Sleeping Giant: The Best of The Week
Mastodon, Photo: Courtesy of Artist
Last week felt like a nice departure where the amount of local offerings outshined the bulk of the touring acts. This week you have tons of things you could be doing, where heavy hitters like Mastodon pictured above will be rolling through town. Houston, here’s where you should spend your hard earned dollars.
Wednesday you can start things off at Mandell Park when the soulful singer/songwriter tunes of Adam Bricks performs at twilight. Bricks is set to release the follow-up to 2013’s “City Songs” early next year, and he’s pretty amazing to see perform. I believe this is a solo set, but whether he’s with a band or not, he’s always good. The show starts at 7:00, it’s all ages & 100% FREE.
Or you could kick things off down at Scout Bar when legendary NYC ska outfit The Toasters come back through town. These guys have been going strong since 1981 and they’re always entertaining. Their latest album, 2011’s “2 Tone Army,” and maybe they’ll have some newer stuff at the show. They’ll have the ska of Arizona’s 2 Tone Lizard Kings on as direct support, while the ska punk jams of Houston’s Refinery Coast will be on hand to open things up. It’s an all ages show with doors at 7:00 and tickets between $11.00 and $14.00.
Over at House of Blues you can catch the folky sounds of The White Buffalo. This guy has the ability to mix rock, folk, country and pretty much everything else together. His new album from this year, “Love and Death of Damnation” is pretty fantastic to say the least. Nashville Americana duo, The Saint Johns will be on hand to serve as direct support and as opener. Their latest is an EP with this year’s “Open Water” and it’s pretty and engaging. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and the tickets are $17.00.
Hopsin, Photo: Paradigm
Warehouse Live will host some hip hop when the popular jams of LA’s Hopsin headlines the Funk Volume 2015 tour. Hopsin has been popping off since he started and this year’s “Pound Syndrome” is set to get just as big as his previous works. Vegas’ Dizzy Wright will be there as well as direct support. However, in all honesty his popular tunes could have him ending the night on any other tour. Wright just dropped a new album called “The Growing Process” that has him stretching his hip hop legs, and he’s known to be a force to see live. Georgia’s Jarren Benton will also be there while DJ Hoppa opens the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and tickets between $25.00 and $30.00 over in the ballroom.
At Barbarella you could catch Austin duo Light Wheel. The newly formed two piece has made quite the name for themselves with a mixture of R&B and modern electronics. They’ll have Houston’s Rex Hudson on as opener, which is really what you should go for. Hudson has been on a tear since dropping his debut single, “Lapse” earlier this year. His chillwave groove is definitely worth making it out for. The doors are at 9:00, it’s 18 & up and the cover is TBA.
On Thursday you can start off over at The Nightingale Room when Def Perception headlines a show at the small venue on Main. I feel like I’ve said this more than enough times, but these guys could be the best hip hop secret in Houston. Live band, a DJ that scratches real records, and an MC than spits lyrics like a machine. It should be noted that their DJ, DJ Baby Roo is the guy who started digital distribution label, Roologic that resides here in Houston. They’ll have the indie rock of Austin three piece, Blue Healer on as openers. The 21 & up show has doors at 7:00 and it’s 100% FREE.
Numbers will have a set from London psych pop quartet Django Django. These guys make music that’s pretty strange yet easy to follow and get down to. To me they’re like Sigue Sigue Sputnik meets Franz Ferdinand, but you might find something else there. This year they dropped “Born Under Saturn” that has more tripped out sounds that accompany pop hooks than you’ve possibly ever heard. Chicago brother and sister duo, Wild Belle will be on as support and openers. They were featured on the Major Lazer track, “Be Together,” and their latest single “Giving Up On You” is quite the jam. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $22.00 and $26.00.
In the studio at Warehouse Live, they’ll host South Korean rapper Keith Ape. Ape has been getting all sorts of attention from the world, and his new single, “Psycho” is creepy and cool at the same time. There’s no word of an opener, so that means that there will probably be at least three or more locals you’ve never heard of. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $15.00 and $20.00.
