Symphony of Treble: The Best of The Week
Photo: Luca Piotelli
This year seems to be flying by with record speed, while it also seems to bring us so many entertainment options, that it’s a difficult task to navigate. You have some serious decisions to make this week where you can dance, laugh, and create. Here’s where to spend your time.
Starting things off this week you can have a nerdgasm when Austin’s Descendants of Erdrick bring their video game songs over to Fitzgerald’s downstairs. So, here’s the deal; no matter how you shake it, this is a cover band. Someone else wrote those MIDI classics, so while these guys have entertainingly re crafted these songs, they are still covers. That being said, they cover everything from music from Mega Man to that cheesy music from the T&C Skate game. They’ll have help from Houston’s electronica meets Max Bemis type vocals with This Time I Brought Bombs. One of Houston’s oddest and trippiest acts, Letters To Voltron will also be on the show. these guys mix the prog of Zappa with the funky pop of Mr Bungle; while occasionally adding death metal vocals…it’s interesting for sure. If you wondered what Jesus Lizard mixed with screamo sounds like, you’ll find out when Houston’s Mannequin Mishap opens things up. The doors are at 8:00, it’s all ages, and the tickets are between $5.00 and $8.00.
Also on Wednesday, if you’re up for a drive; you could venture out to Conroe to the Dosey Doe Music Cafe. While I know that’s quite the drive, I promise that it’s worth it, when Kelly Mickwee, Gordy Quist, and Owen Temple perform together in the round. Mickwee, of the all female Austin alt-country group The Trishas might be one of the most underrated performers in Texas. While Quist is better known for co-fronting his alt-country meets new world Americana group, The Band of Heathens. So, once you add the singer songwriter country goodness of Owen Temple; you can see why this is worth the drive. The trio will perform each other’s tunes, tell stories, and more than likely play some well known favorites. The doors are at 8:00 and it’s a miniscule $12.00 cover.
On Thursday, you can get your dance on, when Michigan’s Sango grooves everyone at the Prints Not Prince Anniversary party over at Walter’s. If you weren’t aware, Sango is currently blowing up, and his hip hop meets chilled bass is pretty hard to not groove to. Adding slow jamz and deep beats to the show, is Houston’s own Dpat. Dpat, part of the Soulection crew with Sango; has been touring all over and dropping some mad skills with a live band in tow. If you think he’s just another DJ, maybe knowing that he’s been nominated for a Grammy at 23 will change your mind. Adding more visuals than an acid trip, alongside his dope beats and crazy mixtures, will be FLCON FCKER. What can you say about this guy that hasn’t been said before? He’s pretty much an electronica wizard who reinvents his genre with pretty much every show. The soulful and funky sounds of Philadelphia’s No Sir E will also be on board to drop his trippy mix to the night. Adding a sound that lives up to their name, Children Of Pop will be bringing their healthy mix of pop meets catchy beats. The best way to describe them, is to say that it’s like someone took all of the best elements of pop music and placed them in a blender with a drop of seventies funk, and a pinch of Black Grape. The synth heavy sounds of Houston’s Yung Slutty will start things off as only he can; and will definitely make it worth getting there early for. The doors are at 7:00, the show is all ages, and the tickets are between $10.00 and $15.00, and worth every penny.
Maybe you’re in the mood for a laugh, or just some great Improv? Well, the Guns For Hire show over at Beta Theater might be what you’re looking for. Guns For Hire comprises of the talents of Amy Birkhead, Antoine Culbreath, Shannan Scarselletta, and Robert Price, who all come together for a free form improv show. Things get rolling around 8:00, it’s pay what you can, and it’s also BYOB.
Over at Mango’s, you can catch the indie emo sounds of Angleton’s Valens. Valens sounds like a mix of Braid, Knapsack, and Boilermaker; while having their own crafted sound as well. They’ll be hosting San Antonio’s noise rockers Vetter Kids. I caught Vetter Kids a couple weeks back, and I’ll just say that you might want to bring ear plugs. That being said, they had a nice mix of what felt like Dinosaur Jr. meets Sebadoh. Tiger Party will be on the show as well, and they’ll bring a calm element to the show. The Woodlands’ Wilding Estates will get things started with their shoegaze sound. The doors are at 8:00, it’s an all ages show, and the cover is $5.00.
