Discover America Tonight at SLSO

December 12, 2008 at 5:53 pm | Posted in Chris Maue, Concert, music, SLSO | 1 Comment
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cdbigThis is a little bit last minute, but if anyone’s looking for something interesting and fun to do tonight, SLSO is continuing their ongoing Classical Detours series at Powell Hall, with tonight’s theme – Discover America.    Enjoy several pieces by American composers Bernstein, Copland, Rodgers, and even John Williams.      In SLSO’s own words: 

“No “Jingle Bells.” No “Rudolph.” The SLSO offers holiday relief.”

 

And, as always, the performance is prefaced with free beer sampling courtesy of Schlafly. 

 

— FREE TICKET INFORMATION —

 

Although it may be too late to use this info tonight, RFT vetran and current SLSO blogger Eddie Silva sent me this info on how to get FREE TICKETS to SLSO shows.    Read on:

 

50 Free Ticket Program:

The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra offers 50 free tickets to the public for all of its regular Orchestral concerts (except Coffee Concerts). To receive your free ticket you must have a 50 Free Membership Card. To get your card simply stop by the Saint Louis Symphony Box Office and sign up for your free card. The card entitles you to a free ticket to six  orchestral concerts per season. To redeem for your ticket, present your card and a valid picture ID at the Box Office window 2 hours before a valid concert.  Tickets will be handed out for 30 minutes or until all 50 tickets have been distributed.  Cards will be punched each time you receive a ticket. Tickets are given to valid free ticket card holders on a first come basis. One free ticket card per person per season.

Bloggers Night with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra

November 18, 2008 at 2:10 am | Posted in Chris Maue, comics, Concert | 10 Comments
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Last night was Blogger’s Night at Powell Hall, and I found myself among the esteemed guests. I asked my friend, and music review blogger, Patrick Vacek, to come with, which lead to interesting results. As one that doesn’t particularly frequent the symphony, I was worried that Patrick and I (emphasis on the I) would stick out like the unwashed hipster bums that we are.

So when Pat and I showed up, under dressed, and just as excited about the prospect of free drinks as seeing the performance, we hadn’t considered exactly who the regular attendees of the symphony are – old eccentrics & academic bums. One of my favorite moments was when an older woman sitting next to me turned and cheerfully asked if Pat and I were college professors, and why we were taking notes. After explaining to her that we wrote for a blog, and having her ask me “what is ablog? ” Patrick and I felt like some sort of undercover agents from the culture wars, in the den of high class, until later that night when a crazy old man jokingly berated us about how scandalous the performance that night had been. Afterward, we went out for drinks down the street with other bloggers, and it hit us that we actually had a niche, and a culture we fit into – that people on the other side of the screen actually exist, and blogging isn’t all just shouting into the aether. I’ve posted a comic about it here. All in all, it was a pretty awesome night.

— Concert review —

When I initially heard about bloggers night at Powell Hall, it was in connection with the SLSO Guitar Festival, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect – unwashed nerds lining up for something like Metallica’s S&M? Well dressed journalists coming out to see an orchestra composed entirely of Fender Telecasters, Gibson hollow bodies, and Flying V’s? A pit full of violinists wailing on power chords? I mean, what is a symphony guitar festival? Dare I hope, a rock opera? It turns out the answer wasn’t anything that cool.

The first song – Mark-Anthony Turnage’s A Prayer Out of Stillness – was the guitar – related piece of the evening.

The song had four movements, and featured a cello Bass/electric bass soloist, in front of the string section – the wind instruments, and some percussion (including piano) were conspicuously absent.  The song began with the strings playing tense chords, while the soloist quietly plinked around by himself, seemingly playing a different song, unaware of the orchestra behind him, and not caring if anyone heard.  This went on for a while, until something unexpected happened.

Everything went dead quiet, and the orchestra paused while an electric bass was brought out, and exchanged for the cello Bass.

The question I kept asking myself after that point was, if every other rock band ever can handle  a roadie walking up and trading guitars with a performer, often mid-song, why does the symphony have to stop everything while someone hands them a bass?   If that wasn’t enough to take my attention out of the performance, they repeated this ritual 3 more times, between every movement – a habit which really sealed shut what was a strangely arranged, and uninteresting piece.

If the constant stop – and – switches weren’t enough, the second movement made the bass part seem even less connected to what the rest of the orchestra was playing, culminating in the third movement, where both cello bass and electric bass soloed while the rest of the orchestra just took a break.

