Born Alone: The Best of The Week
Photo: Courtesy of Artist
I kind of have trouble believing that we as a city successfully navigated last week. It might have been the most packed with options in a very long time. The rain is gone, but I feel like many of the shows like the mind blowing performance from Young Fathers at Fitz, were worth making it out for. This week isn’t a far stretch from the last where greats like Wilco pictured above will make your decisions harder to make. Here’s how to make the most of the next seven days.
Wednesday, you can start things off over at Rudyard’s for the Mary Cutrufello show. Before The Suffers appeared on the Late Show, back in the nineties this amazing blues performer from Houston appeared on The Tonight Show. Her 1998 album, “When the Night Is Through,” is still an amazing piece of guitar heavy blues. Mary had a bit of bad luck after blowing up, and she stopped touring. Her return album was in 2007, “35,” and it reminded the world of how amazing she still is. Nowadays she plays for fun and she’s back in Houston for a VERY limited show. The 21 & up show has doors at 7:00 and the tickets are $10.00.
If that’s not your thing, then you could head to Warehouse Live in the green room for an evening with Armstrong Leigh & Friends. The Austin based duo is in week two of a three week residency at the venue. These two create something beautiful together, best represented by the Chris Frenchie Smith produced single, “My Body.” The “and friends” portion of the show will be filled by Nic Armstrong & The Thieves. These guys perform the kind of tunes that make you feel like you’re on the verge of catchy The Turtles or The Delta 72. They have a very blues pop meets psych garage sound that’s all over their 2013 release, “Pocketless Shirt EP.” The garage heavy blues rock of Austin’s The Happen-Ins will be there to open things up. They just dropped a new album called “Glamour Shots” that is electrifying as anything else you’ll hear nowadays. the all ages show has doors at 7:30 and tickets between $7.00 and $10.00.
If hip hop is more your speed, then House of Blues has the hip hop of Nipsey Hussle for you. Hussle has gained prominence since he became a mixtape favorite in the late 2000’s. His latest, this year’s “Mailbox Money” has gained all sorts of attention, and if you’ve never caught him live then you’re missing out. There doesn’t appear to be an opener, but that could also change by show time. The 18 & up show has doors at 8:00 and tickets for $44.37.
Out at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion, they’ll have a family friendly evening with The Peking Acrobats. The show promises all types of crazy acrobatics performed in a family friendly and fun show. There also promises to be classical Chinese music as well as Houston Symphony. The all ages affair has doors at 6:30, and tickets are FREE on the mezzanine and lawn, with $20.00 tickets in the reserved seated sections.
Thursday things are a little crazy, starting off over Bayou Music Center, when Wilco drops into town. While I can’t champion not dropping a new follow-up to 2011’s “The Whole Love,” I can say that I’ve championed this band since the beginning. I was a massive Uncle Tupelo fan, and it’s nice to see Wilco get the respect I feel like they’ve truly earned. I mean, if you can’t get behind an album as amazing as “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot;” then I don’t know. They’ll be here in support of last year’s retrospective release, “What’s Your 20? Essential Tracks 1994-2014.” There isn’t an opener listed, but if you want to attend you better pick up the pace, because there’s literally a handful of tickets left. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $29.50 and $49.50.
If you can’t get in to that, then you could make it out to Nightingale Room to catch the synthy dance pop of Dallas’ Ishi. Stopping in as part of the Spring tour, Ishi dropped an album in 2013 called “Digital Wounds” that’s as catchy as it is dancey. Ishi will definitely have to bring it, as Houston’s Roger Sellers will bring his high energy set to life prior. So, if you’ve never seen this guy before, he’s like watching a possessed child as he mixes live drums and crazy electronics while he passionately belts out tunes. His 2014 album, “Primitives” was my favorite album of the year, and he’s an act you have to see to believe. The 21 & up show has doors at 7:30 & the tickets are $7.00 advance & $10.00 at the door.
