and all the troubles that came with it: dialing up the internet, downloads taking actual hours and the joyous noises the computer emitted as it did its best to keep up with the demand of running just one program.

 

Glass Animals imitated these memories on March 23 at The Factory with a display set up on stage projecting the screen and bulky frame of this computer and a dialogue box “downloading” the performance. The loading bar fluctuated from the time span of two days to minutes, before it finally loaded and the cursor opened the “new software”—the cue for the band to emerge from the side stage.

 

The band opened up its set with “Dreamland,” the album’s title track and conveniently its first song. The album dropped in 2020 and is still in high demand, especially considering the sold-out crowd at The Factory. People waited in line for nearly an hour to just get inside the venue and out of the rain. The fans were dedicated and that was easy to see.

 

We were immediately whisked away into the British band’s imaginary land, where the ‘90s lived on forever with the computer generating family pictures and videos displayed during “Youth,” and during the song “Tokyo Drifting” they generated an old-school car racing game. The set itself was decorated with a couple neon signs, a kiddie pool, a fake palm tree and a basketball hoop—things reminiscent of simpler days. Besides the props, the stage was outlined with two sets of lights that truly helped make the show a more immersive experience, drawing the audience in through the patterns

and colors.

 

The band had impeccable energy, going from one song to the next, feeding off of the crowd. Not many words were spoken by lead vocalist Dave Bayley when he wasn’t singing, but when he did speak, it was mostly praises of thanks and excitement. You could just see how much fun Bayley was having on stage throughout the show, dancing and engaging with the crowd by having them sing, clap and dance with him.

The band was also in on the fun, having fake ends to the songs just to get the crowd amped back up again when they would begin playing, and adding in new riffs and beats to existing songs that you will only be fortunate to hear live. You could just see how they were soaking up the energy of the crowd and then pouring it right back out to the mass of people in front of them.

Although we are closing in on the two-year anniversary of Dreamland’s release, it is still very easy to see the impact Glass Animals has made. “Heat Waves,” the album’s breakout single, made history when it reached the monumental achievement of being a chart topper for nearly 60 weeks in a row—and more than a year after its release! If you ask me, the entire album has recontextualized the band’s discography that came before it. Listening to Glass Animals' older songs live, it was almost difficult not to think about them within Dreamland. Songs like “Take A Slice,” “Season 2 Episode 3” and their ever-popular “Gooey” all now exist in the nostalgia-filled world the band has created.

 

Very rarely do we get the opportunity to find our nostalgia before it hits the past, but Glass Animals gave us something special here. Be sure to catch these guys live, or even just throw Dreamland on during a summer afternoon, because before you know it you’ll be thinking back to this time too.

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Unabashed Bilingual Indie Rockers:  
The Marías at Old Rock House

STORY & PHOTOS: Cory Weaver

Fronted by a mesmerizing, velvety smooth, bi-lingual singer, María Zardoya entrances crowds. Beguiling on-lookers with her effortless, sultry vocals while matched by stifling grooves–you’re immediately hooked… never mind that she was cascaded in a singular light with any and all lighting effects directed through her, penetrating the crowd—in a blood red corset.

Youthful Exuberance, Goofy Persona on Display with Dayglow at Delmar Hall

STORY: Madisyn SIebert PHOTOS: Cory Weaver

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I’ve never seen an artist light up a room like Dayglow, pun intended. The 22-year-old, Sloan Struble, radiates on stage with his dorky “dad” dance moves, truly embracing the motto dance like no one is watching. If you were lucky enough to snag a ticket to his show at Delmar Hall on October 29, you would know exactly what I am talking about. 

 

With lights perfectly beaming and setting the standard for the evening, it helped build the anticipation for Struble to dance his way on stage. Behind his band, all just as quirky as him, were huge letters spelling out DAYGLOW that lit up to the beats of the indie 80s-rock inspired music.

 

“This show is pretty nuts,” Struble said only after performing two songs, “One of the first shows I ever played was at this venue with my friend COIN. Full circle moment to be headlining sold out. We’re here to dance, so let’s dance.” He finished before transitioning into the song “Nicknames,” where he did break out the cowbell.

