All Fired Up: The Best of The Week
Photo: Jelle Wagenaar
Well, it’s another epic week full of to do’s in the Bayou City. Hopefully, everyone who attended The Sammy Awards, will have gotten over their hangovers by now. This week has plenty of touring legends, comedy legends, and legends in the making. Here’s where your rent money should go.
Wednesday has a pretty good list of options that start off with Paul Collins Beat over at Walter’s. Collins’ last release was the 2008 album, “Ribbon Of Gold.” On it, he dropped some pretty melodic tunes that may have gone somewhere if he had been a couple of decades younger. He’s kind of known as “The King of Power Pop,” and his bio definitely proves it. Having been a founding member of The Nerves, The Beat, and now, PCB; he’s definitely living up to that title. He’ll have help from the likes of San Antonio’s garage rockers and Burger Records artists, The Rich Hands. These guys mix doo wop with garage overtones; and almost sound like a poppier version of Ramones. The sixties garage rock psych swagger of Houston’s Born Liars will also be on hand to give the other bands a run for their money. I would hope you would have caught Born Liars live in past years; but if you haven’t then you definitely should. They sound like what the Stones could have sounded like if Brian Jones had stayed in. The garage pop of Mikey and The Drags will get things started while getting a warm up for their upcoming tour. The doors are at 7:00, it’s an all ages affair, and the tickets are between $10.00 and $12.00.
There’s a double header over at Fitzgerald’s that has Japan’s Shonen Knife downstairs. Kurt Cobain was a big enough fan of them to bring them out to tour with Nirvana. Since then, they’ve had a steady stream of releases make their way on this side of the world. Their latest, this year’s “Overdrive” sounds like it could’ve been written by Rivers Cuomo of Weezer fame. There’s rock power chords mixed with pop hooks and Ramones sounding backing vocals. I have seen these women several times before and they never disappoint live. They’ll have to turn their amps up to eleven however, as Houston’s all female rockers Giant Kitty will be opening the show up. I’m pretty sure that since I know for a fact that they’re huge fans of Shonen Knife, that they might hold back a bit in their rockin’. I mean, they could be some of the hardest rock Houston’s had since that “Lil Old Band from Texas” played here regularly. The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are a miniscule price between $12.00 and $16.00.
Upstairs at Fitz, they’ll play host to the Mannequin Mishap tour kick off, that will see the math rock band all the way to California. It’s interesting to me that these guys have the sound of June of 44, Boilermaker, and a bit of Drive Like Jehu; yet they’re only a two piece. They put on an interesting live show that you should see yourself before they leave for over a month. The indie prog of Alvin’s Vox Vocis will actually be headlining the show. Xox Vocis sounds like they’re mixing recording styles on their release; but they should be an act that will be worthy of closing the show. Austin’s math rockers, Ballerino will go on third. These guys have an interesting way of opening songs, and they definitely sound like Rush meets Joan of Arc. The screamy math rock chaos of Galveston’s Blast Dad will get things started with doors at 7:00, and cover between $5.00 and $10.00 for the all ages show.
If you want to get your dance on, then I’d consider going to Numbers when they begin their newest weekly show, Be.Witched Wednesdays. DJ Damon Allen and Kris Hex will drop some of the darker sounds from the underground scene, while bringing in a host of DJ’s from around Houston and Austin as guests. Everything from experimental industrial to catchier stuff like Nitzer Ebb; it’ll all find a home on this night. Things get rolling around 9:00, there’s a $5.00 cover for under 21, and everyone else gets in for FREE.
Carlos Santana will be performing over at Bayou Music Center, also on Wednesday. Santana is and always has been a heck of a guitar player, and even though he released that crappy song with Rob Thomas; he’s still great to see live. I lucked out in seeing him live before he released that song, so I was saved from having to hear it in concert. Santana is here in support of his latest, “Corazon” from this year. Santana actually gets a little funkier on this release, and he should bring his “A game” for this show. There doesn’t appear to be an opener and the rumor is that it’s sold out. But that can change on the day of the show. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets are between $69.50 and $135.00, but scientifically; this could be one of your last chances to see him live.
