8 noteworthy moments from St. Louis' local music scene in 2016, feat. I Went to a Show’s Jess Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

8 noteworthy moments from St. Louis' local music scene in 2016, feat. I Went to a Show’s Jess Luther

Dec 27, 2016

When St. Louis Public Radio Business Operations Specialist Jess Luther founded the live, local music blog I Went to a Show in 2010, she had three goals: get St. Louis fans to come to local shows, have them buy tickets and buy merchandise.

She wanted to help foster a community of live music lovers in a city she knows and loves.

“We’re not professional music critics but we are fans that are passionate about going to see shows,” Luther told St. Louis on the Air contributor Steve Potter. “I don’t know what we expected when we started it, but thus far, it has been a really fun labor of love.”

The blog provides information about who is playing where, interviews with local and touring bands, discussions about what to expect from shows and recaps of performances with photos.

The blog is staffed by part-time contributors and the founders.

Luther described 2016 as “a good year for local music.” On Tuesday’s program, she selected some of her favorite local music moments from the year across several genres.

American Wrestlers' “Goodbye Terrible Youth”

American Wrestlers, photographed in August 2016 by Jess Luther.
Credit Jess Luther | I Went To A Show

Luther described American Wrestlers' album as a “big, atmospheric rock record” and considers it a stepping stone to a bigger, louder sound. She played a sample from the album, “Give Up,” which she described as nostalgic. The album had a release party at Off Broadway on Dec. 15. Listen here.

Related: iLLPHONiCS, a St. Louis staple since 2006, discusses its hip-hop-rock-funk fusion sound

LouFest 2016

Bruiser Queen performs at LouFest 2016, captured by Jess Luther.
Credit Jess Luther | I Went To A Show

Luther was impressed with the local flavor represented at LouFest this year, which included iLLPHONiCS, Sleepy Rubies, Foxing, Bruiser Queen, Aaron Kamm & The One Drops, Karate Bikini and John Henry.

Adult Fur’s “µ”

Adult Fur's "μ" album cover.
Credit Adult Fur

µ” is the debut album from Adult Fur, by local producer Ryan McNeely. “The whole record has this electronic, zippy, spacey feeling,” Luther said. “But if you dig into Adult Fur’s songwriting, it addresses serious issues of inequality and other societal stuff we’re going through this year.” 

Mvstermind at work.
Credit Jess Luther | I Went To A Show

Luther chose track “V,” which features vocals by Mvstermind, a local rapper and musical artist who “epitomizes St. Louis hustle,” Luther said.

Related: Rapper Mvstermind gets inventive and personal on new album

Whiskey War Festival

This year, Whiskey War Festival expanded in a big way, moving from a St. Charles VFW Hall to the South Broadway Athletic Club in Soulard. It was the festival’s fifth year and features both local and touring bands. “Attendance was really big,” Luther said. “It was one of those community events where people pitched in and it was neat to see.”

Middle Class Fashion’s “III”

Middle Class Fashion, photographed in 2014 by Jess Luther.
Credit Jess Luther | I Went To A Show

This year, Middle Class Fashion released its third full length record titled “III.” Luther highlighted a track from the record, called “86,” which she said exemplifies the band’s movement toward a more “dark, poppy sound.” “They’ve put out three records but I think they’ll have a lot more,” Luther said. “The songwriting is strong and the band puts together great dark pop.”

Open Highway Music Festival

Pokey LeFarge headlined the Open Highway Music Festival in 2016.
Credit Jess Luther | I Went To A Show

This year’s Open Highway Music Festival was the first time the event was held outside at Off Broadway. A multi-night festival, it features Americana bands. Pokey LeFarge, “hometown hero,” as Luther described him, was the headliner.

River Kittens’ self-titled EP

River Kittens
Credit Jess Luther | I Went To A Show

After playing live shows for a year, Americana trio River Kittens released their first self-titled EP. Luther describes the band as “fun, but not cute.” “There’s a risk whenever you see an all-lady band, there is a risk to thinking they’re just cute,” Luther said. “But their songs have a bite.” That’s why I find them so captivating.” Luther selected “Trouble,” as an example of the group’s nice, tight harmonies.

LooseScrewz/FarFetched’s “Prologue V”

LooseScrewz is the moniker of Damon Davis, a local artist and producer, who is also the founder of FarFetched, a record label out of St. Louis. Every year, the record label releases a compilation disc of music released during that year. Luther recommends the album for a taste of the work coming out of FarFetched. It is titled “Prologue V.”

Related: Music Collective FarFetched Crashes Genres, Pushes Boundaries

So, how is St. Louis’ local music scene doing as a whole?

Jess Luther, a local music aficionado and St. Louis Public Radio employee, founded I Went to a Show in 2010.
Credit Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

“We’re a recovering fly-over city,” Luther said. “That’s something I heard when I first started taking on local show music attendance as a hobby. I heard that we couldn’t get people to come here, but in the last five years, I’ve seen venue owners and talent buyers and bands step up and make this music scene something to be proud of and to take elsewhere. 2017 is going to a wonderful year.”

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.