Room Full of Roses: The Best of The Week
Mickey Gilley, Photo: Courtesy of Artist
Well, last week we had a ton of options on what to do and where to go. This week isn’t as crazed but still full of plenty of events worth looking into. There’s more than enough entertainment over the next seven days, including a set from legend Mickey Gilley pictured above. Houston, here’s how to spend your next 168 hours.
Wednesday you can kick things off over at The Nightingale Room when Houston alt hip hop group, Positive Disturbance drops a set. This six piece does things differently when it comes to hip hop in that they seriously have their own sound. The 21 & up show has doors at 7:00 and it’s 100% FREE.
Barrence Whitfield & The Savages, Photo: J. A. Areta
I’d guess if you wanted your socks knocked off that you’d head to Under The Volcano when Bloodshot Records’ artist Barrence Whitfield brings his garage punk meets R&B electricity to town. This guy is like a punch to the face of what you think you know about garage rock. The Boston native makes the kind of tunes that make you want to get down and get crazy. His latest album, last year’s “Under The Savage Sky” is so amazing that I feel like an idiot for forgetting about it in my best of the year list. Appropriately, the magic of Houston’s Mikey & The Drags will open things up. If you haven’t seen these guys before then you’re not doing Houston correctly. Highly energetic and full of fun, last year’s “Make You Mine” is a tour de force. The 21 & up show has doors at 8:00 and the cover is a measly $10.00, which is nothing to catch a living legend perform.
Thursday you could head over to Warehouse Live studio to catch the hip hop of Rhode Island’s Mike Stud. You don’t hear too many rappers hailing from Rhode Island just like there aren’t too many white rappers who are on a higher caliber, but Stud is both. He’s known for a legit live show, and this year’s “These Days” stays in line with his strong mic skills. The popular sounds of OCD: Moosh & Twist will be on as direct support. Though they’re close to pop rap, the Philly duo has been getting plenty of props recently. Last year they dropped a couple of singles, “Whoah” being the most recent and most tight. For some reason, the crazed mic skills of Arizona’s Futuristic will open things up. This guy hits a mic hard, he has a ton of plays, and he’s a difficult act to follow. His latest, “Coast To Coast” from December is pretty intense. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $18.00 and $75.00, the latter being a VIP & Meet & Greet option.
If that’s not your thing then you could make it over to Walters to catch the intense prog rock sounds of Houston’s Vox Vocis. These guys are a three piece who sounds closer to a six piece, and this being their album release party for their latest, “In The Arms of The Sun” just means they’ll play harder. The indie prog sounds of Alvin’s And Then Suddenly will be on as direct support, while the highly energetic jams of Houston prog rockers Sunrise and Ammunition will go on prior. Houston five piece Brainstorm For Tuesday will also be on the bill, where the intricate pop rock of Rogues Among Us will open things up. The all ages show has doors at 7:00, and a $10.00 cover.
Saintseneca, Photo: Nick Fancher
Over at Satellite Bar, you can get up close with the popular sounds of Ohio’s Saintseneca. This five piece gets called folk, but they’re so much more than that. They’re more like an indie electro pop band with folk overtones that has a sound that’s more engaging than anything you’ve heard before. Their latest release, last year’s “Such Things” has been called one of the best by tons of critics, and they usually play much larger spaces so this is a rare treat. The dark yet poignant sounds of Des Ark will be on as direct support. Lead with an acoustic guitar and dark smoky vocals, her last release “Everything Dies” from last year is truly gorgeous. The third wave emo of Houston’s Football, etc. will be on hand as openers. These three make such emotionally strong and deep music, that the hook fueled nature of them can trick you. They’re seriously the best unsung band in town, and last year’s “Disappear” was one of my favorites. The all ages show has doors at 7:30 and a $12.00 cover.
Over at Fitzgerald’s the rootsy Americana meets rock tunes of North Carolina’s American Aquarium will be in town. This six piece has tons of depth, they mix instruments like a banjo and pedal steel with up front vocals and big guitars. Their anthemic tunes are all over last year’s “Wolves” and they’re known for a really fun live show. They’ll get a run for their money though, as the high energy of Houston’s Jason Bancroft & The Wealthy Beggars will be on as direct support and opener. These guys make songs that feel like they’re reliving the tales of road weary travellers. A mix of Americana and roots rock, last year’s “Home” showcased Bancroft’s gravelly vocals with more hooks than you’d expect from the genre. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets $10.00 and $15.00.
