While this isn’t a beer column, we’ll kick things off with a quick note about Wolpertinger, which is a beer, a mascot, and an event, all cleverly tied together by Urban Chestnut Brewing Company. Last Sunday, the brewery’s massive Grove location played host to the annual Wolpertinger beer festival, where about three dozen St. Louis breweries were represented, gathered in celebration of UCBC’s sixth anniversary. Even though the day was a pleasant one, it was nice to be indoors to sample the wares of so many local breweries in one, mud-free setting, under one roof, and with just enough non-drinking entertainment to keep your mind activated.
But this isn’t about beer. Right.
So. Yeah. Anyway. At about the midway point of the afternoon, the Saint Boogie Brass Band began playing in the brewery’s warehouse, where multiple breweries and hundreds of attendees were collected. The group, playing in front of UCBC cans stretched halfway up to the ceiling, were entertaining in that context, sure, but they really excelled around the time of last call. With about a quarter-hour left in the event—and with the celebrants obviously pretty-well-socially-lubricated by then—the group began a second line march through the building. As they entered the bierhall, they were preceded by the Wolpertinger (a sort of Webster University Gorlok lookalike), who was so mobbed by selfie-takers that a policeman working the scene had to pull the mascot to the side.
As those two peeled off, the Saint Boogie Brass made its way around the room’s giant rectangle. Larry Hallar, who’d been playing traditional German music on his accordion in the far corner of the room, had his environment changed dramatically. As Saint Boogie reached his little zone, Hallar joined in and, for a few minutes, accordion joined all those horns and drums.
(Since we like giving Soulard Mardi Gras unasked-for-advice: the organization might just wanna hire Saint Boogie for the month of February. That’d make things easy and funky for everybody.)
Anyway, that brief Hallar vs. Saint Boogie mashup was quite a sight-and-sound moment. When it comes to catching weird moments like that, luck’s sometimes on your side.
Reading Around: Recently, we had a chance to visit with Sharon Hazel, a St. Louisan of recent vintage, who moved to St. Louis for love and family, but found good musical reasons to stick around. From the piece, available in St. Louis Magazine this month, and on this website now, Hazel says, she “underestimated St. Louis. The music scene here is three times better than San Diego’s. The average musician here is very humble, very open. Musicians here are about their history and culture, and they’re proud of it. There’s a vast array of genres.”
Last week, we made note of the passing of avant jazz drummer Charles “Bobo” Shaw. His career in a host of projects around the world is neatly captured by Jon Pareles in the New York Times here. Josh Weinstein of the excellent KDHX show All Soul No Borders, notes on Facebook that “a memorial service and celebration of the life of Charles ‘Bobo’ Shaw will be held at 5 p.m. Thursday, January 26 at Eddie Randle & Sons Funeral Home, 4600 Natural Bridge Ave, St. Louis, MO 63115.” And while Benjamin Looker’s excellent book The Point at Which Creation Begins is still an excellent and thorough introduction to the music of the Black Artists Group, a trailer for an upcoming documentary on BAG can be found on this Facebook page.
Sound of STL, a brand new blog, covered the recent Hamid Drake/Iva Bittova show at Joe’s Cafe. For those us unlucky enough to missed the New Music Circle-sponsored gig, coverage by Megan Perney and Julia Vogel can be found at their site or at FB.
Jack Grelle, recently featured in a St. Louis Magazine piece (last month’s, in fact), is given quite the nod in Rolling Stone, where he’s been tabbed as one of 10 New Country Artists to You Need to Know. The venerable music mag says “Having cut his teeth on the local DIY scene, Grelle—who also toured as part of the most recent incarnation of gay-country pioneers Lavender Country—blends the social awareness of punk with country twang to thought-provoking results.” You can find the full mention, including video links, right here.
Speaking of Jack Grelle, the drummer with whom he’s frequently toured, Leo Jalipa, has been teaching at Roosevelt High School. He put together a GoFundMe account to raise $350 for copies of MacBeth for his students, noting: “All I am asking for is $350, so I can buy each of my students their very own copy of Macbeth for class. We'll still be using the workbook, but I just think there's something about having your own copy of the play, something they can bring home to remember me by.” Within a couple days of launch, the project zoomed past the funding goal. We assume any additional funds hitting that account will be put to good use, as well.
Recording Notes: Falling Fences notes that the group will be “recording a live track for (our) upcoming record at Off Broadway this Friday. The song "Songwriter's Hell" was co-written with local songwriter Susan Marting and addresses the subject of trying to play original music in a society that only wants to hear ‘Free Bird,’ ‘Wagon Wheel’ and ‘Don't Stop Believing.’” The show, featuring both acoustic and electric sessions will kick off at 8 p.m. Here’s a look at the Falling Fences playing the cut, recorded in 2016.
Luke Arens, the house engineer at South City’s handsomely-appointed Shock City Studios, has been teasing a new project called Luke and Lydia, with tomorrow slated for the debut of the single “Money Free Weekend.” A teaser trailer’s on YouTube.