Getting Appreciated: The Best of The Week
Hey, did you guys realize we’re being appreciated this week? October’s Very Own, Drake will spend this week “appreciating” our city with a host of events none of us can hope to get into. It’s actually done with love in mind, and he is helping local charities, so that’s cool. In the vein of being good for our city, Houston will be swarmed with every media outlet for no less than seventy two hours. Luckily for you, I’ve found other things going on that are better than shows none of us can gain entry to. Here’s how your week should pan out, if you aren’t part of the crazy security team Drake will employ.
Wednesday the 11th, you can start your week off with some serious heavy hitters at the Houston IMPROV; when Ken Boyd comes back to Houston. For those who don’t know, Boyd left Houston a year ago for the bright lights of New York City. The Houston’s All-Stars of Comedy 3.5 show, is his homecoming. Joining him on stage is a pretty large list of Houston’s best comics including Kristin Lindner, Rich Williams, Theo Taylor, and Shabaz Ward will be on board to drop enough jokes to kill a horse from laughter. The show is hosted by GrossMann, and though it’s sold out, they might have some tickets left at the door. The show starts at 8:00 and if you want to attempt to get tickets, get there much earlier.
You could also venture over to House of Blues to check out nineties act, Failure. It’s a shame that these guys couldn’t soldier on past the grunge years, as they had a pretty unique sound in the mid-nineties. They were one of the major label world’s failed experiments after they couldn’t match their earlier success. If you were a fan back then, you should and probably will make it out for the show. If you have no clue who these guys are, they’re worth checking out. I saw them almost twenty years ago, so I can’t vouch for how they are nowadays. The tickets are $27.50, the doors are at 7:00 and the show is at 8:00. There doesn’t appear to be an opener, but that usually changes on the day of.
There’s also a poetry slam happening over at Avant Garden called Write About Now. The event gets started at 7:15 in the upstairs room of the club. The cover is $5.00, but the bonus is that the top three will win cash for the best poetry of the night. It might be a fun way to watch the seriously poetic go up against the seriously bizarre poets these things seem to bring out.
Over at Mango’s, they’re having a movie night that features the classic David Cronenberg flick, “Videodrome.” This is a movie that was in the midst of Cronenberg’s ethos, after “Scanners” and before “The Fly.” Starring James Woods and Debbie Harry, you aren’t going to see too many movies with Blondie in them. As an added bonus, they plan on showing the avant garde classic, “Invocation of My Demon Brother,” which did feature some Mick Jagger music as I recall. They ask that you bring a chair if possible, the doors are at 9:00, and it’s 100% FREE.
Over at Fitzgerald’s downstairs on Thursday, you should make it out to catch Georgia’s The Whigs. A three piece that embodies that Southern swagger than we all wanted Kings of Leon to carry with them after their debut album; The Whigs are pretty electrifying in a live setting. They’ll be in town of their latest offering, the rocking and quickly paced “Modern Creation.” This show is only sweetened by the fact that one of Houston’s best bands, Buxton will be opening things up. Technically, these guys are from LaPorte, but that sweet american sound of theirs is one that we should all recognize and love. Hopefully they’re cool with us attempting to claim them for our city. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets range between $10.00 and $13.00, a small price to pay for such a great show.
Of course, if you’re loving this wave of two piece acts, you’ll be over at Mango’s to catch Japan’s Mugen Hoso. These guys were obviously inspired by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and The White Stripes, but they sing in Japanese. Fort Worth’s Cleanup should bring a real math rock sound on board, while Houston’s Something Fierce will bring their old school punk sound to the show. If you haven’t seen Something Fierce yet, you should check them out. They have a sound that seems like the result of what would happen if The Clash and The Jam had a kid together. The shoegaze dreaminess of Houston’s duo, Cashus gets things started around 9:00, with a 100% FREE cover and the show is all ages.
If you want to be a good person and help Drake “appreciate” Houston, then you should consider heading over to the Astros game. As part of Drake’s HAW, he’s teamed up with the Astros to offer a section of seating for those who want the one event that you stand a chance of getting in to. Drake has decided to have a Houston Appreciation Night at Minute Maid Park that starts with a special pre-game ceremony. The night promises to be filled with special events aimed to help local children’s charities. One of those events is a chance for fifty kids from the Houston Urban Youth Academy, to have a meet and greet with Drake on the field, preceded by a special dinner. Everyone who buys a $30.00 ticket in the “Drake section” or, section 132, will receive a special T-shirt as well as have a percentage of the money from their ticket given to a charity of Drake’s choosing. In all honesty, this is an insanely kind gesture on Drake’s part, and something I’ve never seen by an artist from somewhere else. If you couple this with the $1.00 hot dog promotion that’s also going on, this could be one of the few Astros games to get close to selling out.
