So a few weeks back all of us at IWTAS were scrambling around on a Saturday afternoon preparing for an evening house show at IWTAS HQ. I had some music playing overhead. All of a sudden our friend and co-conspirator Janet stopped in her tracks and was all, “WHO IS THIS BAND? I LOVE THEIR SOUND.”
Alas, the band she was hearing was Apache Relay (the song? “American Nomad“). Tonight, the Nashville-based indie roots quintet takes the stage at Old Rock House to play songs from their lush 2011 record, as well as tracks from their forthcoming 2014 full-length. I’ve been able to give it some listens and let me tell y’all, it is a delight. Since I’ve never seen the guys live, here’s what a HuffPo writer had to say after catching a set: “They’ve got kind of an Arcade Fire meets boys raised on gospel and Bruce Springsteen approach to what they do, and they’re called the Apache Relay. They’re a fantastic live band.”
They also recently got some love from Rolling Stone, which premiered the first single, called “Katie Queen of Tennessee”, off the aforementioned April 22nd release. Here’s the video:
Sharing the headlining spot with the Apache Relay tonight at ORH is the Lonely Wild out of LA. These folks ended up on my radar thanks to IWTAS buddy Joel, the joival, bespectacled FORMER Missouri New Belgium beer rep who has since moved to Portland in an effort to spread the NB gospel there.
Band recommendations from friends you trust are the best. Check out the Lonely Wild’s “Banks and Ballrooms” off 2013′s The Sun as It Comes.
HERE’S THE FUN PART: The Lonely Wild has gifted us with a pair of tickets to the show TONIGHT. All you have to do is leave us a comment below! You can also RT our tweet containing a link to this post, or comment on the corresponding Facebook post. It’s so easy! I really want a cool St. Louisan and IWTAS follower to experience the Apache Relay and the Lonely Wild (also on the bill: Promised Land Sound). Things kick off at 8pm; I’ll see you there!
Last Thursday, Caroline Smith warmed up Off Broadway with new R&B/pop numbers from her excellent 2013 album, as well as some old favorites from her earlier folk/pop releases. Smith’s band was as tight and as smiley as ever. As for Smith herself, gone was the girl who delicately chirped into the microphone about young love and loss just a few years ago. In her place, a commanding, confident woman with a voice that traveled through the room and spilled onto the patio outside.
We caught up with Smith via email ahead of the St. Louis show. Read up here.
If you’re able to catch the group on their current tour, I highly recommend doing so. Photographic evidence of a good time below:
More photos of the performance are on our Flickr.
The Right Now (CHI) played the opening slot and got things moving in proper fashion. This post will be updated as soon as the author makes time to edit the photos :)
Thank goodness Nashville is just 4-ish hours from here. Thank goodness we’ve been happy hosts for Those Darlins over the years as they’ve changed lineups, refined their sound, and continue to release recorded material indicative of growth and maturity as artists. And thank goodness we can still count on them to throw a hell of a party.
On Saturday, the Darlins once again take the stage at Off Broadway, this time with an absolutely sick supporting cast, including Nashville’s coolest garage rock band with the worst name, Diarrhea Planet, and STL’s own post-punk purveyors SPEEDBOATS.
Never complacent, Those Darlins have already released a new live video and a new song in 2014 following a banner 2013, during which they put out Blur the Line, the band’s third full-length album:
Want to attend the show for free this Saturday? IWTAS has been generously gifted with a pair of tickets, so leave us a comment below and tell us why you’d like to attend. Use a proper email, as that’s how I’ll be contacting you if you win. We’ll choose a winner on Friday afternoon!
On Thursday, Minneapolis’ Caroline Smith returns to Off Broadway behind her bright, R&B-laced 2013 pop record, Half About Being a Woman. Smith’s show this week will be her first in St. Louis since the album was released, and the show will look, sound, and feel differently than prior tour stops here. I spoke to Smith via email about her new image:
Can you talk about how you’ve adjusted/changed your stage presence and performance style as you ushered in this new phase of your musical career and sort of shed the folksy, girl-with-a-guitar side of your image?
One of the biggest changes in our set is that we’ve added back-up singers, and they really help me get the sassy vibe across. With this new record, I wanted to put an emphasis on making our live shows interactive, fun, and memorable. I wanted them to ride the line of goofy and sexy; that’s kind of where I sit as a woman.
I took guitar lessons for the last year and worked really hard to be more of a performer so I could engage a bit more with the audience. We just really want our audience to dance and feel good when they’re listening to our songs, especially the ladies. I want them to look on stage and see a bunch of women feeling confident, singing about being confident, and stop worrying about their body or their relationship if only for an hour.
Do you still perform songs from Backyard Tent Set or Little Wind in your shows? If not, how did you feel taking those songs out of rotation? How have fans that have followed your career over the past several years reacted to the new material?
