Dig In: The Best of The Week
Lenny Kravitz, Photo: Mathieu Bitton
Well, I think we can safely say that the fall is definitely here in full swing. If you’re like me, you use events like last week’s Untapped Fest to signal season changes. This week, there’s more than enough to help you forget that Summer is over. Legendary acts like Lenny Kravitz pictured above, will be gracing our fine city this week. Houston, here’s how to make the most of your next seven days.
Wednesday you can start off at Improv when Houston’s Ali Siddiq tapes his Comedy Central special, “Damaged Goods” right here in town. Siddiq is easily the most successful comic from Houston in the past decade, and the fact that he’s shooting this here is really cool. I feel like you’re an idiot if you miss this show, as I’m sure he’ll have two great Houston comics there to warm things up as well. The doors are at 7:45 and tickets are between $20.00 and $30.00.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Photo: CST Records
Warehouse Live will have the always engaging sounds of experimental Montreal act, Godspeed You! Black Emperor in the ballroom. The way in which this band plays the build to crescendo type of minimalist sound, is truly magical. I caught them live a couple of years ago, and I’d liken it to the epiphany that you experience at A Place To Bury Strangers show. Their most recent release, “Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress,” is bombastic and alluring, while keeping their core sound intact. Australian formed duo Xylouris White takes what you know of drums and the lute, and takes it to new heights. With Dirty Three drummer Jim White as part of this coupling, it could be a treat to see them perform. Their latest, last year’s “Goats” is a trip, and they’ll bring it to life as openers on the all ages show. The doors are at 8:00 and tickets are between $22.00 and $25.00.
On Thursday you should make it out to the Woodlands Pavilion for the always entertaining rock swagger of Lenny Kravitz. It may shock you to know that I’ve seen Lenny about a handful of times, and I was always pleasantly surprised by his insane live set. He’s reinvented himself at least three times, he’s sold a ton of albums, and his latest, “Strut” from last year is pretty great. Kravitz is definitely a performer who gets it and who puts all of himself into a live show. I mean, the guy can play like ten instruments, and he’ll always drop hits like “Fly Away,” “Are You Gonna’ Go My Way,” and “Always On The Run.” There’s no word of an opener, the gates are at 6:30 and the tickets are between $39.50 and $89.50.
The Nightingale Room will have the eclectic and sirenesque sounds of Houston’s Say Girl Say. The dual female vocals, the amazing percussions, and the intimate vibe to their live show is pretty mesmerizing and beautiful. Their new full length, “Say Girl Say,” is a mix of acoustic instrumentation, gorgeous vocals, and drum work that’s pretty intense. In a strange twist, they’ll have the chaotic garage rock of Houston two piece Kose on prior. They’re supposed to drop a new album sooner than later, but you can still jame their 2014 release, “Kose” until that occurs. The 21 & up show has doors at 7:00 and it’s 100% FREE.
House of Blues will host the strange one man band sound of That 1 Guy. Playing on a homemade instrument he calls the magic pipe, this guy has a pretty crazy live show that’s been covered by pretty much every media outlet out there. His latest album, “Poseidon’s Deep Water Adventure Friends” from last year, falls in line with his usually different sound. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets for $19.33.
Adrian Lux, Photo: OH Daygo
Over at Stereo Live, you can catch the popular electronica of Sweden’s Adrian Lux. Lux has been popping off for a good while, where his 2012 hit, “Teenage Crime” saw him gain a much wider following. Last year he returned with a new album, “Make Out,” that held two successful jams with “Damaged,” and “Sooner Or Later.” All I know is that his songs make me want to dance, which is a feat in itself. The 18 & up show has doors at 9:00 and tickets for $10.00.
Of course, you could keep things local and head to DJ Dayta’s night at Boondock’s, Sho Nuff. Dayta is seriously underrated in this town, and he even has affiliation with Red Bull. This week, he’ll have producer and DJ to Fat Tony, iLL Faded on the decks. Faded is one of the realest, coolest, and best producers going right now in Houston; and his ear for hitmaking is insane. The nights where these two are behind tables is truly intense, while they mix all sorts of jams that make any person want to get on the dance floor. The 21 & up show is always 100% FREE, and the doors are at 10:00.