However, if you’re up for a laugh, then over at The Joke Joint Comedy Showcase they’ll be hosting the hilarious Carl Faulkenberry. Nowadays, Faulkenberry is a comic on Carnival Cruise lines mostly, but he has a rich history with the Houston comedy scene, including the fact that he was the last headliner to perform at Houston’s The Laff Stop; as well as a regular at The Comedy Workshop. He’s been on Showtime, MTV, as well as toured the world and played places like Zanies in Chicago, The Comic Strip in NYC, and The IMPROV in LA. I would guess that several of Houston’s comics would be getting things started for this show with 8:00 doors on Thursday. There are two shows on Friday and two shows on Saturday, but all carry a $16.00 cover.
If you’re in the mood for hip hop on Thursday, then you can trek on down to Scout Bar for the stoned rap style of Devin The Dude. If you missed him when he was here recently, then you need to make it out for this show. Devin puts on a pretty great live show that’s mixed with all sorts of guest spots. Houston’s Dem Dayum Twinz will drop their quick rhymes as they warm things up for Devin. Beaumont’s Chutes McGoo will get things started with his slow DJ style. The show is 18 and up, the doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are $21.00 for admission, or $50.00 for a nondescript VIP Party, that may or may not include admission.
On Friday, over a Continental Club, you could be getting down to the queen of rockabilly, Wanda Jackson. If you missed Jackson last year when she rocked everyone at Fitz, then you should make it out for this true pioneer of music. Jackson has had a recent resurgence after her Jack White produced album, “The Party Ain’t Over.” Since then, Jackson has released two more albums, including 2012’s “Unfinished Business.” By her surprisingly kind demeanor and ever more surprising energetic live show, this is kind of a no brainer for fans of the genre. I hate to say it, but if you haven’t seen her, this might be one of your last chances just based on science alone. The fairly recent Houston transplant, Mike Stinson will open things up with his twangy americana sound. Stinson is definitely someone you should catch live, as he’s shared the stage and studio with the likes of Jesse Dayton, and James Hall. The doors are at 9:00, the show is 21 & up, and the tickets are $23.00.
Of course, no one would blame you if you happened over to Bayou Music Center for the Lil’ Jon DJ Set featuring Butch Clancy. I’m pretty sure that you’ll hear Jon’s trademark “What” more than people repeating the Chapelle’s Show parody, and the wizardry of Clancy will only add to the fun. But, when you throw in the fact that the guest MC is Houston’s own iLL Liad, you’ve got a hefty show on your hands. If you’ve been paying attention, I’ve been dropping iLL’s name lately like he drops sick rhymes. And, he does drop some sick rhymes while he keeps the audience in the palm of his hand. He was easily the highlight of the openers at the Z-RO show, and his release last year, “The Odyssey” is just as sick. Things get rolling around 9:00 and the tickets range between $36.00 and $91.00.
If there was a part of you that wondered what hardcore punk would sound like if it were performed by guys from Finland, then Friday is your lucky night. Over at Mango’s, Finland’s Maailmanloppu will be doing their thing in a way that kind of has that Minor Threat meets Dead Boys. They’ll be joined by their fellow Finnish friends, Kuudes Silma, who will bring their mix of Bauhaus meets Gorilla Biscuits. Houston’s Fugitive Family will bring their self described sound of “black punk” to the show as well, and honestly; it does have that kind of feel. The punk of Houston’s Secret Prostitutes will also be playing, and rumor is that this is one of their last shows for a while, so you should catch their fast sound if you’re a fan. The hardcore of Houston’s Stagnant Youth will get things started with their grizzled vocals atop a quickness that’s similar to that of early Bad Brains. Things get going around 9:00, it’s an all ages show, and the cover is a measly $7.00.
There’s also plenty to laugh at over at Phoenicia MKT Bar, when some of Houston’s best up and coming comics compete in the Beta Bracket comedy contest. Last week, the audience got to help dig to comics from the losing round out of the ashes and restore them back in the bracket. This week, you’ll get to see a whole new set of comics battle it out for audience votes, as they go head to head for a shot at $2,000.00. You can follow the bracket here, or just show up to help your friend, coworker, or whatever you call the comic who invited you to help them win, as it’s audience vote. Things get started promptly at 9:00, and you’ll be treated to the hilarious stand up of host, Bob Biggerstaff. It’s 100% FREE, there’s plenty of free parking, and it’s a great way to laugh without breaking the bank.
