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Twangfest Continues to Impress

Once Again at Last

by Carrie Zukoski

After a two-year hiatus, St. Louis’ Twangfest is back — and the team who puts together the show was excited — they even named year 24 “Once Again at Last.” To add to their excitement was the addition of the long-sought-after The Jayhawks who headlined at Off Broadway on the third night of the four-day music-centric event. 

“I can’t believe I’m this close,” exclaimed one diehard fan about being a mere two and a half feet from the low stage. And that’s one of the best parts of Twangfest and of Off Broadway — you’re never more than about 50 or so feet from your favorite artist. Another great part is the people at Twangfest are true connoisseurs of alt-country/indy/Americana music who typically give the utmost attention to all the bands on stage.

This paragraph is my personal pet peeve and only complaint of part of the night which is not at all the fault of the event. Yes, I wrote typically — I thought it would say always but on this night of Twangfest, the crowd chatter near the back (which, again, isn’t very far back) at times overtook the room during opener Prairie Rehab. Which is frustrating on many levels, especially since there’s an easily accessible door to the outside that those uninterested in the music or who found themselves in a conversation could (and should) take elsewhere and not interrupt the rest who wanted to hear this melodious Americana quartet who could also most likely hear the unwelcome prattle.

Other than that foolishness, which sadly happens at many concerts, the June 10 edition of Twangfest 24 appeared to run smoothly. Even the forecasted steady rain stayed away minus a few sprinkles. 

The aforementioned St. Louis’ own Prairie Rehab kicked the night off with 30-minutes of their mix of folk/country with a hint of power pop replete with singer/songwriter Lacie Williams’ soft, lilting lyrics. Songs included “Furious Love,” “Solstice,” “Ordinaire” and one from their upcoming album “Lavender Doe.” 

No stranger to Twangfest, Chicago-based Steve Dawson and Lucid Dreams took the middle slot with close to 50-minutes of what NewCity Music described as “deft, incisive songwriting and gorgeously evocative high tenor. Folk and Tumble described Dawson’s voice as, “warm, comforting, strong, and resonant” and the set brought at least one audience member to tears with the overflowing sentiment found in many of the songs that included “Saskatchewan to Chicago,” “Love is a Blessing,” and “At the Bottom of a Canyon.” 

After a 30-minute break, the harmony-heavy alt-country Minneapolis-based The Jayhawks strode onto stage at 10:25 p.m. to a sold-out house and quickly settled into an impressive and long setlist that included fan favorites “Think About It,” “Bitter Pill,” “Waiting for the Sun,” and “Sound of Lies.” They tossed in covers of Golden Smog’s “Listen Joe,” The Chick’s “Everybody Knows,” and Grand Funk Railroad’s “Bad Time.” Last FM prominently lists The Jayhawks as a top twang band and with a dedicated following and 11 studio albums under their belt since the mid-80s it’s easy to see why.

Twangfest continues to impress each year with four nights of solid, professional music featuring local and national acts while mixing in a touch of down-home goodness in the simple setup of one of the most intimate music venues in town. 

More photos from night three of Twangfest: https://bit.ly/Twangfest24cz22 


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