Unconditional Love: The Best of The Week
Photo: Ryan Russell
There’s been plenty of show nonsense in Houston from the prior week. Whether it was the stage diver at Joyce Manor, my having to tell musicians not to talk at a show two feet from the stage at Rudyards, or the Paolo Nutini mess at Warehouse Live. Yes, just like Morrissey did to Paws earlier this year, Italian songster Nutini threw a fit because there was a “loud rock show” happening next door while he was set to perform in the ballroom. Granted, there’s not much insulation between the rooms, but still. From what we hear, the higher ups at Warehouse Live fought gallantly for the rock bands involved, until Nutini’s people threatened not to play. In the end, Nutini played and the rock show was moved in to the green room. It’s a shame that no matter who some people are, they can’t be civil and respectful to others at shows. So, please keep others in mind when you make it out this week, or possibly when your band makes it big. Here’s where your hard earned dough should get spent, no matter where you go this week.
Starting things off on Wednesday, you can make it over to Fitzgerald’s to catch the synth heavy sound of Com Truise. These guys really love Houston, as this isn’t their first time here, nor is it their first at Fitz. If you ever wondered how crazy living in New York is, then maybe the fact that these guys relocated to Jersey from NYC should give you an idea. They’re here in support of their latest, “Wave 1” from earlier this year. They’ll have the likes of France’s Rone getting things started for them. Rone has gotten known outside the US for his post rave sound, that’s sometimes intensely trippy; and always fairly epic. The fact that he sings in French should make for an interesting show, and his 2013 album, “Tohu Bohu” was as refreshing as it was good. This should be one of those shows where White people will hopefully get down at. The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are between $15.00 and $19.00.
Over at Mango’s, they’ll be hosting the jazz rock sounds from Chicago’s Marbin. These guys play instrumental jazz rock like that’s still something that happens all the time. They have a bit of a bluesy sound to them, and they’re known for an energetic live show. They’re here in support of their latest album, last year’s hard nosed “Last Chapter of Dreaming.” They’ll have help from Houston’s Yellow Echo, who should bring a definitely funky vibe to the show. These guys and girl have a very hip hop meets funk feel, and they put on a great show. The funky and soulful sounds of Houston’s Detour Four will get things started with doors at 9:30, and a TBA cover for the all ages show.
On Thursday, you can get your hipster card stamped over at Bayou Music Center, when Beck brings his music to town. I’ve seen Beck six times, one time very early on at SXSW and even once at a fan club show at Westlake High School. However, as the only guy you’ll meet who wasn’t so into his latest album, “Morning Phase;” I’m pretty sure I’m sitting this one out. After pretty much every person I know told me how amazing it was, maybe my hopes were just too high, or maybe I was pissed that I had to learn to read music to hear his previous album. Either way, the guy puts on a pretty good show. He’ll have Jenny Lewis as his opener as well. Lewis is opening with songs from her latest, this year’s “The Voyager.” If you’re a fan of either, it should be a good show to see. I’m dying to know if Beck will be selling portable E-Meters as part of his merch, but that’s probably just me. The doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are between $45.00 and $55.00. If you do want to go, keep in mind that it’s going to sell out.
Also on Thursday over at Improv, comedy legend Andy Huggins will be hosting the Octoberjest show. Huggins could be as close to a living comedic legend as Houston has. He was an Original Outlaw Comic, a pal to Bill Hicks, and in his mid sixties; he’s as sharp and funny as ever. He’ll have a pretty stacked list of comics on board, like Danny Martinez. Martinez has been on BET, and he’s toured the country extensively; while also opening for legends like the late great Sam Kinison, The Smothers Brothers, and Rich Hall. He’ll also have Don Learned on board as well. Learned has appeared on Showtime, he’s a road dog as far as tour dates, and he’s a riot to catch live. He was also the owner of the Laff Stop and the Laugh Spot. Also on the bill, will be Houston’s Kristin Lindner. Lindner might be one of the funniest comics in Houston with a pretty much impeccable style on stage. She’s currently appearing on the NickMom Night Out show, and she’s a truly great comic to see. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets are a measly $10.00, or a two for one offer by using the code HALF, which is the universe’s way of telling you to go.
Of course, if laughing until it hurts isn’t up your alley, then I guess you could venture over to House of Blues to catch the Bonobo DJ set. The British producer has really been blowing up lately, and it kind of sucks that this will just be a DJ set. His latest full length, “The North Borders” from last year was almost as sick as his recent three song drop, “Ten Tigers.” Things get started at 8:00, there’s no opener, and the tickets are $18.00.