For so many years, it seems like Austin’s Bob Schneider has been entertaining crowds all over the place. On Friday night, you can catch him over at House of Blues doing just that. Mixing the sounds of blues, rock, and even country; there are times where Schneider sounds like the best bet for passing the torch from artists like Tom Petty and Jackson Browne to the future. His latest release, 2013’s “Burden Of Proof” highlighted Schneider’s softer side with more piano than previous efforts, but that’s not a bad thing as it’s quite the beautiful album. The soft americana of duo Dawn and Hawkes should get things rolling in an interesting way. Two part harmonies, pop influence, and paced like a song by The Apache Relay, they should do Austin proud with their indie folk sound. The doors are at 7:00, the show starts at 8:00, and the tickets are between $22.00 and $39.50.
At Fitzgerald’s on Friday night, you could make it out for Austin’s What Made Milwaukee Famous. WMMF is one of those bands that I always thought would get bigger than they are, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t impressive. Every one of their records proves that some bands still get better with time, which is proven with their latest release, “You Can’t Fall off the Floor.” I’ll let you know if you weren’t already aware; these guys put on a great live show. They’ll have a great middle act with A. Sinclair, also from Austin. These guys have been grabbing all sorts of praise since their release, this year’s “Pretty Girls.” That album is full of fast paced folk rock pop that’s pretty alluring to the ears. In many ways, I’d say that they’ve kind of crafted their own sound. If you like infectious sounds with backing vocals that make you move your feet, then Houston’s Young Girls will do you proud when they open the show. The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and the cover is between $10.00 and $13.00.
On Saturday, you can make it over to EADO Park, roughly where Warehouse Live is located, for the inaugural Houston Whatever Fest. The two day festival begins on Saturday and will feature a mix of music and comedy the likes of which haven’t happened in Houston before. On the music side of things, the energetic and soulful sounds of MuteMath will be headlining. They will have to bring their “A Game” as they’ll have one of the most eclectic & energy driven live acts of the past twenty years, Blonde Redhead playing prior to them. That’s not to say that a solo set by Andrew WK won’t be energetic, as the party hyping WK is almost 100% energy. A group who rarely makes it down here it seems, Minneapolis’ The Hold Steady will remind us all why we love The Replacements while they rock the stage in the fashion of old indie rock. A DJ set from Passion Pit, the synth pop of Toronto’s TRUST, the garage based fun and heavy energy of Chicago’s Cheap Girls will all be performing. But, that’s not mentioning the comedy that will feature the hilarious TJ Miller of the tv show “Silicon Valley.” Miller will also have to bring his top performing skills, as his lead in is the hilarious Jonah Ray of the Nerdist podcast. Ray is seriously a joke a second, and he’s got a crazy in your face style which says a lot for a nerdy guy. That’s just some of what they’ll have in store. There will be performances from local comics like Andy Huggins, Jaffer Khan, Clay Christofferson, Dale Cheesman, and Matt Han as well as a performance from the Punk Rock Circus. Both days of comedy will be hosted by Gabe Bravo. There will also be local acts like Catch Fever, Fox & Cats, Another Run, iLL Liad, and LIMB. And, that’s just mentioning a few in day one of the fest. The one day tickets are $35.00 and the two day tickets are $55.00; there’s also a VIP ticket for $150.00. It’s all ages and the festival gates open at noon.
It’d be crazy to think if there was another festival of sorts happening on Saturday, but there actually is over at Fitzgerald’s. The Bayou Doom Fest will take over Fitz both upstairs and down, and feature a multitude of metal acts. The upstairs will be headlined by the psych stoner metal of Dallas’ Wo Fat, who remind me of what it would sound like if Fu Manchu teamed up with The Sword’s sound on “Warp Riders.” Houston’s Sanctus Bellum will also be on hand to bring the metal of the nineties before nu metal became a thing. The fast paced three piece Cauldron will also be on hand to teach the youngsters how thrash metal is done, while Doomstress Alexis will front Project Armageddon as only she can and teach everyone about doom metal. Downstairs will be headlined by the likes of Houston’s From Beyond, who made me realize that I didn’t know guitarist Rob McCarthy as well as I thought, as I was pretty blown away by their doomy sound. The swampy sounds of Corpus Christi’s Switchblade Jesus should turn some heads, while the psych doom of San Antonio’s Cursus should get everyone creeped out by their strange vocals. These are just a sample of the bands on this show that’s all ages, with a FREE cover for 21 & up, a $10.00 cover for under 21, and doors are at 5:00.
