On March 18th, Saint Louis lost a Rock and Roll icon with the passing of Chuck Berry. The ninety year old musician performed monthly at local venue the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill up until recent years. Sunday night was the perfect way to tribute Chuck with a full night of rockin’ music in the same performance space he called home. The first show since his passing was Detroit’s Electric Six along with tour-mates Residual Kid and local act Other People. Each band took a moment to honor the musician who helped create the very genre they perform and love. The show opened with a proud “Hail, Hail, Rock and Roll”.
Other People is the brain child of Bob McMahon (Guitar/Vocals/Drums) and Jeremy Goldmeier (Keyboard, Vocals, Drums), two childhood friends whose mutual love of music has come together to form a unique songwriting experience. The two friends joined with AJ Lane (Bass) who is also a member of Without Hazard. The band is technically a two for one special with Bob and Jeremy switching off roles on Drums and Vocals. Each writes the songs that they sing on, giving a fun variance throughout. Goldmeier’s songs strongly evoke early Ben Folds Five with a key board smashing good time and epic storytelling within the vocals. The storytelling is a common thread among their songs, as well as a garage rock/surf sound that gives them an upbeat and peppy vibe. McMahon’s performance on the guitar for his songs brings a full sound with a solid rock core. Overall Other People proves that making good music is not just about polished vocals or refined melodies. Check out their album Other Songs by Other People on Bandcamp, as well as their performance on Record Store Day at The Heavy Anchor.
Residual Kid is an Austin, Texas band who is currently on tour along with Electric Six. They also have recently played with Dinosaur Jr. who played a show the very same night here in the Lou. The three-piece band has been around since 2009 and is made up of Ben Redman (Drums), Deven Ivy (Guitar/Vocals), and Max Redman (Bass). Along with them on the tour was a guest guitarist who also happens to be the oldest in the group. The core members range from fifteen to seventeen, something you would never guess from hearing their music. The group even won Austin Music Poll’s “Best Under 18” in 2013. There is a sense of timelessness that goes beyond their years as their early grunge sound would make any old punk feel nostalgic. While the other acts contained much more of a lyrical base, Residual Kid is all about the harsh noise. Their sound has heavy DIY hardcore influences with a base in pure rock. The full range of instruments on stage with the addition of the guest guitarist helped to give a layered and epic sound. Ivy slowed it down and took a moment of silence for Chuck Berry before the set finished off, a testament to how these young musicians are inspired by those before them.
While both opening acts held merit of their own, the room was there for one reason, Electric Six. Most people are familiar with their debut 2003 album, Fire, which contains hit songs Danger! High Voltage, Dance Commander and Gay Bar (which you may have heard on Ebaum’s World back in the day). This is by no means their first time through town and even showed off some STL history trivia by taking a moment to recall the Creepy Crawl as “the worst venue that existed ever”. The band played all the hits and more with a set that totaled out over twenty songs. Front-man Dick Valentine promised a few extra songs for a crowd that was willing to be out on a Sunday night. Showing no fatigue, everyone sang along to every word, dancing and pumping their fists in the air along with the music. Over the years the lineup has changed but the Six in their current form includes Valentine (Vocals), Johnny Nashinal (Guitar), Da Vé (Guitar), ´Tait Nuclues? (Keyboards), Rob Lower (Bass), and Two-Handed Bob (Drums).
Dick Valentine, one of the two founding members, is the star of the show. When he’s not giving full force vocals with choreographed Stop Making Sense era dance moves, he’s entertaining the crowd with his raunchy and unpredictable antics. You can see his influences from Freddie Mercury and Devo coming out full force once he gets in the zone. The rest of the dudes give a solid base for his performance, with disco infused melodies and rock jams. Electric Six goes everywhere from Techno to Funk to Hard Rock, wherever it takes to get the crowd feeling right. Their encore performance included a full hearted tribute of Chuck Berry’s You Can Never Tell, as well as a hit of their own to close out the night. You do not want to miss Electric Six next time they come through town.
More photos from Sunday:
All photography featured is © Photography by J Rose 2017