Ballad Of Lemons: The Best of The Week
Photo: Josh Rothstein
Well, last week was pretty cool with all of the R&B acts that made their way through town. This week is definitely more mixed up, when acts like Blonde Redhead pictured above will be making their way back into our fine city. Here’s where you should be at over the next seven days.
Wednesday, you could get the week started at Phoenicia MKT Bar for their Tiki Night DJ Party. So, the DJ’s don’t really matter here, what matters is what they’re doing at the event. The event is based around an organization based here in Houston called The Community Cloth. They’ll be selling all sorts of goods from jewelry to tote bags, and then donating the proceeds to empowering refugee women as well as the artisans who make the goods themselves. It’s pretty rad, it starts at 5:00 with a ZERO Cover & Free light bites.
Bang Bangz Photo: Courtesy of Artist
It’s crazy to think, but at Barbarella, kind of outta’ left field, Houston’s Bang Bangz return after what feels like a long break. Don’t get me wrong, Elizabeth and Mario have definitely been very busy with all of the Wonky Power stuff, as well as Vik with all of the George West stuff; but I guess it’s nice to see them perform again. For those of you who may not know the electro pop quartet Bang Bangz, they basically built up all of this fire, they had a very successful run of tours; but at the height, they decided to take a break. They dropped the beautifully dark album, “Red City” in 2013, only to return with four of those tracks live the following year at 90.1 with “En Vivo.” Earlier this year, they quietly dropped “Mexico,” that also has a companion film about the group’s recent trip down south. The indie pop four piece Telephantom will be there as well to drop some of their catchy gems. I’d hope that you would have caught this Houston act before, but if you haven’t then you should at least give their track “Good With Words” a listen to hear what they’re all about. The 18 & up show has doors at 8:00 and is 100% FREE.
If hardcore is more your style, then they’ll have plenty of it over at The Shop on 6922 Harrisburg Blvd when Boston’s Chain Rank comes to town. This four piece is pretty high energy with chunky distorted riffs and bombastic drums. Their recently released album, “Up Against The Wall” is like it’s own brand of punk while echoing the best of the past. North Carolina’s Bad Eric will bring their fuzz heavy sound to the show, while Wriggle, also from North Carolina will be there as well. Of course, the hardcore of Houston’s Dress Code will also be there to liven things up. These guys were recently shouted out by Tony Molina at the Ceremony show as his favorite band on the bill, so definitely get there early to check them out. Newer Houston hardcore four piece, The Pose will open things up on the all ages show with a TBA cover & doors at 8:00.
You might want to laugh, and if you do then I’d suggest heading to Midtown Bar & Grill for The High Bar show. This version will feature one of Houston’s most talented joke writers of the new comedy class, Jaffer Khan. Khan goes long form from time to time, while stringing together little jokes throughout with ease and precision. He’s also the only comic in Houston to get punched on stage. He has the irreverent and funny humor of Liz Padjen on the show with him. Liz is pretty damn funny with loads of observational jokes throughout her set. The show will also have Joey B, and one of Houston’s better up and comers on the show, Warren Wright. Bizarrely enough, Aaron Barrett will open things up and go out of his way to not address the wrestling belt. As with all of these shows, Nick Meriwether and Bob Morrissey will hold down the hosting duties. Things get going around 9:00, it’s 21 & up with a measly $5.00 cover.
Say Anything Photo: Bearded Gentlemen
Thursday, you have more options that usual that could all start off over at Fitzgerald’s for the second wave emo sounds of Say Anything. I should preface this by saying that I’m not a big fan of this band, but I actually kind of like their latest album, “Hebrews” from last year, and I was impressed with the last time they came through at Warehouse. The catchy indie pop punk rock of Philly’s Modern Baseball will be there as direct support. This four piece drops some songs that’ll get stuck in your head for days, and their most recent album, “You’re Gonna Miss It All,” from last year is really good. The eclectic indie rock of NYC’s Cymbals Eat Guitars will also be there to add some interesting sounds to the mix. These guys have only made three albums, but each is different and nothing short of amazing. Last year’s “LOSE” was completely different and more melodic than their previous two, and should be great to hear live. California’s Hard Girls will open the show up, and I suggest getting there early to catch them. They kind of sound like a mix of Guided By Voices with hints of Replacements and Archers of Loaf. Their album, “A Thousand Surfaces” from last year is seriously amazing, and proves why they’re worth getting there early for. The all ages show has doors at 6:30 and tickets between $19.00 and $25.00.