If punk rock was more what you had in mind on Saturday night, then over at Walter’s, they’ll be hosting 7 Seconds. Touring in support of their latest release, “Leave A Light On,” the punk legends will be playing fast with sing-a-long lyrics like it was the early eighties. I’ve seen 7 Seconds at least five times, as well as Kevin Seconds solo, and they never disappoint. High energy, fast songs, and great performing are all part of a 7 Seconds show. The stripped down punk of Illinois’ The Copyrights will also be on hand to impress the crowd who possibly hasn’t seen these guys do their thing. These guys have a mix of Screeching Weasel meets The Bouncing Souls, but a little more infectious. The pop punk of Houston’s The Turnaways will also be there to receive hand claps in time with their Green Day meets Yellowcard sound. The speedy punk of Houston’s Some Nerve will get things started with doors at 8:00, and a $15.00 cover for the all ages event.
Also on Saturday, there may be a part of you that would like to catch garage rock meets psych, and over at Canal St, there’s a show that you’ll want to make if so. New Orleans’ Bottom Feeders will bring their sixties era sound to town, mixing garage rock guitar and the keys of the San Francisco hippie culture. The swinging swagger of Houston’s Infinite Apaches will do their best to groove you into a point where you can’t help but get down, as they’re on the bill as well. They’ll have New Orleans’ Cold Heart of Space playing, as well as the bizarre sounds of The Wiggins who’ll be getting things started. The show is FREE and it gets going around 10:00.
New country might be your thing, and if so then you should sashay over to House Of Blues for the sounds of Austin’s Kendall Beard. I don’t usually endorse new country, but I’d be lying if I said that Beard didn’t have some strong pipes. Today’s country isn’t my deal, but it doesn’t mean that there aren’t some decent artists out there, and I’d place Beard in that group. Her 2013 release, “All Around Girl” has some pretty good Texas country on it, that’s mixed with pop overtones. The show is a freebie, and things get going around 8:00.
At Beta Theater on Saturday night, you can catch some of Austin’s better comics at the Guest Room show. This installment features the likes of Joe Tullar who was a finalist in the Austin’s Funniest contest. He will be joined by Kath Barbadoro, Ralph Hardesty, and Danny Palumbo, who all have credits at places like Fun Fun Fun Fest and Moontower Comedy Fest. The shows will both be hosted by the hilarity of Nick Meriwether and Zac Brooks. There are two shows, one at 8:00 and one at 10:00, it’s a pay what you can ticket, and as always it’s BYOB.
On Sunday, you can catch day two of the Houston Whatever Fest over in EADO Park. The second day of the festival will be capped off with a performance by nineties alt rockers Filter, which if they’re half as strong as the were when I saw them then; should be a treat. However, the energy of punk rockers The Queers will give them a run for their money. I’ve seen The Queers at least six times, and I’ve never been disappointed. Their most recent release, last year’s “Ole Maestro” is just as strong as their crazy large back catalog. The phrase I’ve heard more than anything on the Sunday performances, is “I gotta’ catch Kreayshawn.” If you’re out of the loop, Oakland’s Kreayshawn has been on the rise since her breakout hit, “Gucci, Gucci” and she should really impress all in attendance. In fact, when you throw in a DJ set by Neon Indian, and what will most likely be a chaotic performance by Dwarves, the Sunday music lineup looks pretty strong. Sure, you’d be a fool if you missed the energetic alt metal of Helmet, who’s also on the show; but you should know that already. Alongside the touring acts, the likes of locals We Were Wolves should impress everyone with their high octane rock. Then of course is the comedy on Sunday which is headlined by comic genius Bobcat Goldthwait. You might know Bobcat from his oddball films, but you’re missing out if you’ve never seen him do stand-up. Bobcat might be one of our country’s most underrated comics going, so it’s insane that he’s on this fest. Of course, you can’t ignore the comedy of Iliza Shlesinger, who’ll be performing prior to Bobcat. Shlesinger is strong with quick timing and a suitcase full of jokes that make her one of today’s stronger stand ups. However, when you factor in the comedy of Houston’s heavy hitters like the irreverent Bob Biggerstaff, the self deprecating Brian Zeolla, and the touring whit of Sam Demeris; the headliners will have some tough acts to follow. And, that’s not everyone performing on a day that includes a special saucy performance by Houston’s burlesque vixens, Dem Damn Dames. The gates open at noon, there are single day tickets for $35.00, two day tickets for $55.00, and a VIP pass for $150.00.
