Guiding Light: The Best of The Week
Muse, Photo: Danny Clinch
Well, for those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving, the self hate of overeating, and the hunt for bargains this week on the day after; there’s more happening than just a holiday. There’s more than enough happening around town when acts like Muse pictured above will be making their way into town. Houston, here’s where you should be spending those days off.
On Wednesday you could start off over at Rudyard’s for Megsgiving: A Benefit for Meg Michelle. So, if you were unaware, Michelle has been diagnosed with MS and like any great city, many have gotten together to raise money for her fight against the debilitating affliction. The show will feature a headlining set from Modfag, who plays this mix of sixties rock and seventies glam. They’ll have the tight sounds of The Freakouts on prior, as well as the sleaze rock of Killer Hearts on before them. There will also be sets from Dead Roses, Talk Sick Brats, and Hells Engine. DJ Black Slacks will kick things off, as well as playing between sets. Straight up, if you’re an artist in this town, then you should drop by and lend support. This is a killer bill and being done for a good cause. You can also donate money here, or show up on the 21 & up show with doors at 7:00 and a $10.00 donation.
You could also head over to Walters to catch the indie emo sounds of Connecticut seven piece band, The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die. Besides winning the award for the longest band name going, this band evokes the sounds of Joan of Arc and American Football. They’ll be here in support of their latest album, “Harmlessness” from this year. I’ve caught them before and they’re pretty legit in a live setting. The atmospheric and indie sounds of five piece Foxing will be on as direct support. About a month ago they dropped a new album, “Dealer” that’s pretty and easy going. Oxford, UK three piece, TTNG(Formerly This Town Needs Guns) will bring their math rock tunes to life when they play as well. These guys released their last album two years ago with “188.8.131.52.0,” nd their music is pretty solid. The pop rock of Pittsburgh’s Brightside will open the all ages show with doors at 7:00 and tickets between $12.00 and $14.00.
You can get your laugh on when Whiskey Brother and touring comic Slade Ham performs at Joke Joint Comedy Showcase. I feel like you can’t be a comic in Houston without knowing Slade. The guy is pretty much a touring machine, the Whiskey Brothers have taped their first special, and their podcast has a ton of followers. Coming back from performing overseas, I feel like he’s one of those guys you need to see at least once. Fellow Whiskey Brother Rob Mungle will be the feature act, while one of Houston’s rising comics will perform the duties of host. The 18 & up show gets going at 8:00, with a 10:30 show on Friday, and an 8:00 and 10:30 show on Saturday. The Wednesday show has tickets between $5.00 and $7.00, while the Friday and Saturday shows have tickets between $16.00 and $18.00, and all should sell out or come very close.
Matsu Mixu, Photo: Courtesy of Artist/Facebook
Numbers will host the Wonderland show headlined by electronic duo Matsu Mixu. The two piece is heavy on imagery and their tunes are a mix of sugary samples and dark beats. The ambient synth heavy sounds of MNYNMS will be on the bill as well, while the electro pop of Private Excitement will go on prior. Rumor has it that her live set is a trip, and she’s been dropping songs left and right lately. Kamyar of Cirque Noir will open things up with a DJ set, and the New Light DJs will keep the jams going all night after the show. The doors are at 9:00, the show is 18 & up, and the tickets are between $10.00 and $30.00, the latter being a VIP option.
Another edition of the comedy show, The High Bar will get headlined by the hilarious Martin Urbano over at Midtown Bar & Grill. The Austin comic who’s been making a name for himself for a good while is known as a true crowd pleaser and always full of strong punchlines. New York’s Kelsey Caine will also be on hand to drop a funny set, while the funny antics of Nick Thomas will also be on to drop a few gems. The always funny Bob Morrissey will also be there, while the steam train of ever growing popularity, Son Tran will be on to open. The entire show is hosted by Bret Whitacre, it’s 21 & up, and the cover is a paltry $5.00 on the show that starts around 9:00.
On Thursday you could spend the holiday over at Improv, when the hilarious comedy of Bryson Brown performs. Bryson is a threat in the comedy world, his sets are always top notch, and he’s one of the funniest guys in town. He’ll be joined by two other funny guys with Billy Sorrells and Rodney Bigham. Sorrells has been all over TV including BET and TBS, while Bigham has the ability to draw big crowds on his own. The show has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $25.00 and $35.00.
If you’d rather catch comedy somewhere else, then you could head to Arena Theatre for the Jive Turkeys show featuring Ali Saddiq. This guy is a Houston comedy machine with a slew of hilarious albums, a Showtime special, and a new show with Comedy Central. The show will also have Comedian Grossman, Dave Lawson, and Marcus D. Wiley; while the heavy hitting comedy of Juan Villareal will be on as well. The doors are at 7:00, the show is at 8:00, and tickets are $29.00 and up.