Over at Houston’s Improv, one of the funniest comics you can catch, Donnell Rawlings will be in town. You might remember him from his time on Chappelle’s Show, but I’m telling you that this guy is insanely funny. I caught him a couple of years ago and couldn’t stop laughing. His 2010 album, “From Ashy To Classy” is a great example of the show he puts on. Like all of these shows, two of Houston’s best comics will serve as the feature act and host. The shows are all 18 & up, and there’s one on Thursday at 8:00, two on Friday at 8:00 and 10:30, two on Saturday at 7:00 and 9:30, and one on Sunday at 7:30. The tickets are priced between $20.00 and $30.00.
Father John Misty Photo: Jeff Bierk
Rudyard’s will be hosting the indie rock goodness of Houston’s The Wheel Workers. So, since 2010, I feel like this band has really spread their wings. I have their newest album which isn’t out yet, and I’ll just say whoa…it’s pretty great. Their release last year, “Past To Present” was a great example of what a group who’s in tune with one another can really do as a unit. Austin’s I Am the Albatross will also be on the bill, and will bring their blend of heavy Americana and folk psych. They released an EP last year, “I Am The Albatross” that was like drinking whiskey and dropping acid with Hank III. Austin’s Inside Voices will open the 21 & up show with doors at 8:00 and tickets for a measly $5.00.
Out at Scout Bar, the most loyal of Misfits fans will be in tow as the former guitarist, DOYLE performs. So, I should note that he doesn’t really play horror punk, or even punk; but more like squealing metal. His latest, 2013’s “Abominator” was better than I thought it would be, but it’s far from Misfits. Get ready for him to stomp around shirtless, and be hard to understand when he addresses the crowd; though it could end up being a great show. Seattle DJ, Heavygrinder will be there as direct support. So, I feel like if you’re going, you’d be silly not to check her out. She’s gotten all types of praise and is known to be a heavy hitter in the DJ world. Houston metal act Green As Emerald will also be there, while the horror rock of Houston’s The Filthy Dead will open things up. The show is all ages, the doors are at 7:00, and the tickets are between $15.00 and $18.00.
Friday, you can get things kicked off at The University of St. Thomas for the TEDxUSTHouston Ted Talk. This is an independently organized event, that will feature talks on the topic of diversity and progress in the 21st century. the event is all ages, open to the public, and is 100% FREE. Things start at 12:30 in the day.
Of course, since many of you won’t be able to attend something in the day, there’s plenty to do in the evening starting off with another raucous show from Houston’s Dem Damn Dames at Numbers. This show will be a little more scaled back than the costume heavy presentation of their previous performance, but isn’t less more at these shows? This show, Cabaret Hideaway is all about classic burlesque, will feature more than just the dames themselves. The creator of Yoga Tease, Tana The Tattooed Lady will be part of the bill, as will Aya Fontaine of Las Vegas. There will also be performances from the sultry Buttercup Delight also of Las Vegas, and the allure of Dallas’ Honey Cocoa Bordeauxx. Houston’s LaLa LeRoux and JD Hickock will also be performing, as well as the entire troupe of Dem Damn Dames. Like all of these shows, your ticket includes entry to Houston’s longest running dance night, Classic Numbers which will immediately follow the show. Things are 18 & up, and the tickets are between $15.00 presale ending the 24th, and $20.00 for G/A, or $30.00 for VIP seated.
If your hair is slicked back and you cuff your jeans, then you probably already know about The Reverend Horton Heat over at House of Blues. This guy might be one of the best performers to still be out there that you can witness. His latest album, last year’s “Rev” is incredibly strong, and keeps in line with his already impressive back catalog. I’m not kidding, this last record feels like the same energy behind “Liquor In The Front.” If you missed him when he played Fitz, this is your chance to see a guy who really honks the honk and tonks the tonk. Though there doesn’t appear to be an opener, I’m sure that will change closer to doors. The show is all ages, the doors are at 7:00, and the tickets are between $20.00 and $29.00.