On Friday, everyone you know will say they went, but we all know that pictures prove that they did. So, while your friends concoct stories about why their phone camera didn’t work; those who volunteered through Rock Corps will actually get a chance to see Drake at Warehouse Live. Which is to say, Drake set up a concert where the youth and youthful will volunteer time to make our city better, just to see him and a list of heavy hitters take the stage. I’ve heard some crazy rumors like Lil’ Wayne and Rihanna, to name a few. The doors are at 9:30, and if you haven’t volunteered; I’ll let you know how it went.
Since you aren’t going to make that show, you should head over to Beta Theater for a rousing night of comedy. The Triple Header show hosted by Bob Morrissey, should be a bundle of laughs for almost no money. This month, the show features three of the funniest guys you’ll see on the same stage. Nick Meriwether has the talent to be one of the next big things from what I’ve seen, with the hilarious and irreverent John Nguyen fast on his heels. Of course, no show can be complete without the hilarious and self deprecating humor of Gabe Bravo. The show follows in typical Beta fashion with a pay what you can cover model, and there are two shows. One is at 7:00 and the other is at 10:00, so make one or both and be cool with what you pay at the door.
Your Friday could start off with The Vans Warped Tour taking place over in the Reliant Center parking lot. Remember when this was the go to event, where your favorite band was playing? Well, I know Bayside, MC Chris and We Are The In Crowd are on it and I don’t recognize any of the other band names. Of course, the demographic for this show is one I haven’t been a part of for a least a decade, so that should explain that. If you haven’t seen MC Chris, he’s definitely worth checking out. This gets started at 11:00 am and runs all day, so if you weren’t told, apply sunscreen and stay hydrated. Tickets are $37.00 which should be closer to $50.00 after all the “fees.”
I don’t know what version you’ll get on this show at Fitzgerald’s upstairs on Friday night, but D.R.I. will be making a return to where they started 22 years ago. I can hope that we’ll get to see the “Dealing With It” era of D.R.I. but we might get stuck with the “Thrash Zone” era; so don’t get mad if that happens. For those who don’t know, Dirty Rotten Imbeciles formed in 1982 right here in Houston. After the speed punk thrash era died down, D.R.I. turned a little more metal, then a little more like Anthrax, and….well, it just wasn’t the same afterwards. When Dave Grohl used D.R.I. frontman Kurt Brecht on his “Probot” side project, I’m pretty sure he was saying that early D.R.I. was what inspired him. It looks like quite the offering, as the speed of Houston’s Legion and Houston’s Toxic Steel are on board as well. I can say that if you love some fast metal, Legion knows how to bring it to you. The band, A.S.S. opens things up with doors at 7:00 and tickets ranging between $15.00 and $19.00. Get ready for some serious moshing, which is to say, watch out for muscle headed douche bags.
Over at the Hard Rock Cafe, they have two shows featuring one of Houston’s best and most accomplished comics, Bob Biggerstaff. When I first met Bob, I laughed at his passing comments hard enough to think that he was on stage. Once I saw him perform, I realized why he has the credits he has to his name real fast. You can learn everything you’d want to know about him here, though I’d suggest seeing him at one of the two shows on Friday, or one of the two shows Saturday. The hilarious “cripple threat of comedy,” Indiana’s Ryan Niemiller will be on board as well. The opener is Tim Mathis. The shows are at 8:00 and 10:30 on both Friday and Saturday, and they carry at $15.00 cover for each show.
Of course, you could also venture down to The Continental Club to check out the folk pop sounds of New York City’s Matrimony. Touring in support of their latest release, “Montibello Memories,” this four piece can warm you up with their infectious hooks mixed with folk and americana overtones. The funky sounds of Austin’s Berkshire Hounds will be getting things started. Like last week, I’m guessing that the doors are at 9:00 and the cover falls between $10.00 and $20.00; but those details aren’t on the club’s website; for some strange reason.
On Saturday, you have more options than usual. If you didn’t want to be around kids of all ages while having teens who think Billie Joe Armstrong started punk rock sneer at you at The Warped Tour; then you can still get your pop punk on. Over at Fitzgerald’s, the guys from MXPX will bring their quick drums and pop punk themes to town. There aren’t too many of us who remember seeing these guys back in their Tooth & Nail days, nor are there many who remember that their name stands for magnified plaid. But, anyone who’s seen these guys live knows that they seriously bring it to the stage better than many of their contemporaries. I mean, if we get to hear any of the gems off of “Slowly Going The Way of The Buffalo,” “Let It Happen,” or even “The Ever Passing Moment;” then it was a great night. The truth is, this is the best show of the week if you’re a fan of pop punk or anything from these guys’ impressive back catalog. The pop punk goodness of Chicago’s Allister will be there as well as Alabama’s Measure For Measure. It’s all ages, the doors are at 7:00, and the tickets fall between $20.00 and $27.00.