We still play our old songs, we just rearranged them to fit into the set more, and people have reacted very positively. Old songs that were once slow and dark are now charged and fun for the crowd and has them dancing. I want to keep playing the old songs because I really don’t want to disrespect my older fans that liked our past albums. It’s important to me that my fans always feel appreciated because I really, really, really appreciate them. It blows my mind every day that I even have fans!
How was the process of creating an upbeat pop/R&B record different than creating folk or indie rock records? With whom did you collaborate to make Half happen?
Well, I wrote all of these songs in about 4 months. I demoed every song, which is the first time I’ve ever done that, and worked with my producer, Jake Hanson, and my band, Jesse Schuster and Arlen Peiffer, on the songs before taking them into the studio with Brett Bullion. I loved being that prepared – knowing exactly what we were going to do – because it actually made more time for us to experiment with sounds and new parts. Honestly, it was probably the easiest record I’ve ever made. The songs were so easy to write, they came pouring out of me, and the team of people that I worked with was absolutely amazing.
When I was recording folkier music, everything was a little bit more subdued so the vibe in the studio was exactly that. The band and I fought a lot more as well because we were never 100% confident with our music in the past. The last time we were in the studio was an absolute dream though; we’re all on the same page with this new style of music.
Also related to the album creation process, I was struck by the beauty and throwback feel of the design of the LP. What inspired you and/or the album art designer?
I really just wanted to put an honest picture of myself on the cover with minimal editing and I wanted to put all of my insecurities aside and practice confidence. I’ve never put my photo on an album before because of my insecurities, and I just wanted to turn a new leaf and be an advocate for a natural-looking woman feeling confident without a ton of make-up or Photoshop. If this is what I want to see more of in the female community, then it starts with number one.
Like many up-and-coming artists, you’ve toured off and on pretty aggressively behind your records. It seems that each time you’re in St. Louis, you play Off Broadway. Aside from the obvious things like a big enthusiastic crowd, what makes a great tour stop for you?
Honestly, we love coming to Off Broadway because of the staff; we love seeing them every time we’re in town. They genuinely care about us and we genuinely care about them. It’s venues like that that keep us coming back. No matter how many people came out, if a venue treats you like shit it just puts a bad taste in your mouth.
Can you talk to me about a favorite track on Half About Being a Woman, and the origin story behind it?
One of my favorite tracks is “All That I Know” because it was one of the first songs I’ve written about my boyfriend of almost 5 years. Pretty ridiculous, right? In the past, I always had the notion that songs are begotten from tumult and despair, so all of my songs were about men that treated me wrong or hurt me. And isn’t that kind of sad that they get all the recognition and the man that has been there for me through thick and thin, rain or shine, and absolutely amazing partner gets no song at all?
When I realized that, I immediately wrote “All That I Know” and now it means so much to me and I hope that it promotes healthier relationships for my younger listeners rather than my older nostalgic songs that wallowed in self-despair, though those definitely have their place in my music library. Elliott Smith anyone?
On Monday, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit along with violin virtuoso Amanda Shires took over Off Broadway for a stellar, sincere performance played to a sold-out audience. The crowd was polite, enthusiastic, and diverse; aging DBT fans staked their claim up front the moment the doors opened. “Smart move,” I said to the guy dead center stage holding a beverage in both hands at 7:05, almost an hour before showtime. “They’re Cokes,” he said, “and they’re for my daughter.” And so I, foot in mouth, had a moment of realization about the type of audience Isbell has cultivated and continues to grow over the years. The old fans stuck around, with fervor. The new ones can get rides from their dads to the shows.
He’s always been an adept songwriter, but the Isbell who crooned through his stirring “Dress Blues” at the end of the evening on Monday wasn’t the guy who played it on the same stage three years earlier. Much has been written about Isbell’s journey to sobriety and his marriage to Shires. But it’s in his live performance where these stories come to life. On stage, Isbell and his band are vibrant, on point, and at times outwardly joyful. Much of Isbell’s song catalog is gorgeous and heavy. A healthy and content performer, however, provides lightness to otherwise dark tunes. It was a triumphant evening – as I suspect most evenings on this tour have been – and it’s too rare an occurrence that an artist fends off his demons with life and love intact. St. Louis seemed proud to stand in front of Jason Isbell on Monday at Off Broadway. We wish him many happy returns.
All photos by Jess Luther (firstname.lastname@example.org).
MORE JASON ISBELL PHOTOS HERE.
Robert Ellis did more than his part to warm the room for Isbell and Co. A seemingly natural charmer, Ellis’ playful demeanor onstage disguised, at first, some devastating finger-picking. Less than halfway through the set, those in the front rows shook their heads and exchanged glances after each solo: “What the hell was THAT?!”, we were all thinking.
