Fall music guide

Matisyahu performs at the opening ceremony of the European Maccabi Games in July in Berlin. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

BY Daniel Durchholz, Special to the Jewish Light

It’s been a big year for concerts already in St. Louis, but somehow this fall feels like it will be even bigger, with festivals, arena concerts and enough club shows to keep us as entertained as our wallets and energy reserves will allow. Let’s hit some of the highlights first and then head into the various venue schedules.

Taylor Swift, Sept. 28-29 at Scottrade Center: Say what you will about Tay-Tay: Her conversion from country superstar to pop superstar couldn’t have been more successful, and the juggernaut just keeps rolling with one chart-topping single after another and a smash-hit tour that stops for not just one, but two shows in St. Louis.

Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life,” Oct. 25 at Scottrade Center: It’s been way too long since Stevie Wonder has visited St. Louis, but he’s found a way to make it up to us. On this visit, he’ll reprise his classic 1976 album “Songs in the Key of Life” in its entirety. That means we’re guaranteed to hear such classics as “Love’s in Need of Love Today,” “Sir Duke,” “I Wish” and “Isn’t She Lovely” — a pretty solid incentive to get tickets ASAP.

Tony Bennett, Sept. 19 at the Fabulous Fox and Johnny Mathis, Sept. 19 at Lindenwood University’s J. Scheidegger Center for the Performing Arts: OK, what cruel twist of fate caused these two shows to be booked on the same night? It seems likely that fans of the ageless Bennett would also welcome the chance to see the equally ageless Mathis. Both singers continue to amaze, long after their peers have had to call it a day.

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An Intimate Evening with Matisyahu, Oct. 23 at the Sheldon Concert Hall: A decade after his breakthrough album, “Live at Stubb’s,” Matisyahu recast the same material from that concert into stripped-down and more intimate versions, releasing them on “Live at Stubb’s III: A 10-Year Journey.” His new takes on those songs form the core of his current show, featuring band members from his early days as well as new material from his latest release, “Akeda.”

Glen Hansard, Nov. 23 at the Pageant: Anyone who has seen Hansard before knows he is one of the most impassioned, charismatic performers around. If you haven’t and want a taste of Hansard’s charms, rent the utterly charming film “Once,” which Hansard starred in, winning an Oscar for his song “Falling Slowly.” It was also turned into a hit Broadway musical that won multiple Tonys. Never mind the hardware, though, it’s Hansard and his music that are the real prize.

Vintage Trouble, Oct. 28 at the Ready Room: Simply put, Vintage Trouble is one of the most explosive live acts this side of vintage James Brown. Led by singer Ty Taylor, the Hollywood-based band plays rock, blues and R&B with a passion seldom scene anymore, and just released a new album, “1 Hopeful Rd.”

Festivals

Loufest (Sept. 12-13 at Forest Park’s Central Field)

Last year, when concert promotion giant Live Nation bought half of well-known festival producer C3, which had already joined St. Louis’ homegrown Listen Live Entertainment team to produce Loufest, it was hoped that this year’s lineup would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Lollapalooza and other national festivals of note. That didn’t happen, and the early buzz on the fest was largely one of disappointment. Still, the two-day concert does offer a wide array of sounds from bands including headliners Hozier and the Avett Brothers, plus Ludacris, Young the Giant, Brandon Flowers (of the Killers), Nate Reuss (of Fun), Albert Hammond Jr. (of the Strokes), punk grandpa Billy Idol and St. Louis’ own Pokey LaFarge, among many others. In all, there are nearly three-dozen bands on four stages over two days: still worthwhile, if not overwhelmingly so. (loufest.com) 

Big Muddy Blues Festival (Sept. 5-6 on Laclede’s Landing)

Somewhat more modest than in past years, this year’s Big Muddy is down to two stages (from three) and 16 bands (rather than three dozen). Still, the two-day fest will celebrate the blues with headliners Carolyn Wonderland, Grady Champion, Rick Estrin & the Nightcats, Mike Zito & the Wheel, and a fine mix of national and homegrown blues talent. (bigmuddybluesfestival.com)

Taste of St. Louis (Sept. 18-20 at Chesterfield Amphitheater)

