Mean Streets: The Best of The Week
Photo: Max Sweeney
I think that though it’s been as hot as the surface of the sun lately, it feels like there’s been plenty of happenings around town as of late. This week isn’t as stacked as the recent ones, but there’s still more than enough to keep you busy. Legends like Raekwon and Ghostface Killah pictured above will be rolling through town, making your choices easier or harder depending on how you see it. Here’s where you should be over the next seven days.
Wednesday you can kick the week off over at Continental Club, when The Tontons return for what should be a really fun night. For those who aren’t in the know, the band has been relentlessly touring on the other side of last year’s “Make Out King and Other Stories of Love.” It has become a thing now, where the band isn’t playing in Houston as much because of their schedule; meaning that if you’re a fan then you should make it out for this show. They’ll have Houston eclectic three piece Say Girl Say on as direct support. I feel like Chase Hamblin put it best when he said that their music is like two sirens calling you out to sea. Their new full length, “Say Girl Say” is definitely worth checking out before making it over to see them perform. Houston’s best kept secret, Dollie Barnes will be opening the show up with her sweet voice and twangy sound. For this year, right now, I’d say that she’s one act that you’re an idiot if you don’t see her sooner than later. There’s something about the sincerity in her voice that makes me realize that every once in a while, and artist can still create magic during a performance. The 21 & up show has doors at 7:00, and it’s 100% FREE.
At Fitzgerald’s you can catch the moody new wave sounds of LA’s Marriages. The three piece is here in support of their latest release, this year’s “Salome.” To me, they sound like if Juliana Hatfield sang for The Cure. I’ve heard that they put on an intense live show, so they might be worth giving some time to. They have Philly indie rockers, Creepoid on as direct support and opener. Like Marriages, this band pulls from the past and kind of sounds like Mercury Rev mixed with hints of Archers of Loaf and Supergrass. Their latest release is “Cemetery Highrise Slum,” and it’s a pretty amazing album. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $10.00 and $13.00.
Improv will be bringing food critic and local comic, Owen Dunn to the stage for his first headlining set. Dunn has been hitting stages for a long time, and though there’s plenty of jokes about food, he has the ability to make most crowds laugh from start to finish. He’s appeared at tons of shows at Improv as host and feature, as well as Funny Or Die’s Oddball Festival. The show will also feature plenty of Houston’s better comics on the bill as well. The 18 & up show has doors at 8:00 and tickets for a measly $12.00.
Notsuoh will have the electro pop duo, Zigtebra in town all the way from Chicago. Though to me they have a pretty basic sound, the two piece has made fans everywhere they play. They’ll be here in support of last year’s “The Brave,” and they should at least make for a sweet and fun show. A band you should check out is Houston two piece Monorose. The tripped out dark wave sounds of these two are pretty intense, and it should be interesting to see them perform live. Houston’s glitch visual wizard and electronic party master, FLCON FCKER will be on hand as well. Hopefully the city will hear his debut album sooner than later, though his sets are always a trip to experience while we all wait in the meantime. The debut of sad folk multi-instrumentalist, A Little Sad of Houston will open the 18 & up show with doors at 8:00, and cover at $3.00 for 21 & up, or $5.00 for 18-20.
Midtown Bar & Grill will have another edition of the High Bar comedy show. This version will feature the hilarity of Austin comic Ralphie Hardesty. After blowing away crowds at Austin’s Moontower Comedy Fest, Hardesty has been doing the same all over the US, and it’s a real treat to have him here in town to do his thing. The show will also feature the comical antics of Houston up and comer, Zach Eaton, as well as Carson Nile. Lizbeth Mizula and Justin Massengale will also be on hand, while hosts Bob Morrissey and Nick Meriwether keep the crowd in stiches. The 21 & up show has doors at 8:45 and a measly $5.00 cover.