Friday you could start over at the Pop Shop Houston Holiday Festival. There promises to be plenty of shopping, art, & music without all of the “black Friday” chaos. It’s a three day event that has a great schedule. Friday go inside the Tripatorium all day, catch a DJ set from Brandon of Night Drive, as well as sets from Raceway and a headliner set from Houston garage rock ambassadors, Mikey & The Drags. There’s also a fashion show from Forgotten Arts. Saturday you can hear music from Matsu Mixu and Pleasure 2, while Sunday you can catch sets from Satellite D’Homme & Mario of Bang Bangz. Sunday even has a DJ set from the always impressive Angiesliste. Things start each day at noon and Friday and Saturday it runs until 8:00, while it closes up Sunday at 6:00. It’s all ages, it’s 100% FREE, or you can step it up with a VIP option for $24.00 here.
Later on, you could say goodbye to one of the most daring performers in Houston burlesque history, when Dem Damn Dames bids adieu to the aerialist, Emma D’Lemma at Numbers. While she plans to move on to a killer job waiting on the West Coast, you can watch her defy gravity one more time here in Houston. The show will feature the Dames troupe alongside the aerial troupe, Eat Me Up. As always, these shows feature a ton of talent that you can’t really see anywhere else, and I’m sure a tearful goodbye from host Tifa Tittlywinks will be on hand as well. The show has doors at 7:00, it’s 18 & up, and tickets are between $15.00 and $30.00, the latter being a VIP seated option. Your ticket includes entry into “Classic Numbers” to follow the show, that will more than likely sell out.
Beta Theater will host another edition of The Triple Header show where three comics will each drop a set. This edition, hosted by Emerald Gearing will feature a set from the always hilarious Ashton Womack, a set from the side splitting humor of Victor Tran, and a set from the funny Russell Simek. As always, there will be three shows with a $6.00 cover for each. The BYOB shows have times at 7:00, 9:00, and 11:00.
If you’d rather start your “Winter Wonderland” early, then you could head to Discovery Green to ice skate. That’s right, the ice is back and will be incorporated in a ton of events until it turns back into water. The Hot Nights on Ice is FREE, all ages, minus a skate rental fee.
Mac Miller, Photo: GL Askew II
If you had planned to catch the hip hop of Pittsburgh’s Mac Miller over at Warehouse Live, the show has since sold out. If you’re going then you know that the doors are at 8:00.
Walter’s will host the sheer energy and magic that is three piece, Only Beast!. It feels like for two years I’ve told this city that this band is one of those that they shouldn’t miss. With a crazed energy like no one else in town and two albums in the can with a third on the way, Only Beast! is a reminder that indie rock bands will always be more impressive than any major label rock band. The Beatles-esque organ rock of Brunson Theater will be on prior, and should impress those in attendance. Their 2014 release, “We Land Soon,” is pop rock at its finest, and the album you always wanted Ben Folds to make. The always engaging, hardworking, and prolific sounds of The Wheel Workers will also be on the bill. I don’t know what genre to put this band in as they sometimes remind me of Apples In Stereo, sometimes they remind me of REM, and sometimes they remind me of Pearl Jam. Let’s just say the truth, they’re really good live, and their latest EP “Citizens” is one of my favorite albums of this year. The “cuisine rock” of Houston three piece, Cornish Game Hen will be on as openers on the all ages show with doors at 8:00 & tickets between $7.00 and $10.00.
At Wortham Center/Cullen Theater, you can catch Bob Schneider and The Tosca String Quartet for the Moonlight Orchestra Holiday show. The annual event is always impressive as Schneider stretches his musical legs while bring out special guests along the way. The all ages event has ticket moving fast, and from what’s left the tickets are between $45.00 and $75.00. Doors are at 7:00, the show is at 8:00, and it’s presented by Mucky Duck.
If you’d rather just relax and hear some great favorites, then you should head to MKT Bar to catch Houston singer/songwriter Chase Hamblin. Performing three sets from 9:00 to midnight, attendees will get three sets full of old favorites alongside Chase’s signature tunes. If you need to get into the spirit now, check out his cover of “Let It Snow.” The parking and the show is 100% FREE and if you still want your family around, it’s family friendly too.
The rock n’ roll of Austin’s The Bellfuries will bring their throwback sound over to The Continental Club. These guys make that old school rock sound that has the feel of something Elvis would approve of, and their latest release, “Workingman’s Bellfuries” from this year is pretty solid. The honky tonk of Houston’s The Broken Spokes will ignite a fire as direct support and opener. If you’ve never seen these guys then I feel sorry for you. Their 2010 album, “Raw Deal” is as beautiful as it is set for two steppin’ to. The 21 & up show has doors at 9:00 and tickets are TBA.
Over at Big Top you can close out your evening with the indie pop of Houston three piece, The Lories. At the beginning of this year they dropped four songs under the name of “Demos” that reminded me of acts like Throwing Muses and early Breeders. The always entertaining sounds of the Chase DeMaster and Sergio Trevino act, Guess Genes will be on as direct support. The lo-fi folk meets indie rock sound of their single, “Lilly Vine,” is reminiscent of bands like Folk Implosion and Robert Pollard. The fifties garage rock of Cleen Teens will open the 21 & up show with doors at 9:00 and a 100% FREE cover.
Saturday you might consider starting off over at The Orange Show for the Saint Arnold Foam Raiser. Music from Folk Family Revival, comedy from Beta Theater, and season brews that don’t come out very often from Saint Arnold means this could be the place to be on Saturday. The 21 & up show has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $20.00 and $25.00.