Sent to the suburbs last year by a new Labor Day festival that never (and indeed, may never) materialize, Taste of St. Louis did just fine in its new digs at Chesterfield Amphitheater. It’s back there again this year with its (obvious) emphasis on food and drink, but music is a big part of the mix, too. This year’s Taste will include alt-rockers Bear Hands, Beastie Boys DJ Mixmaster Mike and a country music headliner yet to be named, plus local talent. Note: Music is presented on Friday and Saturday only. (tastestl.com) 

Also Outdoors

The rest of the outdoor concert season is beginning to wrap up, but there are still a few remaining shows at Hollywood Casino Amphitheater, including appearances by country superstar Toby Keith (Sept. 5); a make-good show from Kid Rock (from a concert that had been postponed earlier this summer) (Sept. 11); fast-rising alt-rockers Alt-J, plus Matt & Kim and San Fermin (Sept. 18); and country/“hick-hop” hybrid Florida Georgia Line (Sept. 26). (livenation.com) 

Chesterfield Amphitheater, meanwhile, hosts BBQ Jam 2015 with Head East with Strike Force (Sept. 12) and U2 Tribute band Rattle and Hum (Oct. 3) (chesterfieldamphitheater.com)

Arenas

Moving indoors to Arena shows, Scottrade Center welcomes the Back 2 School Fest starring Rich Homie Quan and featuring K Camp, Justine Skye, Jacques, Diggy, Elijah Blake, Rawyals, Anthony Lewis, Chris Miles, 4EY and Star Mic! (Sept. 27); pop princess Ariana Grande (Oct. 4); and the previously postponed appearance by the the Who, boasting newly minted Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group Joan Jett and the Blackhearts at opening act (Dec. 6). (scottradecenter.com)

Chaifetz Arena boasts the Gateway Music Festival with Keith Sweat, Bell Biv DeVoe, Salt n Pepa, 112, Silk, and Troop (Oct. 2); the much-anticipated return of Janet Jackson (Oct. 29); a sold-out show from Twenty One Pilots (Oct. 31); and All Time Low (Nov. 11).  (thechaifetzarena.com)

There’s just one item currently on The Family Arena schedule: Five Finger Death Punch with Papa Roach, In This Moment, and From Ashes to New (Sept. 29). (familyarena.com)

Theaters

Among the fall’s theater shows of note are Celtic Woman (Oct. 18) and a cappella group Straight No Chaser (Nov. 27) at The Fabulous Fox (fabulousfox.com). At the Peabody Opera House, there’s big-voiced heartthrob Josh Groban (Oct. 19), radio station KSHE’s 48th birthday party, featuring REO Speedwagon (Nov. 13), the America’s Got Talent All-Stars (Nov. 15), and famed singer-songwriter Jackson Browne (Nov. 19).(peabodyoperahouse.com) 

The Sheldon Concert Hall hosts Moody Blues-man Justin Hayward (Sept. 11); bluegrass great Sam Bush (Sept. 25); The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis (Oct. 3); ukulele virtuoso – yes, you read that right – Jake Shimabukuro (Oct. 16); The Lone Bellow (Oct. 21); Martin Sexton (Oct. 22); The Milk Carton Kids (Nov. 4); Missouri native Rhonda Vincent & the Rage (Nov. 6); “In Crowd” jazzman Ramsey Lewis (Nov. 7); Brazilian chanteuse Elaine Elias (Nov. 21); and country/gospel singer Iris DeMent (Nov. 22). (thesheldon.org)

Some intriguing world-music concerts highlight the schedule at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, including “The Lure of Mongolian Music & Dance” (Sept. 26); Peter Mawanga & the Amaravi Movement (Oct. 24); and Jutta and the Hi-Dukes (Nov. 6). There’s also a show featuring jazz’s Stanley Clarke Band (Nov. 21). (touhill.org)

Classic rockers Wishbone Ash (Sept. 12-13) and Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown (Oct. 17) appear at the Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville. There’s also bluegrass group Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (Nov. 6) and Noah Hunt (of the Kenny Wayne Shepherd band) and Mato Nanji (of Indigenous, Nov. 27). (wildeytheatre.com)

Lindenwood University’s J. Scheidegger Center for the Performing Arts mixes the classic rock of the Doobie Brothers (Oct. 10) with the classic crooning of Natalie Cole (Dec. 12) and Frank Sinatra, Jr. (Dec. 19). (luboxoffice.com)

Clubs

The club show schedule is as crowded as ever, and we’ll hit as many highlights here as space allows. 