Friday you could start off over at Toyota Center for the tunes of Florida’s pop princess Ariana Grande. I’m sure I don’t have to state that she’s popular, or that her last, “My Everything” from last year is a big deal. New York bachata singer, Prince Royce will open the all ages show with doors at 6:30, and tickets between $29.50 and $79.50.
You can show your hometown pride when Fuck You Houston’s Awesome opens their store at 2315 Commerce St. and throws a Grand Opening party. The affair features jams from Flash Gordon Parks, Boombox Tacos, and FREE Karbach Beer. It’s all ages and gets going at 7:00.
At Walter’s you could catch Philly based punk rockers, Sheer Mag. I say punk, but they’re really just rock attitude with punkish undertones. Their latest, a 7” called “II” is pretty magnetic and sounds like they’ll be an entertaining act to see. They will have the hardcore old school punk of Austin’s GLUE on as direct support. These guys have that mix of late seventies and early eighties punk that should make for a great show. The high energy of Houston’s Talk Sick Brats will go on prior, while Common Ignorance will open the all ages show. This is a pretty rad punk bill with doors at 8:00 and tickets between $7.00 and $10.00.
Warehouse Live will have the gypsy infused hip hop dub sounds of Beats Antique. This three piece is like the kitchen sink of music acts, but I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that they’re crazy and always fascinating to see live. This performance will be their “creature carnival” meaning that improvisational acts, audience participation and more will be a part of the performance. Their most recent album, last year’s “A Thousand Faces: Act II” should give you an idea of their genre mixing sounds. MC Lyrics Born, who is almost as eclectic will be there as direct support and opener. This guy uses funk, soul, and R&B in his tunes that he flows like air atop of. His recently dropped, “Real People” from this year is cool sounding, as well as away from the herd. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $18.00 and $22.00.
Chelsea Wolfe, Photo: Jeff Elstone
Rudyard’s will have to doom-drenched electro folk of LA’s Chelsea Wolfe on hand. Wolfe is like a better and female version of what Marilyn Manson has spent a lifetime trying to be. Her songs are steeped in gloom while her vocals pepper the painful and dark electronics that steer her tunes. Her latest, “Abyss” from this year is darker and more melodic than her previous album, while still feeling engaging and bizarre. The roots based dark folk of Denver’s Wovenhand will be on prior, and will more than likely freak everyone out. Known for a strange and psych heavy live set, his last release, “Refractory Obdurate” is a real trip. The all ages show will have doors at 9:00 and a $15.00 cover.
Notsuoh will have the tour kickoff for Houston experimental three piece, MOTHS. These guys are loud, unapologetic, and chaotic..like if Drive Like Jehu and Acid Mothers Temple were fist fighting on stage together, kind of sound. Their most recent is a split with Haunter, and it’s like a heart attack. There’s no word of an opener, but the show has doors at 9:00 and a TBA cover.
Phoenicia MKT Bar will host another week of healthy comedic competition, when the Beta Theater Beta Bracket Comedy Contest occurs. This competition is crazy, if not for the only reason that $4,000.00 in total prize money is up for grabs, $3,000.00 for first place alone. If you know an unsuccessful comic who isn’t in this thing they must either have rich parents of some TV credits; cause’ that’s a lot of dough. The biggest amount of money ever awarded in a Houston contest will go to someone funny, and since it’s audience vote, you can help decide someone’s fate. This show is FREE, the parking is FREE, and the all ages event starts at 10:00.
If you wanna’ get your dance on, then Boondocks will host another amazing evening with the BLACKOUT crew. Ape Drums, Leckie, Hyro, and Act Badd all throw a seriously fun party that you should make it out for on them alone. However, this edition will have Fool’s Gold artist and genre mixing badass, Falcons as headliner. Mixing Southern rap, east coast hip hop and R&B, this guy drops jams like no one else, and is definitely an act to see. His latest EP, “Terra,” is something else, and definitely full of tracks to get down to. The 21 & up show has doors at 10:00, and carries a measly $5.00 cover.
