I missed a lot of great local music this year due to life obligations or simply circumstance. What I did catch, however, featured a barrage of talent and was a whole lot of fun. Here are the highlights:

Foam: 1 Jan 15. Bruiser Queen came home from the road and played two wild sets. Morgan’s hair was a particularly great mural of color that night.

The Demo: 24 Jan 15. Town Cars supported a band called Knox Hamilton, which came back in the summer for LouFest. TC was a treat that evening; sometimes it’s just fun to see a band really enjoy each other’s company on stage.

Old Rock House: 26 Feb 15. Sleepy Kitty brought in a bonus guitarist for their set and closed out an already monster bill that included our Brainstems and Detroit’s Jamaican Queens.

Old Rock House: 26 Feb 15. The Brainstems; crazy loud, crazy fun. The boys went big in 2015 and released an album, No Place Else, on Bad Diet Records.

Off Broadway: 10 March 15. Dinofight! lists their genre on Facebook as “Awesome” and that is accurate. Pop…punk…garage…FUN.

Vintage Vinyl: 18 Apr 15, Record Store Day. Caught Town Cars and Bruiser Queen again and snagged a few in-store pics of good people doing good things like serving beer and DJ-ing.

Off Broadway: 27 June 15. Beth Bombara put out a full-length this year, her most ambitious and well-rounded to date. She shared the stage with the musicians who made that record possible in late June. Much music, very joy.

An Undisclosed Practice Space: 8 Jul 15. Bunnygrunt invited me to preview their Vol 4 album release show set at a band practice. Ashley Hohman (Veil) filled in for Karen that evening and when the band took their show to Europe.

Foam: 18 Jul 15. River Kittens opened for Samantha Crain and straight up wowed the crowd. They came, they harmonized, they conquered.

Off Broadway: 18 Jul 15. I skipped down Cherokee after River Kittens to catch Bunnygrunt‘s release. A rare two-show night for this aging concert hag.

Off Broadway: 6 Aug 15. Brother Lee and the Leather Jackals played Open Highway Music Festival. These dudes can rock and roll with the best of them, but know how to treat their otherwise serious craft with a healthy dose of humor on-stage and off.

Off Broadway: 7 Aug 15. The Fog Lights, another OHMF band. This set was awesome in that people were visibly surprised and moved by the Fog Lights’ talent. We who had any familiarity with Justin and Jim’s work were smug (and happy to be there, of course).

Off Broadway: 8 Aug 15. Arson For Candy was such a pleasant departure from the male-dominated Open Highway Music Festival field this year. Their performance left a lingering sweet heat in the air, as the band name implies.

Off Broadway: 19 Aug 15. Bo and the Locomotive provided support to Water Liars and reminded me why they’re one of the best young working bands in town.

LouFest, Forest Park: 13 Sept 15. Pokey LaFarge was cool as a cucumber in the September heat of LouFest 2015. The local boy made good filled that huge stage with familiar songs written in Central Time.

LouFest, Forest Park: 13 Sept 15. American Wrestlers earned a spot on the revered Fat Possum Records label this year. On a humble stage at LouFest, they showed a heap of new St. Louis fans why.

Joe’s Cafe: 15 Oct 15. Beth Bombara and Kit Hamon played one of the most unique venues in the city this fall. Bombara was battling a fever and a wicked respiratory illness, but she was Michael Jordan in the 1997 NBA finals (which is to say she kicked ass in spite of it all). Good job, Beth and Kit.

Sofar STL, Downtown St. Louis: 5 Nov 15, M.M.E. — Young, hungry, and smart as hell, M.M.E. just might be the Midwest’s premier emerging hip hop group.

Off Broadway: 21 Nov 15. Employing a homemade didgeridoo, a violin, an empty propane tank, not to mention those beats and those lyrics, 18andCounting plus crew put on a show that was less “Opening Act” and more “GONNA BE FAMOUS” as far as live performances go.

Off Broadway: 21 Nov 15. So Many Dynamos released a long-awaited album last month. OB was transformed for a night and the crowd was transfixed; we were all awash in a crazy light show and a dominant electro-pop performance. That band has come a long way from my high school’s talent show is all I’m sayin’.

Off Broadway: 1 Dec 2015. e., Search Parties, River Kittens, and Blank Generation. I serve on a charity board and I planned this show to raise money for that charity. It was lovely, and I’ve said enough about it.

Hope to see y’all out there in 2016. St. Louis is a treasure chest of local music talent. So go to shows. Make new friends. Cheer for the underdogs.



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