Billiken Club announces semester lineup

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Billiken Club announces semester lineup

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Before Bon Iver won two Grammy Awards and played major stages such as Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, the group started with smaller venues, playing shows to get their name and music out there. One of the smaller stages Bon Iver played was SLU’s own Billiken Club, located in what is now the Billiken Club and Grill, in the Busch Student Center, in April 2008. Before Walk the Moon first debuted their track “Shut up and Dance,” last spring in the Simon Rec Center, they played at the Billiken Club for less than $300. Similar is the story of St. Vincent, who won the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album, and also performed at the Billiken Club as an up-and-comer.

This spring, The Billiken Club, partnered with KSLU, has 12 up-and-coming bands and artists, some from up-and-coming genres, coming to perform free of charge (for SLU students). “For the people who run the Billiken Club, it’s kind of a game of ‘how cheap can we get an artist for the value?’” KSLU General Manager Grant Nikseresht said. “The shows are specifically subsidized not to worry about making a profit, but to bring in music that is cutting edge, stuff that isn’t yet mainstream. We try to be on the cusp of what is important in music for the next couple years.”

The Billiken Club, which won the Riverfront Times award for Best All-Ages Venue in St. Louis in 2009, is resurging after a few-year lull. The Club, which began operation in 2007, faltered and stopped hosting artists when the person chiefly in charge left SLU in 2011; shows began again in fall 2013. With seven shows this spring, the Club is nearly back to its peak potential, according to Nikseresht.

The Billiken Club is unique in that students are solely responsible in choosing the acts that perform, and they are always looking for more members. Oftentimes, because the bands are so fresh, they have not released albums yet, so they send KSLU and Billiken Club members demo copies. Members then evaluate the album to see if the band is worth pursuing and hosting. However, it is not always this easy, and oftentimes club members spend significant time researching music in emerging genres and looking into rising musicians in an attempt to set a good lineup. In order to accommodate a variety of tastes, this spring’s lineup includes a variety of genres including garage rock, indie rock and pop, and electronic. Generally the shows have a theme and the artists performing the same night will belong to the same or similar genres.

This spring’s shows kicked off on March 24, with Celestial Shore, Heaters, The Mystery Lights and Double God. Double God is a local St. Louis duo that wanted to make its debut at the Billiken Club.

The next show, March 27, at the Kranzberg Arts Center in Grand Center, features Tim Hecker. Since this show is being performed in a black box, admission is limited and students are encouraged to arrive early.

Untold, Egryptixx and Rai take the stage next on March 31. Untold and Egryptixx are both transcendent, electronic musicians who will be performing live sets. Along with this show is a workshop being held during the day at 333 North Beaumont that is free to the public. At the workshop, the artists will answer questions and share information on electronic music production.

The next show, on April 9, features Twerps and The Funs, a local St. Louis band. Since the music venue Plush closed its doors, the Billiken Club, with the help of Plush, was able to book a band normally above its budget: Shlohmo, slated for April 18. Shlohmo is definitive in Los Angeles Electronic music. The spring series wraps up with shows by Seoul and Ballet School on April 23.

“When you’re bringing in up-and-coming artists, it’s important to try to establish trust. We’ve put in a lot of time to try to make it easy for students to come and try out some new genres and bands,” Nikseresht said.

All of the shows, save the Tim Hecker show on March 27, are located at the Billiken Club, in the Busch Student Center, inside the Billiken Club and Grill. Doors for most shows open at 8 p.m., with the bands coming on at 8:30.