 

One thing that was immediately noted throughout his show, besides his amazingly wacky dance moves, was how amazing the lighting was for his show. We recently got to catch part of Dayglow’s set at ACL, and it was just as fun as Delmar Hall’s show, but one thing that made them incomparable was all the lighting effects he was able to do at his indoor set. Whoever his lighting guy is truly deserves a raise—all the effects were perfectly timed to his music and the colors of the lights really immersed you into his set.

Struble is also a man of many talents: he played piano, guitar (electric and acoustic) and sang throughout his show. He was constantly switching between the variety of instruments, and made them all look so easy, even just at the age of 22. He made it look like he was born on stage with how comfortable he was up there.

Porter Robinson, The Factory
Seven Years was Worth the Wait,
Porter Robinson at The Factory

Story: Alex Bakken and Photos: Spencer Peck

Exhilarating warmth. That is what Porter Robinson makes you feel when you see him live. Even through the flashing lights, roaring bass, and outstanding spectacle you can expect from most electronic DJ sets, Robinson’s “Nurture Live Tour” still feels like a conversation with an old friend. Discussions of purpose, meaning, and existence itself are held in every song – and this is no accident.

 

“My wish is that when people listen to Nurture, they’ll be reminded that life is worthwhile, that there’s a purpose in your existence, and that you can meaningfully change things for the better,” Robinson wrote in a note to his fans.

 

Nurture and it’s live show were heavily influenced by the challenges and growth Robinson experienced during the seven year hiatus since the release of his monumental first album, Worlds, in 2014. That time, while riddled with anxiety and doubt, also allowed Porter an opportunity for self-discovery; the kind that needed to be shared. And though the wait was long, fans gathered in anticipation to hear how much things had changed.

 

We were greeted by James Ivy, a 22-year-old artist from New York City who opened the show with nostalgic electro-punk tunes like ‘Headset Go" and "Last Star." Though many in the crowd had not heard Ivy’s music before, his set ended with the audience singing along to his very first release, Staring Contest. Up next was Jai Wolf – who quickly reminded us exactly how intense a DJ set can be with “Better Apart”, “Telepathy”, and my personal favorite, “Lose My Mind.” And though Jai Wolf left us all stretching our legs and catching our breath, it seemed as if the stage had only been empty for a few moments before Nurture Live began.

The tone was set immediately: intimate and infinite. The first notes we heard Robinson play came from a small piano in the far corner of the stage. As he introed his song “Look at the Sky”, small white lines spun into existence and filled the stage’s previously blank background. In an instant we were hit with a wall of noise, the stage bursting with light as the song grew into its full melody. Robinson, just as excited to experience the moment as we were, jumped from his piano and danced along with us.

Porter Robinson, The Factory

The crowd truly was another member of the show. In between songs, Robinson would take the time to speak with us – asking what we thought of the new songs and telling us the stories that inspired them. The audience came alive as the show ebbed and flowed. We sang along softly to Robinson’s song, ‘Mother’, as his home videos played in the background. And when it came time to absolutely lose it, the crowd was jumping and screaming to his incredible live performance of ‘Mirror’. Longtime fans were blessed with throwbacks to his earlier hits like “Flicker” and “Shelter”, while newcomers got a chance to see new classics “Musician” and “Something Comforting.”

 

The energetic audience was not the only thing helping bring the show to life. Nurture Live’s visuals were draped across the back wall and floor of the stage, illuminating Robinson’s performance with electrifying lights and colors. “do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do”, with its light, fluttering melody, was paired with images almost out of a Hayao Miyazaki film while “Divinity”, the first track from Robinson’s Worlds, was matched with a quick-cut montage of the internet’s early reactions to Robinson’s success in 2014. We were even taken back to his DJ roots, the stage exploding in bright, vibrant colors as Robinson played one of his first ever releases, “Language.”

 

As the show reached it’s end, it became clear that Robinson planned to finish with Nurture’s central theme: meaning. The new album’s closing track, “Trying to Feel Alive,” was performed with live vocalization while a rising, white staircase appeared behind Robinson. As he left the stage, the song was wrapped in full darkness. Only the words “everything we need is already here” illuminating the venue. But before any of us had the chance to chant "Encore!", the visuals re-appeared. The final two songs, “Get Your Wish” and “Goodbye to a World,” perfectly encapsulated Nurture’s message. And in true Porter Robinson fashion, the final lines of “Goodbye to a World” were played on his piano, the audience singing along to every word. Robinson waved goodbye to us all, thanked us for joining him, and departed the stage.