If you were more in the mood to learn how to draw, or you already know how to draw but wanted some subjects; then over at Avant Garden they’ll be hosting another Dr Sketchy event. This one focuses on Flora and Fauna, and the parts will be played respectively by Mad Haus and Darcy L. Rosenberger. You may know Mad as the lead singer of local band Whit, and this is you chance to see her play the role of Flora. Rosenberger, also a local artist will play the part of Fauna, meaning you should have no issues with drawing or painting either subject. It’s a bring your own supplies show. Things get started at 2:00, there’s a $10..0 cover for artists, a $15.00 cover for photographers, and a $5.00 cover for gawkers.
Over at Walter’s, they’ll have Ohio’s Hawthorne Heights in town Sunday night. The group who’s touring in support of the ten year anniversary of their album “The Silence In Black and White,” is a pretty entertaining band to see live. I caught them over a decade ago, and they were energy driven and on point with their sound. The pop punk sounds of Florida’s The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus will also be in tow in support of their new album, “4.” Australia’s New Empire will add a bit of quiet when they play their soft based pop, while the pop screamo of Michigan’s Famous Last Words should do well at getting things started. The doors are at 6:00, it’s all ages, and the tickets range between $15.00 and $17.00.
On Monday night, you can catch one of the funniest pot smokers you’ll ever see, when Doug Benson drops off at IMPROV for a one night only show. Benson has the ability to make you think about the inane, the true, and the everyday while he chuckles alongside the audience. He’s more than just that guy you saw on those “Best Of” shows on VH1 several years ago. His podcasts, “Doug Loves Movies” and “Getting Doug With High,” are some of the funniest you can download, and his most recent album, “Gateway Doug 2: Forced Fun,” is one of this year’s funniest. The “Doug Dynasty Tour” show gets going at 8:00, it’s 18 & up, and the tickets are $17.00.
If synth pop is more your style, then on Monday night at House of Blues, you can catch Brooklyn’s Little Daylight. These guys are catchy and poppy, while still having enough style to be artful. You may know them by their hit song, “Overdose” but you should really check out their album “Hello Memory,” as they have more substance than one song. The only act who could open things up properly, Houston’s BLSHS will get things going. I find it hard to believe that you haven’t seen or at least hadn’t heard of BLSHS yet. They’ve been getting more praise in this town than a new restaurant. If you haven’t seen them yet, this show is a great way to do so. I’ve thought it since I saw them the first time, BLSHS needs to be on a bigger stage, and hopefully they’ll shine at this show. They should give Little Daylight a run for their money for sure. The show is all ages, the doors are at 7:00, and the tickets are a little over $16.00.
Tuesday night will get you a chance to see Clap Your Hands Say Yeah up close and personal, as they perform upstairs at Fitzgerald’s. A group that’s always been touted as the “next big thing,” CYHSY is touring in support of their most recent release, 2014’s “Only Run.” The album has a little heavier sound than some of their previous work, but that’s not to say that it isn’t all them. There are moments where they sound like Jesus and Mary Chain, which is pretty cool. I’ve seen these guys live before, and I can attest to their strength as performers. If you can’t get enough of these guys, then in an unprecedented move, their lead singer Alec Ounsworth will be opening the show as a solo act. This might not ever happen again, so I’d suggest grabbing pre-sale tickets, as it has the chance to sell out. The doors are at 7:00, it’s all ages, and the tickets are between $15.00 and $18.00.
It’s hard to believe there’s all this, and we still get to look forward to Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin. If you’re doing Houston Whatever Fest, make sure to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, and enjoy what hopefully will become another great yearly event here in our amazing city.