The fourth movement tied everything back together, but not in a tension – and – relief sort of way… it seemed more like the composer hadn’t figured out what they wanted to do until the fourth movement.  Not in a coherent way, anyhow.

The second song – Steven Mackey’s Beautiful Passing –   was much more interesting, with a violin soloist front and center for the entire piece, making things very interesting.  Not only was the soloist incredibly talented, but the wild way that she jerked around, like a woman possessed, as she played, made violin seem dangerous and sexy.

The third song – Stravinsky’s The Right of Spring – was amazing.  The song was epic in a way that one expects an intense orchestral piece to be, full of polyphonic tension and resolution, highs and lows that make your mind wander so scenes of beauty and violence.  The music was accompanied occasionally by words projected behind the orchestra, describing youths frolicking in a field, until holy men come and sacrifice a young woman to the god of spring.

The thing that struck me the most about this last piece, was that my mind kept wandering to things like Loony Tunes, and Star Wars.  Maybe I’m just a pop culture junkie raised on cartoons and fantasy, but when I hear classical music, these are the things that come to mind.

All in all, the concert was pretty awesome, and although the first song left me thinking dreading the next two, and thinking that the composers had a screw loose and didn’t know what they were doing, the second two performances were awesome and well worth the price of an actual ticket.

Although according to SLSO’s resident blogger, Eddie Silva, the symphony offers 50 free tickets for every performance, all you have to do is show up early and ask for ’em.    I guess I’ll be going back sooner than later.

–Correction–

As noted by user bassplayerKat, John Patitucci was playing a BASS. not a CELLO.  As one with limited knowledge of orchestral instruments, I didn’t really know the difference.  Corrections have been made.

Rivers and Music at the Tap Room Tonight

May 28, 2008 at 11:45 am | Posted in Concert, Environment, Events, Movies | Comments Off on Rivers and Music at the Tap Room Tonight
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OSC LogoBackstory:

During the day, I work for a non-profit organization called The Open Space Council that works for land and water conservation in the St. Louis area. One of our biggest projects is Operation Clean Stream, a volunteer stewardship program that has gotten thousands and thousands of volunteers to clean up the Meramec River for the last 41 years. Pretty amazing. Well, we just produced a documentary called Meramec River: Miracles and Milestones documenting the success of this cleanup project in restoring the Meramec from a dumping ground back into a beautiful river.

What this means to you:

Tonight, we are showing our film at the Schlafly Tap Room at 7:00pm. The documentary is about half an hour long, and following the film we will have live music from local alt-country / folk bands Auset and Rough Shop. We are asking for a $5.00 cover charge, which will include one free beer and snacks. Proceeds will go to continued conservation work on the Meramec River. And if you have ever floated on the river (and chances are you have) then you can surely give a little back!

Benefit Concert: A Triptych

April 26, 2008 at 1:18 am | Posted in Concert, venue | Comments Off on Benefit Concert: A Triptych
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Act One – The Chapel

There is a new venue in town for musicians and artists: The Chapel, located behind Memorial Presbyterian Church on Skinker, across the street from Forest Park.  According to the website, The Chapel is not-for-profit venue, musician and artist centered, providing a venue (as well as beer, wine and soda) completely free of charge.  That means, if a band charges a cover to get in, they take home 100% of the money they bring in.  All in the spirit of supporting the arts and renewing the city of St. Louis.

Act Two – International Justice Mission

These guys are like the James Bonds of Christian missionaries.  International Justice Mission goes into the darkest corners of the world and does what it can to bring about justice.  In their own words:

International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression.In the tradition of abolitionist William Wilberforce and transformational leaders like Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King, Jr., IJM’s work is founded on the Christian call to justice articulated in the Bible (Isaiah 1:17): Seek justice, protect the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

In practical terms, IJM does stuff like infiltrating sex trafficking rings and busts them up.  Amazing work that is desperately needed.

Act Three – The Cathedrals

Hailing from Chicago, The Cathedrals are Jon Baker and Rachel Stewart, who together create simple and intimate music, in the alt-folk tradition.  Two voices and a guitar, do you really need anything else?

