Explore St. Louis’ music scene
If you’ve made it far enough to be reading this column, congratulations. Washington University is, I’m sure, lucky to have you. As a rising senior, I feel confident saying that you are entering a golden age, four years of bliss, a melange of work, stress, ecstatic fun and beer. Lots of beer. People tell tales of the freshman ten, those ten pounds you supposedly gain when you go off to college. Instead, brace yourself for the junior seventeen, the pounds you gain from pub-crawling after you turn twenty-one.
But then, this is a music column, so I’ll get to it. Head Rush began at the end of my sophomore year, a music-oriented column specifically dedicated to the “head” in all of us, the concert-going, barefoot-dancing, mind-altering head. Since then, the column has branched out, become less genre-specific and less exclusive. This is a place to read about last week’s concerts, next week’s concerts, what shows you should see, what shows you should definitely avoid, what albums you absolutely have to buy right now, what albums aren’t worth the ten cent compact disc they’re recorded on, and occasionally what I did last weekend. The general goal is to get readers over the hurdle that is live music apathy, to get people out of their dorms and apartments, off the South Forty, and out on the town.
St. Louis is an amazing city, but it will not do the work for you. You have to meet St. Louis half way. But if you do, if you put in the effort, you will be richly rewarded. You will uncover the intricacies of a town with a music scene that offers all that a big city has to offer, from huge stadium concerts to smoky bar shows, without the annoyances of a big city. Of course, as a freshman, you don’t have a car, and that’s OK. I still don’t have a car. But don’t use that as an excuse to hole up in Umrath all year. Walk, take the Metro, befriend an upperclassman with wheels. Do what you have to do to burst the “Wash U Bubble”. As wonderful as this school is, campus life can entrap you. It can be a cage. You don’t want to wake up one day next March and realize that you haven’t really flown free all year.
Start with the Loop. Catch Madahoochi, a fantastic, grooving local band with one of the sickest guitar players this town has to offer. They play at Cicero’s every Monday night on the cheap. Entry costs only $3 if you’re under twenty-one, and it’s free if you’re over. The Duck Room at Blueberry Hill consistently offers a wide range of artists, from Cat Power to Vic Chestnutt to the North Mississippi Allstars, and their prices are reasonable. Riddle’s is, to many, the hippest bar on the Loop, and they offer weekend selections ranging from jazz to twang. The Delmar Lounge stays open late, and offers swank jazz to match its trendy clientele. Many University bands have played the Red Sea, a dark pit of a venue that’s perfect for hot, rowdy shows and cold beer. And for the bigger acts, there’s the Pageant, where the stage is graced by names from Lucinda Williams to Queens of the Stone Age and 50 Cent.
The moral of this story? Go see live music. Let St. Louis show you a good time. Hit some shows at the Gargoyle, listen to KWUR, support University bands, University a cappella, and the Thursday night jazz series at Holmes Lounge. Sitting here at a computer in Paris, thinking about next year, about all the great shows to come, WILD and Bauhaus and the next battle of the bands at Cicero’s in October, makes me feel giddy. And if this column has done its job at all, you’ve caught a bit of the buzz. Welcome to St. Louis and welcome to the University. Your time here will fly. Set yourself free and fly with it.
Live music is live art. Be a part of it!
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