The Dream’s In The Ditch: The Best of The Week
Is it really almost May? It certainly feels like it was just Thanksgiving, but I also tend to live in my own world. Just think, very shortly, we’ll all be watching Jack White electrify us all at FPSF. While we wait for those two magical days, we can relish in the fact that we have a solid week of events this week. Here’s where your paycheck should go.
As much as we all enjoy pop based synths and dreamy melodies, San Fran’s Tycho seem to have this down to a science. A group effort mixed with loops and crazy effects, they’re bringing this sound to Fitzgerald’s upstairs on Tuesday the 28th. It’s pretty much just instrumental stuff from what I heard, and it’s catchy for sure;so it’s a great time for any fan of the genre. The eighties synthed sounds of Gardens & Villa will be opening things up. I’d suggest catching them for sure, as they remind me of early Depeche Mode with a modern twist. The tickets range from $15.00to $19.00 and the doors are at 7:00.
Downstairs at Fitzgerald’s, also on Tuesday, is the interesting sounds of Chapel Hill’s Lost In The Trees. Their most recent effort, this year’s “Past Life” is one of the prettiest and smoothly intense albums I’ve heard in a while. The lush guitar depth and layered vibe that’s peppered throughout is definitely interesting and worth seeing live. Your friends in Houston’s Wild Moccasins will be getting things started with their usual flare. I should note that they’re at the beginning of a fairly hefty tour schedule in support of their newest offering, the entertaining and catchy “88 92.” Sure, they’ll also be at FPSF, but wouldn’t you rather see them in an air conditioned room? The tickets range from $10.00 to $14.00 and the doors are at 7:00.
Wednesday, you can venture back over to Fitzgerald’s to catch the trippy and spaced out jams of New York’s White Hills. The band has that sound of what happens when you’ve done enough drugs to kill a small horse, but in a good way. Fuzzy guitars intertwined with rat a tat drums and a boatload of effects make this a must see for any psyche or garage rock fan. You don’t have to think real hard about the perfect middle band, in Houston’s Infinite Apaches who are also on board. They have the sound of a band who lets you into what the music inside Roky Erickson’s head might sound like. The jazz infused rock goodness of Houston’s Golden Cities will be getting things going in their energetic fashion. The doors are at 7:00 and the tickets are between $8.00 and $12.00.
Of course, you more than likely are already a fan of Foster The People. Their poppy and energetic sound is just too catchy to ignore. Well, they’re coming back through town over at Bayou Music Center on Wednesday. In support of their newest release “Supermodel,” the LA natives should bring a fast paced and interesting live show with them. The superpop based synths of Brooklyn’s St Lucia will be getting things started around 8:00 with a hefty $35.00 to $40.00 ticket price.
On Thursday the 1st, you have more options than usual, starting with the cartoon persona of Houston’s Riff Raff at Warehouse Live. I want to dislike Riff Raff, but he’s a pretty damn good rapper with a slick flow and he always mixes it up with an energetic live show. Like most of his shows, don’t be shocked if there’s a never ending parade of guest stars to rap alongside him. Travis Scott, DJ Grand Theft, Mr Mark, Guilla & Lil Liad are all onboard. The tickets are a measly $20.00 and doors are at 8:00 for the all ages show.
If you like poppy folk rock, and you believe what Pitchfork says, then you should make it out for Woods over at Mango’s on Thursday. Their most recent album, “With Light and with Love” has such a strange and easy going pace, that it’s worth checking out in a live setting. The folky psyche sounds of Boston’s Quilt and Houston’s Hamamatsu Tom will be getting things up and running. The Gone Pecans open things with an $8.00 cover and it’s an all ages show.
Also on the 1st, over at Shoeshine Charley’s Big Top Lounge, the Texas swing sounds of Nick Gaitan and The Umbrella Man will be putting feet on the floor. Nick is easily one of Houston’s most underrated and hardest working musicians, and his show is definitely one worth catching. A guy with the chops of once being Billy Joe Shaver’s bassist, Gaitan will be mixing Texas swing with a hint of Latin influence. It’s FREE, it starts at ten, and it’s a welcomed break from all of this week’s psyche rock shows.
Of course, you can also make your way over to House of Blues on Thursday for the dancey and funky sounds of Thievery Corporation. Their latest album, “Saudade” is more of a collaborative effort, so it’ll be interesting to see how they pull it off live. The immensely interesting sounds of DC’s Fort Knox Five will be reviving the funk as they open things off and get the crowd into a dancing mood. The doors are at 7:00 and the tickets range between $12.25 to $55.00.
But, in the splashback from Psych Fest in Austin way of thinking; you could catch one of the more interesting groups with Japan’s Acid Mothers Temple. Over at Fitzgerald’s downstairs also on Thursday, the band will either blow your mind or give you a flashback. Usually, Japanese acts have the ability to come off as if they missed the intention behind the genre they’re playing in. However, Acid Mothers Temple definitely got the influence right, and it literally feels like you took acid and chased it with ecstasy. Multi-instrumentation mixed with spacey sounds and singing in a foreign tongue make them one of the more intriguing acts I’ve seen in a long time. The trippy sounds of Boston’s Perhaps and the interestingly stoned vibe of Vancouver’s Pink Mountaintops will start things off. This is probably going to be a great show with doors at 8:00 and tickets ranging from $10.00 to $14.00.