Thursday you can make it over to Discovery Green to catch two of our areas better bands, when New West Artists Buxton & Wild Moccasins drop a FREE show on the public. I say the area, because Buxton is technically from LaPorte. However, that shouldn’t sway your opinion of them, as I hear they’ll be dropping their follow up to 2012’s “Nothing Here Seems Strange.” These guys are pretty much a tour de force in the world of Americana. The catchy hooks of their songs are only brought to life by stellar live shows. The same can be said about Wild Moccasins. Their 2014 release, “88 92” was one of those albums I wished I had reviewed. Catchy hooks, and a discotheque vibe, coupled with Zahira’s emotionally haunting vocals have made it one of those albums I can’t seem to stop listening to. A simple coin toss at 6:00 will decide who plays first for the all ages show that might have a ton of attendees; so get there early to grab a spot.
Over at Improv, you can catch the first of a whole weekend with Damon Wayans. For those of you who don’t know, he’s not one of those two Wayans brothers who starred in a string a crappy films in the 200’s; but rather one of the older Wayans brothers who starred in a string of mediocre films in the nineties. Aside from not turning down roles, Wayans is a pretty funny guy who’s a stronger comic than comedic actor. Wayans might be known for roles in “The Last Boy Scout,” or varying acts on “In Living Color;” but he’s also made plenty of one hour comedy specials. Like with most of these shows, two of Houston’s best and brightest comics will serve as host and feature. There are shows all weekend, one on Thursday and one on Sunday; with two on Friday and two on Saturday. The tickets are between $35.00 and $45.00, and you might want to get presale tickets; because some of the shows have sold out already.
Nashville’s Jeff The Brotherhood will be stopping by Warehouse Live, also on Thursday. These guys, a two piece, are basically lovers of a Big Muff pedal and a simple beat. On the heels of their follow up to 2012’s “Hypnotic Nights,” the duo will be here in support of their newest drop, “Dig The Classics EP.” Basically it’s a covers release that has songs by Pixies, My Bloody Valentine, and more. For some strange reason, there’s not an opener on the show set to take place in the studio at the venue. That may change prior to showtime, with doors at 7:00 and tickets between $12.00 and $14.00 for the all ages show.
Over at Fitzgerald’s, you could catch the electronica duo, Break Science from Brooklyn. These two pretty much do what James Templeton does by himself, including putting on a good live show. They’ll be here in support of their latest, last year’s “Seven Bridges.” The six member all horn sounds of The Shady Horns will also be on board, while the hip hop instrumentals of Minnesota’s Manic Focus will drop some of his trip hop vibes. The psychedelic trap sounds of Brooklyn’s Space Jesus will get things started. Get there early, as I hear dope things about Space Jesus’ trippy live shows. The doors are at 8:00, the tickets are between $15.00 and $19.00, and the show is all ages.
On Friday, you have decisions to make, starting with the Coog Radio 5th Anniversary Bash happening over at Lynn Eusan Park on University of Houston campus. By the event page, it looks like they’ll be having Craig Kinsey headline the event. Kinsey has been dropping albums for a while now, and his latest, “American Roots and Machines” isn’t available anywhere online to link it to; which is a shame, as everyone should hear it. It doesn’t make sense, as artists don’t really lose money from album sales when they aren’t well known, so you’ll have to find a copy of it somewhere to hear it. He throws a pretty crazy party when he plays his blend of country meets New Orleans brass. Houston’s Southern Backtones are also on the bill, and should bring their blend of Southern pop rock when they perform. Their last release in 2012, “La Vie En Noir” continued their tradition of infectious tunes. They’ll have to bring it, as Houston’s Young Mammals will be performing as well. Young Mammals just dropped an amazing new record titled “Alto Seco” and everyone in Houston should go see them; as they have more energy in one member than most whole bands. Only Beast will be getting things started, which is like saying a freight train will be on stage. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this three piece in my life. Their drummer plays a piccolo snare, their singer bounces around like she’s full of Red Bull, and their guitarist plays guitar and bass at the same time. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that they’re great and that their album, “Only Beast” was one of my favorite of last year. There will also be comedy from Flirt Reynolds alongside FREE Food, FREE Drinks, and a chance to win a FREE Pair of three day passes to Fun Fun Fun Fest. Things get started, it’s all ages, open to the public; and it’s 100% FREE.
Of course, if you’re a big Bob Barker fan, then the screening of the Adam Sandler flick, “Happy Gilmore” over at Discovery Green might be your best bet. The film gets started around 7:30, and though it’s a family friendly event, there are some foul words that you should be aware of in the film. It’s a FREE event for anyone who wishes to attend.