Epilogue

So, how does this all come together?  Quite beautifully in fact.  Find out for yourself tonight, when you can see The Cathedrals play at The Chapel at 7:00pm as a benefit concert for International Justice Mission.  Admission is free, and beer, wine or soda (pick your poison) are included in the price of admission – but we hope that once you are there you will find it in your heart to contribute something to such a worthy cause.

A new writer and Ferry Corsten

March 31, 2008 at 1:46 am | Posted in Concert, Events, music, Review, Zach Haugen | 1 Comment
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Wait? Who is this? Has Hwy61 been invaded? Is the very fabric of our pleasant little universe unraveling!

No, it’s just a new writer. My name is Zach Haugen, and it’s very nice to meet everyone. I am one of the new writers here on Highway 61. If you’re interested to learn more about me please visit the author’s page, otherwise I just need to say thank you to Matt and the other writers for letting me express what it is that I do.

Wednesday night I got the opportunity to see Ferry Corsten live at Dante’s on Olive Street.The show was a rare 18+ event, and although the club isn’t my normal scene the chance to see Ferry Corsten was too good to pass. I was optimistic going into the event, but coming out of it, well one word sums up my experience seeing Ferry Corsten at Dantes……bass.

The level of bass was so high much that it vibrated the folds on my jeans and punched me in the stomach on every beat. Normally big bass is what attracts crowds to an event like this, but the bass last night was simply over powering. It was so consistently over bearing that it drowned out any melody that Ferry was probably playing. After about an hour all I could hear, besides the bass, was the same techno over and over again. Now I’m very sure that he was playing different songs the entire time, but it all seemed to drown together in a big bass ocean.

Seeing Ferry at Dante’s was still an interesting experience to say the least. The club is a scene I don’t find myself in much, and I met some very fun people while I was there. Still, I paid $20.00 to stand on a dance floor in my Pac-Man munchies tee-shirt having my rib cage throttled the entire night like I was a small child. Needless to say it was an experience I hope to not repeat anytime soon.

 

Big, Muddy, and “Ornery”

March 14, 2008 at 2:08 pm | Posted in Concert, Matthew Hurst, music | 1 Comment
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The video above is a short trailer of the record release party for The Monads, who will release their second album “Ornery” on Big Muddy Records.  Watch it, I’ll wait.  From the looks of the clip above, it would appear more bad news lies ahead of the primary calendar for Hillary Clinton (watch the video again if you need an explanation of that). 

If “not even a robot Hillary Clinton” can stop this imminent release, you’ll know you’ll want to be at Off Broadway on March 28th around 9pm.  But get there early, because the first 50 paying guests will receive a complimentary copy of the CD, and our friends at Big Muddy promise surprises:

“Toenail clippings collected from everyone in the band is a possibility,” said Monads’ banjo player Jason Matthews. “Maybe even an essay I wrote on the proper way to tree a raccoon. You’ll just have to find out for yourself!”

To find that out you’ll need to bring $7 and one of them picture identification cards to prove you’re over the age of 18.  Getting age checked is just the start of your “Ornery” experience on March 28; alongside the bluegrass-styling of the Monads will be emceed by Clownvis Presley anchored by other Big Muddy favorites the Vultures and Pokey LaFarge.  Yep, see you there.

Apopaganda

March 6, 2008 at 12:48 pm | Posted in Apopaganda, Concert, Matthew Hurst | Comments Off on Apopaganda
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Every once in awhile I get an e-mail or press release that is too good not to share publicly, even though it has been distributed to the public at large.  In this case I received an press release from my friends at Apop Records that needs to be shared, if only because it’s mostly decipherable only by the audience who would be attracted to these events in the first place.

Tonight, Thursday March 6th 9pm. XRIN ARMS: Soul samples crushed and toyed with like submissive prisoners into deconstructed fits of digital beat fury. Fans of Realicide & digital hardcore where are you?
Backing: Miscellaneous, Etc. & PLEKO.

Friday March 7th. JUSTICE YELDHAM: Madness behind glass. It is not a shield, separating the spectators into safety, but a tentative punisher and siren of suffering wielded by the madman. Don’t look away, you can’t.
Backing: Flower of Flesh and Blood, The Miracle Worker, The Lonely Procession.

Saturday March 8th 2 pm. Free instore from Chicago’s YAKUZA.

They like to call it Apopaganda. And I get the feeling there is going to be lots of art happening on Cherokee Street in the near future, or at least this weekend.

