2013 summer music guide

By Daniel Durchholz, Special to the Jewish Light

Over the last few years, LouFest has earned a spot among the summer’s most significant concerts. But this year, it moves straight to the top of the list, as it also moves dates, from late August to Sept. 7-8. Now in its fourth year, the two-day festival took a quantum leap forward by pairing with C3 Presents, the company that organizes nationally recognized concerts such as Lollapalooza and the Austin City Limits Festival. That has given the festival the added oomph needed to land heavy hitters such as the Killers and Wilco to headline. Other major acts including the National, Alabama Shakes, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Jim James (of My Morning Jacket), Court Yard Hounds (Emily Robison and Martie Maguire of the Dixie Chicks) have signed on as well, as have a number of up-and-comers, among them Trampled by Turtles, Robert DeLong, and St. Louis’ own Kentucky Knife Fight and Tef Poe. Our little festival has grown up for good. (loufest.com)

Here are a few more can’t miss shows of the summer:

Bruno Mars, August 8 at Scottrade Center: One of the hottest acts on the scene right now thanks to the No. 1 single “When I Was Your Man,” Mars recently graced the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and is rumored to be the next judge on “American Idol.” Not that he needs the gig, mind you.

Steely Dan, August 5 at the Peabody Opera House: Hits like “My Old School” and “Hey Nineteen” still sound great in concert thanks to Steely Dan stalwarts Donald Fagan and Walter Becker’s obsessive attention to detail. They never hit the road without a band that can make their songs sound as good in concert as they did on vinyl back in the day.

Son Volt, June 1 at the Pageant: Not only does Son Volt have a new album out – the appropriately named “Honky Tonk,” on which band leader Jay Farrar shows his hard-country bona fides; but Farrar has released a book of sharply drawn vignettes, “Falling Cars and Junkyard Dogs” as well. Nearly two decades after Uncle Tupelo broke up, the St. Louis resident is still operating at the top of his game.


Besides LouFest, St. Louis will host a hearty slate of festivals from across the musical spectrum this summer. Twangfest, held June 5-8 features the best of alternative country sounds and beyond. The first night’s show is held at Plush, while the next three are located at Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room. Acts include Marshall Crenshaw, the Bottle Rockets (who will play their own set and then back Crenshaw) Dolly Varden, Asleep at the Wheel, Todd Snider, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Joe Pug, Eilen Jewell, Half Knots, Motel Mirrors, Shivering Timbers, Scarlet Tanager and Stickley & Canan. (twangfest.com)

The St. Louis Underground Music Festival (a.k.a. S.L.U.M Fest) is a one-day celebration of fresh new sounds, held at the Demo/Atomic Cowboy complex. The lineup includes Tef Poe, Legend Camp, Nato Caliph, Lyfestile, Midwest Avengers, Family Affair, Doorway, Scripts N Screwz, Prentiss Church, Ackurate, Ciej, Bigg Iceberg, Prospect, KD Assassin, DJ Nico, DJ Sno, DJ Sir Thurl and more. (slumfest.com)

Pridefest, held June 29 at Soldier’s Memorial, has a pair of impressive headliners this year: Erasure’s Andy Bell and R&B/pop diva Taylor Dayne. Other acts include Eryn Woods, Josie Lowder and Monya. (pridestl.org)

Two thirds of this year’s Fair St. Louis lineup is at least as notable for its TV fame as its musical legacy. Country star Trace Adkins (who appears July 4) may have trumped — ahem —  his singing career with his appearances on “Celebrity Apprentice,” while VH1’s “Rock of Love” found women competing – your guess is as good as ours as to why – for the affections of Poison frontman Bret Michaels (July 5). Attention, Counting Crows (July 6): It may be time to up your Q score with a little TV action, too. The free concerts take place under the Gateway Arch. The Celebrate St. Louis concerts are free as well, and are held at Soldier’s Memorial. This year’s shows feature Josh Turner (July 12), hometown favorites the Urge (July 13), K’naan (July 19) and needtobreathe (July 20). (fairsaintlouis.org)