Heights Vinyl will be hosting a live recording of comic Josh Brokaw’s new podcast, “The Stacks” with a show attached to the taping. The Stacks covers comedy, music, and everything between. And, this episode will not only feature Brokaw’s dry humor, but the wisecracks of Gabe Bravo. They’ll also have a live comedy performance from Brian Zeolla, and from what I hear, it’s BYOB as well. They plan on starting at 8:00 and it’s 100% FREE.
Over on 3621 Canal Street, they’re hosting a mixed media show called Muse Noire. The show is basically a chance to draw, paint, or convey the image of the muses on hand. The muses this time are Darcy Rosenberger and Christine Gwosdz. You’re allowed to bring your supplies and mix it up, and they’ll have costumes and masks on hand for whatever you as an artist can dream up. It’s an 18 & up show, it gets going around 8:00, and there’s a $10.00 cover.
Fitzgerald’s will be hosting the alterna rock synth pop of Minnesota’s Polica. The four piece has been turning heads & garnering praise since 2011, and they put on a pretty intense live show. They’re here in support of their latest release, this year’s “Shulamith.” They’ll have Web of Sunsets getting things started with their airy pop sounds. They have two releases out this year with “Room of Monsters” and an ep, “Gin Tapes.” This should make for a good show with doors at 8:00, and tickets between $15.00 and $17.00 for the all ages gig.
At the Joke Joint Comedy Showcase, they will be hosting comic Michael Malone. Malone has a pretty matter of fact style to how he performs. He’s appeared on NBC, the Bob & Tom Radio Show, and he won the Seattle International Comedy Competition. He’s released two hilarious albums, including 2012’s “Casual Sext.” You can catch him at one show on Thursday at 8:00, or two on Friday & Saturday at 8:00 or 10:30, and tickets are all $16.00.
On Friday, you can start things off with the family, if you have one; over at Discovery Green. They’ll be showing the Pixar film, “Finding Nemo” from 7:30 to 9:30. It’s a rescheduled event, which really doesn’t matter as it’s all ages & 100% Free to attend.
Since you’ll be in the area, you could make it over to the brand new Comedy Night at Phoenicia MKT Bar, presented by Beta Theater. This Friday, they will have a post Beta Bracket competition, where comics will fight for a $100.00 cash prize. There’s a good chance that you’ll see some of your pals who were knocked out early from the bracket, performing while they clamor for you to vote for them. Things get started at 9:00 sharp, it’s audience vote, and this week will be hosted by the dynamic duo of Stephen Brandau and Gabe Bravo. That’s kind of a no brainer to attend if you’re a comedy fan, as both Gabe and Stephen are pretty hilarious. It’s all ages and it’s 100% FREE.
If you’re not down to laugh or you’re not a fan of a hyper exclusive beer, then you can catch night one, of a two night engagement at Bayou Music Center with Erasure. I don’t know how you couldn’t know who these two guys are, but they’ve been hitmakers since the late eighties, and one of the two was a founding member of Depeche Mode. They’ll be here in support of their 2014 album, the dancy and synth heavy “The Violet Flame.” I hate to admit this, but Erasure put on an insanely entertaining performance, when I saw them live at Astroworld as a teenager. Keep in mind that was a long time ago, so I can’t attest to their show today. They’ll have the dance rock duo of Dangerous Muse of NYC getting things started. Dangerous Muse will be performing from their 2013 ep, “Red.” The doors are at 8:00, there’s also a show on Saturday, and tickets are between $35.00 and $55.00.
Speaking of performing two shows, Katy Perry will be performing two shows starting Friday night over at Toyota Center. I’m not going to sell this show too hard, but she’s here for that 2013 album, “Prism.” The Latin pop hip hop dance sounds of Becky G will open things up, and make most of the fourteen year old girls in attendance happy. The doors are at 7:30 for both nights, and the tickets are not available because both shows are sold out.