If you’d rather get your laugh on, you could head to Midtown Bar & Grill for the comedic raps of Howard Kremer. That’s right, this guy’s a comic and a comedic rapper that while his beats are closer to that of Blazin’ Hazen, his songs and jokes are pretty funny. Last year’s “Summahtology” should give you an idea of what he’s like live. Two of Houston’s better up and coming comics will more than likely be on as host and feature act, and the 21 & up show has doors at 9:00 and a $12.00 cover.
At Boulevardier you can get artsy when they host another edition of “no one’s home.” The collaborative event features art from names like Shelby Hohl, Christine Gwosdz, Cary Fagan, and many more. The 21 & up show has doors at 9:00 and as far as I know it’s 100% FREE.
Friday you could consider starting off over at Black Barbie for the You Can Be You art showcase and music event. The show will feature art from four local talents as well as sets from punk rockers Clasp, the darkwave electronica of Tearful Moon, punk of Substance, and the post punk synth sounds of Dallas’ Nervous Curtains. The all ages affair has doors at 6:00 and a $5.00 cover.
The Nightingale Room will host an early show with the tropical dance jams of Houston’s Bombon and friends. This collective is always lit, they throw epic dance events, and their latest remix release “Bombon Remixes” is pretty legit. They also dropped a release last year with Austin’s Peligrosa called “Bombon X Peligrosa” that’s just as intense. The 21 & up show has doors at 6:00 and it’s 100% FREE.
Greg Proops, Photo: Courtesy of Artist
If you’re up for a laugh, Improv will host the acerbic and intelligent humor of Greg Proops. Proops is known for being an insanely talented comic who’s also earned the respect of his peers and audiences alike. His podcast, “The Smartest Man In The World” is a riot, while his book “The Smartest Book In The World” is just as hilarious. His tongue in cheek humor can be found all over last year’s “In The Ball Park” and he’s one of the funniest guys you can see live. As per all of these shows, two of Houston’s better comics will serve as feature act and host. The 18 & up show will have doors at 7:00 and 9:00, or 6:15 and 8:00 on Saturday, and all carry a ticket price between $22.00 to $32.00.
Mucky Duck will have a very special performance from Kelly Willis & Radio Ranch. The country twang of her voice coupled with this backing band will grace the stage at the Houston venue in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the band. They’ll be performing their 1990 release, “Well Travelled Love” from start to finish, which should be a real treat. The 21 & up shows are at 7:00 and 9:00, and both carry a cover between $28.00 and $30.00.
Of course, the Texas Talent Showcase feature of Kiki Maroon’s Burlesque & Circus Arts Festival, The Lone Star Bizarre will be happening at Warehouse Live. The show will feature tons of talented artists from our state including acts from Houston, Katy, Amarillo, Austin, and Dallas. The 18 & up show has doors at 7:00, unless you have one of the 2 day VIP passes, where the doors will be at 7:00. The general admission tickets that are left are $20.00.
Kool & Together, Photo: Lora
Walters will have one of the best bands you’ve never heard of when Kool & Together performs. These guys should have been the best thing since sliced bread when they emerged from the small Texas town of Victoria in the early seventies. Mixing soul, funk, rock, and R&B; they have the sound that makes you wonder if Richie Havens and Marvin Gaye found inspiration in their tunes. Their album, “Original Recordings 1970-77” is amazing, and it’s crazy that they still play live shows. The high energy and always fun sounds of The Heights Funk Collective will be on as direct support and bring their funky mix of jazz, funk, and R&B to life. Things will get started with a DJ set from the highly underrated sounds of A Fistful of Soul on the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and tickets between $7.00 and $10.00.
Fitzgerald’s will host the Texas rock of Austin’s Bellringer. This three piece jams hard while they mix heavy riffs and that old Austin weird rock sound. Last year’s single “Art Thief” should clue you into their sound. The hardcore metal mixture of Houston’s Supergrave will perform the duties of direct support while Pasadena’s Ganesha will open things up with their heavy psych rock tunes. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $10.00 and $12.00.
D&W Lounge will have an engaging show when they host the Americana meets alt country of Houston’s Quiet Morning & The Calamity. This band has gone through some changes and is rumored to be working on new stuff. This could be your chance to hear what they’ve been up to on the all ages show with doors at 9:00. The show is 100% FREE.