You could also find yourself over at The Nightingale Room, while Second Lovers performs post-FPSF. I’d think that many of you caught their electrifying performance at the festival this year; but if you didn’t then this is a great chance to check them out. The now six piece act has been tirelessly working on a full length, while changing from an American act to a more streamlined alt country rock act. Take a listen to their latest single, “Hold On” from earlier this year. Austin five piece new country act, Harvest Thieves will be on the bill as well. I say new country, but I mean that in the way of an alt country act performing songs of the new South, with vocals like they’re strung from the pipes of Jay Farrar. Their latest is 2013’s “Lightning In A Bottle,” and worth giving a spin. The 21 & up show has doors at 7:00, and is 100% FREE.
At Joke Joint Comedy Showcase, they’ll be hosting Minneapolis comic, John DeBoer. This guys has become known for his brilliant crowd work, alongside quick comedic timing and rapid fire jokes. He’s appeared on Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, and all over satellite radio. As per most of these shows, two of Houston’s better up and coming comics will perform the duties of host and feature act. There’s one show Thursday at 8:00, two on Friday and Saturday at 8:00 and 10:30; and they all have a $16.00 cover.
Over at Beta Theater, you could check out the batch of awesomeness that is improv troupe, Flirt Reynolds. This group takes the stage with just a single word from the audience, and then explodes it into a whole show full of creativity, and laughter. The show runs about an hour, it gets going at 8:00, it’s BYOB, and the cover is a measly $6.00.
Over at Continental Club, you could catch the Austin five piece act of Ruby Dee and The Snakehandlers. This band mixes rockabilly, Texas swing, and honky tonk with ease while they gain fans the world over. They’re known as one of the best live acts from Austin, and their latest album, “Rockabilly Playground” from 2013 has taken them around the world. The 21 & up show has doors at 10.00 and a TBA cover.
On Friday, you should get things started over at NRG Park, for The Vans Warped Tour. I’d be lying if I said that I had another Summer festival in me, but these are usually pretty fun at least. This year the lineup is more diverse, with acts like Riff Raff, Seaway, We Came As Romans, Splitbreed, The Wonder Years, Onward, Etc., and Senses Fail among the over ninety acts set to perform. Things start at 11:00 am, it’s all ages, and tickets are between $38.50 and $45.00 with $15.00 parking.
If you’re up for a drive, then you could head to Woodlands Town Green Park for the Woodlands Craft Beer & Music Festival. The organizers are promising a selection of over eighty beers to check out, alongside two days or music. The Friday night lineup includes Houston’s Catch Fever and Second Lovers, while the Saturday lineup has Another Run and thelastplaceyoulook; though there are many more on each of the two days. Things start at 6:00 on Friday, Noon on Saturday, and tickets are between $25.00 and $65.00 per day.
Beta Theater will be bringing the laughs, when they host their monthly show Triple Header on Friday. These shows feature a host and three different comics doing twenty minute sets each. The show’s new host, Zahid Dewji has been bringing the laughs on a steady basis for the shows too. Zahid might be the most improved comic in Houston, and he’s gotten to where his off the cuff jokes are even funny. The show will feature one of Houston’s better up and coming joke writers, Warren Wright, the elusive and funny Matt Han, and the always brilliant and Comedy Central/HBO/Last Comic Standing pro; Bob Biggerstaff. These shows are an inexpensive way to laugh till’ it hurts while supporting local comedy. There’s a 7:00 show, a 9:00 show, and 11:00 show, and all of them are BYOB w/a measly $6.00 cover charge.
Dizzy Wright Photo: Tommy Garcia
Warehouse Live will be bringing in the hip hop of Las Vegas’ Dizzy Wright over into the studio. Wright has been getting plenty of praise since his 4/20 weed rap debut in 2010. His hit track, “Killem With Kindness” from his 2013 album still gets plenty of plays. His latest is this year’s “The Growing Process,” and the collaborations with Big K.R.I.T., Mod Sun, and Irv Da Phenom make it a must listen release. He’ll have the Colorado hip hip of Jahni Denver on as opener, who’ll be here in support of last year’s “Mountain Lion, Pt.2:The Shaman.” The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $20.00 and $25.00.
