KDHXFest: 30th Birthday

KDHXFest: 30th Birthday

Kevin Bowers' Nova, Rev. Sekou & The Holy Ghost, Marquise Knox, Old Salt Union, Diesel Island, Whoa Thunder, The Vigilettes, St. Louis Steady Grinders

Sat · October 14, 2017

11:00 am (event ends at 6:00 pm)

Free

KDHXFest: 30th Birthday
KDHXFest: 30th Birthday
KDHXFest: 30th Birthday, sponsored by Urban Chestnut Brewing Company, is a street party and live music festival in celebration of the 30 year legacy of KDHX and the future of St. Louis arts and culture! Featuring two outdoor music stages at Grand and Washington, food trucks, activities for the whole family, a ceremony honoring volunteers, plenty of delicious brews from Urban Chestnut and more!

LIVE MUSIC: Kevin Bowers Nova, Rev. Sekou, Marquise Knox, Old Salt Union, Diesel Island, Whoa Thunder, The Vigilettes, The St. Louis Steady Grinders! (More info below)

BEER TENTS: Urban Chestnut Brewing Company

FOOD TRUCKS: Bombay Food Junkies, Farmtruk, Juicemasters Fresh Juice & Smoothie Truck, Clementine's Naughty & Nice Creamery!

ACTIVITIES: Perennial crafts, Euclid Records StL selling on site, tie-dye, KDHX archival materials on display, and more!
KDHX DJ SETS LIVE: Orlandez of Night Grooves with Orlandez on 88.1 KDHX, Chris of The Future Is Now on KDHX, Ital K of Ital Rhythms, and Iceman Furious Stylz of Deep Krate Radio!
Kevin Bowers' Nova
Kevin Bowers' Nova
Nova is the soundtrack to a movie starring Fred Astaire and Lena Horne, directed by Federico Fellini. (Which is a strong contender for the best movie never made.) It’s the kind of record, at least, you make as one of St. Louis’ most respected drummers, featured in Modern Drummer, fresh from releasing a well-received album with soul-punk band The Feed and then lately inspired by a deep & deepening trip through Spain. In other words, it’s intoxicating, it’s invigorating, it’s joyous. Like Kevin Bowers himself, it knows why secrets are whispered. And how to throw a party.

Kevin’s sketch of Spain is the story of two lovers meeting near the Mediterranean Sea. Lyrically, it’s visual, concise, reminiscing. Sonically, it’s expansive, layered, ranging over Latin America and Africa. Brazilian samba, psychedelic rock, solo drum pieces—all find expression in 12 songs attuned to the rhythms of romance and percussive because that’s what love is. The leap forward in songcraft is as much personal as artistic. Nova is not only what a drummer at heart makes but also a genre-hopping composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist. This time out, Bowers focused on arranging material for others to sing (unlike his previous two solo releases, My Love Is Yours and Nine Story Building, where he was the lead vocalist). It was a decision—one he made early on—that guided the tones and textures of the songs themselves: restless, innovative and entirely right for the record. They mean to transport you to a better and exciting place, and they do.

Nova also has the distinction of gathering some of the finest rock, blues and jazz musicians (and friends) in St. Louis. Together, they manage to croon like Tony Bennett, pop like Sergio Mendes and pulse like the Beatles at their trippiest. This is music that must be performed and heard live, and Kevin is looking forward to just that.
Rev. Sekou & The Holy Ghost
Rev. Sekou & The Holy Ghost
Wherever Rev. Sekou & the Holy Ghost play, healing, rejuvenation, and catharsis follow. Praised by AFROPUNK as the "therapy that so many of us need", and Mic for producing "literally, a timeless record", the band has played over 45 shows nationally, mostly standing room only, since their debut album release in January 2016. The group's members, Reverend Osagyefo Sekou & Jay-Marie Hill, met at 2015 The Movement for Black Lives gathering, when Rev. Sekou washed pepper spray off Jay-Marie's face after police arbitrarily sprayed a crowd demanding they release an illegally detained 14 year old. Unexpectedly reuniting weeks later in Oakland, California they penned “The Revolution Has Come” in less than a week.

