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Missouri Concerts & Events


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Missouri is one of those states that holds a unique geographic position, resting on the border between regions. It is on the edge of the Midwest, South, and Central zones of the United States. Over time, this has made for a special spot in music development, particularly regarding the blues. With a combination of open-mic nights, record stores with gigs, and museums with live shows, there is no shortage of concert entertainment in Missouri’s urban areas.

Missouri has a rich history in blues, today home to the National Blues Museum.

The blues are a melancholic, solitary, emotive genre with black American folk roots. First created in the 19th century and later gaining popularity in the 1940s during a migratory period, the blues have taken on new rhythms, styles, and interpretations as its traditions passed on geographically. For these reasons, blues claims on of the richest, most complex musical traditions, touching genres such as jazz, folk, country, pop & rock, and rap.

Missouri’s crossroads city, St. Louis, is home to the National Blues Museum, which focuses its efforts on interactive and educational programs. Past exhibits have included “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean,” “Kirk West Photography: The Blues in Black and White,” “The Sepia Magazine Photo Archive: Blues in Review,” “Women of the Blues: A Coast-to-Coast Collection,” “A Cast of Blues,” and “A Blues at Home.” Those interested in music will find riches in the National Blues Museum’s exhibitions, and those who simply want to hear some live sounds will find solace in its event calendar. Open jam sessions, local performing artists, and concert tributes are in regular rotation. “Sittin’ on the Porch Open Jams,” “Howlin’ Fridays” and “Soulful Sundays” are weekly events.

Missouri is keeping record stores alive.

Although Missouri is not the only state to kindle its appreciation of classic record stores, Missouri is special in that its record stores seek strategies that will continue pulling in listeners as music technology expands and morphs. Named one of the “10 Best Record Stores in the USA,” Vintage Vinyl appeals to listeners by hosting in-store signings and performances. In October of 2018, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Summer Magic, and The Fade are all scheduled to play. Thanks to a local taproom, Schlafly, those 21+ can even enjoy some free beer at the concerts.

Another standout is the Music Record Shop. What makes it special is its bounty of vintage and contemporary vinyl selections: Miles Davis, Goo Goo Dolls, The Killers, Bon Iver, Frank Zappa, Ella Fitzgerald, and William Elliott Whitmore, are some of the many, many options available to listeners. Although they are not known for their live shows, you never know what might happen at one of their midnight release parties.

Missouri has some solid open-mic nights.

Open mic nights have a variety of appeals: they spotlight hobbyists, they feature artists who are trying to tighten up their sounds, they have free entry (usually), and they give artists a chance to experiment with new material. Of course, open mics have a few setbacks, mainly that quality control can sometimes go out the window. The trick is knowing where to go. Atomic Cowboy has an open-mic once per week, open to artists of all genres. When not hosting open-mics, Atomic Cowboy brings in local acts, such as Lindsay Lou with The River Kittens, Rumpke Mountain Boys, The Tillers, Blue Water Highway, Eric Lindell w/ Sam Ravenna, and the Roots of a Rebellion w/ The Driftaways. Cost is usually $12 per person.

The Venice Café is another good spot for open-mic appreciators. Beloved hosts, Zack and Neil, welcome in artists every Monday. Like Atomic Cowboy, The Venice Café has a packed music calendar for those who are weary of open-mics. For instance, in September, every single day—save for Sundays—has a live gig on stage. Tuesdays are claimed by Jeremy Segel-Moss taking on Saint Louis Blues styles. Other days, a box of artists including Brother Francis, Richie Darling, Turtle Dogs, Bubble Vest take stage.

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