Remember Scott Weiland? He was the lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots, then he wasn’t, then he was, then he formed Velvet Revolver with Slash; then he was….well, let’s just say he’s playing solo now. So, before we all laugh at the fact that this guy can’t seem to hold a job, let me admit something as someone who worked in major market radio; I’ve seen him in both STP and Velvet Revolver. I wasn’t a big enough fan to buy either of those acts, but I can attest to the fact that Scott puts on a good show, and he was born to be a front man…if he could keep a job that is. Well, he’s playing over at Warehouse Live on Friday the 2nd. I can’t vouch for his live show today, but I’m sure if there’s a stripper you’ve been admiring lately, she would more than likely love to go with you to his show. The Raskins will be opening things up with a $23.00 ticket and doors at 8:00.
If you’re a fan of folky sweetness, the Minnesota’s Trampled By Turtles is your kind of band. They’ll be bringing their Americana sound over to Fitzgerald’s upstairs on Friday. A seasoned group at this point in their career, the band has a history of intimate and sometime raucous live shows. The energetic and old world style of New York’s Spirit Family Reunion should light a fire as openers with doors at 6:00 and tickets falling at $22.00 to $26.00.
If you love Gris Gris, and you like folky psyche sounds, then you should make it over to Walter’s to catch Greg Ashley. With a mix of what it would sound like if Conor Oberst started a 13th Floor Elevators cover band, Ashley should put on a great live show. The Brothers Piano Company will get things going with tickets at $10.00 and the show starting around 8:00.
I would guess that if you’re like me, you had a thing for Hot Water Music. There’s just something about those guys that’s alluring and grand. The same can be said about their lead singer Chuck Ragan, who’ll be bringing his gravelly vocals to Warehouse Live on the 3rd. On the heels of his latest release “Till Midnight,” Ragan sometimes seems to channel Bruce Springsteen while still keeping his indie rock cred. The singer songwriter vibe of Oregon’s The White Buffalo will blow most people away with his crazy vocal range, while Houston’s own We Were Wolves will be opening things up with a rare acoustic performance. This should be a great way to catch Ragan in an intimate setting, while still holding on to all of the rock roots within. The doors are at 7:30 and the tickets are $18.00.
Also over at Warehouse Live and also on Saturday, The Faint will be dropping by with their latest incarnation in support of the album, “Doom Abuse.” Any fan of the band will note that things with them change with each release, so I have no idea what to tell you to expect this time around. The dancy sounds of Georgia’s Reptar and Omaha’s trippy Solid Goldberg will open things up. The doors are at 8:00 and tickets are $20.00.
Also of the 3rd, you can get your laugh on at Beta Theater with Choke! The Comedy Game Show. Brian Zeolla and Nick Meriwether, are just a sample of the funny people who will have you on the verge of wetting your pants with laughter. The show starts at 8:00, it’s a paltry $5.00, and it’s BYOB; so you can’t lose.
Of course, there are two festivals who are both in their second weekend happening on Saturday and Sunday as well. On Saturday, you can catch some locals like The Suffers, who played last week at the other festival as well, or The Tontons before you catch Ben Kweller; at the Texas Crawfish Festival in Old Town Spring. Kweller is easily one of the most underrated artists of his time, and the tickets are pretty cheap at $13.00. I would advise you to watch your speed if you go, as I think the limit is like 20 in Old Town Spring.
On Sunday, you can make the last day of iFest. I say Sunday because you can totally go on Saturday as well, just the lineup on Sunday had a little more pop. On Saturday you will catch the funky sounds of Houston’s Electric Attitude. But, on Sunday you can see the likes of Asleep At The Wheel, Carnival Talk, and Two Tons of Steel. But either day should be entertaining as there’s a multitude of international and local artists performing. The tickets are again between Free and $300.00 depending on your age or whether or not you’re with a group.
Most of us have an inner nerd that can’t be denied that dictates what we do and say. My inner nerd loves Star Wars, and especially Star Wars art. I can admit that I have three different Han Solo paintings adorning the walls of my home. On Sunday May 4th, nerds like me will greet you with a “may the 4th be with you,” especially at The War’House 3rd Annual Star Wars Art Festival. Last year I bought a piece of art that was worth every penny. This year I plan on doing the same when the $1.00 admission is handed over to the door guy. The doors are at 2:00 and music will be provided by Yung Slutty.
On Monday, the insanely talented sounds of Rhode Island’s Deer Tick was slotted to play. However due to medical circumstances, the band cancelled. When and if the show gets rescheduled, I’ll say that they are seriously worth making it out for. I’ve been singing their praises since Matt Brownlee from Houston’s Bring Back The Guns handed me a copy of their album “War Elephant.” John’s vocals sound like the notes from a road weary traveller who’s never had more than nickels and dimes in his pockets, and I would guess that you should contact Fitzgerald’s about a refund or a rescheduled date.
We can laugh, dance, and get along with all this week has to offer. Please be mindful of how much you imbibe, stay safe, and have fun while supporting all of these great local and touring acts when you make it out this week.