You could go catch Interpol over at House of Blues. Interpol is here in support of their recently released album, “El Pintor.” Taking a turn towards a little more pop and more hook heavy tunes, the album finds the band treading new territory, while keeping with Banks’ signature vocals. If you’ve never seen them live, I’d definitely say check them out, as they put on a good show. The Bauhaus meets early Depeche Mode sounds of Mexico City’s Rey Pila will get things started. They’re signed to Julian Casablancas’ label Cult, so get used to hearing lots about them in the future. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets that are left are $39.00.
If you’re up for a laugh, then you could make it over to Phoenicia MKT Bar for the final round of the Beta Bracket Comedy Competition. One of three comics will win $2,000.00, one will win $500.00, and one will win $100.00 to close down the twelve week event. You’ll have to choose between Lena Silva, Zach Dickson, and Ashton Womack, as it’s audience vote. If you want a ballot, then you’ll have to get there early because the shows have been standing room only. Your vote, hopefully based on comedic ability and not friendship; will also net the winner a live recording from Heights Vinyl. The event is 100% FREE and things get started at 9:00 sharp.
Rudyard’s will also have a show that will feature local songster Adam Bricks as headliner. Bricks has a sound that’s very unique, while still channelling Bob Dylan and early Tom Petty. His latest release, “City Songs” is a pretty infectious album, and his live shows are entertaining whether it’s him by himself or with a full band. The alt country of Houston’s Grisbee will also be on hand to add their soulful sound to the mix. You may have caught them playing Continental, and with dual vocals I’m guessing they put on a great live show. One of our city’s more eclectic acts, Cavern Hymnal will get things started off. I suggest making it early to see them live, as their mix of indie rock and Americana is pretty great. The show is 21 & up, the doors are at 9:00, and cover is $6.00.
The Youtube sensation and hip hop of Turquoise Jeep will be over at Walter’s. On their most recent drop, this year’s “Existing Musical Beings,” the group does more group sounds than most hip hop outfits. The tag team hip hop effort comes from all kinds of guest spots, and should be cool to see live. Davey & Nick from Of Montreal will be on the bill under their other group, Yip Deceiver. The duo has gotten praise for their energetic live show, as well as their new wave pop sound. They’ll be performing from their latest, “Medallius,” from last year. Hakeem will also be on hand, while Houston’s own DJ Baby Roo will get things started. The doors are at 8:00, the show is all ages, and the tickets are between $13.00 and $15.00.
Over at Continental Club, the Americana sounds of Come See My Dead Person will be putting feet on the floor. CSMDP is a big group who’s making a strong drive to play more and more shows, despite having such a large band. Their 2012 album, “Come See My Dead Person” sounds like something that’s eerily like its title. The music these guys play could be the soundtrack for a horror film that’s more realistic than fiction. Matt’s vocals come across like they’re sung from a road weary traveller who once worked as a caretaker in a cemetery. Things get rolling around 10:00, it’s 21 & up, and the cover is $10.00.
Warehouse Live has the hip hop of LA’s Ty Dolla $ign over in the ballroom. TD$ has been blowing up for several years after collaborations with the likes of YG, Wiz, and Young Jeezy. He’ll be here in town in support of his latest, 2014’s “Beach House EP.” Don’t be shocked if TD$ doesn’t have a host of guests, as the EP is littered with guests from start to finish. Chicago’s Lil Bibby will be there to get things started with his quick snap flow style, and to play stuff like his latest “Tired of Talkin’.” The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are between $20.00 and $25.00.
Iggy Azalea at Bayou Music Center looks like it’s sold out, which I hope doesn’t upset you. We live in Houston where we have more heavy hitting hip hop acts, that we don’t really need to import mediocre ones from Australia. If the venue releases tickets on the day of, they’ll start at $39.50, and the doors are at 9:00. There doesn’t appear to be an opener.
On Saturday, you could make it over to Warehouse Live to catch the most energetic and showmanship band from Houston, Knights of the Fire Kingdom. I’ve had these guys’ newest album for almost a whole year, and it should be released sooner than later. What I can tell you is that it’s a mix of Rocket From The Crypt meets Foo Fighters, while still having its own sound. I mean, how can you not like an energetic act that rocks matching outfits? They’ll have the talents of Dallas’ The Phuss on the bill as well. I’ve never caught these guys live, but from the sound of them, I kind of can’t wait to see them. They have a high energy rock sound that’s only brought more to life by the howl of their singer’s vocals. Their recently dropped self titled album, “The Phuss” sounds like high octane rock at its finest. The guitar driven Southern rock of Houston’s Vanilla Whale will get things started. These guys kind of sound like Aerosmith before Aerosmith started writing shitty ballads. The green room show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are between $5.00 and $7.00.
