This Here Giraffe: The Best of The Week
The Flaming Lips. Photo: Todd Spoth Photography, LLC.
It’s definitely beginning to feel a lot like summer now with Memorial Day just days away and the holiday weekend brings in a ton of events around town, including the Memorial Weekend Blowout at White Oak Music Hall with performances by The Flaming Lips, Roky Erickson & the Hounds of Baskerville and Nada Surf. Houston, here’s how to navigate the next seven days.
Wednesday you can begin over at Warehouse Live for the hardcore meets metal guitars of Hatebreed. Though they’re not really my thing, I’ll admit that they put on a strong live show. They’ll be here in support of their latest, The Concrete Confessional. The hardcore meets death metal of DevilDriver will be on as direct support, while metalcore supergroup Devil You Know will be on hand to open the all ages show in the studio. The doors are at 7 pm and tickets run between $29 and $32.
Chris Cohen. Photo: Kate Dollenmayer
If that’s not your thing then you could head over to Walters to catch indie rock multi-instrumentalist, Chris Cohen. You might recognize his name from his work as guitarist for Deerhoof, or leader of the band the Curtains. His solo stuff however is where it’s at and his debut album, Overgrown Path, was massively celebrated in indie rock circles. He’s just dropped a new album called As If Apart that’s already getting plenty of praise and his live performances are rumored to be quite the shows to catch. The dream pop electro-folk of the Buxton/Children of Pop hybrid Guess Genes will bring their magic on as direct support. The head bopping indie rock of Houston’s Rose Ette will be on hand to open things up. I’d recommend catching their catchy sounds sooner than later, as last year’s Jungle was one of the best and most overlooked albums of 2015. The all ages show has doors at 8 pm and tickets between $7 and $10.
Over at Under The Volcano you can catch the engaging singer songwriter tunes of Randy Weeks. Though he’s been doing the solo thing for awhile, Weeks is probably best known as a founding member of the LA country rock band the Lonesome Strangers. He’s here in support of his latest, Madeline, and he’ll be backed by Mike Stinson and more. The 21 and up show has doors at 8 pm and a TBA cover.
At Barbarella you can help the OxFam benefit in Syria when Houston punk legends The Hates headline a set there. These guys are punk rock royalty, they’ve been playing longer than most of us have been alive, and their latest, Shank, just proves they aren’t slowing with age. They’ll have the pop punk of Houston’s Giant Kitty on as direct support, and you should probably catch them before they get too big for the city. With writeups in the national media and their latest album, This Stupid Stuff, they might get bigger sooner than later. The art punk of No Love Less will go on prior, while the anarcho punk of The Ancient Gods will open things up. The 21 and up show has doors at 9 pm and cover at a suggested amount of $10.
Thursday you should consider swinging by Nightingale Room for a set from Ishi. This guy was my savior one night after catching a lackluster set from Wilco and a way too steamy set from Father John Misty. I rolled up to his show to find him performing atop the bar and being the best thing I caught that night. His latest release, Toss & Turn, from last year is quite the jam. He’ll have one man beat machine Us. on as support and opener. I’d say you should catch this guy as his latest stuff is far ahead of what he started with, and his live sets are intriguing to say the least. The 21 and up show has doors at 7 pm and it’s 100% FREE.
AlunaGeorge. Photo: BBC
In the studio at Warehouse Live, you can catch the popular sounds of 2-step garage electro pop R&B of AlunaGeorge. The two-piece that features vocalist Aluna Francis made their name with the jam “You Know You Like It“ and their latest single, My Blood, is on point. The glitch influenced alt pop of Illinois’ Kiiara will be on as direct support and opener. Riding high on the popularity of her single, Gold, this singer plays trippy tunes that are all over her new album low kii savage. The all ages show has doors at 7 pm and tickets between $20 and $25.
Raven Tower will host a barn burner when Brew drops by to offer a first listen of his latest album, Mo City Or Nothin’. The Missouri City rapper can definitely spit hard on a mic, and this is your chance to hear the album before it drops as well as catch an intimate set from the rapper himself. The all ages event gets going with doors at 7 pm and it’s 100% FREE.
You could get your laugh on when Tennessee’s Nate Bargatze drops by for a weekend of shows at Improv. This guy’s been on the Tonight Show, Comedy Central, and pretty much everywhere else in-between. His 2015 album, Full Time Magic, is insanely hilarious, and he’s known to be a riot when he performs. As per all of these shows, two of Houston’s better comics will serve as feature act and host. The 18 and up show has doors at 7:15 pm, two on Friday with doors at 7 pm and 9 pm, two on Saturday with doors at 6:15 pm and 8 pm, and one on Sunday with doors at 6:45 pm all with tickets between $17 & $30.