No one would blame you though, if you found yourself heading to Numbers to catch the one year anniversary show celebrating Dem Damn Dames’ residency at the iconic nightclub. This show, will be The Best of Dem Damn Dames, meaning that you should have a chance to see more costume changes than a Britney Spears performance. The show will feature the entire cast of the burlesque troupe, while having some out of town guests on the bill as well. Denver’s Bunny Galore will be there as a very special guest, while San Antonio’s Foxy Blue Orchid will host the entire event. Of course, your ticket price will include Free entry into the Friday night “Classic Numbers” dance night, that immediately follows the show. The 18 & up event has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $15.00 and $30.00.
The bluesy rock of Houston’s Sik Mule will be over at Rudyard’s as well. Sik Mule uses blues chords with slower rock overtones in their music, which makes it something completely different. The indie folk rock of Wallis’ Civeta Dei will be there as well, and will bring their eclectic sound to life. The garage rock of Katy’s A Tribute To The Sun will also be there to open it all up on the the 21 & up show that has doors at 7:30 and cover is $8.00.
Fitzgerald’s will host Austin psych pop band, The Sour Notes on the second to last day of the band’s Summer tour. The five piece is touring in support of last year’s “Do What May,” which found the band go a little more melodic than their previous efforts. Nonetheless, they’re a really fun band with tons of catchy hooks and lots of energy. Houston five piece, New York City Queens will be there as direct support, and will bring their catchy indie rock to life. Lately, you might have noticed a stronger song structure from the band, which is always a good thing. While we all eagerly wait for their new album to drop, we can still jam out 2012’s “Burn Out Like Roman Candles.” The gulf coast swagger of Houston indie rockers Deep Cuts will open the show up. I beg you to give last year’s “Love Grows” EP a spin, then get there early to watch them light things up with a fun and energetic live set. The all ages show has doors at 8:00, and it’s 100% FREE for 21 & up, and $5.00 for the kids.
The long awaited new release from Houston ska veterans Los Skarnales will be dropped upstairs at Fitzgerald’s. I don’t think you can say that you support the Houston music scene if you’ve never caught these guys live. The new release, an EP titled “Another Day, Another Borrachera” has been a long time coming. The band will headline the show and feature music from Celtic punks from Austin, Black Irish Texas. They’ll also have McAllen’s Los Skagaleros on the bill, and the R&B of San Antonio’s Alamo City Soul Club there as well. The all ages show has doors at 9:00 and tickets between $10.00 and $12.00.
If you hadn’t gotten enough burlesque, then you could head over to The Corkscrew to catch another edition of Kiki Maroon’s Burly Q Lounge show. The show is a mish mash of comedy, vaudeville, and burlesque. This edition will be hosted by Kiki Maroon with comedy from comic legend Andy Huggins. The comedy would be enough for me, as Huggins is one of the best comics going, but there’s also burlesque from Goldie Candela and Dolce Dream, as well as belly dancing from ms. Yet. Though that might be enough for you, there’s also music from Houston’s Wendy Taylor. The 21 & up show kind of has it all with doors at 9:30 and it’s 100% FREE.
You can close off the night over at The Commoner on Main, when Jay Tovar and Johnny Moon drop back to back DJ sets. The show, titled “Dig It!” is a monthly old school hip hop dance party, and could be a lot of fun. Things start at 10:00 and it’s 100% FREE for 21 & up.
Saturday you can get things going for the 2015 Houston Pride Celebration. If you were unaware, Houston hosts the 4th largest Pride event in the country. This year, they’ll be calling the show Heroes, and they have a pretty good lineup in their new home in downtown at McKinney and Smith Street. There promises to be performances from Pussycat Dolls’ Jessica Sutta, Ginger Minj of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Big Freedia, and Estelle. The event runs until 7:00, only to be followed by the Houston Pride Parade at 8:30, starting at Milam & Walker. The whole thing gets started at noon, it’s all ages, and it’s 100% FREE.
I don’t know how I feel about this show, but McDonald’s & REVOLT TV will be teaming up over at Warehouse Live for The Local Love Tour. So, this isn’t a show as much as what looks like some kind of talent search thing. Basically local bands perform, then the top three get $200.00 in expenses, video that can end up on Revolt, and then basic staging…which technically you get when you play at most clubs. I would guess that there’s some sort of hefty contractual agreement attached, but I’m not sure. The link to be considered is here, and things start at 2:00, and they’re 100% FREE.
