Spike The Senses: The Best of The Week
Photo: Wire Image
This week, we’re seeing the after effects of the nearby happenings of SXSW. Last week this all began on the downlow, but this week it’s crammed full of artists in the spillover. Acts like Of Montreal pictured above will fill our city for the next seven days. Here’s how to make the most of this coming week.
Wednesday, Walters will have the fun and free spirited antics of Of Montreal on hand. So, I think it’s fair to say that you’re already a fan of a good portion of this band’s material. Songs like “Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games,” “Gronlandic Edit,” and even last year’s “Jigsaw Puzzle” are just a few of the songs most fans have been known to love. This time, the Georgia band, lead by longtime member Kevin Barnes is back in support of the recently released, “Aureate Gloom.” A little more of a stripped down sound, the band has more of a funky psych vibe this go around; but that just means less costume changes. San Francisco’s Deerhoof will also be there as direct support with their distinctive sound. Sometimes sugary and poppy tunes that intertwine with melodic experimentation work, and this band easily proves that. Their last album, last year’s “La Isla Bonita” is a great example of that. They’ll have to really bring their “A game” as former Monotonix member, Yonatan Gat will be there to open the show. I think it’s best to describe this guy’s sound by saying that he sounds like he’s performing outside of a gypsy camp through one of Jon Spencer’s blown amplifiers. His album, 2014’s “Iberian Passage” has not only been hailed by critics as amazing; but it’s a chaotic guitar driven jam after another that’s as inspiring as it is awesome. The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and this one is SOLD OUT!
If hip hop is more your style, then Warehouse Live will host hip hop duo PRhyme. The collaboration between Royce da 5’9” and DJ Premier is kind of a match made in rap heaven. They’ve been blowing up since dropping last year’s “PRhyme;” and they’ve just released the same album under the moniker of “PRhyme Instrumentals,” without the vocals. DJ Premier himself will be there to open the show. Premier has worked with DR Dre, RZA, and more, and his style is one that emanated the bulk of nineties hip hop. It doesn’t hurt, that he attended Prairie View A&M right up the road from Houston. The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and tickets are between $20.00 and $25.00.
Rudyard’s will be having some melodic punk from The Sharp Lads of Brooklyn. The four piece will be bringing their fast and hook fueled sound to town in support of last year’s “Death By Misadventure.” The punk/ska of Refinery Coast will be there as well, with the horror rock of Houston three piece Haksaw Man opening things up. The 21 & up show has doors at 9:00 and a $5.00 cover.
Thursday you can get things started over at The Nightingale Room when Houston’s Fat Tony drops by for what will more than likely be an electrifying set. You know, the beauty of Fat Tony’s style of hip hop, is that his Houston roots are strong, but he doesn’t have that older Houston sound. Pretty much everything he releases, sounds like it came from somewhere else, which is probably why he’s such a great rapper. If you’ve never seen him perform, then you’re doing Houston hip hop wrong; as he’s a performer from start to finish, and he props up the city everytime he takes the mic. He’ll have the soulful electronic sounds of Houston’s Josian Gabriel on the bill with him. I think most people in the know, would tell you that Noah could easily be the biggest thing out of Houston in a long time; and sooner than later he will drop his latest full length masterpiece for all of us to be in awe of. This will all get started with a set and more than likely, visuals from Houston’s elusive FLCON FCKER. Part of the Red Bull Music academy, this guy has been doing things his own way from the start, and his sets are the kind that feel like you just heard something next level. The show has doors at 7:30, and the tickets are between $5.00 and $10.00, or $50.00 for a four person booth.
Walters will have one of the best guitarists in the business that you’ve possibly never heard of, when Steve Gunn stops by. Gunn has done work with acts like GHQ, as well as a guitarist in Kurt Vile’s band The Violators. Gunn might be one of the most diverse guys to pick up the six stringed instrument, and his style ranges all over. His latest solo work, is last year’s “Way Out Weather” that finds the artist experimenting with jammed out tunes that almost feel like Southern blues mixed with Eastern overtones. Chicago’s Ryley Walker will also be there to drop his singer/songwriter vibes. Walker is a fingerstyle player, which is to say that he could come off as the Hendrix of an acoustic. Last year’s “All Kinds of You” reminded me of what would happen if George Harrison had gone a less structured route, post-Beatles. Houston’s The Guice Orchestra will open the show. Before you think, I’ll skip the opener; just know that this is a drone act with members from several notable Houston acts. The kick here is that they only play in G tuning. The all ages show will have doors at 8:00 and tickets between $8.00 and $10.00.