The R&B soul mixture of Austin duo Greyhounds will be over at Satellite Bar. These two remind me of a mix of sixties soul and white boy R&B from seventies a.m. radio, in the good way. Their latest release, Change of Pace, keeps that sound intact and makes me wonder what they’re like live. The fuzzy alt guitar pop of Houston’s Alex Riddle will be on as direct support. His latest album, this year’s Happy Daggers, contains hints of blues, pop and indie soul in a creative mixture that’s worth checking out. The rock of dUNE TX will open the all ages show with doors at 7:30 pm and a TBA cover.
Broncho. Photo: Barry Brecheisen
Over at Rudyard’s you can catch the popular roughneck pop rock of Oklahoma’s BRONCHO. This four -piece made waves with their pop heavy jam “Class Historian“ and they’ve always been entertaining to catch live. Their latest releases have been sludgy singles, most recently Senora Borealis. The dream pop fuzzy tones of LA’s Winter will be on as direct support for the all ages show with doors at 8 pm and tickets between $10 and $15.
Mr. Castillo, Andy V, and Luz will be dropping jams over at Little Dipper for the To Aunt Charlie with Love show. These guys are underrated DJs who drop tunes worthy of a hang or getting down, it’s 21 and up and the 100% FREE event gets going around 10 pm.
You could throw on your two steppin’ attire and head over to Big Top to catch a set from throwback country act, The Broken Spokes. These guys play the kind of country that played in the honky tonks and bars that a “Boy Named Sue” would have searched to find the “man who gave him that awful name.” Their sets are a mix of old standards alongside originals and their latest, The Broken Spokes, is truly amazing. The 21 and up show has doors at 10 pm and though it’s FREE, drop a $5 spot to help the band.
Friday you can start off at NRG Center for the Space City Comic Con. The three-day event has more than enough to satisfy the nerd in all of us. Appearances from names like William Shatner, Booker T, Charlie Hunnam, Danny Trejo and more will be on hand. There’s also stars of cosplay, a whole gaming world for consoles and tabletop games, events like Star Trek Continues, and the NEXUS Premiere, and of course comics. The all ages event has one day passes between $5 and $40, weekend passes between $40 and $60, and three day passes between $50 and $75. There’s more information on tickets available here, information on the convention here, and the doors are at noon on Friday, and 10 am on Saturday and Sunday.
Or you could get your punk fix at Fitzgerald’s for the annual Velocity Fest. The two-day event will feature headlining sets from Reagan Youth and The Dictators NYC alongside sets from locals like Funeral Horse, The Freakouts, Silver Blueberry, Modfag, The Guillotines, The Velostacks and many more with the full lineup available here. The all ages event has doors at 3 pm, and tickets run between $20 and $35 for single day entry, or $35 and $45 for two day passes.
mewithoutyou. Photo: Craig Wilson
Over at House of Blues, you can get your second wave emo fix when Say Anything comes to town again to perform. I say again because since moving to North Texas, the band has been here quite a bit in recent years. Their latest album, I Don’t Think It Is, has more of an anger-fueled sound than recent releases from the band. Philly’s high energy emo-rock five-piece mewithoutyou will be on hand as direct support. If you’re attending this show then I’ll just say that you shouldn’t miss these guys play. They’re live shows are on point and their latest single, “Cleo’s Ferry Cemetery,“ is really beautiful. The show will also have a set from Baltimore noise punks Teen Suicide, while the fuzz pop of North Carolina’s Museum Mouth will blow everyone away by going on beforehand. The catchy indie rock of Philly four-piece Modern Baseball will also be on the bill and they’re really worth checking out. Their latest Holy Ghost is solid and their live set is energetic and fun to see. California pop punks Joyce Manor will also be on the show while Philly-based punk four-piece Thin Lips will open things up. The all ages show has doors at 5:30 pm and tickets between $23.50 and $27.
If that’s not your deal, then you could head to Raven Tower for the album release from Houston’s Sik Mule. These guys are a three-piece that sounds closer to a five-piece, their live shows have a ton of energy, and their new album is pretty legit. They’ll have direct support from the funky groove oriented jams of Houston’s HandsomeBeast, as well as the garage rock of A Tribute To The Sun. A DJ set from Guilla and Mark Drew will open the all ages show with doors at 6 pm and it’s 100% FREE.