Writer, producer and lead vocalist Rev. Sekou is a third generation Pentecostal preacher and long time organizer, author and activist, grounded in the traditions of liberation theology and the Arkansas Delta Blues. His grandfather played piano in juke joints for the legends including B.B. King, Albert King, and Louis Jordan.

Singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist Jay-Marie Hill (she/they) is a Black y Boricua genderQueer activist, teacher and renegade born and raised in the Oakland Bay Area. Jay-Marie works to deconstruct, liberate and recreate possibility through work at the intersections of youth, Black art and radical activism.
Marquise Knox
Marquise Knox
Born St. Louis, Mo, Marquise hails from a musical family deeply rooted in the Blues. He learned how to play guitar from his grandmother Lillie. He also played with his uncle Clifford, who was a major influence in Marquise's life. For Marquise, Blues is his heritage and way of life. He spent his early teenage years in St. Louis mentoring under the late great Blues legend, N.E.A. (National Endowment of the Arts) Heritage Fellowship recipient and Grammy Award winner Henry James Townsend. Marquise's talents have earned him performing rights with some of America’s most notable blues performers such as blues legends B.B. King, Pinetop Perkins and David “Honeyboy” Edwards (the latter two also N.E.A. Heritage Fellows). He has also performed at dozens of festivals, and has toured all throughout Europe.
During a visit to Clarksdale, Mississippi, Marquise was introduced to Sam Lay. Like other statesmen of the Blues, Sam took an immediate liking to Marquise and took it upon himself to help give Marquise's career a boost by insisting that Chad Kassem bring Marquise to the celebrated Blues series "Bluesmasters at the Crossroads," which has showcased a virtual who's-who of the Blues at Blue Heaven Studios in Salina, Kansas. Marquise was an immediate crowd favorite, and was adopted by all of the elders of the Blues in attendance that year. His obvious talent along with his deep knowledge of the Blues and vast respect for his elders made it clear Marquise had something special, and Kassem signed him to a three album deal.
Knox’s debut album MANCHILD was nominated for a Blues Music Award for Best New Artist Debut. The album was recorded when he was 16 with world reknowned guitarist Michael Burks and his band. The release received worldwide acclaim, including Living Blues' Best Debut Artist Award and a Blues Music Award nomination for Best Debut Artist. Marquise then recorded a direct-to-disc album while in town for the next year's Crossroads. Marquise released his second album, Here I Am, once again recorded at the legendary Blue Heaven Studios in Salina, Kansas. It features Marquise and his band, with a little help from Wayne Sharp of Michael Burk’s band sitting in on B-3 and piano. Nine originals, and three reverent covers of Marquise’s favorite Muddy Waters tunes.
I think this excerpt from Here I Am's liner notes says it best. "When you listen to Marquise - 19 years old when he recorded this title - you get the sense that this is what those masters must have sounded like as young men. Marquise’s blues are so transparent and bare. It’s so easy to feel his music as totally legitimate. That’s above all what makes it so appealing. That’s what makes Marquise Knox special. He’s the whole package. A throwback blues master on the rise. Anybody believe in reincarnation?" - Jim O'neil
Old Salt Union
Old Salt Union
“Old Salt Union has the groove and the chops of a great string band, balanced with infectious rock and roll energy. Their music occupies that sweet space between Old Crow folk and Yonder Mountain jam --
not a bad place to be for a band about to break.”— No Depression

A great band is more than the proverbial sum of its parts, and in the pursuit of becoming something that can cut through the clutter of YouTube stars and contest show runner-ups, a great roots music band must become a way of life. Less likely to rely on production or image, they’ve got to connect with their audience only through the craftsmanship of their songs, the energy they channel on the stage and the story that brings them together.

Old Salt Union is a string band founded by a horticulturist, cultivated by classically trained musicians, and fueled by a vocalist/bass player who is also a hip-hop producer with a fondness for the Four Freshmen. It is this collision of styles and musical vocabularies that informs their fresh approach to bluegrass and gives them an electric live performance vibe that seems to pull more from Vaudeville than the front porch.