Over in the ballroom at Warehouse Live, they’ll host Italian singer, Paolo Nutini. You might remember Nutini from his 2006 hit, “New Shoes.” If that were the guy showing up, I’d say forget it. However, Nutini had his heart broken and just dropped an insanely soulful album this year called “Caustic Love.” Pretty much all of the European press has said that he’s really stepped up his game, while the album quickly blows up from its soulful sounds. The album has a very 1960’s R&B vibe, almost as if the songs were written by Har Mar Superstar and performed for a Motown release. It’s seriously a great sounding record full of a guy pouring his heart out like he’s channelling Marvin Gaye. The indie soul pop sounds of Wisconsin’s PHOX will get things started. After becoming critical darlings, this eclectic six piece has made some waves from their recently released album, “PHOX.” They have their own sound, so just get there early as they should be great to see live. The show is all ages, things get going at 7:00, and the tickets are between $25.00 and $27.00.
If you’re up for a drive Saturday, then you can mosey on up to the woodlands to catch the Texas swing country sounds of Asleep At The Wheel at The Big Barn at Dosey Doe. Touring in support of their 40th year together, the group will be performing songs from their massive back catalog. Everything from their self titled debut, 1974’s “Asleep At The Wheel” to their most recent two live releases. These guys are the real deal in keeping with the traditional sounds of the south, while implementing the tonk of artists like Hank Thompson. They’ll have the likes of Jamie Wilson of The Trishas opening things up. As with all the shows there, your ticket includes dinner served between 6:00 and 7:30. The show starts at 8:30 and the tickets are between $88.00 and $128.00.
There’s also a double bill on Saturday at Fitzgerald’s, starting upstairs with the album release show from Houston’s metal punk act, Bury The Crown. I have to say that this new album really impressed me. The band has such a wide range of sounds, that sometimes it has the vibe of sing song punk, sometimes it has a doom metal feel, and sometimes it has the vibe of screamo. However you think it sounds, “The Proletariat” is a pretty good record, and these guys are a force to watch live. The Party punk of Houston’s Dead To The World will be there to make sure the crowd is amped, while the throwback punk of Commie Hilfiger should get everyone in a good mood with their silly lyrics. Some Nerve will also be on hand to bring a little of that GBH vibe to the bill and drop an energy fueled performance as well. Things get started by Katy’s Nine Minutes, who have a mix of metal and punk. The doors are at 7:00, it’s all ages, and it’s FREE for 21 & up, and $10.00 for under 21.
Downstairs at Fitz, they’ll host Austin’s Quiet Company will bring their brand of indie pop rock to town. Playing in support of their newest album, “Other People’s Hits,” they are a pretty great live band to see. I recently watched them tear through a set comprised entirely of Weezer’s “Pinkerton.” They’ll have the pop rock of Houston’s Featherface on the bill as well. Featherface should drop their mix of hard rock and pop rock well, while having an entertainingly energetic live show. Hopefully you’ll hear songs from their follow up to 2012’s “Actual Magic.” The garage based pop rock of Houston’s Young Girls will get things started. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it at least ten times; you need to see these guys live. Their live show is almost as great as their four song release from January. The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are between $10.00 and $12.00.
Walter’s will have Cibolo, Texas’ pop rockers Swimming With Bears. These guys kind of sound like a mix of Coldplay and Built To Spill; but rumor has it that they have an amazing live show. They’ll be joined by Houston’s electronic pop of Children of Pop. As it stands, Chase & co. are writing neverending songs, while they perform them alongside songs from the epic sounding “Fiesta Drift.” The electro pop of Houston’s ZinSin will also be on hand to drop some of their throwback electronica on the audience. If that wasn’t enough show for you, then maybe the blues rock of Houston’s The Beans will entice you? These guys are immensely talented, while they play songs that sound like the kind of stuff women wanna’ get naked over. They’re soulful, they’re great live, and they have been working on a follow up to last year’s “The Beans.” The trippy psych sounds of Houston’s Mantra Love will be on hand to make everyone feel like they’re on something, while Jef and the Bagwels opens things up. the show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and the cover is a measly $7.00.