 

I have had the privilege of following Robinson from the near beginning. I vividly remember listening to Worlds for the very first time in my friend’s basement all the way back when it was first released in 2014. Though I practically grew up with electronic music, something about this felt different. Porter has always filled his music with substance, moving past common electronic songwriting to ask the true, difficult questions about the nature of life itself. Although the wait for Nurture was long, I am happy he took his time to continue to ask those questions before releasing it. There were a lot of times in those seven years where I, too, felt lost. Let’s be honest, I often still do. But after seeing Nurture Live - and knowing what Porter Robinson wanted to share with us - it is a lot easier to remember the answer to those questions:

 

Everything we need is already here. 

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One of my favorite points of the show was when Struble took time to address the crowd about change, saying, “Not too long ago I was in my dorm room and I released an album “Fuzzybrain.” I never thought it would bring me to St. Louis, but here I am, I have had so much change in the past years and music shows that change. When I was writing “Fuzzybrain” it time-stamped that change.” During a time in the world where there is nothing but change, it was great to hear in Struble’s own words how he has grown during this time to be where he is today.

 

Later during the show, we learned that Struble’s keyboardist is originally from Kirkwood and clued him in on a couple St. Louis favorites, engaging with the crowd by saying they were “Munching on some t-ravs” and smiling back at the audience with pure happiness on his face.

 

Struble’s setlist was almost his entire discography, which was absolutely amazing to see him give everyone all the songs they could possibly be craving to hear from him. He strategically set up his setlist to focus in on softer moments together, like in “December” and “Dear Friend” and by quickly bringing back the energy for the crowd with bangers like “False Direction” and “Listerine.”

After the encore, the band ended with a cover of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” and then “Run the World” to close out his show, keeping everyone amped till the chilly October air hit the crowd.

 

Struble is still so young and still has so much time to continue the growth that he acknowledged during his set. It keeps me excited for what will come in the future from him if he is already so good at the age of 22. Next time he’s in town he will only be bigger and better, so make sure to catch him whenever that is.

The Districts, Off Broadway
Unapologetic Indie Rockers,
The Districts at Off Broadway

Story and Photos: Cory Weaver

An unassuming wet Wednesday at Off Broadway was the perfect setting for indie rockers The Districts to continue their 2021-22 world tour that started back in June. A tour that kicked off with festival dates and an opening slot for Modest Mouse has ultimately served as a warmup to a nonstop flurry of shows spanning the US, Europe and back.

 

Covid cancelations cost The Districts the opportunity to tour in support of their March 2020 release of You Know I’m Not Going Anywhere—ironically, the group wasn’t able to go anywhere. However, their hit single off the aforementioned album, “Cheap Regrets,” was permeating through alt-rock stations and received prime airtime on Sirius XMU. Now, the band has announced the release of another album, Great American Painting, due out in February 2022.

 

It’s quite the rarity to tour two albums, but that’s just what the foursome from Philadelphia, via Lititz, Pa., are doing.

 

The half-capacity crowd was a loud and raucous bunch and gave Atlanta-based opener Girlpuppy an attentive, warm response. You’ll be hearing a lot about her soon, as she fits the mold of artists such as Lucy Dacus, Soccer Mommy and on the verge of Phoebe Bridgers. Her new EP, Swan, filled her short set with vignettes of melancholy growing pains.

The Districts, Off Broadway
The Districts, Off Broadway

(L-R, Top-Bottom) Pat Cassidy and Rob Grote, of The Districts and

Becca Harvey aka, Girlpuppy 

Girlpuppy, Off Broadway

After a short break, the headliners took over, leading off with one of their quintessential hits, “4th and Roebling” to set the tone. The stage was barely big enough for lead singer/guitarist Rob Grote and guitarist Pat Cassidy, as their head-banging, guitar whipping and leg kicks were sandwiched by keyboards, a drum kit and the edge of the stage.

 

After boisterous tunes “Salt” and “If Before I Wake,” the band vacated the stage leaving only Grote to pour out a bit of his soul with “Hey Jo.” After that insight, the band was back, ripping off the band-aid, unleashed relentless tunes like “Nighttime Girls,” “Lyla” and introducing a newly released single, “I Want to Feel It All.”