Saturday, you can kick things off at The Moon Tower Inn, for their crazy 5th Anniversary show. From noon to 5:00, all menu items are just $5.00. Then they’ll bring in DJ Dayta, Hevin Spacey, and Devin The Dude to drop jams. Dayta knows how to rock the decks, Hevin Spacey will blow your mind, and Devin is never short of impressive on a mic. Things start at noon with music starting at 6:30. It’s all ages & 100% FREE.
You might also want to swing by Cactus Records when the folk rock of Grisbee performs their in-store celebrating their new release. These guys play the kind of folk rock that makes you want to soak up their music as you sit back and enjoy them perform. They blend Americana and Southern undertones in a way that’s pretty interesting, while still forging their own musical path. Things start at 3:00, it’s all ages, and there’s probably some sort of beer on hand as well. More details are here.
Wrestlers, Photo: The Bomb Factory
On the block that holds Alley Kat, continental, Big Top and what not, the Yes, Indeed Festival will be taking place. This year the lineup is pretty strong, being headlined by Brown Sabbath. These guys perform Black Sabbath songs, but more psych and Latin infused. The nine piece is the alter ego of Brownout, and their self titled release, “Brownout” from last year is pretty solid. Houston electronic pop act, Wrestlers will also be on the bill, and should bring some dope jams to the audience. These two dropped a song with Twin Shadow called “Say Anything,” and if they have the full band in tow, then get ready to get down. The always entertaining indie rock of Houston’s Young Mammals will be there as well. These guys made one of my favorite albums of last year with the beautifully engaging and just fun sounding, “Alto Seco,” and they’re always a great and to see live. The funky goodness and always energetic funk jams of Electric Attitude will be there too. If you’ve never seen these guys, you’re missing out, and their latest release, “Skintight & Solid Gold” is insane. The prolific indie sounds of The Wheel Workers will also be present. Okay, aside from the fact that they dropped a double album last year and an EP this year, they’re already recording a follow up. That EP “Citizens” is amazing and their live show is not to be missed. After a bit of a hiatus, Bang Bangz will be coming back after a handful of shows. I don’t think you know this, but Mario and Elizabeth from this band own Wonky Power records, they built a venue, a practice space, and a studio as well as a record label. So, I think they weren’t really on a hiatus as much as they were just really busy. They have always impressed me live, and their album “Mexico” from this year is pretty great. The soulful and genre mixined sounds of Moji will be on the bill too. Moji live is like watching three personalities have fits of love, hate, pain, and energetic rage all at the same time. Take a listen to some tracks from their EP “Desert Son,” to get a feel for what you’ll see. It’s the same but on fire in a live setting. Second Lovers will also be in tow, and will bring their highly energetic alt country twang to life. Like a live country party at a local honky tonk, they’re nothing short of impressive to watch perform. If you live under a rock you’ve probably missed their amazing single, “Hold On,” released earlier this year. Other highlights from the fest include the ever popular hip hop of Houston’s Guilla. This guy is riding high on a great year that includes an FPSF appearance, remixes of his “Rap, Trap, and Drums” EP, and multiple bigger shows to be on. The enigmatic and alluring energy of dark electronica trio, black kite is also set to perform. Away from the fact that the follow up to 2013’s “Bird” will drop early next year, these three break the electronica mold with high energy, live drums, and haunting vocals that stick in your head days after their set. NOLA instrumental hip hop artist, AF The Naysayer will also be on the bill. AF drops an interesting mix of electronic based hip hop that is definitely fun, and his “The Autodidact Instrumentals Vol. 1” is intense. The indie rock meets piano pop of Walker Lukens will also be there, as will Jealous Creatures and so many more. The 21 & up show has doors at 5:00 and tickets for $15.00 pre-sale, and $20.00 at the door. More details are available here, and at $20.00, that’s about $.80 a band.