Eureka The Butcher, Photo: Efefoto
House of Blues will have the instrumental hip hop of LA’s DJ Nobody in town. Nobody does pretty much what NOLA’s AF The Naysayer did two years ago, but with a little more DJ flair. A couple of months ago he dropped “Puzzles (1996)” and it’s a trip to listen to. Ex-Mars Volta percussionist, Eureka The Butcher will be on as direct support, and he’ll bring his damaged LA beat scene sound with him. This guy makes some of the strangest electronica you can hear, yet it’s still entertaining and kind of like nothing else going. His debut, “Music For Mothers” is something you have to put in your ears sooner than later. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets for $15.00.
Walters will be hosting the surf pop rock of Nebraska four piece and Saddle Creek Records act, Twinsmith. These guys make some really fun and easy going tunes that are all over their latest release, this year’s “Alligator Years.” Houston indie alt pop three piece, The Lories will be on prior. You should get there early and check them out as their new release, “Demos” is pretty awesome. Houston surf rock three piece Total Nightmare will be there to open the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and tickets between $8.00 and $10.00.
Friday you can get things started over at Revention Center for the metal of Mastodon. For all of you who complained that you thought FPSF would be the band’s only Houston date, this is your chance to see them off of a festival stage. Last year the four piece released the massively popular album, “Once More ‘Round The Sun,” and should do a great job of bleeding some ears when they take the stage. Not to be outdone, one of the best live acts you can catch, Maryland’s Clutch will go on beforehand. I know at least ten people who catch ever Texas Clutch show that happens, and I’ll admit that they can really bring it when they perform. Their latest album, last year’s “Summer Sound Attack” is pretty stellar, and they should help sell this show out. If you just felt like you weren’t getting enough metal or punk, North Carolina’s Corrosion of Conformity will open things up. These guys play brutal, loud, and in your face and have been doing so since the eighties. Their new album, this year’s “IX” is pretty damn great, and they never disappoint when they perform. The all ages show has doors at 6:00 and tickets between $29.50 and $35.00.
B L A C K I E, Photo: Courtesy of Artist
Fitzgerald’s will have the hip hop of LaPorte’s B L A C K I E grace the stage and more than likely blow minds of all who attend. B L A C K I E has been grinding in the business long enough that I would think that you would’ve heard of him. His albums and style have been lifted by the likes of Death Grips and Kanye West, and last year’s “Imagine Yourself In A Free and Natural World” just proved that he only needs three songs to be a next level artist. Baltimore’s Abdu Ali will go on prior, and I’d be lying if I said that you needed to see him live. His latest album, last year’s “Already” is intense and completely different than most stuff you’ll hear. NOLA producer Kilbourne will also be on the bill while the queer positive hip hop of Houston’s Biz Vicious will go on prior. Vicious has been working on a follow up to last year’s “We Lurk Among You,” and he’s been getting more and more press by the day. Houston’s First Ward Sound will open the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and a paltry $8.00 cover.
You could drive down to 18th Street Pier in San Leon for the steroid infused metal of Misfits’ Doyle. Honestly, Doyle made a pretty decent album in 2013 with “Abominator,” though I’ve never seen him perform it live. The thrash metal of the Bay area’s Hatchet will be on as direct support, while the horror punk of Arizona’s Calabrese will be on prior. A band called Calling Chase will also be there, as will Soco Road and Houston’s Brumes. Houston’s Knocturnal Maddness will open the show with doors at 8:00 & an $18.00 cover on the 21 & up show.