Over at Improv, a one night only performance from Dallas’ Paul Varghese. Varghese is a pretty funny guy, and his humor covers everything from being Indian, to everyday life in a funny manner. He’s won first place in NBC’s Stand Up For Diversity, he’s performed all over, and he’s been on big shows like the Montreal Comedy Festival. His 2013 album, “Paul & Oates” is one of the funniest comedy album you can hear. As per all of these shows, two of Houston’s better comics will perform the duties of host and feature act. There’s just one show at 8:00 and the tickets are $17.00.
Alley Kat will have a show to get your feet moving, when Gracie Chavez drops by to DJ on the Bootleg Thursdays show. I feel like if you haven’t seen her perform, you might be doing yourself a huge disservice, as she drops R&B, House, and future sounds with ease. The Waxaholics, DJ Big Reeks, & DJ Good Grief will all be there as well in the backroom. The show is 21 & up, things get going around 8:00, and it’s 100% FREE.
Eastdown Warehouse will have a pretty cool show, when MUHAMMADALi returns. I would guess that you’ve caught these guys drop their energetic and punk tunes before; but if you haven’t then this is a good time to start. They released a self titled album in 2010 that was pretty damn great. Portland’s Ape Machine will also be on hand, to drop their stoner rock tunes. Their 2013 album, “Mangled By The Machine” is a good way to figure what you’ll be in for, as they’re known to be beastly live. San Diego’s Ghetto Blaster will also be there, and will bring their blend of math rock and punk. Houston’s Sunrise and Ammunition will also be on the bill, and will more than likely blow minds with their proggy and math rock sounds. Magnolia’s Carter will be there to give everyone some pop punk when they open the show. The doors are at 6:00, I think it’s all ages, and the cover is $5.00.
Joke Joint Comedy Showcase will have a funny weekend, when the first of several show with likeable and drop dead funny comic Ray Harrington. Harrington has been wowing audiences from LA to London with his infectious and irreverent material. His 2013 album, “The Worst is Over” is a laugh a minute release, and he should be just as great live. One of Houston’s better comics will serve as feature for the show, while Houston’s up and coming comic Zahid Dewji will serve as host. Zahid has shown more improvement as a comic in the past six months than pretty much anyone else in town, and his brand of comedy is self deprecating and down right hilarious. The Thursday show has doors at 8:00, while there’s two shows Friday and two on Saturday; both with doors at either 8:00 or 10:00. All of these carry a $16.00 cover and are worth making it out for.
Friday, you can start things over at MKT Bar, when DNCSxWLVS drops a DJ set. If you haven’t heard this guy yet, then his Soundcloud should give you an idea of the kind of tunes he’s capable of utilizing. Part of the Prints NotPrince crew, I’ve seen this guy DJ a private party where he mixed Eddie Murphy’s “Party All The Time” in with ease, on a set other producers ended up calling, “Casual Heat.” This is an all ages affair that starts at 6:00, and runs until 9:00, and is 100% FREE.
Stevie Wonder Photo: Michael Kovac
I think I know that most of you will be at Toyota Center for the magic that is a Stevie Wonder performance. Stevie is seriously one of the most amazing performers I’ve ever had the pleasure to see live. He’s here to perform the entirety off of his landmark double album, “Songs In The Key of Life.” That’s the universe’s way of telling you not to miss it with hits like, “Sir Duke,” “Knocks Me Off My Feet,” and “Isn’t She Lovely;” you’re foolish to miss this one. The doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are between $39.50 and $149.50.