Thursday you can start things off at Dosey Doe who will host pop jazz fusion legends Spyro Gyra out at their woodlands Big Barn. Hits like “Morning Dance,” “Catching The Sun,” and many many more are what they’ll bring with them when they perform. They’ve sold like 10 million albums, and they actually still put on a good show if their music is your thing. The show includes dinner served from 6:00 to 7:30, and the band hits the stage at 8:30. Tickets are between $88.00 and $128.00.
Moji Photo: Anna Vessalova
Or you could begin in town at The Nightingale Room, when the soulful sounds of Houston’s Moji performs. I feel like after a stellar set at this year’s FPSF, a great new EP titled “Desert Son,”, and shows all around town, you’d have some idea of how powerful this three piece really is. I don’t say this much, but I feel like Moji has some of the best vocals I’ve heard in a very long time. Now, couple that with jazz structured guitar and R&B drums that often cris cross into the rock world; and what you have is a powerhouse act like no other here in town. Add to that the power pop folk of Spring’s Inzi as opener. At first listen, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t fall for her album, “Exist.” Quite possibly the most infectious album from a local artist this year, at 19, Inzi proves that there’s plenty of talent coming from the suburbs. Plus, her live set is as entertaining as it is engaging. The 21 & up show has doors at 7:00 and it’s 100% FREE.
Over at the CAMh, you can catch a lecture on the music industry and more from the always engaging, Jana Hunter. Part of the Contemporary Arts Museum’s lecture series 20HERTZ, Hunter has recently dropped articles about being a female in today’s music industry, and I think most of us are fans of her band Lower Dens. The all ages event gets going at 7:30 and as far as I know, it’s Free.
Out at Joke Joint Comedy Showcase, Tennessee comic Stewart Huff will be in town. Huff has been all over the country, he’s been in documentaries about comedy, and he’s dropped several funny albums. His latest, this year’s “Stewart Huff, Probably,” is pretty hilarious, and it shows even funnier stuff from a storyteller comic. As per all of these shows, two of Houston’s better up and coming comics will serve as feature act and host. The Thursday show has doors at 8:00, there are two shows on Friday and Saturday with doors at 8:00 and 10:30, all with tickets for $16.00.
At Rudyard’s they’ll have another edition of Turbojugend Bayou City’s Deathpunk Slursdays, this time with The Velostacks. The rock punk act is like watching a leather clad motorcycle gang all put their bikes on their sides, while burning down the highway. Houston’s Aguila Black will also be on hand, while Jared SanMiguel will open things up by dropping DJ jams. The 21 & up show has doors at 8:00 and a measly $3.00 cover, so you have no excuse not to attend.
On Friday, you could get started early over at Hard Rock Cafe when Kristal Cherelle plays their Soulful Storytelling Sessions. Cherelle reminds me of a modern day Tracy Chapman mixed with hints of Solange and Lauryn Hill. Last year she dropped a pretty strong debut called “Fighter,” and her live shows are engaging and intimate. As far as I know, it’s an all ages show with doors at 5:00 and it’s 100% FREE.
Dead To The World Photo: Courtesy of Artist
Warehouse Live will have the punk sounds of Houston’s Dead To The World when they throw a party for the release of their new EP, “War.” I would hope that you would’ve caught these guys live by now, as their high energy and fast punk live sets are pretty intense. Newer four piece hardcore band, Khobretti, also from Houston will be there as direct support, with Houston’s Hogs of War on as well. The full throttled & speedy pop punk of Action Frank will be there to open the all ages show over in the studio. The ticket price includes a FREE download of the new Dead To The World EP, and the show has doors at 7:00 and a $10.00 cover.
Lower Dens Photo: Shawn Brackbill
If you missed the lecture, then you can still get your Jana Hunter fix, when her band Lower Dens performs at the Contemporary Arts Museum. The latest offering from the group, is the ultra pop sounding yet still complex, “Escape From Evil” of this year. The album has a very eighties vibe to it, while still sounding fresh…though I doubt we could accept any less from Hunter’s complex mind. The doors are at 7:30, it’s all ages and the tickets are FREE with RSVP.