UPDATE: Apop Records has sent a correction, telling us that Yakuza has moved to Sunday March 9th for their free in-store performance.  In the future you can always rely on our Calendar to keep you updated.

KWUR Week

February 27, 2008 at 1:42 pm | Posted in Concert, Matthew Hurst | 2 Comments
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Dividing by Zero has the rest of the info about these shows at the Gargoyle this week, which is brought to us by KWUR.  The shows at the Gargoyle are free to students of Washington University (with student ID), and will cost at least $5 to the general public.

Shows include:

  • Wednesday 2/27: Nato Caliph, Serengeti, DJ Crucial, Earthworms, and Twilight Sentinels
  • Thursday 2/28: Elsinore, Berlin Whale, and Jumbling Towers
  • Friday 2/29: Water Bears and The Zydepunks
  • Saturday 3/1: Say Panther, The Octopus Project and Pattern Is Movement ($10)
  • Monday 3/3: Classical show at the 560 Building (Delmar and Trinity)

That last show, which will take place off campus of Washington University, might actually be free.  Hope we’ll see you out during midterms week, that is because all these shows are 18+.  And since KWUR is Washington University’s college radio station, you can almost be sure to hear something special if you tune in to 90.3 FM this week (or any, for that manner).

Press Reset

February 25, 2008 at 7:03 pm | Posted in Concert, Events, Matthew Hurst, Video | 2 Comments
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When you’re performing music in front of a crowd and you’re not sure which chord to play next you can’t press the reset button and start again from the beginning. But that’s exactly what local favorites The Helium Tapes and The 75s will assist in the process of during the Lo-Fi Saint Louis Reset Party. 

Considering the relative mystery surrounding last moth’s announcement of LoFi’s indefinite hiatus, which neatly coincided with their being a featured podcast on iTunes, everyone was asking what Saint Louis’ favorite son (albeit in terms of video podcasting) was going to do next.  All questions will be answered on Saturday March 8th at 8pm when Bill Streeter and friends show off their new look in the Mad Art Gallery.

Here’s how Bill Streeter put it in an e-mail he sent:

…As you may or may not know I took a little time off at the beginning of this year to revamp and rethink some of the things I’ve been doing with LO-FI. I also wanted to make some time to do some other projects, and generally just recharge my creative batteries. So I’m getting anxious to get things rolling again. And to promote the fact that I’m back with LO-FI (on March 1st) I wanted to throw a party. So you are invited to attend the RESET PARTY on March 8th (Saturday) at 8pm at the Mad Art Gallery. I’ve booked some great bands to play and there will also be some video and other entertainment. All the details can be found here. So I really hope to see you there!

Highway 61 (revised) also has some good news to celebrate, so we hope to celebrate with our friends as well at that party.  And don’t forget to RSVP with your favorite source, be it Myspace, Upcoming, or the Facebook, because there are no do-overs for reservations in spite of the party’s name.

Record, release, and Party!

February 22, 2008 at 1:10 pm | Posted in Concert, Matthew Hurst, music | 1 Comment
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75s cd release flyerWith one foot firmly in the past and the other foot stepping forward, local phenomenom The 75’s are already releasing their first record, “Extra Fancy”, in style with a party this Saturday night (February 23rd).  And I say in the past very deliberately, because it remains a good possibility that as this flyer alludes to (conciously or not) you may someday get the same blank looks when you mention a Compact Disc in the future (but they might instictively know what a vinyl record is).

Formats aside it’s sure that this genre-bending Rock’N’Roll group has something to celebrate even without the CD release.  Since their first show a half year ago, lovingly documented by LoFiSTL, the band has arisen quick as one of Saint Louis’ most unique and catchiest bands.  You can start to understand their appeal by reading Mike Appelstein’s interview with the band in the Riverfront Times, or you could come out Saturday night and keep yourself entertained from 9pm until it’s closing time (around 1am). 

That priveledge will only set you back a $5 cover charge, for which you’ll recieve aural enjoyment from the likes of The Blind Eyes, Kentucky Knife Fight, and of course The 75s themselves.  But you’ll probably want to bring a little extra change for a cold beverage. Or at least bring $7 to buy a copy of your host’s recorded likenesses, for which the night’s coronation is being held at Lemmon’s in south Saint Louis.

Of course you already knew about this show, because you’re subscribed to the Highway 61 (revised) calendar.  I promise I keep plugging it for a reason (because you can use it, and we did the work for you).

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