Tom Waits has emerged from his Northern California pod to announce a brief tour of the South and Midwest, in true “I'm cooler than you” fashion. "We need to go to Tennessee to pick up some fireworks, and someone owes me money in Kentucky," Waits said in a press release.
The brief tour will stop in Atlanta, Asheville, Memphis, Nashville, Louisville, Chicago, Detroit, and Akron. Akron? So, for those of you keeping score at home, that's eight cities, three of which end in "-ville." Somehow, I doubt that's a complete coincidence.
Too bad someone doesn't owe him a Buick carburetor in St. Louis. A Waits tour is a rare thing, indeed, and it looks like Chicago or one of the Tennessee shows will be the closest Waits comes to St. Louis. This in itself is not a surprise. St. Louis is not exactly a hot stop destination for artists with a, um, scattered, devoted following.
St. Louis is primarily a radio airplay tour stop, with the occasional non-radio-friendly musician making an appearance at either the Pageant, Duck Room, Mississippi Nights, or one of the other smaller venues (Elvis Costello, Lucinda Williams, and Vic Chesnutt have all made stops in St. Louis in the recent past).
St. Louis is, first and foremost, a Top 40 and Aging Rock Dinosaurs city, especially in the summer. It's a city where current hot ticket acts go to get a bump in sales and where aging musical icons brush off their dusty corpses and give it one last fling.
This summer's concert list reads like a musical shitstorm nightmare, with Kelly Clarkson, Def Leppard, Journey, Sammy Hagar, and Earth, Wind, and Fire all bringing their particular brand of torture to the city. There is some relief, though, with yet another Built To Spill show at Mississippi Nights and a truly rare Silver Jews show at the Duck Room at the end of July.