Best St. Louis Shows of 2011: Tower Groove Records Carnival

Tower Groove Records Carnival at Off Broadway, September 4
by Jaime Lees

This event was both an introduction and a fundraiser. Tower Groove Records was a brand new collective and this was its formal introduction into society — it’s débutante ball. This all-day show was hosted at Off Broadway and featured around twenty local bands playing both inside on the stage outside in the courtyard.

The carnival included Warm Jets USA, Catholic Guilt, The City of Takers, Accelerando, Bunnygrunt, Death of Yeti, Peck of Dirt, Doom Town, The Feed, The St. Louis Shuffle, Tone Rodent, Beth Bombarda, Bug Chaser, Ransom Note, The Skekses, Fred Friction, The Hot Liquors, Theodore and Magic City. The bands played abbreviated sets and when it wasn’t their turn to perform, they ran homemade carnival games to raise money. The party was fueled by love and run by volunteers. (As a fan of local music, I volunteered some time that day, too.)

This was a very heart-warming, feel-good, charitable event — the kind of thing that usually happens at the end of the year. It was bustling all day with both volunteers and revelers; families were out with their little kids, dads munched hot dogs while moms helped their kids play a game of ring toss. (Named ‘My Ding a-Ring’ as a nod to STL music legend Chuck Berry.) The weather cooperated with a welcome break in both heat and rain, and people were streaming in all day. There was smiling, laughing, toe-tapping and even a bit of headbanging.

At then end of the (long, long) day, all of the people power had paid off. The group raised enough money to fund it’s second big project: the TGR debut release, a double-vinyl LP featuring all of the bands involved. Look for the record early next year and for more big news from Tower Groove Records to be announced soon.

Oh Shit Moment: Looked to my left, there was Fred Friction dressed like a clown and smiling at the crowd. Looked to my right, there was TGR founder Adam Hesed (of Magic City) dressed as a ringmaster and smiling at the crowd. Both looked delighted and relieved.

Highlight of the Night: During Catholic Guilt’s mid-day set, the unpredictable noise musicians were joined by a bunch of random kids in the crowd who wanted to rock. The kids were provided with instruments and they played along in the gravel in front of the stage. [pictured, video footage here]