 

Rounding out their set was “Cheap Regrets,” which was not only one of the best songs I’ve ever heard live at Off Broadway, but it really showcased the keys and synth while adding a foundational support to the unorthodox beats and sudden time signature changes on drums. This is even more impressive considering the band is in flux, with drummer Braden Lawrence taking over bass duties following the departure of former bassist, Connor Jacobus.

 

The band wrapped up the evening with an appropriate, mosh-pit ladened two-song encore featuring “Sidecar,” an appropriate end to the long-awaited, overdue appearance.

Grouplove, The Pageant
Grouplove, The Pageant

Long Distance Relationship:
Grouplove back in St. Louis  Nine Years Later

Story: Madisyn SIebert
Photos: Cory Weaver

Black Pumas, The Pageant

Story: Sharon Stone
Photo: Reema Shah

A sold out Pageant welcomed the Grammy nominated artists back to St. Louis after a previous appearance at Off Broadway and a Covid cancelled show at Delmar Hall.

There was no doubt that the fans gathered at Delmar Hall on February 12th knew who they were about to see. I say that because the stage’s backdrop featured a perfectly hung banner with big capital block letters that spelled out the band name, JOSEPH.

 

After an original tour date of March 27, 2020, for their Know You Better Tour, and a few rescheduled dates later, the Black Pumas landed at The Pageant on August 5th to a sold out venue. The local face mask mandates requiring all concert goers to mask-up for the event may have covered up the smiles on everyone’s faces, but the masks did not obscure the crowd’s eagerness for live music. The audience was calm with a collective gratitude to be OUT of the house and back IN the Pageant for a public concert.

Shreveport, La. soul-rock band the Seratones opened the show. Frontwoman AJ Haynes exuded girl power with style and energy on lead vocals, guitar and an occasional tambourine. As the band rolled through their set, Haynes gathered the crowd into one happy group, noting “so much love in the room” and inviting everyone to “raise each other with love,” which we did—we radiated joy all night long! Haynes and the band flawlessly delivered their single “Power” to an energized crowd. Then Haynes dedicated “Over You” to everyone getting over their exes and the final song of their set to psychedelics (to the delight and approval of the crowd). I chatted with Seratones’ bass player Alex at the merchandise table as I picked up some CDs. He said they love St. Louis and playing Delmar Hall and The Pageant.  We loved having them.

The Black Pumas’ lead singer Eric Burton burst onto stage with “Next to You” and a blast of white stage lights sparkling like diamonds. Boom! Here.We. Are! And the crowd was ready. The Austin-based duo, which also includes Adrian Quesada, won the Best New Band award at the 2019 Austin Music Awards and has earned a few Grammy nominations, including Best New Artist (2019) and Album of the Year (2020).

 

Burton’s charisma and high-energy stage performance instantly made connections with the crowd.  He delivered lyrics while teetering on the edge of the stage and reaching into the crowd.  I come for the guitar solos—and Adrian artfully delivered those. The Black Pumas dispensed the songs we wanted to hear, including “Know You Better,” “Black Moon Rising,” “Old Man,” “Confines,” “Fire” and “OCT 33.” Burton had the crowd clapping and swaying then he went beyond the stage edge and into the pit crowd, which had the security  team in a panic and dashing for flashlights!

 

But the crowd was not worried—Burton never missed a lyrical beat.  Everyone anticipated “Colors,” and the band did not disappoint. The Black Pumas, the crowd, the room, all melded into one during that performance.Burton said they met some good St. Louis people when they got to town and thought we deserved the very best. And we got it! The performances and production were perfection. 

You may know Grouplove because you lived through the indie-pop phase of 2012, or maybe it was just recently through TikTok. No matter how you discovered them, or how often you listen to them, Grouplove is a band you can never turn down seeing when they are in your city. Their infectious thrills of fun and upbeat catchy music will make die-hard fans and newbies rock-out together once more.

 

Grouplove took over the Pageant on Tuesday, October 21st, and the audience members were not the only ones excited to see the band back in St. Louis. Hannah Hooper (co-lead vocals, keyboards and occasional tambourine player) addressed the crowd early into the concert. “Saw our pictures from 10 years ago (in the back),” she said. “So to look back 10 years later down the road is crazy. Thank you for supporting us for so long. We have been so excited for this show for years.”