Tifa Tittlywinks. Photo: Mike “The Truth” Jackson
At Numbers you can catch some alluring performances alongside a kissing booth, raffles, and more for the Dem Damn Dames benefit for founding member and troupe leader Tifa Tittlywinks. The Titters For Tifa show will feature sets from burlesque performers from all over Texas and helps get Tifa on the mend after a motorcycle accident. From Austin there’s Ginger Snaps & Roger Dodger, Zaftigg von Bon Bon, from Dallas there’s Iris Le Mour, MaryLynn Mayhem, Shelbelle Shamrock, and from Houston there’s Bunny Galore, Nick The Vegan, JD Hickock, Jim Mackenzie, and a set as well from San Antonio’s Chola Magnolia. Al E Cat of the Benefit Betties will perform the hosting duties while pre-show sets from Craig Kinsey and Skabz The Clown will also be on hand. Of course, your standing room only ticket also covers entry into classic Numbers following the show. The 18 and up event has doors at 7 pm and tickets for $20 and if you can’t attend you can support Tifa through her gofundme page.
Over at Joke Joint Comedy Showcase you can catch sets from Austin’s Jon Stringer. Stringer has been called one of the funniest Austin comics going, and he’s made his rounds proving so. Though he’s only three hours away, he’s not in Houston much so you should see him this go round if possible. He’ll have Houston’s Owen Dunn on as his featured act and Dunn’s certainly worth checking out. Food humor and observations about life are what this guy does best and he’s becoming a heavier hitter with each show he performs. One of Houston’s better up and coming comics will serve as host for the 18 and up shows. Friday and Saturday both have two shows at 8 pm and 10:30 pm with tickets for all four sets between $16 and $18.
Ladybirds will host a set from Houston indie rockers Vodi. You might not know that this band contains members of Dollie Barnes, but it shouldn’t matter as Tom Lynch has made this act his own and they’re definitely worth checking out. The alt-rock sounds of Baton Rouge’s West Without is also set to perform, while the blues rock psych swagger of Fire Moth will get the show going. All three of these bands are worthy of a high priced cover, but luckily for you, the 21 and up show with doors at 8 pm is 100% FREE.
Continental Club has the pleasure of hosting a set from the blue-eyed soul of Austin ten-piece, The Nightowls. Pretty much every music critic in Austin calls this group one to watch and while they’ve dropped plenty of releases including their latest Clean It Up (Play By The Rules), they’re also known for a killer live performance. The 21 and up show has doors at 8 pm and a $12 cover.
Saturday you have a ton of options that begin at Discovery Green with the Day Break Memorial Day Weekend Day Party. Music from a slew of DJs, sumo suits, giant kickball, and a lot more are in-store at the all ages event. Things run from noon to 9 pm and it’s 100% FREE to $200 with more information available here.
Flogging Molly. Photo: Alan Snodgrass
House of Blues will be bringing back the Irish punk mixture of LA’s Flogging Molly. Known for their hit song, “Drunken Lullabies,“ this seven-piece knows how to bring their a game when they perform. Though they’ve seemed to be in Houston quite a bit, their latest release, this year’s single The Hand of John L. Sullivan, might be enough to bring you out one more time. There’s no word of openers or direct support on the all ages show with doors at 7 pm and tickets between $33.50 and $45.
If you wanted to catch Erykah Badu at Arena Theatre, you should know that show has also Sold Out, and there are still tickets to the Sunday show available here. If you have tickets to this one, the doors are at 7 pm.
You might be a fan of singer songwriters, and if you are then you should head over to Mucky Duck to catch the sounds of Austin’s Slaid Cleaves. In many ways, Cleaves is like a modern day troubadour whose songs tell tales from beyond. Cleaves has written a slew of road weary tales and his live shows are always intriguing and engaging. His latest release, 2013’s Still Fighting The War, finds him in a new place while keeping his core sound intact. The 21 and up shows have doors at 7 pm and 9:30 pm with tickets between $28 and $30.
Catch Fever. Photo: Daniel Jackson
Raven Tower will host the electro indie pop rock of Houston’s Catch Fever for their release party of their new EP, You Have All You Need. These guys dropped an EP in 2014 that proved that pop rock can still hit hard on Shiny Eyes. After dropping the single Go To War off of the NextWave compilation, the then-three-piece became a two-piece and the band soldiered on. Their live shows will change your mind about two-piece bands and this show will have a very limited run of vinyls on hand as well. They’ll get direct support from Austin indie R&B electronica pop act, Mobley. This guy scored a hit with his track “Swoon,” and his latest release, an EP titled Some Other Country, is trippy while still being soulful and lush. The high energy blues rock of Houston’s The Beans will also be on the bill, while the one woman electropop of Kay Weathers will be on hand to get things started. I’d suggest getting there early to catch her as her live show is ethereal and her debut EP, Songs For Lucy, is beautiful and emotional while still being catchy and memorable. The all ages show has doors at 7 pm and tickets are between $10 and $13.