The inaugural edition of the Chesterfield Jazz Festival, held July 15 at Chesterfield Amphitheater, sports both local and national talent, including David Benoit, Paul Taylor, Bach to the Future, Jeanne Trevor and the St. Louis Jazz Allstars. (chesterfieldjazzfestival.com)

Another fest that boasts hometown talent as well as artists of national repute is the annual Big Muddy Blues Festival, held August 31-September 1 on Laclede’s Landing. Headliners include the Reverend Horton Heat, Anthony Gomes, Walter Trout, and David Clayton-Thomas (late of Blood, Sweat & Tears), but there’s no shortage of seasoned locals such as Billy Peek, the Jeremiah Johnson Band, Marquise Knox, the Soulard Blues Band and many more. (biggmuddybluesfestival.com)


The non-festival outdoor concert scene is dominated, as usual by the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater (livenation.com), whose cup – presumably a red Solo cup – overflows with country music, including concerts by Luke Bryan (June 14), Kenny Chesney (June 27), Blake Shelton (July 26), Rascal Flatts with the Band Perry (August 16), Keith Urban (August 23), Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley (September 6) and Jason Aldean and Jake Owen (September 20). But there are also rock shows of nearly every persuasion, such as John Mayer (July 7), Matchbox Twenty and Goo Goo Dolls (July 9), the Dave Matthews Band with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals (July 10), St. Louis’ own El Monstero (July 20), the multi-multi-band Vans Warped Tour (July 24), freshly-minted Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Heart (August 17), Kid Rock, ZZ Top and Uncle Kracker (August 24), honorary St. Louis deity Sammy Hagar (August 31), and Iron Maiden (September 8). Pop and hip-hop are also represented by shows featuring Maroon 5 and Kelly Clarkson (August 1), the Backstreet Boys (August 3) and Lil Wayne and T.I. (August 11)


As is common during the summer months, arena shows are few and far between, but there are some of note. Scottrade Center (scottradecenter.com) sports a classic hip-hop lineup including LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Public Enemy and De La Soul (June 1) and a set of boy bands – New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men (June 30) – that have grown up into…men bands?

The schedule at Chaifetz Arena (thechaifetzarena.com) includes the triple bill of Mary J. Blige, Chrisette Michelle and Eric Benet (June 15) as well as the latest crop of American Idol contestants (June 29).

The Family Arena (familyarena.com) heads forward into the past with Peter Frampton’s Guitar Circus, featuring Robert Cray and Kenny Wayne Shepherd (June 11), shock rockers old and new(er) Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson (June 25), and the “Yacht Rock” phenomenon come to life, rechristened the “Sail Rock” tour, featuring Christopher Cross, Orleans, Gary Wright, Firefall, John Ford Coley, Robbie Dupree and Player (August 15).


Theater shows, too, are relatively sparse, especially at the Fabulous Fox (fabulousfox.com), which currently has no concerts on its summer schedule. The Peabody Opera House, however, has a few, with Mindless Behavior (July 10), Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull (who is playing both the band’s “Thick as a Brick” album and its sequel in their entirety) (July 14), One Republic (July 20), and Cody Simpson (July 24).

The Sheldon (thesheldon.org) finishes up its “Notes” series with the St. Louis Big Band’s tribute to the greatest generation (June 4), the Tory Starbuck Project (June 11) and Bill Forness & One More Round (June 16). Meanwhile, Rockin’ Chair performs in the Sheldon Ballroom on June 21.

The Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville (wildeytheatre.com) has Exile and Juice Newton (June 7), SHEL, Samantha Fish and Tess Hanna (June 14), and Randall Bramblett (July 12). And there are just two shows on the schedule for the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center (touhill.org): the Ambassadors of Harmony (June 15) and jazz saxophone titan Sonny Rollins (June 22).


Despite the dearth of big indoor shows, there’s an abundance of quality club shows this summer – so many, in fact, that you should visit the various venues’ websites for complete listings. As it has for so many years now, The Pageant (thepageant.com) leads the way as it continues to maintain its status as one of the top clubs in the world. Its lineup includes The Tallest Man on Earth (June 5), Foals (June 7), Story of the Year (June 8), the Go-Go’s (June 9), O.A.R. (June 20), Aaron Lewis (June 22), Portugal. The Man (June 23), Robert DeLong (June 25), Fall Out Boy (June 28), Pale Divine (June 29), Awolnation (June 30), Brandi Carlile (July 10), Slash (July 21), Rodrigo y Gabriela (July 23), Nelly (August 3), and Umphrey’s McGee and STS9 (August 22, held at Chesterfield Amphitheater).