There’s some americana happening over at Walter’s, when Houston’s Second Lovers bring their alt country meets americana sound to life. So, I’ve kind of dropped this band’s name more than a little bit, yet I still feel like you’re missing out if you haven’t caught them perform. There aren’t too many times you can catch an act whose third incarnation is better than their first; but that’s the case with Second Lovers. A stellar debut album, then a two song drop that’s even better; and now they’ve added a female singer to give them a much more rounded out sound. If you pretend to like early Wilco or Uncle Tupelo, then you have no excuse in missing this band. They’ll have the indie folk of Austin’s Blue Bear on the bill with them as well. Coming off the heels of an Austin City Limits Festival appearance, Blue Bear mixes traditional folk themes like acoustic guitar and group vocals, with multiple part harmonies and occasionally electric guitar and multiple instruments. Their recently released singles, “Come On Home,” and “Too Late To Go Home,” will make you rethink what you thought you knew about folk music. Houston’s Nathan Quick will be there to drop some of his singer/songwriter goodness in the most rockin’ way possible when he opens the show. Quick dropped a pretty stellar album earlier this year with “The Mile.” On it, Quick channels a hint of Doug Sahm, as well as that of John Prine and Jeff Tweedy. However, Nathan has his own sound, and he’s a great act to catch live. The doors are at 8:00, the show is all ages, and the tickets are a miniscule $5.00.
Rudyard’s will be hosting the split 7” party for Ex-Optimists and A Sundae Drive. The show will be headlined by Grand Antler Teeth, who appears to be some trippy psych rock band. A Sundae Drive will perform songs from their 2011 album, “You’re Gonna’ Get Me,” and more. I don’t think I can undersell this band, as that album alone is like if you took the Brit pop of Supergrass, the snappy vibe of Promise Ring, and added the overall focus of Apples In Stereo. Only Beast will also be on hand to teach anyone watching how to perform four duties with only three members. Their singer sound like Corin Tucker of Sleater Kinney but has the energy of everyone who’s ever run a marathon. Couple that with a guitarist who wails on guitar while he plays the bass parts with his feet, and a drummer who is as chaotic as anyone you’ll see. They’ll be performing songs from their upcoming release as well as those from their great 2013 album, “Only Beast.” The Ex-Optimists will be getting things started with their loudly performed indie rock sound. I feel like if you’re a fan of Hum, or maybe even Sugar; then you’ll love this band. The first time I saw them, I got a chill because they reminded me of Husker Du in a melody meets chaos kind of way. The show is 21 & up, the cover is $6.00, and the doors are at 9:00.
There’s rockabilly happening over at Continental Club, via Sweden when The Go Getters make their way into town. These guys have been rockin’ audiences for over twenty five years, and their 2008 album, “Hot Rod Roadeo” is as good as it gets. The three piece will have Austin’s The Octanes on hand to get everyone groovin’. The Octanes are almost like a punch to the face live, and their 2011 album, “Roots, Rock & Romance” is a great example of their rockabilly prowess. DJ Big E will get things started with doors at 9:00 and a $10.00 cover for the 21 & up show.
Fitzgerald’s will have the R&B meets hip hop sounds of New York’s Jon Bellion. There’s a good chance that you don’t know who Jon Bellion is, but after you realize that he had a song on an Eminem album; you should at least heard his handiwork. After dropping numerous mixtapes, this year Bellion released a full length album of epic sounds called, “The Definition,” and he’s just been getting bigger and bigger since its release. He’ll have the trip hop meets soft vocal sound of Johnny Stimson on the bill with him as well. Stimson is definitely pop music, but it definitely creates a nice element to have a full band behind him. He’s had plenty of drops like the infectious sound of of his three latest drops in “So Good,” “Sugar,” and “Obsession.” He’s definitely an entertaining guy to catch in the intimate settings of the downstairs stage at Fitz. The doors are at 8:00, the show is all ages, and the tickets are between $12.00 and $14.00.
Alley Kat will have a bit of electronica happening on Friday night, when they host the Rhythm Fridays show. It’s a mix of improvisational jams mixed with guest DJs, and all hosted by the incredibly diverse talents of Gio Chamba. There’s no cover, it runs from 10:00 to close, and I would guess that it’s 21 & up.
Saturday, you can start things off over at Discovery Green for the Untapped Festival. For some of us, it’s about the music; and we’re all sad that Bad Books couldn’t make the rescheduled date. Just like I’m sure you’re really not gonna’ like finding out that Kevin Devine couldn’t make that show, and it was going to be Manchester Orchestra in his place. However, no one involved can control the weather, so here’s hoping that this one won’t get rained out. Toadies are still on board with their nineties alt rock sound. The stellar songs of Robert Ellis are also on the bill, as is the insanely high energy of The Bright Light Social Hour. I have to say that if you haven’t caught TBLSH live yet, you’re missing out on an extremely entertaining act. The Suffers will also be on hand to offer up some soul, while Los Skarnales will be there to drop some crazy Latin ska. The rockin’ likes of Featherface will also be on the bill, while the dreamy synth pop of BLSHS will get things started. If you weren’t aware, there’s also beer from over sixty five breweries and over two hundred beers on hand. Saint Arnold will be tapping all day long, while Karbach will have their own twelve ounce cans for sale, and Goose Island will have an 8500 square foot beer garden. There’s also stands from 8th Wonder, Brooklyn, Real Ale and a many many many more. There’s also great local eats and crafts from local spots from around town. Things get rolling at 3:30, and tickets are between $30.00 and $62.00.