Over at Traffic Premium Lounge, you can catch one of the hardest working comics in Houston, when Laff Town presents Rich Williams. Rich gets a ton of heat from other comics about all kinds of things; but the guy has great results like sold out shows. If it were a show with just Rich, then it could still sell well; but comedy legend Andy Huggins will also be on the bill. Andy is one of Houston’s funniest comics ever, and his new album “Inspired By True Events” might be one of the funniest things you’ll ever hear. There’s also comedy from the up and coming Zahid Dewji. Zahid hits his stride deeper in his set, and proves that some comics get it early on. Andrew Dicker will open things up while the nonstop humor of John Nguyen will host the entire show. The 21 & up show has doors at 9:00, the show is at 10:00, and the tickets are $10.00.
Warehouse Live will have a show that welcomes Atlanta’s Jacquees to Houston. The youtube sensation that performs R&B and hip hop for Cash Money records has been kind of a big deal since 2009. His latest album, last year’s “19” proves that he’s a force in the world of R&B. There doesn’t appear to be an opener, but that could easily change before show time. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $20.00 and $55.00
You could head over to the 4202 Screen Printing Gallery to check out the garage rock of Houston’s Mikey & The Drags. Though there is a follow up to their last album, “On The Loose!” the group will still bring the goods when they perform. If you’ve never seen these guys perform in matching suits, you need to check them out as they really bring it when they play. They’ll have Houston’s best kept secret of a good time, Young Girls on the bill with them. I recently caught them for like the fifth time, and I gotta’ say that they’re always amazing. That four song album they dropped last year, “Young Girls” still holds up and is the kind of release that always incites head bopping. Things start at 8:00 with food and craft vendors and a $10.00 cover on the BYOB show.
Fitzgerald’s will be bringing the impressive electro noise pop known as Doldrums to town. This Canadian act is insane in the good way. Though it’s just two guys, they basically mix varying sequencing with sample based sounds to create the beautiful pop songs. His latest album, this year’s “The Air Conditioned Nightmare” is pretty crazy good. They’ll have the electronic pop of Toronto’s Moon King there as well. The duo makes very soundscaped music that’s all over the recently released album, “Secret Life.” The spacey LA four piece, Talk In Tongues will open the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and tickets for $12.00.
Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga Photo: Christopher Polk
I have no idea what this will be like, but Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett will be performing at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion. Last year’s “Cheek To Cheek” is what they’ll be performing, plus several songs solo each I’d guess. Things start at 8:00 and the tickets are between $29.50 and $199.50.
At Beta Theater, you can catch some great comedy on the Finally Made It show. The show will feature some comics you might not have seen before, but all great and hilarious. Alex Nelson, Ben Jackson, Tressa Ellerby, Tim Mathis, Blue Da Comic, and Stacy Anderson will all be performing. The entire night is hosted by the funny Eric Green. The show is $5.00, comics get in FREE, and it runs from 9:00 to 11:00.
Black Barbie will have a burly show when they host the stoner metal of Houston’s Funeral Horse. This band makes music that makes you feel like you’re in the desert and a guy walks up with a Gibson Explorer and just starts wailing. Their album, last year’s “Sinister Rites Of The Master” is a true masterpiece of stoner rock. The hard rockin’ three piece known as Sabbath Crow of Austin will also be there. This power trio has tons of power, and their 2014 album, “Nothin’ But The Bones” is a squealing rock machine of an album. Another power trio that will be hard to follow, Houston’s Giant Kitty will open things up and possibly force everyone else to turn their amps to 11. The doors are at 9:00, and the cover is TBA.
The Summit will be hosting the IOEP Release for PopeNQM. I’m not sure what an IOEP is, but I’m guessing you’ll find out at the show. The garage pop of San Antonio’s Islands & Tigers are also set to perform, as will the insane and hard to believe they’re a three piece rock of Houston’s Only Beast. I feel like if you haven’t seen Danielle bounce around a stage with the energy of a seven year old filled with Red Bull and sugar, then you’re doing Houston wrong. Houston’s Bernie Pink will open the all ages show with doors at 9:00 and a $5.00 cover.
