When the leaves turn and the days gets shorter you need something to do. In a market as small as St. Joseph, Missouri, your not going to be able to catch a good band that you have a couple CDs of stashed back in the closet either. There is good music, but it is played by your friends and neighbors in a town this small.
An inevitable side effect is watching bad music. The only way to know about bands is either word of mouth or flat out going to shows and hoping you don’t see some Nickelback tribute. So you will see some crap music; it’s gonna happen. There is also good music every now and then. Like last night at the Cafe Acoustic when I was desperate to go to a show. On a Saturday in October I wanted to see something good.
I was lucky enough to stumble upon a couple of the best acts I have seen in St. Joe. I walked in while the first band was playing and it sounded good; really good. It was a fairly new band from right here in the St. Joe area named The GasTown Lamps. I had heard from a friend that the headlining band, The Factory Workers, were a 2-piece band, just guitar and drums and The GasTown Lamps had the same format so I actually thought they were The Factory Workers.
As a bare bones guitar and drums band it is natural to make comparisons to one of three great bands: Local H, The White Stripes and most recently The Black Keys. The October 14th showcase at the Cafe Acoustic was dead on Black Keys…for both bands. For me to talk about either of the bands at this show and not compare them to the Black Keys would be a criminal offense. I’m not saying they are ripping off The Black Keys, that is just the best way to compare their sound.
As is customary for the Cafe Acoustic now, the evening was far from acoustic. The fuzz of an electric guitar is a welcome addition to the place. The GasTown Lamps blasted through a couple guitar heavy blues numbers and introduced themselves, so I realized I still got to see another band afterward. The GasTown Lamps use driving drums and dense guitar to blast through rockabilly, blues and even a couple slow songs. They really blew me away, they were fantastic.
At this time I will point out that The GasTown Lamps will return to the Cafe Acoustic on Thursday, October 20, 2011, you should go. Get there early, starts at 7pm.
The Factory Workers took the stage with a similar approach and induced the crowd of about 25-30 people to get very into the show. It can be tough in an intimate venue to get the crowd going, alcohol helps, but its still rare. The Factory Workers had the small audience bouncing. In my opinion both bands are a must see if you get a chance. To see a band create that amount of energy is a really cool thing to watch.
Now a word about the venue: The Cafe Acoustic is located at 2605 Frederick in St. Joseph, Missouri. I am now ready to crown it the best venue in St. Joseph. The sound for this show was perfect. The other shows I have attended at the Cafe have sounded great too. I have seen St. Joe’s own Pompous Pilot in about four different venues in town and the Cafe had the best sound, hands down.
The Cafe Acoustic also doesn’t have a charge at the door. The bands play for tips only. So if you do hit a crappy band you can get out of the place without any money invested. The venue is very cool with ton of music pictures absolutely covering the walls of the place and the backdrop of the stage is a grey wall were bands can take sharpies and make a free advertisement for themselves after they play. All of this and they have the best bartenders in town, they’ll take good care of you.