If you’re looking for beats, then LA’s The Glitch Mob will be performing over at House of Blues. The three piece has gotten quite the following in recent years, and especially since their harder edged 2014 album, “Love Death Immortality.” They’ve been known to put on a pretty solid live show, so if you’re a fan then you should make it out. They’ll have the San Francisco trio of The M Machine on hand as well. These guys have been touring the dance club circuit for a good while on the heels of three separate versions of their remixed album, “Metropolis.” They also kind of have an early Daft Punk meets Chemical Brothers vibe to their sound. The beats from NYC’s Chrome Sparks will also be on the bill, getting things started with tracks from his recent EP “Sparks.” The doors are at 8:00 and tickets are between $28.00 and $35.00.
Over at Warehouse Live on Saturday, they’ll be hosting The Gaslight Anthem in the ballroom. The New Jersey band has been blowing up since the release of their album, “The 59 Sound.” They’ll bring their now major label sounds from their latest, “Get Hurt,” with them. This album really takes these guys on a real throwback kick full of fuzzy guitars and raspy vocals. There are moments that feel like they found a way to mix old with new on the great sounding release. It won’t hurt that they’ll have Against Me on before them. I don’t know if I can convey how amazing they were when they performed at Fitz on the first leg of their last tour, but wow. That might have been the best time I’ve seen them, and one of the best shows I’ve seen at the club. Their newest album, “Transgender Dysphoria Blues,” is the best album they’ve ever made in my mind, and they are a force more than before with this stronger lineup. A guy you may or may not have heard of, the rockin’ Cory Branan will bring his gravel voiced tember to the bill when he gets things started. Branan dropped a pretty great album this year called “The No-Hit Wonder.” The Mississippi native has been compared to pretty much every great songwriter before him, but he doesn’t hurt things when he’s gotten known for epic and energetic live shows as well. The doors are at 7:00, the show is all ages, and the tickets are between $22.00 and $25.00; and stands a chance of selling out.
If you’re up for more of a laugh than rocking out, then the green room at Warehouse Live has a comedy show, with Down In front. It’s a show where basically they show a film and then comics riff on it and tear it apart. This show will feature the Nic Cage/John Travolta classic, “Face Off.” The comics who’ll be ripping and riffing will be Gabe Bravo, Jaffer Khan, and Sam Demaris. All three of these guys are pretty hilarious in their own ways, and they should make for an entertaining evening complete with free popcorn. The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and it’s $5.00.
Over at Fitzgerald’s, they’ll have the album release party for Houston’s Young Mammals’ epic new album, “Alto Seco.” Recently, FPH put our stamp of approval on the straightforward album, and this show will be your chance to not only hear it live, but to grab a physical copy as well. They’ll have some help from Wild Moccasins on before them as well. You should know about Wild Moccasins by now, but if you haven’t seen them in a while; I’d suggest their newest album, “88 92” for starters. There’s a good chance that they could be a really big deal and you should go see them while you can still get tickets. Hooked Rugs will also be on hand with their very trippy sounds. If you ever wondered what guitar meets synths sounds like, Hooked Rugs are definitely it. The pop based indie rock of Toast will be there as well. DJ’s Andy V and JEI will get things started with doors at 8:00 and an $8.00 cover for the all ages show.
Out at Woodlands Pavillion, you and your mom can go see Motley Crue. I say your mom because she’s been waiting a long time to flash Tommy Lee and this might be her last chance. I wish Motley Crue had stopped making albums after “Too Fast For Love,” but they started dropping ballads and went soft and discovered Aqua Net. The only reason I’m mentioning this show is because Alice Cooper is also performing. Cooper is in the realm of greatest rock performer ever, and his recent cover of “Eleanor Rigby” was pretty cool. He’s got a ton of hits to his name, and he puts on a really great show. I guess you’ll find out if he can be outdone by a spinning drum riser when the doors open at 6:00, and the tickets range from $25.00 to $125.00.
If you just want to drive further than the woodlands to see a show, then you could make it out to Conroe to see The Derailers at Dosey Doe Coffee. These guys have been around over twenty years, and they haven’t really made a bad album in that time frame. They also put on one really great live show that everyone should catch at least once in their lifetime. They definitely bring it when they play their blend of Texas swing and traditional country. The show gets going around 8:30 and the tickets are $18.00.