Ellis might be a player’s player, but dude can write some lyrics, too. See “Houston”, a bittersweet swan song to Ellis’ hometown. Or “Steady As The Rising Sun”, a warm, traditional ballad led on Monday by Will Van Horn’s nimble pedal steel work. “Steady” provided a paradoxical moment: there was Ellis, a debonair young guitar gun playing old country in dark denim and special edition Air Force Ones. If Robert Ellis is the future of alt-country, the future is fine. His record, The Lights From the Chemical Plant, came out this week, and for my money, it’s worth yours.
MORE ROBERT ELLIS PHOTOS HERE.
St. Louis scene-sters from all walks of life showed their IDs and walked down the narrow flight of stairs that opens to Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar‘s basement. The cavernous and impossibly cozy room was darkened. Attendees sipped beer, wine, and punch bowl manhattans as the room gradually filled to near capacity.
On one wall three large, white, opaque art installations by David Burnett served as viewing rooms, each of which contained a never-before-seen Beth Bombara music video. The three videos were filmed and produced by Nashville videographer, photographer, and musician Joshua Black Wilkins with assistance from St. Louis music photographer Nate Burrell. Once inside a viewing room, revelers could have a seat and slip into a pair of headphones to watch the videos projected on a big screen as the background noise coming from the rest of the party melted away.
In the middle of the event, in the middle of the room, Beth and her band (Kit Hamon, Karl Eggers, and JJ Hamon with contributions from The Blind Eyes’ Seth Porter and LTSFTG’s Miriam Keller) assembled in a circle, each member facing the crowd. The group played a spirited forty minute set that leapt from low-slung blues (“Right My Wrongs“), banjo-led folk (“Mountain Sun“), and even a Cake cover.
This intimate, unconventional performance was nothing if not a reminder of the depth of talent that Bombara possesses and has recruited over her years in St. Louis. Kit Hamon dressed up and threw down on upright bass. Multi-instrumentalist (and brother to Kit) JJ Hamon moved effortlessly from lap steel to trombone and back again. Eggers, on banjo, demonstrated why he’s one of the best active players in St. Louis bar none. Porter and Keller, on violin and trumpet respectively, expertly rounded out this one-night-only manifestation of the Beth Bombara band, and everyone in the audience was lucky to have beared witness.
All photos in this post by Jess Luther.
Man Man blew through St. Louis last night flaunting skeleton bodysuits and On Oni Pond, the group’s fifth studio record, which was released in September 2013. The show was a sell out and the club was at max capacity, with anxious latecomers being turned away as the crowded sweated and screamed along. Stunning opener Xenia Rubinos made plenty of news fans with her inventive syncopated pop. The whole thing started and finished relatively early, and after Man Man’s encore the crowd spilled out onto the patio to keep the party going.
Full Man Man photo set here.
Full Xenia Rubinos photo set here.
I Went to a Show.com, in collaboration with Janet Rhoads of fellow STL music blog AM NOON PM, is thrilled to announce the first show of 2014 at IWTAS Headquarters featuring Minneapolis, MN’s Communist Daughter in duo format with a special local guest Last to Show First to Go on Saturday, February 15th at 8:00pm (doors 7).
This show is happenin’ the day after Valentine’s Day, and two days after Galentine’s Day, you guys! We can’t fathom a better evening to come over to a big, warm apartment and be surrounded by a mix of friends and Potential New Friends (strangers) while listening to the gorgeous, hearty tunes of Communist Daughter.
– We’ve got room for about 30 folks at the HQ. We’re located in the Soulard neighborhood in the City of St. Louis.
– We’re charging $13 per person (all of which will go to the bands) and we’re encouraging everyone to buy tickets ahead of time to secure a seat by PayPal-ing Jess at email@example.com, using the “Send money to family or friends” option. If you’re unable to use PayPal and still want to make sure you get in, just email Jess at the aforementioned address and we’ll get it worked out.
– We encourage you to BYOB of choice, although knowing us we’ll have a little something tasty to share.
IWTAS and AM NOON PM are so happy to be introducing C.D. to St. Louis at large. One of our favorites aspects of volunteering on behalf of the STL music community is getting to expose our pals to new bands that we think they’ll love, and Communist Daughter is one such band. More details including local opener information to come.
Sarah Jaffe , a set on Flickr.
UPDATED 12/11/13 with new ticket sale time.
We don’t usually use posts for concert announcements, but we thought this one was so neat we had to yell about it on the Internet. Some of you might have been present on March 15th, 2007, when The Hold Steady put on an incredibly memorable show at Off Broadway. (We weren’t, but our cool friends were.)
In 2011, they played for thousands in Forest Park as a LouFest headliner (when the Roots didn’t show because of Hurricane Irene). Check out a few photos below; these guys put on killer live performances.
All this is to say that The Hold Steady will return to Off Broadway for a rare St. Louis club performance on January 30th, 2014. Tickets will go on sale through the Off Broadway website THIS FRIDAY, December 13th. The word is that the tickets will go on sale at 12:00 noon. If this changes, we’ll update this post and let you know.
This show will obviously sell out, so we wanted to tell IWTAS readers as soon as we could. Set those phone alarms!