You can get your hip hop on in the greenroom at Warehouse Live when Houston’s Kay Jay drops by to headline a set. Kay Jay has been grinding left and right since starting out, and though he dropped a solid album with Tees, Trees and MP3’s, his new single with Z-Ro, “Hater Maker,” shows how far he’s come. The swagger of Houston’s T2 The Ghetto Hippie will be on as direct support. This guy just dropped a set as support for Freddie Gibbs and his new album, A South West Side Story, is as Houston hip hop as a release gets. MC Gringo will also be on the bill while a DJ set from DJ Trakksounds will open things up. The doors are at 8 pm for the all ages show with a paltry $5 cover.
If you’d rather laugh until you pee on yourself, then you could head to Beta Theater for another edition of The Triple Header. Usually this show of three comics doing twenty-minute sets each has a good mix of talent. However because the riotously funny Sean Rouse is on this show, you’re an idiot if you miss this one. Rouse has toured with Doug Stanhope and he’s been on Comedy Central and HBO. His dark humor will either make you rethink what you find funny or make you fall over in laughter. He’ll have The hilarious John Nguyen from Stand Up NBC on prior, with Kathryn Way on beforehand. Zahid Dewji hosts the pay what you can event that’s 18 and up, BYOB, and gets going at 8 pm.
The Wheel Workers. Photo: Courtesy of Artist/Facebook
At Walters you can send The Wheel Workers off on tour at their tour kickoff party. This band is like a machine of songwriting and hard work that seems is almost unstoppable. They just dropped the new single, “Silly Boy,“ they have a new album out later this year, and they gave us a double album in 2014, as well as the amazing EP Citizens last year. Their live shows are always not to be missed events full of surprises and energy, kind of like a party with killer tunes. The feedback-induced experimental post-rock sounds of Austin’s My Education will be on the bill as direct support. This band is one of the most intriguing bands you can catch live, and their last release, 2012’s A Drink for All My Friends, is a real trip. The vastly underrated indie rock sounds of Houston’s A Sundae Drive will also be on the bill, and will bring 2014’s The Senseless & The Sound and new songs to life when they perform. The psych rock of Denton’s Criminal Birds will open the all ages show with doors at 8 pm and tickets between $7 and $10.
If you’ve been missing the Spanish pop-rock of Houston’s La Sien, then you’re in luck as they’ll be in the studio over at Warehouse Live. It’s been awhile since their last album, the 2012 debut La Sien, and rumor has it that this new album is pretty intense. Girl In A Coma lead singer Nina Diaz will bring her sultry tones on hand as direct support, while the blues rock of Houston’s Muddy Belle will open things up. The all ages show has doors at 8 pm and tickets between $10 and $15 which includes their new CD.
Fox Hollow will host another edition of A Really Kool Party. The DJ-fueled dance party will keep the dance floor full when they host Houston’s Smooth & Faded (Vic G & Act Badd) on this edition. Of course you’ll also get treated to sets from residents Gracie Chavez, Dayta, and Hiram at the always fun event. The night is 21 and up with doors at 9 pm and it’s FREE until 11 pm or $5 after that.
Over at Pearl Side Bar you can get down at this month’s Dykon Fagatron. The monthly show hosted by Crystal Toliver is mixing things up and bringing the punk of Giant Kitty to the show as headliners. That should be enough for you but they also have a DJ set from Asli of The Tontons, Andres Henderson, and The Regal People as well. The 21 and up show gets going with doors at 9 pm and it’s 100% FREE.
If you just don’t have enough dance options, then you could consider heading to Vanguard Warehouse to catch a set from UK-born and NYC-based DJ/producer, Celestial Trax. There’s multiple DJs on this show including the crazed deck skills of Angiesliste and Josiah Gabriel as well. There’s more information available here on the 18 and up show with doors around 9 pm and a $6 cover.
You could polish off your Saturday at Beta Theater for the variety show, The Sell Your Body Show. Mixing storytelling, stand up comedy, strip stand up and more, the show will feature acts like Britt Vasicek, Danny Mo, Kendall Seymour and many others. The 18 and up show has a BYOB policy and it’s pay what you can and gets started around 10 pm with more information available here.