Saturday you can start off at Karbach Brewery when they host Houston’s Sik Mule. These guys mix punk and blues into a hook heavy sound that’s pretty unmistaken. Though they’re a three piece, they sound much larger on tracks like “Runaway Train” and “Selfie Nation,” both from last year. Tejas will also be on the 100% FREE event that’s child and dog friendly, where things get started around 1:00.
You might want to drive out to the Woodlands so you can see the legend, Mickey Gilley in person at Dosey Doe Big Barn. Backed by a full band, the singer has more hits than a mafia don, and he’s a real treasure to see perform. Aside from the fact that Gilley ushered in a whole new generation of country lifestyle with his club Gilley’s, he has his own beer and he’s a truly great performer. I’m sure he’ll drop all of his hits with songs like “Stand By Me,” “Room Full of Roses,” “City Lights,” and so many more. Scientifically speaking, this might be one of your last chances to catch this guy perform. The all ages show has dinner served between 6:00 and 7:30 which is included with your ticket. Tickets are still available running between $108.00 and $156.00.
Alley Kat will have the one year anniversary of their open mic series Plug N’ Play. There promises to be giveaways alongside sets from several Houston acts headlined by Dirty & Nasty. These two are pretty lit to see live, they mix old school rap and hip hop like you’ve never seen before, and last year’s “Sons of The Queen” was really impressive. The roots music of Dem will also perform, as will D3smond and D3. Petesimple will also perform on the 21 & up show with doors at 7:00 and a $5.00 cover.
Numbers will have a set from Phish bassist Mike Gordon. Gordon has been doing the solo thing for quite some time, and has become well known for explosive live shows. Gordon’s songs feel more complex than that of Phish, yet they still embody the same free range. His 2014 release, “Overstep” is pretty enlightening with pop hooks and multifaceted instrumentation. There’s no mention of support on this show, but that could change. The all ages event has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $26.00 and $30.50.
Kiki Maroon, Photo: Jefferson Carroll
Over at Warehouse Live you can get an eyeful when Kiki Maroon brings her Bayou City Burlesque & Circus Arts Festival back. Both times this festival appeared on the calendar last year it sold out and this time should be no different. Performances from Maroon herself will go hand in hand with burlesque performances from Tansy & Her Ferocious Lion of NYC, Coco Lectric from Austin, and Matt Finish of Arizona. There’s also Houston acts like Ms. Yet, Nick T Vegan, Scabz the Clown, Honey Moonpie and over twenty other performers. Pole and air performances from Lyra Acrobats, sexy clowns, jugglers, contortionists, and so much talent will be on hand from start to finish. The 18 & up event has doors at 7:30, and the only tickets left are the $20.00 general admission tickets, available here.
If you can make it over to Rudyard’s then you’ll be happy to see that Boz Boorer will be in from London. Of course we all know Boorer from his tenure as chief songwriter and guitarist for Morrissey. However, his solo work is more rockabilly than the gentle swagger of Moz. Though his most recent release was a single in 2014 called, “Girl From Atlanta,” that shouldn’t dissuade you from catching him live. The rockabilly of London native and now Austin transplant, Rockin’ Lloyd Tripp will be on as direct support, while Big E and Ray Farahani will drop DJ sets. the 21 & up show has doors at 8:00 and a $15.00 ticket.
Fox Parlor, Photo: Courtesy of Artist/Facebook
Fitzgerald’s will have a rockin’ evening when the bluesy twang of Houston’s Fox Parlor performs. This four piece knows how to play blues rock without being boring, and 2014’s “Hell Or High Water” proved that their punk overtones were just the right mix. The immensely underrated sounds of Houston’s The Wheel Workers will be in the middle slot, and should blow away anyone who sees them perform. Three records in and this band is still crafting a mix of pop rock and indie rock that stirs the senses. Last year’s “Citizens” showed off their versatility, and their live shows are always top notch. The soulful blues rock of Houston’s Muddy Belle will be there as openers. They’re promising FREE copies of their first EP and more for those who attend. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and a $10.00 cover.
However, you could head to Satellite Bar to catch the psych blues mixture of Mojave Red. This three piece is pretty impressive, they can pull their sound off live, and their recently released EP “Creeper” is pretty damn tight. The indie folk rock of Austin’s Big Coat will be on as direct support, while the diverse indie rock of Houston’s Whit will go on beforehand. Now under a new lineup, you should get there early to check them out as their recent live shows have been pretty intense. Mind Shrine will open the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and a measly $5.00 cover.