So, if you know me, then I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about Wonky Power Records, Wonky Power Live Sessions, or anything this duo is up to. They’ll be hosting a show with a multitude of great acts headlined by Houston’s “Best Latin act” La Sien. The Spanish pop rock act has the ability to evoke laughter and emotional solace on their electrifying live sets, and their album, “La Sien” is pretty amazing. They’ll be joined by one of Houston’s best pop rock bands going, Catch Fever. Not only has this three piece been making all of the right moves to succeed, but songs on local radio and a slot on this year’s Free Press Summer Fest have them cemented as one of our city’s better up and coming acts. Their 2014 album “Shiny Eyes” will soon get followed up by a new EP produced by TheLastPlaceYouLook’s Justin Nava. This will have one of our city’s best performers, Gio Chamba on prior dropping a DJ set. The thing about Gio is, that even a DJ set is like watching Carlos Santana in an LSD induced freak out. His birthday party show last week was easily the best performance I’ve seen in a long time; and you’re an idiot if you miss him here or at Free Press Summer Fest this year. The three piece space psych sounds of Space Villains will be there to open the show as only they can. In December the Houston natives dropped “Asterism” that channels Hendrix, Clapton, and Brian Jonestown Massacre while still sounding inventive and fresh. All of this takes place at the Wonky Power Live facility at 7:00, it’s all ages, and the tickets are a measly $10.00.
Notsuoh will have a fun night when they have San Francisco’s Couches in town. Couches have a fun party like sound that’s mixed with a hint of garage pop, and little bits of alt grunge as well. Their 2014 EP, “Slackin’ Since The 80’s” is as fun as it sounds. The alt indie pop of London’s H. Grimace will also be on hand. These guys kind of have that sound that’s like if those dreamy guitars off of Cocteau Twins albums performed second wave emo. Last year they dropped the “H. Grimace” EP that’s as eclectic and sweet as anything you will hear out there today. The lo-fi indie garage sounds of Houston’s Ruiners will be there as well, and hopefully their energetic sound doesn’t burn down the venue. These guys are I guess signed to a UK label, but they’re from here? I dunno, but their “Sun Beats Down” EP from last year is pretty damn good. The new wave indie rock of Houston’s Mother Ghost will be there to get things started on the show with doors at 7:00 and a $5.00 cover.
If you’re up for an interesting night, then you could head to The Alley Kat for the crazy and instrumental psych sounds of Houston’s Disfrutalo!. I don’t know how to put this other than to just say it, but this band is like doing acid in the desert with Jim Morrison. There’s so much happening on just one song by them, that you can’t help but wonder how they pull off a live set; but they do so with ease and professionalism. They’re set to drop their debut EP that was produced by the late Ikey Owens, and they are an amazing band to see more than once. They’ll have Kansas City’s After Nations on the bill with them. This band is super proggy, and pretty epic sounding, so it should make for an interesting performance. The indie groove sounds of Houston three piece, Silk Mule will be there to open things up. The show is a 21 & up event, the doors are at 8:30, and the cover is $5.00.
Saturday, you can get things going over at the 8th Wonder Brewery for their 2nd Anniversary show. This is one of those shows, where you come for the brews, you get down to the music, then you gorge on the Eatsie Boys food truck. Houston’s The Suffers will headline the event, hot on the heels of a tour, an EP release, and an announce that they’ll be on “The Late Show with David Letterman.” That EP, “Make Some Room” is four songs of soulful bliss, and should make for a great performance if you’ve never seen the group play live. They’ll have New Orleans’ Earphunk on the bill with them. The progressive funk band sounds like they’ll be a jammed out good time. The Stooges Brass Band will bring their funky hip hop vibe from NOLA as well. The seven piece act combines funk, hip hop, soul, and R&B to create something unique that should be cool to see live. Wild Moccasins will be on hand as well to drop some of their indie pop sounds. I feel like you don’t get Houston if you miss this amazing quartet live, and you’re almost hard of hearing if you don’t like their latest album, “88 92.” The guy who curates all of the MFAH Mixed Media shows, and who also happens to be a hell of a DJ, DJ SUN will also be there to mix it up and get things bumping. Getting things started, the former duo, now trio, Fox & Cats will be getting things started. After dropping a new single last week, “Black Hole,” the band is in the midst of touring and gearing up for a new album drop. If you’ve never seen these guys, I’ll just say that you won’t see that much energy from three people again. There’s a VERY Limited amount of VIP tickets available, so if you want some; grab them here. Things kick off at 3:00, it’s 21 & up, and the tickets are between $35.00 and $125.00. VIP includes a private bar, free food from Eatsie Boys, a meet & greet with The Suffers and a private viewing area with private bathrooms. The G/A ticket includes 4 beverage tickets, 4 beers on tap, a special release beer, and a 16 oz. cup.