The Pageant features Motorhead, fronted by the seemingly indestructible Lemmy Kilmister (Sept. 8); Ratatat (Sept. 9); O.A.R. (Sept. 11); solo Jonas brother Nick Jonas (sorry, sold out, Sept. 15); bright new country star Kacey Musgraves (Sept. 18); Gov’t Mule frontman Warren Haynes (Sept. 25); Beach House (Sept. 27); ZZ Ward (Sept. 29); the drolly humorous Father John Misty, whose album “I Love You, Honeybear” is a 2015 highlight (Oct. 7); Ben Rector (Oct. 8); Bring Me the Horizon (Oct. 12); Chance the Rapper (Oct. 13); latter-day prog-rockers Coheed and Cambria (Oct. 14); Flux Pavilion (Oct. 15); Lettuce (Oct. 16); Grace Potter, who has gone solo, omitting her band, the Nocturnals (Oct. 17); Passion Pit (Oct. 19); Mac Miller (Oct. 20); An Acoustic Evening with Lyle Lovett & John Hiatt (Oct. 21); USO Red Rock & Blue benefit featuring Yelawolf and Meg Myers (Oct. 23); Drive-By Truckers (Oct. 24); Slightly Stoopid (Oct. 29); Mat Kearney (Oct. 30); The Mavericks (Nov. 5); New Found Glory with Yellowcard (Nov. 8); The Wonder Years with Motion City Soundtrack (Nov. 14); Ben Folds (Nov. 17); and a Stevie Ray Vaughan Tribute (Nov. 28). 

The Ready Room has been enlivening the Grove with some great shows. Its schedule this fall includes The Dear Hunter (Sept. 16); Ibeyi (Sept. 24); Royal Blood (Oct. 5); Kodaline (Oct. 8); Destroyer (Oct. 11); Raheem DeVaughn and Leela James (Oct. 14); Daley (Oct. 15); Toro y Moi (Oct. 16); legendary rocker Leon Russell (Oct. 17); Joey Bada$$ (Oct. 18); For Today (Oct. 21); Deafheaven (Oct. 26); Emancipator (Oct. 27); Old 97’s (Oct. 29); Langhorne Slim (Oct. 30); The Front Bottoms (Nov. 4); Big K.R.I.T. (Nov. 7); and The Sword (Dec. 13). (thereadyroom.com)

Among the offerings at the Old Rock House are the over-the-top rock of Nashville Pussy and Valient Thorr (Sept. 11); Honey Island Swamp Band (Sept. 16); Keller Williams trio with Rob Wasserman and Rodney Holmes (Sept. 18); Mike Peters and the Alarm (Sept. 21); Calexico (Sept. 29); Black Crowes offshoot, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood (Oct. 1); Gang of Four (Oct. 8); Carbon Leaf (Oct. 9); Randy Rogers Band (Oct. 11); Fruit Bats (Oct. 27); Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn (Oct. 29); Bluegrass Ball with the Travelin’ McCourys with Drew Emmitt and Andy Thorn of Leftover Salmon (Nov. 13); and Marshall Crenshaw (a “listening room series” show (Nov. 5). (oldrockhouse.com)

At Off Broadway, The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle goes solo (Sept. 8). There’s also Two Cow Garage (Sept. 9); Waylon Jennings’ son Shooter Jennings and Waymore’s Outlaws (Sept. 18); St. Louis expat James Weber’s Idle Hour Club, plus Jans Project and Cave States (Sept. 19); Heartless Bastards (Sept. 29); Voodoo Glow Skulls (Sept. 30); singer/songwriter Slaid Cleaves (Oct. 8); a reprise of one of last year’s most exciting shows, Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin with the Guilty Ones (Oct. 15); Corb Lund (Oct. 16); Waxahatchee (Oct. 17); rockabilly revivalist JD McPherson with noted singer/songwriter John Moreland (Nov. 27); unconventional country singer, novelist and sometimes politician Kinky Friedman (Nov. 5); Eilen Jewell (Nov. 13); and two shows with bluegrass/blues/folk/jazz/etc. great David Bromberg (Nov. 19). (offbroadwaystl.com)

Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room has Fishbone (Sept. 10); Josh Rouse (Sept. 18); Brandon Holland (Oct. 24); Low Cut Connie & Dirty Fences (Sept. 25); Gene Ween (Sept. 30); The Glorious Sons (Oct. 2); Jonathan Tyler (Oct. 4); Lera Lynn (Oct. 13); Shawn Mullins (Oct. 20); Poi Dog Pondering (Oct. 24); The Portland Cello Project (Oct. 25); The Struts (Oct. 29); Jon McLaughlin (Oct. 30); Urge Overkill (Oct. 31); and Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers (Nov. 20). (blueberryhill.com)

The Firebird has Dengue Fever (not to worry – it’s a band! Sept. 6); the Lighthouse and the Whaler (Sept. 14); An Undercover Weekend 9 (Sept. 25-27); My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult (Sept. 29); Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. (Oct. 1); Algiers (Oct. 5); Helmet (Oct. 10); Brooks Wheelan (Oct. 18); and Prong (Nov. 25). (firebirdstl.com)

The sounds are almost always harder, louder and faster at Pop’s. This fall, that tradition lives on with GWAR (Sept. 11); former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley (Sept. 16); Trivium and Tremonti (Oct. 4); Clutch with Corrosion of Conformity (Oct. 16); and Twiztid (Oct. 31). (popsrocks.com)

More clubs 

You can seek out more club action at the Demo (thedemostl.com); the Luminary (luminaryarts.com); the Bootleg at Atomic Cowboy (atomiccowboystl.com/the-bootleg/); the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center (lemp-arts.org); the Ambassador (thenewambassadorstl.com); Cicero’s (ciceros-stl.com); 2720 Cherokee (2720cherokee.com); Fubar (fubarstl.com)

Casinos

The best action at local casinos isn’t always at the tables. Not all of our, ahem, gaming palaces offer nationally touring acts, but a few do. At Lumiere Place, you’ll find rapper Ginuwine (Sept. 19). (lumiereplace.com) 

River City Casino has rocker Rick Springfield (Oct. 1); Gregg Allman (Oct. 18); and Josh Turner (Nov. 13). (rivercity.com) 

As part of its Friday Night Blues series curated by our town’s Devon Allman, Ameristar Casino in St. Charles features Joe Louis Walker (Sept. 29); and Nick Moss Band (Oct. 9). (ameristar.com/st-charles)

More specialized sounds

As ever, you can find a full slate of local, regional, and national blues acts (plus maybe some jazz and definitely some soup) at BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups (bbsjazzbluessoups.com), Broadway Oyster Bar (broadwayoysterbar.com), Blues City Deli (bluescitydeli.com) and Beale on Broadway (bealeonbroadway.com). Beale, incidentally, boasts some national shows of special note including Bobby Rush (Sept. 6) and Shemekia Copeland (Sept. 20).

There are lots of folk shows on tap at Focal Point, including Red Tail Ring (Sept. 11); a benefit for USO St. Louis featuring Javier Mendoza (Sept. 18); Spencer Bohren (Sept. 19); Ray Bonneville (Sept. 30); Sarah McQuaid (Oct. 2); Brooks Williams (Oct. 3); David Gans (Oct. 10); Chris Smither (Oct. 17); and Richard Gilewitz (Oct. 25). (thefocalpoint.org)

Last but never least, Jazz at the Bistro offers an extensive calendar of jazz shows for the fall, including the Monte Alexander Trio (Sept. 9-10); Jazz St. Louis @ 20 featuring Christian McBride, Cyrus Chestnut, Gregory Hutchinson, Russell Malone, Terell Stafford, & Tim Warfield (Sept. 23-26); Yellowjackets (Oct. 7-10); Kevin Eubanks Group (Oct. 21-24); Houston Person Quartet (Oct. 30-31); Poncho Sanchez & His Latin Jazz Band (Nov. 4-7); Omaha Diner featuring Charlie Hunter, Bobby Previte, Skerik, & Eric Bloom (Nov. 18-21); and Jeremy Davenport (Nov. 27-28). (jazzstl.org)