Down in Clear Lake at Scout Bar, you could catch the man, the myth, the guy who brought back rockabilly or maybe helped coin psychobilly, Reverend Horton Heat. Jim is always, always one hell of a joyride to catch live and his 2014 album “Rev” is amazing. Kind of like “Liquor In The Front” Part II, it’s a return to form for the Dallas native. Get there in time to catch his direct support act, California’s The Bellrays. Like taking a strong R&B vocalist and pairing her with a rock band, their 2011 album “Black Lightning” is a true force. California garage rock revivalists, The Lords of Altamont will open the all ages show with doors at 7:00 and tickets between $20.00 and $25.00.
House of Creeps will have their rescheduled Creeperfest show. This time the Mantra Love EP release is still on, but they added a headlining set from Gio Chamba. I can’t say enough great things about this guy or his album “Chamba,” so I’d say just go see his crazed live show for yourself. There’s also a set from Birthday Club who I’d recommend catching, as well as Talk Sick Brats, O’Doyle Rules, Vockah Redu, Son of Bitch, Middlechild, and so much more. It’s all ages, the doors are at 7:30, there’s two stages, and the tickets are $10.00.
The Bright Light Social Hour, Photo: Courtesy of Artist
Over at Numbers, the high energy of Austin’s The Bright Light Social Hour will bring their crazed show to town. This band is nothing but energy from start to finish, and their album “Space Is Still The Place” from this year is a psych rock trip. Houston native and now Austin transplant, Walker Lukens will be on hand with his new band the Side Arms as direct support and opener. Seriously one of the best songwriters in Texas right now, check out his latest single, “Every Night” to hear what you’ll get to see when he performs. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $15.00 and $20.00.
Fitzgerald’s will host the legendary sleaze rock of Cheetah Chrome. Chrome, known for his previous band Dead Boys, has been living in Tennessee recently, but still records and tours. His latest album, 2013’s “Solo” is a bit of a departure from what you’re used to, but he still plays all of his classic tunes as well. The high energy punk of Houston’s The Velostacks will be on as direct support, while Dallas’ The Swinging Dicks will go on prior. However, they’ll have a hard time following the psych rock of Houston’s Silver Blueberry who will be on hand to open the all ages show. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets are between $13.00 and $15.00.
Revention Center will have Houston natives, now residents of San Marcos, Blue October in town. These guys should write a manual on how to make it in the music business. They sell out shows all the time, they tour constantly, and they have a slew of hit songs. Their new live album, “The Things We Do At Night (live from Texas)” is already moving units like it’s on a platinum path. There’s a handful of seats left on the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and tickets between $35.00 and $45.00.
Ladybirds will host the album release party for the Waco based art rock band, Lomelda. The show will also feature a set from the rarely seen Houston act featuring Sergio and Austin of Buxton alongside Dollie Barnes, Ancient Cat Society, who dropped one of my favorite albums, 2012’s “Stay Home.” Houston sultans of swag and indie rock goodness, Deep Cuts will be on hand to open the 21 & up show. Things get going at 9:00 and it’s FREE.
Of course, I’d guess if you were over 30, you’d be heading to Continental Club to catch Houston indie rockers, Blueprint for a one off reunion show. These guys were the jam back in the nineties, they recorded with heavy hitters and seemed to be on their way..then nothing. If you were a fan then I’d suggest making it out, as they don’t do this very often. The show will also feature sets from Austin acts Gentleman Rogues and The Last Humans, and will be opened by Houston’s own, Frog Hair. The 21 & up show has doors at 9:00 and a $10.00 cover.
You can close out the night over at Crocker Bar for Biz Vicious’ birthday and another edition of Dykon Fagatron. The ever popular show will have a doozy of a night when GRRRL Parts drops a DJ set, and Fat Tony drops one of his legendary sets as well. While both acts are worth catching, I’d beg you not to catch the Houston rapper at this close of a proximity. Fat Tony brings his A game with every performance, and this year’s “H-Town To LA” just proves he’s not letting up anytime soon. Biz will also drop a set as well on the 21 & up show with doors at 10.00 and it’s FREE.
Cheap Trick, Photo: Erica Rich
Sunday, do yourself a favor and go to House of Blues for the always amazing rock of Cheap Trick. Do I need to oversell this show? The tunes, the checkerboards, the wailing solos and Robin Zander’s vocals are all still going strong. I saw them kill at Fun Fun Fun Fest this year, and their latest album, “The Epic Archive, Vol. 1(1975-1979)” is a treasure trove of early recordings. They’ll play all of your favorites, the doors are at 7:00, and the tickets are between $29.00 and $57.50.
Tuesday you might find yourself at Toyota Center for the popular sounds of Muse. Here in support of this year’s “Drones,” I’d be lying if I said that they didn’t put on a good show. They’ll have Phantogram on as support and openers. The doors are at 6:30 and the tickets are between $45.00 and $75.00.
That’s really about all that’s happening around town. Please remember that it’s a holiday weekend, and to do things in the most responsible way for everyone else’s sake.