Body/Head. Photo: Sarah Joy
Sunday you can get going over at White Oak Music Hall with their Memorial Weekend Blowout. It would seem that the right of passage in seeing a set from The Flaming Lips would be more than enough for most people. With albums like The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, their music coupled with props and crazed lights is always a real treat to behold. However, this show goes further with a slew of other bands, starting with a set from Pennsylvania’s Title Fight. This four-piece has received tons of praise, their live sets are always memorable, and last year’s album, Hyperview, was pretty damn magical. The tripped-out psych of Roky Erickson & the Hounds of Baskerville will bring their legendary tunes to the bill as well, while the tripped-out duo of Bill Nace and Kim Gordon will play as Body/Head. You’re reading correctly, Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth has a new project called Body/Head and it’s pretty glorious. Their latest release is 2014’s two song EP The Show Is Over, but you should still give their 2013 debut, Coming Apart, a spin because it’s awesome. If that’s still not enough show for you, then maybe nineties indie rockers Nada Surf, shoegaze electro pop act DIIV, the soulful and fiery vocals of Adia Victoria, or even Austin female rock three-piece Moving Panoramas will be enough to convince you. If for some weird reason that’s still not enough, then maybe having the beer fueled rock of Houston’s We Were Wolves open the thing up will be enough. The all ages show has doors at 12:30 pm and tickets for $35.
Mouthing. Photo: Andrew Dominguez
Over at Walters you can catch the drone noise ambient jams of Houston’s MOTHS. These guys play fuzzy and mathy songs that are all over their last release, MOTHS//HAUNTER(Split). Their live shows, which haven’t happened in over six months, are always engaging and full of noise and energy. The post hardcore emo jams of Florida’s Gillian Carter will be on as direct support, while the always energetic and grimey hip hop of B L A C K I E will go on beforehand. While I’ve often said that this guy is far ahead of the music industry and that 2014’s Imagine Your Self In A Free And Natural World was brilliant, I’ve heard some of his new stuff and he takes things more forward than ever before. The screamy math rock of Houston’s MOUTHING will go on prior and they might scare you with their intensity. The lo-fi indie punk of Ruiners will open the all ages show with doors at 8 pm and tickets between $5 and $10.
Monday you can keep your punk fires burning when Houston’s Pink Eye stops by to perform at Satellite Bar. The three-piece plays the kind of punk that makes you long for the old days, and last year’s Rope Culture was as catchy as it was intense. Houston punk legends The Hates will be on as direct support. If you haven’t caught this three-piece then you’ve been doing Houston wrong. They’ve been around longer than most of us have been alive and 2013’s Shank proved they aren’t stopping soon. Japan’s Babylon Breakers will also be on the bill, and they’ll bring their brand of rock to the billing. Houston noise act P.L.X.T.X. will open the all ages show with doors at 8 pm and a measly $3 cover.
Tuesday you can get your VHS fix when Walters hosts the VHS M4t1n33 show. A ton of cyberpunk and craptastic and classic sci-fi and future flicks will be on hand for anyone and everyone who attends. Films like Hackers, Johnny Mnemonic, TRON, Ghost In The Shell, and many others will be on hand for your viewing pleasure. There also promises to be cheap pop-up Asian food and cheap drinks for the all ages event with doors at 6:15 pm and it’s 100% FREE.
At Nightingale Room you can catch three acts from three different Houston labels, when Lyric Michelle drops by to perform at the Roologic Presents show. I would hope you’d have heard her before, but if you haven’t then I’d suggest jamming this year’s Miss Direction, and then making it to this show. She’ll have the powerful tunes Splice Records’ singer songwriter Arthur Yoria on prior. Yoria is a force to see live and his new single Ruff Life is a nice glimpse of what’s to come from him. Miss Champagne Records founder, DJ Miss Champagne will be on hand to spin jams while Roologic’s Genesis Blu will host the entire show. The 21 & up evening has doors at 7 pm & it’s 100% FREE.
You could catch the punk of Ontario’s SBDC at Satellite Bar. The all female three-piece plays melodic punk that’s like if Ramones and NOFX made songs together. Their latest, the lo-fi sounding Future Ex-Wives from this year, sounds like they’ll be worth making it out for. The all ages show with doors at 8 pm doesn’t have openers listed yet, but the TBA cover and lineup should change before they play.
That’s about all there is this week. No matter what you decide to do, remember that this is a holiday weekend and idiots will be abound. So, for all of us, drink like an adult so we can all get home safely.