The packed schedule at the Old Rock House (oldrockhousestl.com) has Sam Bush (June 6), Billy Joe Shaver (June 11), The Sheepdogs (June 12), Orgone (June 13), Fossil Collective (June 14), Rogue Wave (June 15), the Supersuckers (June  16), Mount Moriah (June 16), Inner Visions (June 18), BoDeans (June 19), the Mountain Goats (June 20), Missouri Chainsaw Grassacre IV featuring Mountain Sprout, Deadman Flats and the Whistle Pigs (June 21), Mike Zito (June 26), Delta Rae (June 28), Brave Combo (July 3), Gregory Alan Isakov (July 9), The Hillbenders (July 12), Lukas Nelson & the Promise of the Real (July 13), The Revivalists (July 18), Baauer & R.L. Grime (July 18), Leftover Cuties (July 21), Griffin House (July 23), and Toubab Krewe (July 24).

Among the offerings at Off Broadway (offbroadwaystl.com), you’ll find Peter Case (June 3), the Woggles (June 4), JT Hodges (June 7), David Ramirez (June 8), Lord Huron (June 11), Freedy Johnston (June 12), Kittypalooza (benefitting Tenth Life Cat Rescue) (June 13), Jason Isbell (June 19), Ha Ha Tonka (June 20), Charlie Brumley’s Chrono Man (June 21), Dirty Dozen Brass Band (June 23), Slaid Cleaves (June 24), Drivin N Cryin (June 26), John Fullbright (June 28), Will Hoge (July 6), the Fleshtones (July 7), Wayne Hancock (July 17), Bob Schneider (July 18), Dawes (July 19), The Handsome Family (July 24), Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express (August 17).

The Firebird (firebirdstl.com) has Torche (June 1), the Dead Milkmen (June 8), Father John Misty (June 14), Everest (June 21), Yeasayer (June 27), Matt Pond (July 1), …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead (July 15), El-P (July 17), the Melvins (July 23), and Kurt Vile and the Violators (August 17).

Other summer club shows of note can be found at Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room (blueberryhill.com), whose schedule includes Chuck Berry (June 12) and JD McPherson (June 14); The Demo (thedemostl.com) which has James McCartney (yes, Paul’s son) (June 4), Eleanor Friedberger (June 24), and Bill Payne (June 28); and Pop’s (popsrocks.com), which features Limp Bizkit (June 1), Alkaline Trio (June 2), Killswitch Engage (June 18), and Say Anything (June 29). 

Meanwhile, the Gramophone (thegramophonelive.com) hosts Grupo Fantasma (June 7), Popa Chubby (June 15), and Jon Dee Graham (July 3); Plush (plushstl.com) has Cold War Kids (June 3), and Fubar (fubarstl.com) features Black Flag with Ultraman (June 21), and Gene Loves Jezebel with Bow Wow Wow (July 6). 


Thanks in large part to the new concert venue at River City Casino (rivercity.com), there’s plenty of action to be found beyond the tables this year.  Their schedule includes Dierks Bentley (June 6), Richard Marx (June 20), Huey Lewis and the News (June 22), Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo (June 26), and the ‘90s alt-rock package tour with Everclear, Live, Filter and Sponge (June 27).

At Lumiere Place Casino and Hotel (lumiereplace.com) you’ll find Reckless Kelly on June 1, while the Argosy Casino in Alton, Illinois, (argosyalton.com) has Leon Russell (June 14-15).

Specialized Sounds

For more specialized sounds, you can find jazz at Jazz at the Bistro (jazzstl.org), folk at Focal Point (thefocalpoint.org), underground music at the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center (lemp-arts.org) and blues at BB Jazz, Blues & Soups (bbsjazzbluessoups.com), Beale on Broadway (bealeonbroadway.com), the Broadway Oyster Bar (broadwayoysterbar.com) and the Blues City Deli (bluescitydeli.com).


Happy Listening!