If you like your live shows FREE, then you could go to Continental Club to catch the indie rock of Young Girls. At first listen these guys sound like garage pop, but if you listen deeper you can hear hints of The Cure and nineties Brit pop as well. Last year’s EP, “Young Girls” is still one of my favorites and their live shows are always great. The electro pop ambience of Houston’s Raceway will be on as direct support, and the synthpop of Camera Cult will open the 21 & up show with doors at 9:00.
Avant Garden will host another edition of the Skin In The Game shows. This time there’s plenty of fire from acts like Josiah Gabriel, who should be dropping an EP sooner than later, and someone I’d recommend catching. There also promises to be a set from android genius, who seems to not be performing as much as he used to due to the success of his side project FLOODS. Last year android dropped the dark and snappy album “/\” and rumor has it that this set will be a one off of Zelda remixes. There’s also a set from the rarely seen Duro Spliff, alongside sets from Rez, FLCON FCKER, XLO, and MLCBR. The 21 & up show has doors at 9:00 and it’s 100% FREE.
Angiesliste, Photo: Vibes Not Bribes
You can close off your Saturday at Boondocks for another edition of Les Femmes. The always engaging dance party features deck work from Gracie Chavez of Bombon, GRRRL PARTS DJ’s, and Angiesliste. These three acts are all on another level, and can really get you moving on the dance floor. This show will feature a set from DJ ILLSET. The 21 & up party has doors at 10:00 and it’s 100% FREE.
Sunday you should head to Dan Electro’s if you want to be an extra in the film “Acid Test.” The scene being shot will feature Houston’s Giant Kitty, and they will perform after the shooting. They ask that you come dressed in nineties attire, and all of the details are available here. It’s FREE with RSVP, it gets going around 6:00, and I believe it’s all ages with parental consent for those under 18.
Monday you can go over to Walters to catch the rock meets electronica of Protomen. This band makes fantasy based music typically based on the video game Mega Man. It’s an odd concept, but I’d be lying if I said that they weren’t pretty popular. Their latest is a two song release called, “This City Made Us.” Not to be outdone, Bit Brigade will be on as openers and direct support. They play all sorts of video game songs, and are known most for their album “Castlebandia,” based on the video game, Castlevania. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $15.00 and $17.00.
Matthew Logan Vasquez, Photo: Peter Blackstock
Tuesday there are more options than you’d think starting off at The Raven Tower for another set from Matthew Logan Vasquez. The Delta Spirit singer is doing a Texas residency, and these shows have been pretty engaging. Last year he dropped the EP, “Austin,” and he’s been on point for all of these shows. This is the last one of these shows, so if you’ve missed one then this is your last chance. The rock of Austin’s A. Sinclair will be there as direct support, while Houston’s Buxton will open things up. Last year’s “Half A Native” just showcased how diverse this band is, and if you were unaware, their live shows are always amazing. The all ages show has doors at 6:30, and it’s FREE for 21 & up with RSVP, $5.00 for those under 21.
Warehouse Live will host the hip hop of Houston’s Trill Sammy. I’ve never seen him perform, but I hear good things. This year he dropped the single, “Check Out,” and he’s worked with the likes of Slim Thug among others. The hip hop jams of Houston’s Dice Soho will be on as direct support while I’m sure plenty of others will open the all ages show. The doors are at 7:00 in the studio and tickets are between $10.00 and $12.00.
Fitzgerald’s will have three longterm members of Venom in town, when they host Venom Inc. So, to be clear, this isn’t the Venom I saw last year at Fun Fun Fun Fest with Kronos. This is Mantas, Abaddon, and The Demolition Man from the 80’s-90’s era Venom. However, from what I hear they’re pretty damn amazing to catch live. Necrophagia of Ohio will be there as direct support, and will bring their black metal to all who attend. their last release was the heavy handed “White Worm Cathedral” in 2014. The wraith metal of Houston’s Spectral Manifest will also be on the bill, while the death metal of Saturnatas will open things up. The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are between $25.00 and $30.00.
That’s about it this week but still plenty hefty for this early in the year. No matter what you decide to do, please be respectful of your fellow Houstonians and do so in the safest way possible.