Monday, November 23, 2009

Live Music and St. Louis

We spend a lot of our time here at the St. Lou Jew trying to figure what to get into next. A lot of it is music, and while St. Louis has a great music legacy, St. Louis of today isn't known for being a thriving music community. Truth is, though, that if you are prepared to dive in, you'll find a rich subculture of accessible and talented musicians.

Our story starts at the Broadway Oyster Bar, a personal favorite of mine, and St. Louis Luminary Ron Gubitz. Located downtown on Broadway, the Oyster Bar prides itself on New Orleans music, food, and culture. It is home to Gumbohead and the Funky Butt Brass Band, two of the most fun NOLA style groups in the city, and Friday night, hosted a new band called Hot Carl and the Cleveland Steamers (they joked that if they add a horn section, they'll have to call it the Rusty Trombones).

Speaking with Bassist, and KDHX engineer Andy Coco after the show, I got an invite to his musicians' holiday pot-luck and jam session. A sort of mini-Mecca for a lot of the guys who 'really play music' in St. Louis, the event was a sort of dream-come-true for any fan like myself. Members of all of the aforementioned bands, plus the Dogtown Allstars, Team Relevance, and others were all present. The jam session was amazing, with every musician taking a turn, and others grabbing cowbells, shakers, and other odds and ends to fill out the sound.

The ambiance was amazing. To have so many talented and experienced musicians and their fans in one place was unbelievable. And it needs to happen more frequently.

But say you don't happen to know any of the local artists. . . where do you start?

There are a number of smaller local venues that host great music. A few to start with, other than the Oyster Bar, are (in no particular order): Beale on Broadway, BB's Jazz Blues and Soups, The Gramophone, The FireBird, The Old Rock House, Off Broadway, and The Wedge.

The Riverfront Times is a decent place to hear about local music, but what the city really needs is someone with the knowledge and passion to create a site that will keep shows up to date and help people find out more information about artists they might like. Any takers?

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