Upstairs at Fitzgerald’s, Deep Cuts will be having a release party as well for their new 7”, “While The House Fills Up.” The songs were recorded by the band in their home studio while they tracked drums at Houston’s famed SugarHill studio. The end result is that of a band forging their own sound, and setting themselves apart from their past in the best way possible. They’ll have the new wave garage rock of Austin’s Big Bill on hand, performing songs from their recently released “The Second Bill” as well. Adding some Houston love, Young Mammals will also perform their high energy set. I feel like if you haven’t heard their newest album, last year’s “Alto Seco,” you’re seriously missing one of the best records of last year. The stripped down and straightforward sound of it reminds you of a mix of early Superchunk and later Knapsack. Psych blues trio Mantra Love will also be there to add a little of their tripped out vibes. The all ages show will be opened by a Children of Pop DJ set, that should be as entertaining as the duo is when they perform regularly. The doors are at 8:00 upstairs with cover at $10.00.
Downstairs at Fitz, the sunny pop folk of Santa Monica’s Cayucas will be in town. The duo will bring their Summertime pop to life in support of their latest, this year’s “Dancing at the Blue Lagoon.” The overly synth pop of Seattle’s Hibou will be on hand to open things up with doors at 8:00 and a $12.00 to $16.00 cover on the all ages show.
Over at Enjoymusic Enjoylife art gallery, a special performance from Houston’s Kyle Hubbard will take place. Since retiring, moving away, then moving back and coming back into the game, Hubbard has been a little silent about his new project. While he puts the finishing touches on mastering what will be his return album, you can luck out and hear some of his new stuff at this show. He has teased us all with a new single this year, “Rip The Page(feat. Truck North).” The dope new track tells me that this new album will be something that we all jam for years to come. A feature set from Houston’s Fullmetal will also occur while BBC/Jaycee will spin hip hop all night. As far as I know the show is all ages with doors at 9:00 and a FREE cover.
The finals of Laff Town’s Funniest contest are in full swing, and the final 6 comics will battle it out to win $1,000.00. Happening over at Traffic Premium Lounge, the show will be hosted by last year’s winner, the hilarious John Nguyen. Competing this year will be Ashton Womack,Victor Tran, Zahid Dewji, Scotty Peterson, Ryan Thauburn, and Trey Henderson. It’ll be interesting to see who wins from this strong list of local comics, and who bitches about losing for the next year. The21 & up show has doors at 9:00 and a $10.00 cover.
Rudyard’s will be bringing the rock when they have the indie blues of Houston’s Slow Future. I haven’t seen these guys yet, but they have a free download of their stuff at the link above, and they sound like they could have tons of energy. The fuzzed out and loud sounds of College Station’s The Ex-Optimists will be there as direct support. Like a mix of Dinosaur Jr and Seam, this is one of the louder bands going that always go hard when they perform. Opening things up is one of Houston’s best indie rock bands, A Sundae Drive. If you are like me, then you still jam last year’s “The Senseless & the Sound” on a weekly basis, and they’re always amazing to catch live. The 21 & up show has doors at 9:30 and a measly $5.00 cover.
Wayne “The Train” Hancock Photo: Courtesy of Artist
Mucky Duck will be hosting the Southern twang of Wayne “The Train” Hancock for an intimate performance. Hancock has always been one of my favorite Texas performers, and his live shows are always top notch. If you’ve never heard this guy, just imagine that the current Nashville pop crap that’s called country doesn’t exist, and the way Hank I sang and played never died…that’s what this guy is like. A total traditionalist, Hancock might be the greatest country performer since Hank Sr and Bob Wills. His latest album, 2013’s “Ride,” steers a bit away from his older acoustic sound, but still has his familiar twang in tact. This one off show has doors at 9:30 and tickets are between $20.00 and $22.00.