On Sunday, you can make it to Rudyard’s for another installment of The Level Up comedy show. This one features the comedy from Nashville’s Billy Wayne Davis. Davis has been on WTF, Last Comic Standing, Bumbershoot Fest, and San Francisco Sketchfest. Davis has done plenty of shows to get his name out there, but he’s also being called someone everyone needs to see live as well. LA’s Erin Dewey Lennox will also be on the show, and should add a funny female perspective to the night. She’s toured the entire US, and been on festivals like The Bridgetown Comedy Fest and Out of Bounds Comedy Fest. Houston’s John Wessling will be on the bill too, and he’s someone you should make it out for. Wessling might be one of the best joke writers you’ll see, and he’s been working in other places so much, that he rarely performs in Houston anymore. The evening will be hosted by Brian Zeolla, and should be a mix of some new material mixed with stuff from his recently released album, “Okay, You Got It!” The doors are at 7:30, the show is 21 & up, and the tickets are $11.00.
If you don’t want to laugh, then you can head to Notsuoh to catch the garage punk of Houston’s Kose. These guys are full throttled garage punk with a twist of psych rock thrown in, and their live shows are often chaotic and energetic. Alabama’s Kill Baby Kill should bring an added twist to the show with their surf rock meets instrumental and driving rock sound. Houston’s folk punk act, The Snow Indian will also be there to make the show truly eclectic. Things are started off by Taylor Gibson, with doors at 7:30 and a $3.00 cover for 21 & up, and $8.00 for under 21 on the 18 & up show.
Over at Mango’s, you can catch the speedy punk of NOLA’s Pears. These guys mix Minor Threat type of speed with pop punk nuances. They sound like a really fun band, as I don’t know if anyone has mixed two forms of punk like this before. Houston’s Kemo For Emo will also be on the bill, and they’ll bring their pop punk sounds to the show. The Bad Religion meets Pennywise sound of Magnolia’s Carter will be getting things started. There’s no mention of doors or cover, but it shouldn’t be more than $7.00, and should get going around 9:00 or so. It’s an all ages show.
On Monday, you can catch the two-tone ska from NYC’s The Toasters over at Fitzgerald’s. These guys have been around for almost thirty five years, and their 2011 album, “2 Tone Army” was their best to date. If you don’t care about ska, that’s completely understandable, but you still shouldn’t miss this show. Why? Because the mod based punk of the sixties band, The Attack will be on the bill as well. These guys are serious legends who are bigger today than they were in the sixties. Their 2010 album “Of Nostalgia and Rebellion” is pretty great and they don’t make it this way often. The horror punk of Houston’s Brumes will get things started with doors at 7:00 and tickets between $12.00 and $14.00 for the all ages show.
Tuesday, Mango’s will be offering up the Island rhythms and Gulf Coast swagger of Deep Cuts. They’ll be jamming old favorites mixed with songs from their newest ep, “Love Grows.” If you’ve caught them before, then this is your chance to see them again. If you’ve never seen them, then this is your chance to see them for a memorable first time. They’ll have the psych rock sounds of Florida’s Ancient River on the show with them. Ancient River has plenty of steam behind them with appearances at Psych Fest and Liverpool’s Festival of Psychedelia. Their recently dropped album, “Before Dawn,” is an astral mix of soundscapes so trippy and lush, that it might cause flashbacks. The psych rock sounds of Houston’s Purapharm will also be on hand. If I had to describe them, I’d say it’s like if Siouxsie Sioux did mushrooms and then started a spacey psych band. The psych fusion of Disfrutalo! will get things started with doors at 9:15 and cover at $7.00 for the all ages show.
Fitzgerald’s will host the electro pop of London’s Metronomy also on Tuesday. Metronomy has been blowing up recently, and they’re known for an often bizarre live show. Their latest album, last year’s “Love Letters” sounds like music from the Super Mario Brother’s dreams. Chicago’s Dawn Golden will get things started with fogged out songs that sound pretty cool. It was one thing for the artist to drop the great sounding album, “Still Life,” earlier this year. However, when he dropped the same album with remixes by Diplo, Feral, and many others; that’s when his name grew. The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are between $15.00 and $20.00.
That’s a pretty stacked week full of options for the city. Please keep in mind that you aren’t the only creature on earth when you go out to shows. Not only with how you act towards others, but also in how you get home after one too many. If we all respect one another when we’re out on the town, just think how much better this city can become.