Kevin Devine Photo: Sean O’Kane
I feel like I’d be a fool not to mention that Kevin Devine will also be here in town at Fitzgerald’s. Kevin dropped two albums, “Bulldozer” and “Bubblegum” on the same day in late 2013; and both charted. Since then he’s toured with Manchester Orchestra, he attempted a small Bad Books tour that was rained out here in Houston, and he’s been recently dropping singles again. This is a full band set, so it should be just as tender as it is rockin’. New Jersey’s Dads will also be there as direct support. The emo punk duo might be one of the best two pieces going, and their 2014 release, “I’ll Be The Tornado” is pretty great as well. Indie pop four piece, Field Mouse will open things up. Last year they dropped the loud, pop hooked, and sonic album, “Hold Still Life” that’s like a beacon that tell you to get there early. The downstairs show is all ages, it has doors at 7:00, and tickets are between $12.00 and $17.00.
If you were planning on seeing Milky Chance at Warehouse Live, it’s since sold out. You can roll the dice on there being tickets at the door, but I seriously doubt that’ll happen. For those who do have tickets, the doors are at 7:00.
Over at Black Barbie, they’re hosting a benefit show with the Arrestee Benefit Show. DC area rapper, Elle Maxwell aka, J E M N will headline the event. Her latest single, “Vibrate HGHR” is pretty epic, and she attacks the mic with style & grace. The metal progressive sounds of Houston’s EndIsNow will also be there performing an acoustic set. Houston’s Space Villains will also be there to drop their psych sounds, as will Houston’s Biz Vicious. So, you may or may not know, but Biz is a pretty strong rapper who kind of came out of nowhere. The only guy I’ve seen turn tragedy into triumph that well, his latest “We Lurk Among You” from last year is as great as it is groundbreaking. Being I think, Houston’s only “queer positive” rapper, Vicious could easily get big real quick. Houston’s vOoDoO will also be there to drop some R&B jams. There’s also art for auction by Clear & Izzy Jarvis. The cover is between $1.00 and $20.00, it’s all ages, and it starts at 9:00.
Continental Club will host the bluesy sounds of Austin’s The Bluebonnets. This four piece girl group will definitely bring out your inner feminist, as they can rock better than most men you’ll meet. Their latest, last year’s “Play Loud” is like what would happen if SRV had been female. The NYC five piece, Jane Lee Hooker will also be on hand to drop hard blues sound. I’m not kidding when I say that their recently released album, “No B!” is like if Janis Joplin was backed by Hendrix and Clapton, but female. The 21 & up show has doors at around 9:00ish, and the cover is $10.00.
Mangos, yes they’re still open; will host the Black Metal Doom of NOLA’s Solid Giant. If you like sludgy metal that sounds like a slow soundtrack to a nightmare, then this is your band. They’ll be joined by the post metal sludge of Houston’s Defending The Kingdom. These guys released a three song album also called “Defending The Kingdom” that should give you a reason to get there early. Houston’s Alone On The Moon will be there to either open up or headline the show. The three piece plays a stoner rock style that sounds pretty good, and their recently released “Alone On The Moon” four song EP is pretty great. The all ages show has doors at 9:00 and a $5.00 cover.
On Sunday, you could head to Walters for a day filled with music, when the Burger Records Caravan Tour happens. So, there’s 15 plus bands on this thing, and I’m not listing them all. But, highlights include Corners, Vision, and Gal Pals. It’s all ages, there’s food, and it gets going around 2:00 in the afternoon. The cover is like $10.00, which means you can totally afford to make it out.