Saturday can get going over at the Alkek Velodrome when The Magical Musical Visual Tour happens. What’s that? Well, five different people will be cycling for 24 hours to complete a 500 mile relay. If you’re wondering why anyone would put their body through something so torturous, well it’s all benefiting the Houston Area Women’s Shelter. So, you have to keep in mind that even though this all ages event has tons of music and art, things get going at 9:00 am. Some of the highlighted performers include Biz Vicious at 12:30, Disfrutalo! at 4:30, as well as art from Dre Forgotten and many many more. This is a super awesome cause that’s totally worth checking out. You’re encouraged to donate items like women’s products, pillows, and blankets, and there’s no mention of a cover. All of the details are here.
If 9:00 am is just too early for you, then you could venture over to Kam’s Fine Chinese Restaurant to snatch up items at the Dem Damn Dames garage sale. I’m guessing that if you’re in the market for a wig, craft supplies, or just one of the troupe’s crazy outfits, then this is where you’ll be. They’ll also be offering custom made shirts on site and caricatures from July St. Jupiter. Things run from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, both on Saturday and Sunday on the all ages sale.
Marc Maron Photo: Kevin Winter
Fitzgerald’s will host comedian, IFC TV star, author and of course, the godfather of podcasting, Marc Maron. The show is SOLD OUT, but there’s a waiting list you can sign up for on the all ages evening.
At Mucky Duck, one of the most original artists going will grace their stage for two intimate shows. Of course I’m speaking of the country rock sounds of Junior Brown. I mean, can you deny a guy who has a guitar with a lap steel attached? Brown is a hell of a good time to see perform, he’s a great storyteller, and his latest, “Volume Ten” from 2012 is just as great as his early work. The shows are at 7:00 and 9:30 with tickets between $28.00 and $30.00.
Over at House of Blues, you can get down to the music of Matt and Kim. The Brooklyn based indie dance duo has become well known for their energetic shows and catchy songs. Their latest album, this year’s “New Glow” is as upbeat and fun spirited as their previous works. The alt pop of Norway’s WATERS will be there to open things up. Their infectious sounds might make them something bigger than you’d expect, and their new album, “What’s Real” from this year is a head bopping adventure in fun music. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets for $22.00.
House of Creeps will host a show they’re calling Ladies Night with Houston’s Young Mammals headlining the evening. So, if for some reason you missed it, these guys released the beautifully crafted and fun sounding album, “Alto Secco” last year. I felt like it was one of the best albums that came out in 2014, and if you didn’t know; they’re really great to see live. Canada’s Peach Kelli Pop will go on prior and live up to her name. So, also known as Allie Hanton, the Ottawa native makes California pop music that’s pretty infectious. Last year she followed up her previous works with a “Euro Tour” four song release. The indie psych pop of Austin’s Tele Novella will also be on hand. The four piece is here in support of their latest, this year’s “Cosmic Dial Tone.” The throwback doo wop of Houston’s The Motion will also perform, and bring all kinds of magic to the show. There’s a dreamy nature to their performances, and the music like their single “I Left Home” is a great indicator of their sound. Things of course will get kicked off by the powerful sounds of Houston’s Rose Ette. This newer five piece could be one of Houston’s best new bands, so you should definitely see them sooner than later. Ladies get FREE entry before 8:45, it’s a $7.00 cover after and for everyone else, but the music starts at 9:00.
At Crocker Bar, queer positive rapper Biz Vicious will host another edition of the monthly series Dykon Fagatron. Vicious might be the only rapper of his kind in Houston, and part of a very few around the country. If you need more reason to go see him, then you should check out his release from last year, “We Lurk Among You.” The always fun affair will also feature a freestyle dance contest, as well as DJ work from DJ Kenny Evans and DJs Fine and Dandy. The 21 & up show gets going at 10:00 and runs all night with a 100% FREE cover.