In 2015 they won the FreshGrass Band contest and found the perfect collaborator in Compass Records co-founder and GRAMMY winning banjoist and composer, Alison Brown, whose attention to detail and high standards pushed the group to develop their influences from beyond a vocabulary to pull from during improvisation and into the foundation of something truly compelling in the roots music landscape.

Violinist John Brighton mentions some names familiar to the Compass roster as key influences, musicians like Darol Anger, Edgar Meyer, Mike Marshall and Mark O’Connor, all of whom have collaborated with Brown in the past. Primary vocalist and bassist, Jesse Farrar (for the indie rock heads - yes, he’s related – Son Volt front man Jay Farrar is Jesse’s uncle) brings an alternative rock spirit as well as his unique formative experiences as a hip hop producer and bass player for a national tour of The Four Freshmen. The band’s self-titled Compass debut combines these instrumental proclivities with pop melodies and harmonies into a coherent piece of work that carves out a road-less-travelled for the band in the now crowded roots music genre.

The album kicks off with a nod to alternative rock sensibilities – a deconstructed symphonic drone creeps in slowly, while Farrar emerges through the atmospherics to deliver the first lines “Stranded on a lonely road/Trying to find my way back home/A dollar and a broken heart/Didn’t seem to get me very far”. His words are followed by a dramatic moment of silence (a trick often used in hip hop) that quickly launches into “Where I Stand”, a hard-driving bluegrass track that gets moving so powerfully you almost don’t notice the layer of angelic harmonies flowing consistently underneath.

Mandolinist Justin Wallace takes over lead vocal duties for the second track “Feel My Love” as well as a version of Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al”. He pops up again on his composition “On My Way” and his no-frills, approachable voice is the perfect complement to Farrar’s more gymnastic style. The two work together beautifully on the Wallace-penned, “Hard Line”. Wallace is further showcased on the disc’s lone instrumental “Flatt Baroque”, composed by Brighton, who joins him in some twin mandolin, and it’s this more contemplative moment on the album where the listener hears him reaching to be in perfect sync with his bandmate, that best reflects Wallace’s role in the evolution story of the band. If Farrar has emerged as the heartbeat, then Wallace is the soul.

Perhaps most surprisingly, the band was founded by banjoist Ryan Murphey, the aforementioned horticulturist who came to bluegrass music and the banjo later in life. Finding a kindred spirit in Dustin Eiskant, the band’s former guitarist and Farrar’s cousin, the pair started the band in 2012 and Murphey played the banjo and led the band’s business through its early incarnations, including the recruitment of Farrar in 2014.

When Eiskant quit in 2016, just as the band’s already impressive trajectory seemed to be taking a significant step forward, Murphey and the band were able to reset, adding guitarist Rob Kindle to the lineup. Kindle brings a bluegrass foundation from his early exposure to the music as a child in family settings, as well as a degree in jazz performance to the mix.

Though the band had established themselves as a growing festival act with performances at LouFest, Stagecoach Festival, Bluegrass Underground, Winter Wondergrass, Freshgrass, Wakarusa, Yonder Mountain String Band's Harvest Festival, and the 2014 Daytona 500, it was their breakout track on Spotify, “Madam Plum” that seemed to amplify awareness of the band beyond the bluegrass bubble.

Of working with the band in the studio, producer Brown says, “These post modern bluegrassers are true renegades. While they look like a bluegrass band, their musical sensibilities run much deeper and broader, borrowing as much from indie rock and jazz fusion as from Bill Monroe. And, even more exciting to me, they know no fear! They are wide open musical adventurers and we had a great time experimenting in the studio at the crossroads of these disparate influences.”

The most unexpected but possibly most fascinating song on the album is a ballad entitled “Bought and Sold”. Its earnest beauty is balanced with a youthful inventiveness that leaves a solemn mark on the listener who might wake up at the end of it thinking, “What just happened?”.