Since Always Photo: Richard Ramirez
Fitzgerald’s will have the rockin’ good times of Olivia Jean. Jean is like a sixties sexy housewife who can also play a boatload of instruments and look great while doing so. A member of the Third Man Records family, she played with Karen Elson, Wanda jackson, and even Jack White III himself. Her debut, last year’s “Bathtub Love Killings” is a mix of rock, beauty, and excellent vocals. The Clean Teens will be there as well, and they’ll bring their lo-fi swingin’ sounds with them. Houston’s Since Always will be there to open things up. I would hope that you would have heard this band yet, but if you haven’t; you’ve been missing out. They just dropped a full length called “Consequences” that reminds me of a mix of Mineral and Christie Front Drive, if Juliana Hatfield sang for either. The all ages show has doors at 7:00, and it’s a FREEBIE if you’re 21 & up. It’s a measly $5.00 for everyone else.
If you don’t mind trekking out to the Woodlands, and you’re feeling nostalgic; then you should head to the Dosey Doe Big Barn for Bill Medley. One half of The Righteous Brothers, this guy can belt out more hits than most guys his age. I shouldn’t have to sell you on this show if you’re a fan. Songs like “Unchained Melody,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” and “(You’re My) Soul And Inspiration” should be enough to convince you to attend. That coupled with the scientific fact that he’s not getting any younger, this might be one of your last chances to see the legend. He’s here in support of his latest, last year’s “Damn Near Righteous.” Your ticket price includes dinner, and dinner is served between 6:00 and 7:30. The tickets are between $98.00 and $158.00.
Monday, though I don’t usually plug such events; the Third Man Rolling Record Store will be over at Cactus Records. There promises to be all types of crazy Third Man goodies like vinyls, sunglasses, frisbees, and even some exclusive Texas themed items that make it worth checking out. It’s there from 3:00 to 7:00 ONLY, and anyone can come check it out.
Walters has the lo-fi garage rock of Tennessee’s Pujol. These guys seem to drop records at an alarming rate, but that shouldn’t stop you from seeing them live. I caught them a couple of years ago, and I was blown away by how much energy they possess. Their latest, “Reunited States Of Being” is pretty damn good. The power pop garage rock of Houston’s Spare Bones will be on hand to give them a run for their money. This band is just as energetically charged, and their two song release, “Demo” from last year is really rad. The indie emo sounds of three piece, Middle Child will get the all ages show started with doors at 8:00 and an $8.00 cover.
The chillwave sounds of Brooklyn’s Twin Shadow will mix things up over at Fitzgerald’s. Since making records in his bedroom, this guy has just gotten bigger and bigger. His latest, “Eclipse” from this year is already getting high praise from industry insiders. The trippy R&B vibes of Lolawolf will be there to open things up. Though we have similar stuff here, Lolawolf mixes trap and electronica with her R&B, and it’s pretty amazing. The 2014 Lolawolf album, “Calm Down” should be enough to convince you to get there early. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets are between $16.00 and $21.00.
Tuesday, Rudyard’s will have Nashville’s Thelma And The Sleaze on hand. The hard rocking three piece has this really great throwback sound that feels like Runaways, but with less pop and more rock. Last year, they dropped the “Heart Like A Fist” EP that felt a little crazy and still amazing. They’re known for a raucous live show, so you should see them while you can. Houston’s Giant Kitty will be there as direct support to show them how girls do rock in The bayou City. I’ve said this like 30 times now, but if you think you can miss this band much longer, you’re way off. Sure they’re loud and sure they’re like getting an L-7-like punch to the face. But they’re also taking the steps to get big so you should catch them before that occurs. The loud rock of Houston’s The Bad Drugs will be there to make it an all female affair, when they open things up. The 21 & up show has doors at 8:00 and tickets for a paltry $10.00.
That’s really about all there is that isn’t the last week of that drunken event we call the rodeo. No matter what you do, be mindful of everyone else, be safe, and drink like an adult.