On Sunday, I would suggest as strongly as possible, in attending the Roger Sellers show at Rudyard’s. Sellers will be performing songs from his amazing new album, “Primitives,” and if you haven’t heard it yet, you’re definitely missing out. When FPH reviewed it, there were more than enough reasons to give it a listen. He puts on a truly magical performance when he plays live, and these songs are a crafted with the use of instruments being looped, while Sellers sings and plays drums. It’s like watching a man in charge of a nation while Sellers manipulates various tools to make the music happen. He’ll have Austin’s Boyfrndz on the bill with him. The experimental psych pop of their recently released, “Breeder” might be as math based and intense as you’ll hear for some time. I can only imagine how amazing it sounds in a live setting. Fresh from a tour in Mexico, the electro pop rock of Houston’s Bang Bangz will also be on hand. Their latest, “En Vivo” is pretty great, and they put on a great show when they perform. The alt acoustic rock of Houston’s Devil Killing Moth will also perform, while the experimental jazzy sounds of Houston’s Disfrutalo! will open things up. The show is 21 & up, the doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are a paltry $8.00.
Dean’s will keep with their Sunday Songwriter series on Sunday evening, with Sara Van Buskirk. Sara has a very sweet and soulful voice, and doing this isn’t a far stretch for her, as she typically performs acoustic shows with a full band. Nonetheless, she’s a strong songwriter that you should check out sooner than later. She will be joined by Mark Barmea, who’s been performing around town with various acts over the years. Tyler Newberry will also be there to round out the show. You might not know Newberry, but he’s been around longer than you’d think; and he plays a kind of alt country pop rock type of music. He’s a heck of a performer that should add a depth of songs from his years of performing to the group. Things run from 7:00 to a little after 9:00, and as always, It’s 100% Free.
If you just wanna’ chill, then House of Blues will host reggae legend Jimmy Cliff. Cliff will be here in support of his latest effort, 2012’s “Rebirth.” Cliff has sounded truly fresh on this release, and I’ve seen his amazing live show before. There doesn’t appear to be an opener, but that might change. The doors are at 7:30 and the tickets are between $25.00 and $35.00.
You could also consider making it out to Mango’s to catch the trippy and bizarre sounds of Clarke and the Himselfs on Monday. This guy is an experimental one man band from Idaho who plays several instruments at once and should be a trip to see live. His second album, “Clarke and the Himselfs II” is bizarre while still being entertaining. Australia’s XNOBBQX will also perform their improvised noise rock. If their latest release, “Blood and Bone” is any indication of their sound, then they’ll either be great or terrible live. The bluegrass of Houston’s speed folkers Son Of A Bitch will get things started, and should make for an interesting and energetic opener. Houston’s Cop Warmth will headline the entire evening with their noise based punk sound. The doors are at 9:30, it’s an all ages show, and the tickets are $7.00.
On Tuesday, you can make it out to Fitzgerald’s for the indie pop of New Orleans’ Generationals. The dup will be in town in support of their newest album, this year’s “Alix.” The duo is known for their electronica pop sound that’s made them fans around the US, and they are rumored to have a fun live show to go with their sound. Arum Rae of Brooklyn will bring her interesting blend of electronics and breathy vocals to the show. The 2014 EP she dropped, “Warranted Queen,” is literally five songs of awesome, and she should be a great opener. The show is downstairs, it’s all ages, the doors are at 7:00 and the cover is between $10.00 and $14.00.
Of course, you could also head over to The Flat for their No No Disco show featuring DJ No Fun. The show is an every Tuesday night affair and features disco and not disco records being spun. This week will also have a guest DJ on hand when DJ Aiden Kennedy of Wrestlers drops in. The show is at 10:00 and it’s FREE.
Also on Tuesday, British rockers Temples will be stopping by House of Blues. Jason who organized the Yes, Indeed fest turned me on to these guys, and I gotta’ say that they don’t disappoint. They play trippy and traditional psych rock that sounds like Supergrass performing Byrds songs. In a time where we keep hearing bands called psych who aren’t psych, I can state that these guys definitely perform psych. In fact, their newly released album, “Sun Structures” might be one of the best psych albums you’ll hear all year. Pennsylvania’s The Districts will be on hand to open things up. The Districts perform a mix of alterna rock and jazzy pop rock, that’s almost like early Kings of Leon mixed with Shannon Hoon’s vocals. I have to admit that their 2014 release, “Telephone” was one of the more eclectic & interesting new albums I’ve heard. There’s a ton of elements on the album that should sound great live. Things get rolling at 8:30 and the tickets are $23.00 a pop.
No matter what you do this week, hopefully it will be done responsibly. You have plenty of choices but getting home safely while respecting your fellow Houstonians should be the first choice you make every night. While we eagerly wait for the gates of Fun Fun Fun to open, it’s just another amazing string of days here in Houston.