At Outlaw Dave’s World Wide Headquarters, you can catch another edition of Kiki Maroon’s Burly Q Lounge. the show which mixes the sultry nature of burlesque, the whimsical nature of sideshow, and the side splitting fun of comedy will be a doozy this week. This week, the comedy of Jermaine Warren and Tim Mathis will go hand in hand with a sideshow performance from Austin’s Eve Calientina as well as a burlesque performance from Sabor Insanity; also from Austin. Of course the shows are hosted by Kiki Maroon herself, and the 21 & up shows at both 10:00 and midnight are always FREE.
Stereo Live will host Australian DJ Tommy Trash. Trash is best known for the fact that he head bangs his long hair to the platinum tunes he creates. He’s known for a seriously crazy live show, and his latest single, “About U” from earlier this year is blowing up. The 18 & up show has doors at 9:00 and tickets range between $15.00 and $25.00.
Your Sunday can get started out at Continental Club for the Quiet Morning & The Calamity Benefit show. So, Sean from Quiet Morning & The Calamity was in a pretty crazy car crash recently, like one where you see the pics of his car and you can’t believe that he’s alive; so a bunch of his pals are throwing a great show to help him out with everything. There’s a ton of music from the likes of The Grizzly Band, Matt Harlan, The Broken Spokes, Jason Bancroft, Mic Skills, Fox Parlor, Nathan Quick, The Classix, Mystery Loves Company, Kevin Taylor Kendrick, Frants, The Early Birds, Trey Miller, and Brumes. There’s also a silent auction, BBQ, and with 14 bands for $10.00, you’re paying less than a dollar a band. The 21 & up show gets going at noon and runs until 9:00. If you can’t attend, but you want to help him out, you can go here. Or, if you’d rather buy some Quiet Morning & the Calamity merch, you can go here. I suggest you do one of the three, as Sean is a super great guy and every little bit helps.
Over at the House of Blues, you can get excited when the Britpop of The Kooks comes to town. Though they’ve been around a decade, for some reason this four piece has never really broke here in the states. That being said, they’re a big deal everywhere else. Their most recent album, “Listen” from last year stays in line with the hook heavy sound they’ve become known for. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $25.00 and $30.00.
Of course, if classic rock is more your thing, then you should head to the Woodlands Pavillion for The Doobie Brothers. Thankfully, this is The Doobie Brothers I can get behind, the one that released tunes like “Black Water” and “China Grove” before Michael McDonald turned them into adult contemporary trash. Their latest, “Southbound” is an album with current country artists performing the hits alongside the original group, and it’s actually pretty good. There’s no word of an opener, but I feel like they don’t really need one. Things get rolling at 7:30 with tickets between $29.50 and $89.50.
Monday you might find yourself wanting to hear some melodic emo pop punk, and if you do, then you should head to House of Blues for Baltimore’s All Time Low. The four piece is still going strong since their formation in the early 2000’s. Their latest release, this year’s “Future Hearts” is just as poppy as their previous efforts. Though this isn’t my type of music, I will say that I saw these guys on accident a couple of years ago and they were really tight and impressively energetic. The all ages show has doors at 5:00 and tickets between $25.00 and $30.00.
Tigers Jaw Photo: Courtesy of Artist
Tuesday, Fitzgerald’s will have the ever evolving sounds of Pennsylvania’s Tigers Jaw. This band has changed their sounds several times, but is still energy driven and impressive. From pop punk, emo, to now a more rounded out sound, the band has always been great to catch live since they started ten years ago. Their new album, “Charmer” from last year is really good, and they’re an act you should definitely check out. Buffalo three piece, and possibly one of the best bands going today, Lemuria will be there as direct support. They have this sweet voiced sound that’s mixed with indie pop rock that’s really amazing. Though their 2008 album, “Get Better” is a tour de force, their newest “Turnstyle Comix #3” from last year is just as great. The pop emo core of Boston’s Somos will open things up. Last year they dropped their debut album, “Temple of Plenty,” and it’s pretty darn awesome. They followed it up this year with the “Split” EP with a band called Have Mercy.” The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $13.00 and $17.00.
This is a really great week full of tons of fun. No matter what you decide to do, please get home safely in regards to you and everyone else in town.