Rudyard’s will have the album release party for the stoner metal of Houston’s Funeral Horse. These guys are a three piece that sound heavier than most four or five piece acts. Their new album, “Divinity For The Wicked,” is like a punch to the face that’s worth checking out. Bellringer, a new act from Mark Deutrom, formerly of Melvins will be on as direct support. Bellringer is pretty bombastic, and has that rock sound that’s hard define, but makes you want to listen to more of it. This year they dropped the single “Click Bait” that should give you an idea of their sound. Members of 30 Foot Fall and Deadhorse, Baron Von Bomblast will open things up, though I have no clue as to what their sound is. The 21 & up show has doors at 9:00 and a $10.00 cover.
There’s a warehouse party at some secret warehouse, which I know sounds shady. The show will have performances from Fat Tony, XLO, Matsu Mixu, Josiah Gabriel, Pfaffenberg, and many more. There’s FLCON FCKER and Cyclea visuals, and art from Eyesore. The all ages show has doors at 9:30, and tickets between $8.00 and $10.00. The location will be revealed on the day of the show and all of the details are available here.
The final night of the Beta Bracket comedy competition will take place at MKT Bar downtown. The guys at Beta Theater and the fine people at Phoenicia are giving away the largest amount of money ever awarded in a Texas comedy contest. The prizes of $3,000.00 for first place, $750.00 for second place, and $250.00 for third place will be handed out to each of the final three comics. The final three competing are Rich Williams, Michael Paras, and Kazeem Rahman. And, because it’s audience vote, you can help decide who wins what, and decide who will be the grand champion. Last week there wasn’t anywhere to sit there were so many attendees, so it’s recommended that you get there early to grab a seat closer to 9:00 than 10:00. The show is all ages, there’s free parking in the attached garage, and it gets started at 10:00. As always it’s 100% FREE.
Saturday you could start your Halloween at the Downtown Dia de los Muertos Festival over at El Big Bad. This year they have a pop up shop that opens at noon, live music that starts at 5:00, and a costume contest that starts at 10:00. There’s more than enough to do all day on the all ages event that starts at 11:00 am and runs until 2:00 am the next day. More details are available here.
Nick Gaitan & the Umbrella Man, Photo: Courtesy of Artist/Facebook
There’s also a Dia de los Muertos festival over at Magnolia Park that features a headlining set from Nick Gaitan and The Umbrella Man. Nick and these guys are pretty damn epic performers, and they always put on an amazing live show. They’ll have music from In The Loop, Ambassadors International, and so many more. The total details are available here, things start at 11:00 am, and there’s food from Don Carlos on the all ages and FREE event.
Down at MKT Bar, you can spend your Halloween with Wonky Power Records. Sets from George West, DJ Klandestino, and Mario Rodriguez (Bang Bangz/Tax The Wolf) will take over the first half of the evening, while DJ Tempty will close out the night. Your $12.00 ticket price includes FREE light bites. The show should be a ton of fun, it’s all ages, and things start at 7:00 and run until about 1:00 in the am. All of the details and a ticket link are available here.
#Very Jazzed will be presenting a Halloween show over at Black Barbie for the Halloween2k15 event. The show will have sets from Children Of Pop, Deep Cuts, The Lories, Get A Life, United Waves, and SHMU. What does this mean? Basically that everyone who attends will get to see Chase DeMaster perform at least three times, though everyone on this bill is pretty damn great. The doors are at 7:00, it’s all ages I think, and it’s FREE with a costume or $3.00 without.
The Cult, Photo: Michael Levine
In true Halloween fashion, the heavy blues rock of England’s The Cult will be performing over at House of Blues. Luckily for basically everyone with ears that Ian Astbury left that “new” Doors band and returned to what he does best…front this band. Their most recent release was 2012’s “Choice of Weapon,” which was a nice return to form. However, I’d guess you’ll hear the hits like, “She Sells Sanctuary,” “Fire Woman,” and “Lil’ Devil.” There’s no word of an opener, but the all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $35.00 and $59.50.