If you’d rather get your punk on, then you can go over to Eastdown Warehouse for the I Don’t Give A Punk show. Houston bands Some Nerve, Action Frank, and Fuska will all be on hand to support two out of town bands. I feel like you’re missing a good show if you don’t catch Some Nerve sooner than later. Late last year they dropped the highly energetic album, “Some Nerve,” and their live show is crazy and tight. San Antonio’s Given A Chance will be there to play their pop punk tunes, while El Paso’s La Chapuza will play their blend of reggae and punk. The all ages show has doors at 6:00 and a $5.00 cover.
Beta Theater will have another edition of their Password show. It’s like a mix of game show and sketch comedy that includes grabbing audience members for a chance at a cash prize, hosted by Jerry Emeka. This version will include guests Mary McCall of Big Heart Sound, and comic Zach Dickson. There’s pay what you want booze, the doors are at 6:30, and there’s a $6.00 cover.
At Walters you can see the almost folky indie rock of New Jersey’s Titus Andronicus. I caught these guys back in the day and they were pretty impressive. Their most recent album is the 29 song “The Most Lamentable Tragedy” from this year, and it’s their best to date. They’ll have the indie folk pop of New Jersey five piece, Spider Bags on prior. Brooklyn chillwave act, Baked will open the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and tickets between $13.00 and $15.00.
Numbers will have the once popular sounds of Belgium’s Front 242 in town for the first time in a very long time. Though their most recent album was seven years ago with “Moments 1,” these guys were once on Sony, and they dropped a ton of industrial/dance hits. Songs like “Headhunter,” “Moldavia,” and “Welcome To Paradise,” were all the dance jams back in the day. Houston’s The Hunger will be there to play an oldschool set, while JG and The Robots open the show up. It’s all ages, but technically sold out. The club will be selling 250 tickets at the door for $50.00 each, and the doors are at 8:00. The 250 tickets at the door are first come first serve.
Over at House of Blues you could catch the indie synth pop of California’s Gardens & Villa. The four piece has been around since 2008, but has scored plenty of fans since their inception. You might know them for their popular song, “Black Hills.” Their new album, “Music For Dogs,” from this year is getting plenty of play, and should make for an interesting set. They’ll have the indie rock three piece pop of Palehound on as openers and direct support. Their new album, “Dry Food” is like a fun lo-fi pop jam. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets for $12.00.
Colleen Green, Photo: Steele O’Neil
The Shop will have the pop punk of LA’s Colleen Green. So, I say punk, because it is punk; but it’s also sugary pop that you should fall head over heels for. Armed with a guitar and a drum machine, her latest album is this year’s “I Want To Grow Up,” and it’s like if Julianna Hatfield sang for The Queers. The lo-fi doo wop of Houston’s Cleen Teens will be there as direct support. The Houston trio made up of Mikey from Mikey and The Drags, and Zach from Deep Cuts is amazing to see live. Houston psych three piece Mantra Love will be there to open the all ages show with doors at 9:00 and an $8.00 cover.
You could end your Saturday night at Beta Theater for the Midnight Snack show from The Secret Group. Six comics that are all funny will be on the show with six snacks, some from out of town and some local; but all equally good. The show has Gabe Bravo, Chris Trew, CJ Hunt, James Hamilton, Andrew Youngblood, and Bob Morrissey on the billing, and it’s another new concept from these inventive show creators. The doors are at 11:00 and the cover is $5.00.
Sunday you could start off at Warehouse Live for the power pop trio, Lydia. The Arizona band has been going strong for over a decade, and their 2013 release, “Devil” got all sorts of praise. Southern California post emo hardcore act, Seahaven will be on the bill as direct support. These guys dropped a pretty good record last year with “Reverie Lagoon: Music For Escapism Only.” Virginia Beach emo pop four piece, Turnover will also be on the bill. Their latest, “Peripheral Vision” from this year is pretty hard to not like. Arizona four piece, The Technicolors will be there to open things up. These guys are loud and they play an almost Brit rock meets Southern garage pop type of music. Their latest, “Ultraviolet Disguise” from this year is really catchy and different. the all ages show in the studio has doors at 6:00 and tickets between $15.00 and $17.00.