 

Grouplove brought their high-energy selves and left it all out on the stage. Right off the bat they started with “Deleter” and then easily transitioned into “Scratch.” Both of these songs got the crowd swinging their arms to the beat and shouting the words back at the band. The band looked thrilled at every interaction from the crowd like it was their first show ever.

 

The setlist had a good mix of new and old songs. Grouplove is currently promoting their latest album, This Is This, which was released in March 2021. Five of the songs from this album were featured in the 17-song setlist. Sprinkled in were songs from their collective of albums including their 2020 release Healer, Big Mess, Spreading Rumours and Itching on a Photograph. The variety kept the crowd intrigued and steady on their toes awaiting what would come next.

Another way the crowd stayed engaged was through Hooper’s chats with us throughout the evening. Hooper was always eager to give her 2 cents on everything to the crowd: “When you are home alone by yourself, put your phone down and get a chance to do art. Get a little high and put your favorite Grouplove album on. Paint, walk, take your sister’s playdough. Smoke some trees and take a walk. Art is amazing and in you.”

 

Not only was Hooper great at giving advice, she was always great at keeping the crowd entertained, no matter if it was for the random drawing for the autographed drum head, or by making her fellow band member do a shoey on stage. And if you do not know what a shoey is, it is chugging a full beer out of another person’s shoe—not something enjoyable to do, but definitely something enjoyable to watch.

 

With classics like, “Itchin’ on a Photograph,” “Tongue Tied,” “Colours” and “Ways to Go” played you could really see how Grouplove’s cult classics really will be classics for the 2010s. It also truly showed how their music was able to evolve more as they grew. Songs like “Youth” and “Oxygen Swimming” are more mature songs with their same Grouplove vibe.

 

The culmination came during “Colours,” when front man Christian Zucconi chucked his guitar nearly 12 feet into the air. More shockingly it appeared no one caught it—the thud was not heard by the crowd with everyone yelling the lyrics and dancing around no matter if they were in the balcony or the pit.

 

This show brought together loads of people varying in ages, tastes and everything else but it could commonly unite everyone with upbeat messaging, songs that you couldn’t get out of your head and the undeniable need to move your body to the beat. There was no crazy set or insane lighting effects needed for this show. All that was there was good music and greater people.

Black Pistol Fire, Delmar Hall

A false fire alarm, a mint-green tour bus and a failed—yet comedic—attempt at a Collective Soul cover.

 

A reestablished mask mandate didn’t stop a near-capacity crowd to help Black Pistol Fire shake the dust off of Delmar Hall as they led the return of indoor live music. Gaining momentum on the festival circuit for nearly a decade, the Austin-based duo came armed with heavy, bluesy guitar solos in support of their new album, Look Alive.
Look alive? The crowd took that as a challenge and graciously met the band with the same energy, as at any given moment lead singer/lead guitarist Kevin McKeown would jump into crowd with guitar in tow.
The duo rocketed through their set, only breaking the pace to say, “Hey, we’re Black Pistol Fire” and McKeown halting to fix issues with his pedal board. The governing of the set was insane—staying true to expected form. BPF rapid-fired through 18 songs in under 70 minutes.
Wasting no time with saving new material for a mid-set rendition, they led off with tracks from their new album: the title track “Look Alive” and then, “Pick Your Poison.”

Black Pistol Fire At Delmar Hall

Story and Photo: Cory Weaver

While those new tunes are rockin’, what really set the night off was “Suffocation Blues.” It’s the duo’s most streamed song on Spotify with more than 26 million streams from 2015’s self-titled album, and why not? It’s a love song:

In the middle of the night

when you still hear the cries

Suffocation blues will bring you lullabies

Keep a sleepin’ with the creepingJust you wait and see

 

Bookending the middle of the set of new Blues from Look Alive (“Hope In Hell,” “Always On My Mind,” “Wild Fire” and “Beyond the Blue”) were covers of “Red Bone” from Childish Gambino and “Oh Well” from Fleetwood Mac.Unbeknownst to the crowd, BPF ended the night with an extended version of “Where You Been Before,” equipped with McKeown leaping off the bass drum—giving you a feeling the night was only beginning.A fitting end as, for most of the people in the crowd, Delmar Hall was a place they’ve been before…many times. With STL being the last stop of short, six-show circuit, the duo exited the stage and the house lights were up.

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