Avant Garden will have a night full of hip hop jams, when DJ Act Badd shows up to do his thing on the Smooth & Faded show. Part of the Blackout crew, this guy knows how to make people dance and he goes hard every time he performs. The Smooth & Faded sounds of DJ Vic G will also be on hand, while the tropical sounds of Principle Q will be there as well. The 21 & up show has doors at 10:00 and is 100% FREE.
House of Blues will have the Dirty Colors art show, with special guest George West. This guy has been upping his game since performing on this year’s FPSF. Recently he dropped a set with Mario of Bang Bangz on guitar, taking his slow jams to a whole new level. His latest, this year’s “Here Again,” is an ambient tune that feels like Summer’s breezy kiss. There’s also a ton of local artists that you should check out. DJ Fredster will also be on hand for the all ages show with a $5.00 cover and doors at 10:00.
Saturday you can start the day off over at 8th Wonder Brewery, for the 08/08 Day party. As part of the brewery’s official release of their latest creation, Astroturf Amarillo Dry-Hopped Cream Ale, they’re having an all day affair complete with live music. Though the headliner is a surprise special guest, they will have Houston’s Second Lovers on hand. The six piece has been working tirelessly on a new album that has them shedding some of their americana roots for a more streamlined alt country type of sound. Their latest single, “Hold On” is a good example of what they have planned, and their lives shows are always full of energy. The show will also feature the alterna rock of Houston’s Potbelly. Things get started around noon, the music starts at 6:00, and the 21 & up event is 100% FREE.
It seems like beer is the popular lead for shows on Saturday, as Jones Plaza will host The Beer Bash show featuring the trill sounds of Bun B. Since I’m sure that you all know who Bun is, I’ll just say that if you haven’t heard his latest jam, “Pimp(feat. Billy Cook),” then you’re missing out. The show also features Heroes X Villains, Juvenile, Maxo Kream, Sobe Lash, and many more. The all ages show gets going at 3:00 with tickets between $7.50 and $30.00.
Over at Fitzgerald’s, they’ll utilize both the upstairs & downstairs for the Bayou City Doom Fest. Presented by the Houston Doom Brigade, the show will be a whole bunch of metal bands occupying the entire space of the venue. Houston metal act Helstar will headline the upstairs, while the prog metal of Houston’s Oceans of Slumber will headline downstairs. There’s a ton of great metal from bands like Project Armageddon and Funeral Horse, to acts like Sanctus Bellum and DEAD HAWKE. The all ages show has plenty more bands with doors at 5:00, music at 6:00, and a paltry $13.00 cover.
Dengue Dengue Dengue Photo: RBMA
Walter’s will host a real barn burner, when the crazy tropical bass electronica of Peru’s Dengue Dengue Dengue comes to town. Presented by the next level folks from Wonky Power Records, the duo has been blowing up with their masked performances all over the world. Part of the famed Red Bull Music Academy, their latest release was last year with the crazy sounding “Serpiente Dorada.” The way these two mix electronics and native rhythms is something you have to see live. Of course, this show wouldn’t be complete if it weren’t for having the over the top sounds of Houston’s Gio Chamba on as direct support. I think we all know that Gio is on the rise, and possibly the biggest thing to come outta’ Houston since the astrodome. If you’ve never seen him perform live, then you’ve missed one of the best performers going, as he mixes electronics with Latin overtones like no one else. His latest, a single called “Finest One” doesn’t even touch how intense he is live, but it’s still a great jam. Joining the bill, Austin Smith’s new project JERK will also perform. You have to see this one man band sound he’s got going on, that picks up where A Sea Es left off, and goes far beyond that. The glitched visuals and future bass of Houston’s FLCON FCKER will also be there to step things up as only he can. Recently, he’s been upping his game with new jams and an even more focused set that’s worth getting there early for. Opening things up, will be Bombon’s Navo dropping a fresh and high energy DJ set. This is a dope lineup that shouldn’t be missed with doors at 7:00 and tickets between $15.00 and $20.00 on the all ages show.