Happening over at Walters they’ll host the Savage Bootlegs premiere. The new Youtube series features punk bands that were recorded live and interviewed. It’s also Terry Nunn’s birthday and the grand opening of Deep End Records. So what’s that mean, well you can buy records, grab a drink for the best sound guy in Houston, and watch a bunch of punk all at the same spot. The all ages affair is 100% FREE and has doors at 7:00.
At Dean’s you can catch their weekly singer/songwriter series, this week with the always entertaining Chase Hamblin. Chase is one of our city’s strongest songwriters, and this year’s “Way Back” proved it. He’ll be joined by Ragged Hearts’ Corey Power and Aaron Kaufman as well. They’ll perform in the round on the 21 & up show with doors at 8:00. The show is also 100% FREE.
Notsuoh will host an evening with Houston’s modular synth master, Pfaffenberg. This guy brings a modular rack with him and just patches everything from techno to UK grime, and does it with ease. If you don’t know what a modular synth is, it’s the traditional way to make synth sounds manually, and it’s amazing to see. The details are here, the doors are at 8:30, and it’s 100% FREE.
Monday you should make it over to Warehouse Live for the hip hop of Chicago’s Lil Durk. This guys has a lot of heat on him right now, and he mixes R&B vocals atop a hip hop beat. His new album, “Remember My Name” shows a lot of growth, and he’s supposed to slay a mic live. He has the hip hop of Chicago’s Hypno Carlito on as direct support. Carlito is kind of new, but his single, “Forever (feat Lil Varney)” is pretty sick. The all ages show in the studio has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $17.00 and $20.00.
Tuesday you could head out to Woodlands Pavilion to see the heartthrob rock of Rick Springfield. Springfield was such a big deal when I was a kid with his massive hit, “Jessie’s Girl,” but honestly, the guy has written some pretty good tracks aside from that. Songs like “I’ve Done Everything For You,” and “Love Somebody” sound better today than they did when they were crammed down your throat on every radio station back in the day. He has a new record, but no one cares. The arena rock of Loverboy will also be on the show as direct support. They had hits like “Working For The Weekend,” and “Turn Me Loose,” which I’m guessing they’re contractually obligated to play. Eighties two hit wonders, The Romantics will open things up. Their big songs were “What I Like About You,” and “Talking In Your Sleep.” This show should be fun if you’re nostalgic, or if you wonder what kind of concerts your parents attend. The gates are at 6:00 and the tickets are between $29.50 and $59.50.
Dollie Barnes, Photo: DannyHernandez
Your better bet is to go to Rudyard’s to catch the folk rock of San Francisco’s Ryan Sambol. Thisguy sounds like a mix of Bob Dylan, Warren Zevon, and Woodie Guthrie. His latest is this year’s beautifully crafted, “Now Ritual.” Houston’s Adam Bricks will be on hand as well, and will drop his newer tunes that follow his folk rock vibes. His last record was the amazing sounding “City Songs,” from 2013. One of my favorite new acts in Houston, Dollie Barnes will be there as well. There’s something about such an emotionally strong voice coming from someone that will engage me every time, and that’s the best way to describe her mix of rock and subtle country songs. The 21 & up show has doors at 8:00 and a measly $8.00 cover.
Rootsy alt-pop five piece, The Glorious Sons will be in the studio at Warehouse Live. These Canadians play the kind of rock that’s reminiscent of The Tragically Hip, with a little more soul. their latest album, last year’s “The Union” is worth giving a listen; and they just sound like an act full of energy. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $12.00 and $14.00.
That’s about it, but another stacked week full of options. No matter what you decide to do, please be mindful of everyone else, use a safeway home, and drink like an adult.