Walters will have a barn burner when they have The Halloweening II show. End of the Century, which is Fat Tony with The Snooty Garbagemen will perform a Ramones set, Kose & Pitter Patter will perform a Green Day set, Hearts of Animals will perform a set as The Vaselines; and Gwarrissey performing a set mixed with Smiths and Gwar tunes. There’s also a set from Blink 281, and DJ sets from DJ Got Tha Life & DJ Ultima Online. The all ages show has doors at 8:00, it’s FREE with a costume, and $7.00 without one.
At Eastdown Warehouse there’s a show featuring a headlining set from Houston punks, ESE. They’ll be joined by one of my favorite new acts, Houston’s Killer Hearts. These guys play a kind of sleaze rock that I wish I heard more of while still keeping melody and that overall oomph intact. The motorcycle rock of The Velostacks will be on beforehand, while The Freakouts open things up. There’s also a costume contest with a $100.00 cash prize. The doors are at 8:00 and the cover is $8.00.
Avant Garden will also have the Rumble At The Garden Halloween show. There’s a ton of music on this thing that has sets from Mannequin Mishap, Mark Drew, Biz Vicious, Nikkhoo, Jon Black, Detre, Nobody & Himself, DJ Queermo, and DJ Just Push Play. There also promises to be a 2-Hour Cypher rap battle if you will with varying MC’s. The doors are at 9:00, the show is 21 & up, and it’s 100% FREE.
If you were already at House of Blues for The Cult, then you could head over to the foundation room there to catch the official afterparty with DJ Damon Allen and DJ Lacey Youngblood. The afterparty will be costume themed and should be a lot of fun. More details are available here, and it gets started around 9:00.
Numbers will have their yearly costume contest and all night dance party as well on Halloween. This year they’re dusting off former Record Rack and Numbers owner Bruce Godwin to host and judge the costumes. There’s a paltry $5.00 cover before 10:00, it goes all night, and the all ages event has doors at 9:00.
Over at Big Top, you can rock out with Houston’s Knights of the Fire Kingdom. These guys play rock like it was meant to be played, and their live show is always top notch whether they’re in front of 5 or 500. The eighties rock jams of Houston’s Jealous Creatures will be on hand as well, and will bring the sounds from their recently released album, “The Night Goes on for Days” to life. The psych meets blues rock of Houston’s Space Villains will open things up, and you should give their new release “Asterism” as spin, cause it’s pretty great. The 21 & up show has doors at 9:00 and it’s 100% FREE.
Rudyard’s will have the alt rock of Houston’s Empty Shells to close out the night. While it’s cool that these guys have live recordings posted, I’d like to see a proper album from them as they’re easily underrated. The surf punk of Houston’s Total Nightmare will be there as direct support as well. The way they combine surf rock and punk elements is definitely worth seeing live. Houston instrumental duo Lords of the Universe will open the 21 & up show with doors at 9:00 and a FREE entry.
Silver Apples, Photo: MONO
Sunday you can nurse your Halloween hangover at Walters when the legendary sixties sounds of New York’s Silver Apples. Quite possibly one of the trippiest and ahead of their time acts, Silver Apples had a very brief career that ended in the late sixties after their second release. Though their original drummer died some years ago, their lead singer soldiered on and dropped a third album in 1998 with “The Garden.” The fact that this show is even happening is a miracle. The tripped out electronica of Maramuresh will be on as direct support, while Austin’s Sam De La Rosa will go on prior. There’s a band called ENS on as well, though I doubt that they’re the duo from Germany, while things are opened up by John Calero. the all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets are between $10.00 and $15.00.
You could also head to Fitzgerald’s when The Coathangers bring their all female garage punk sound to the masses. The Atlanta based group has been setting the world on fire with their fun live shows, and last year’s “Suck My Shirt” was pretty impressive. LA punks The Birth Defects will be on hand as direct support. This year they dropped the album, “First 8 Mistakes,” where their lead singer creepily channels the vocal sounds of Fear’s Lee Ving. Opening the show, will be the sleaze rock of Houston’s Killer Hearts. I don’t know if it’s the Black Novas’ lover in me, but I really dig this band, which is lead by Pablo of Black Novas. I know that they have an album on the horizon and they’re pretty killer to see live, so get there early. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $11.00 and $13.00.