At this point, the future of the band seems marvelously unclear. The album closes with “Here and Off My Mind” which seems like the bluegrass song that Conor Oberst never wrote featuring a lyric that ends with the promise of “a better life” though from the all-hands-on-deck jam session that breaks out in the middle (is that a kazoo?) one gets the sense that the band can’t imagine a better one than they have in the beat up Winnebago they currently call home.

Old Salt Union’s self-titled new album will be released August 4th.
Diesel Island
Diesel Island
The band formed in 2004 as a just-for-fun side project where key members of the Bottle Rockets could relax and play some classic country faves on their own terms. Since then, the band has performed countless gigs in various clubs, bars, wedding halls, funeral parlors and divorce courts across the St Louis region.
The band is Brian Henneman, Kip Loui, Richard Tralles, Carl Pandolfi and Spencer Marquart.
and sometimes a little help from our friends..... Mark Spencer, Tim McAvin, Marc Chechik, Joe Meyer, Mark Ortmann, John Horton and a dozen others depending on the show.
Whoa Thunder
Whoa Thunder
WHOA THUNDER began as a kitchen table laptop solo project for Brian McClelland (Middle Class Fashion, Maxtone Four, Tight Pants Syndrome) in 2008, as a way to capture his unique, high energy take on synth-soaked New Wave boy/girl guitar pop--inspired equally by Le Tigre, Sparks, Beck, New Pornographers, and the Knack--without compromise, resulting in the 16-track debut, You're Under Attack. After a limited run, homemade 2013 release garnered rave reviews--Eleven Magazine called it "Possibly the most rewarding pop album of last year. Yes, really."--McClelland was inspired to put a live band together. After a year of ever-changing, transitional lineups--including guests from Midwest heavy-hitters Kentucky Knife Fight and Bruiser Queen--McClelland put together his dream team in 2015: drummer Mic Boshans (Nee, Humdrum, Union Electric, The Floating City), bassist Syrhea Conoway (Syna So Pro, Pat Sajak Assassins, Humdrum), keyboardist Joe Taylor (Kid Scientist), and guitarist Dan Meehan (Nee, Humdrum, The Floating City). This new lineup began touring regionally in 2015--Sharing stages with mr. Gnome and Dengue Fever along the way--and, most importantly to McClelland, began collaborating on new music, including the new lineup's debut, a vinyl flexi single of "Hop To It," released on Blip Blap Records/IBC Shadows on June 10, 2016. The band was recently voted BEST INDIE-POP BAND by the RFT MUSIC AWARDS 2016.
The Vigilettes
The Vigilettes
A little grunge, a little pop, a little soul and a lot of rock-reminiscent of 90s alternative with thoughtful lyrics and powerful harmonies.

Superhero power fantasies aside, the Vigilettes command a heavy rock fervor that doesn't exactly scream "girl power." The band opts to play up its chops over femininity despite the name, and the songs here are proof positive that it stands among the best of St. Louis' rock outfits. - RFT
St. Louis Steady Grinders
St. Louis Steady Grinders
The St. Louis Steady Grinders play old-school, long lost, low-down piano blues from St. Louis and beyond. Featuring powerhouse vocals from Miss Jubilee, this group brings the youth, joy and authenticity back into a forgotten repertoire. Vocalist Miss Jubilee is one of St. Louis's finest early jazz and blues singers. Her knowledge of this music, combined with the depth and power of her voice, make her one of the most sought after singers in the region. Pianist Ethan Leinwand recently moved to St. Louis from Brooklyn, NY, and is a leading exponent for old St. Louis barrelhouse piano. Jacob Alspach's wonderful gut-bucket trombone is reminiscent of Ike Rodgers - a St. Louis musician from the 20s and 30s. Guitarist Johnny Donatowicz, from Chicago, draws his influence from Lonnie Johnson and Clifford Gibson, and his playing perfectly blurs the line between early jazz and blues.
Venue Information:
The Stage at KDHX
3524 Washington Avenue
St. Louis, MO, 63103