Of course, if you can’t get down with some pop punk, then you can catch some pop rock over at Big Star Bar, when Brand New Hearts headlines a pretty strong show. Brand New Hearts is one of those Houston bands everyone should catch sooner than later. They have pop hooks intertwined with strong rock, and they might be one of the most polished live bands you’ll see. The energy that they’ll have to utilize to match that of Knights of The Fire Kingdom will be interesting to see. Knights is one of those bands who plays heavy guitar rock like nobody’s business. Matching outfits, high energy, you have to see them live to really appreciate them. This will be preceded by Houston’s The Ex-Optimists, who will bring their emo sounds to the table as only they can. One of Houston’s best new bands, Hoofprints opens on this very stacked bill as well; and I beg you to get there early to see them live. They have that certain mix of all great things emo past that you should definitely see for yourself. Things get going around 8:00 and as far as I can tell, the 21 & up show is FREE, or close to it.
If you’d rather wish a fellow Houstonian well before he leaves our city for a long time, then head over to the D & W Lounge for BE Godfrey & Co.’s last show. If you weren’t aware, Ben is moving to NYC, so he’s having people out for one last hoorah before his departure. It’s a sad thing when Houston pushes out industry, but I’m sure you’re like me in wishing him well. His honey dripped vocals that pepper each and every one of his sultry and hard workin’ songs will be dearly missed. The country meets indie folk of Austin’s El Campo will liven things up, as they’re on the show as well. Young Girls will give us all something to be happy over, when they bring their pop sounds to the opening slot of the show. Things kick off around 9:00, it’s 21 & up, and it’s FREE.
If you’re old enough to remember that Outlaw Dave was once part of the Rock 101 family, then you probably know already that he opened a restaurant/bar. Over at Outlaw Dave’s Worldwide Headquarters, the ladies of Dem Damn Dames will be saying goodbye to the balloon genius of Josh Clark. Aside from the fact that there will be balloon animals, there will also be performances from the likes of Honey Moonpie, Tifa Tittlywinks, and Emma D’Lemma. If you get there early, you can watch make a dress from balloons. It’s a 100% FREE show and it gets started at midnight.
On Sunday, you can make your way over to The Continental Club to check out Chase Hamblin & Roustabouts. You know, I wish that Chase got more press in this town, as he might be one of our city’s most talented songwriters. A mix of The Beatles and Bob Dylan, Chase is someone everyone in Houston should make it out for. He’ll be joined by the talents of LA’s trippy and blues psych sounding Modern Pantheist, who are also playing the show. The throwback sounds of Houston’s acid tripping Espantapajaros will get things started. The club is usually closed on Sundays, so this is a nice change of pace and a great show on a Sunday night. The doors are at 7:00 and the cover is a miniscule $10.00.
Hey, would you be shocked if I told you that Max Bemis rescheduled his interview with Free Press Houston no less than three times? Well, if you are shocked, that’s why it never happened. Anyway, his band, Say Anything will be playing over at Warehouse Live on Sunday the 15th. The sad thing is, Bemis actually made a pretty decent album with his latest offering, “Hebrews.” If you’re a fan of the band, you’ll love that you can’t hear the collaborations with Andy Hull, Tom DeLonge, and others as Bemis’ vocals over power every track. Still, the album is pretty good but does shy away from past records that the group has made. A band who is on top of things, and who tends to have a pretty good track record of being easy to work with, New Jersey’s The Front Bottoms are on the show as well. If you’ve never seen these guys, they put on a pretty great live show; so you should totally catch them if you can. Their latest album, “Talon Of The Hawk” is pretty damn great. A band who’s obviously heavily influenced by The Clash, Brooklyn’s The So So Glos are also performing with the immensely talented emo sounds of Orlando’s You Blew It. You Blew It’s latest album, “Keep Doing What You’re Doing” makes me want to tell you to get there early, cause’ it’s that good. The doors are at 6:00 and the tickets are $18.00 for the all ages show.
Just another week full of laughs, music, and general all around entertainment. Once we’re done being “appreciated,” I’m sure Drake and co. will realize what we all already know; that we don’t need someone to appreciate Houston. We appreciate it every day.