At House of Blues you can get your Wu on, when Raekwon & Ghostface Killah bring their NYC rap to town. The two are touring in support of the twentieth anniversary of the Raekwon album, “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx,” that featured GFK on some of the tracks. Since these two are legendary, and they’re touring a legendary album, there’s a good shot at this being an amazing show. They’ll also have support from Brooklyn’s Dillon Cooper, and Psycho Sid as openers. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $34.75 and $57.45.
At Notsuoh, they’ll be having the bluesy garage rock from Katy’s Two Dollar Pistol. The Katy four piece plays sludgy blues rock with a garage rock twang. Joining them will be indie rock four piece, Race To The Moon. Since I know that they’re putting the final touches on their full length, I’ll say that you should just give their “Burned Out” single a jam to get their vibe. They remind me of Vitreous Humor and Wilco mixed together. Golden Sombrero will also be on the show, and will be jamming tunes from their recently released album, “Replacement Level.” You should give these guys a listen, as they’re like early Replacements mixed with Cheap Girls, and their live shows are pretty impressive. The indie folk of Corusco will open the 18 & up show with 8:00 doors and cover for $5.00 on the 21 & up crowd, and $10.00 for the kids.
At Big Top, they’ll have another secret show that should be another barn burner. Even though I actually know who will be performing, I’ll just say that I dig this concept. The shows are a good way to come and see some great local bands for FREE. This time I’m hearing that it’s an eclectic mix of three bands with doors at 9:00 on the 21 & up show that’s 100% FREE.
D&W Lounge will have what they’re called East End Summer Social, where the music of Houston’s Young Girls will perform. So, I always thought that these guys just played indie pop rock, until I spent about two weeks jamming their first record, only to realize that they really play indie with hints of acts like The Cure and REM. They’re always amazing to see live with tons of energy too. The Chase DeMaster and Sergio Trevino hybrid act, Guess Genes will also be on hand to perform. These two apart do amazing things, but these two together create this amazing dream pop that you should totally see live, as it’s pretty great. Daniel Hinojosa will DJ the entire event, and there’s FREE ice cream from 9:00 -10:00 from Chocolate Wasted Ice Cream. Things start at 9:00, as far as I know it’s all ages, and it’s 100% FREE.
Criminal Birds Photo: SWIM
Rudyard’s will have the psych garage rock of Denton four piece, Criminal Birds. So, these guys drop a pretty amazing version of what Dandy Warhols did, but these guys rock it harder. Their latest album, this year’s “Fizzy Water” is nothing short of amazing, and worth seeing live. Joining them as direct support and opener is Houston’s Since Always. Early this year they channeled early emo core bands like Mineral and Sunny Day Real Estate all over their album, “Consequences,” and they could be Houston’s best kept secret as far as live acts go. The 21 & up show has doors at 10:00 and cover for $8.00.
Sunday you could make it over Warehouse Live for The Official Stand Up Tour, which actually has nothing to do with comedy. The group got started by forming a community to tour together while gaining fans and helping each other’s careers out. It’s a cool concept as far as packaged tours go. There’s a ton of acts on the bill with the Latin pop of Deleasa, the folk pop of The Icarus Account, and a whole bunch more acts. The all ages show has doors at 6:30 and tickets between $12.00 and $30.00.
Miller Outdoor Theater will host a special performance of “The Merchant of Venice” in the park. So, it’s hot, it’s kinda’ muggy, and it’s outdoors. But, it’s also legitimate theater for FREE. The covered area is seated with tickets that after searching their website, I couldn’t find where to buy them or for how much. There’s Free seating on the hill, and the all ages show starts at 8:30.
Tuesday you can go to Discovery Green for classes on the circus arts. The acrobatics and ground arts classes include learning to juggle, and hand balance. You have to be 13 years old or older to attend, things start at 5:30, and it’s 100% FREE.
That’s really about all that’s going on this week, but still full of options. Whatever you decide to do, please drink like an adult, and do everything in the safest way possible.