Rudyard’s will host the Americana meets folk tunes of Charleston’s Susto. The five piece makes these folky jams that mix between country and Americana to create their own sound. Their latest release is a 7” called “Hearts & Plugs, Vol. 1” from this year, and it’s pretty entertaining. Atlanta’s Tedo Stone will go on prior, and will bring a folk pop sound mixed with bluesy vocals to those who see the show. The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and tickets are between $8.00 and $11:00.
Chedda Da Connect, Photo: Courtesy of Artist
You can get your rap on over at House of Blues for a hip hop show headlined by Paul Wall. If Wall just isn’t enough for you, perhaps the fact that Slim Thug, Lil’ Keke, Chedda Da Connect, and T-Wayne will all be on the bill as well. Things are kicked off by DJ Chose, the show is all ages, and the doors are at 8:00 with tickets for $27.25.
If you just wanna’ dance, then the Dia de los Muertos party at Etro will be your best bet. The show promises sets from some of Houston’s best to be headlined by Dan-knee. The nu disco meets spaced out jams that he drops are pretty intense. He’ll have the disco jams of GRRRL Parts on prior, as well as the Blackout & Smooth and Faded jams of DJ Act Badd beforehand. Smooth and Faded’s Vic-G will open things up with visuals from Blackout’s Leckie glowing all night. The 21 & up show is 100% FREE and the doors are at 10:00.
Monday you should make it over to the studio at Warehouse Live for the weighted folk tunes of Rachael Yamagata. Yamagata echoes the sounds of Carole King, PJ Harvey, and Chan Marshall when she sings, and 2012’s “Heavyweight” EP from her was magical. She’ll have the California folk duo of My Name Is You on as direct support and opener. These two drop some pretty songs that have pop elements sprinkled throughout. Their 2014 album “Home Now” was really beautiful, and they should be just as good to hear live. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $18.00 and $20.00.
Tuesday you can spend an evening in the studio at Warehouse Live with Philly punk quartet, The Menzingers. Though they’ve been around for close to a decade, their sound is always on point and their live sets are always energetic and at the top of their game. Last year they gave us “Rented World” that showcased the band’s ability to add hooks to their songs. They’ll have one of the best live bands going when Philly five piece, mewithoutyou comes on as direct support. This year these guys returned with the beautifully crafted album, “Pale Horses” and this will probably be your last chance to see them in this album cycle. The post hardcore sounds of Baltimore’s Pianos Become The Teeth will also be on the bill, while Philly’s Restorations will open the all ages show. Get there early as I hear great things about Restorations, and last year’s “LP3” was amazeballs. The doors are at 6:00 and the tickets are between $20.00 and $22.00, and the show could very easily sell out.
Strange Wilds, Photo: Che-Hise Gatone
Walters will be bringing in the grunge punk noise of Olympia’s Strange Wilds. This three piece definitely channels the angst of Kurt Cobain through one of Buzz Osbourne’s blown amplifiers, and they sound like a mix of early Mudhoney and Tad. Their latest album, this year’s “Subjective Concepts” is pretty damn great, and I feel like their live set will blow you away. The dreamy spaced sounds of Narrow Head, who really remind me of a grungy version of Starflyer 59 will be on as direct support. This year they dropped “Far Removed” and it’s littered with multiple guitars that would make Jesus and Mary Chain jealous. The nineties sounding indie rock of Houston’s Middlechild will be there to open things up. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $7.00 and $10.00.
That’s really about all you have to choose from, though I’m sure there are tons of Halloween happenings about town. No matter what you do, please be mindful of little kids in cheap masks on the streets, drink like an adult, and get home in the safest way possible…especially on this weekend.