Tuesday, December 09, 2008

STL Holiday Guide: Music, a Kickoff

I've spent the majority of my adult life chained behind a bar on weekends, which has prevented me from becoming the musical genius that runs in my bloodlines. When I go see shows in St Louis, I always enjoy myself, but I usually only know about them because it's a friend's band, or because I am dating one of the musicians. Luckily, I have friends who run the gamut from jazz bands to funk, punk to rock, and a little americana thrown in for good measure.

This past weekend I stepped out to go hear The Funky Butt Brass Band and Gumbohead at the Gramophone in the Grove. Typically, I fear the Grove, as I am skeptical of any neighborhood that invents a name for itself. But the Gramophone might have changed my opinion. I did have some mild panic upon arrival because I was alone and it was crowded, but as the crowd thinned, I grew into the place.

Basically two old storefronts, there's a beautiful long bar on one side (with laminate countertops on the back bar, which I can forgive because I know it's prudent)... and a huge stage along the other side. The middle ground is all open space. Amen. The Gramophone carried a lot of beer-- easily 20 bottles or so, at decent prices, and five or so on draft. They had wines, and the regular selection of spirits, and service was quick and pretty good. The sound was good, the bands didn't seem squeezed onto the stage, and everyone seemed to have a great time. The best part for me-- and this might have been because of the specific bands playing-- was that the average age was easily 30-something. Thank you. It was a chill crowd having a good time. And I vowed to be more open minded about future dealings in the Grove. And the horns from the Funky Butt Brass Band were pretty hot.

So all this got me thinking about the various things that STL has to offer, and how limited I am in my knowledge of some of it. So I went to people who know way more than me. I plumbed my friends, ex-boyfriends, and former co-workers who are in bands or in-the-know for their suggestions of local music. I figured with the holidays, some of you folks might be looking for cool local gifts. Plus, in these economic times, we might as well keep our hard-earned money in our own fair city. I still have recommendations coming into my inbox, but look for suggestions this week from jazz artist Jessica Butler, Corbeta Corbata's Don Beasley, and KDHX's Silver Tray host Thomas Crone.

And if you have suggestions, add 'em here. That's how we get things done.


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