One of two Garth Brooks shows is over at Toyota Center, but I honestly have zero love for this guy, so you have to look that one up on your own.
Notsuoh will host the indie folky rock sounds of Adam Bricks. I would hope that you would’ve heard Bricks’ music, but if you haven’t then this is your chance. He reminds me of a young John Prine with hints of Bob Dylan peppered in. His latest is 2013’s “City Songs,” and he can either go solo or with a full band; though either is entertaining. The road weary songs of Jason Bancroft and the Wealthy Beggars will also be there, and again, this is a band you should check out. Their latest release, “This Machine” from last year has elements of Woody Guthrie mixed with sounds of Johnny Two Bags and Scott H. Biram. The alt country of Quiet Morning & The Calamity will also be there performing songs from their latest, last year’s “Son Of The Sad Soul.” The emo acoustic sounds of Greg Cote will open things up. I’ve never seen him before, but his latest album, “Renovation” from this year is pretty good. The 21 & up show has doors at 8:00 and a $5.00 cover.
Warehouse Live has the Screw Fest happening in the ballroom; though I wish the “Screw era” would eventually be replaced by some of Houston’s other rappers. Billed as a “tribute to DJ Screw” the bill is a pretty good lineup to be headlined by Lil’ Keke. Though I haven’t heard his name in a while, when I saw Keke in the early 200’s, he was a great performer. His last album of original material was last year’s “Money Don’t Sleep,” though I’m sure you’ll hear “Chunk Up The Deuce,” as well. Speaking of the past, Lil Flip will also be on the show. Though I’m guessing you just know the lyrics to “Sunshine,” Flip just dropped a new record called “El Jefe” that’s pretty good. Lil’ O, ESG, and Youngstar are all also on the show with doors at 8:00 and tickets between $25.00 and $35.00.
Over at Alley Kat you could check out local band Fear The Poet lead by Houston singer/songwriter Sherita Perez. The bluesy and funky band has their own sound and are always entertaining to catch live. They’ll have Japan’s experimental rock duo, An Atomic Whirl on the bill prior. An Atomic Whirl makes some interesting sounds that mix rock, indie, and fusion jazz which are all over their latest release, “Mado Ni” which was literally just released. The indie folk rock of Austin’s The Cover Letter will also be there, while things are opened up by Houston psych rockers Kale Club. The 21 & up show has doors at 8:30 and a $5.00 cover.
Gio Chamba Photo: Wonky Power Records
Fox Hollow will host Volume 13 of A Really Kool Party, this time featuring the ever popular digital cumbia sounds of Gio Chamba. Gio is probably the stand out artist from this year’s FPSF, he could also be the biggest thing to come out of Houston since the dual Rockets championships, and he hasn’t played two shows the same way in the last year. He has more energy than a kid hopped up on sugar, and his music is like if Santana and Los Rakas formed an alliance. Houston’s FLCON FCKER will also drop a performance alongside crazy visuals and his slow jam sounds. Hiram, fresh from his spot opening for Diplo at Fitz will also be on hand. Hiram changed his name earlier this year and it feels like he’s dropping a more adult vibe in his already intense songs. Flash Gordon Parks and Soul One are also on the bill that’s 21 & up with 9:00 doors and a cover charge of FREE.
Over at Beta Theater, you can catch the funny antics of The Stalk Show. So…this is a podcast hosted by Hoja Lopez & Katie McGee, where the two ask really awkward questions to whoever happens to be their guest. Their guest this edition, is the funny and talented Houston comic, Victor Tran. Tran is getting started so young in the scene, that he has the potential to blow up someday. He’s also one of Houston’s best comics from the new class of comedians, and has joke premises that no one else would ever think of. The last time they did the show, it sold out. This edition could sell out as well. Things get going at 9:00, it’s BYOB, and it has a $6.00 cover.
Sunday you might find yourself heading over to to MLK Blvd to catch the MLK Summer Slabfest Block Party. H Town, D Town, and G Town will all be represented while all the color slab lines will be represented. Redline, Blueline, Orangeline, Greenline, Blackline, Whiteline, Goldline and more will all be on hand. The all day event is all ages, it starts at 4:00 pm and runs until 9:00. The official afterparty is at Club Icon on the Northside.
Warehouse Live will be bringing the sunny in conjunction with The Secret Group, when they host Puddles Pity Party. Crazy antics, silly songs, and performance art are all part of Puddles the Clown’s travelling roadshow. You never really know what you’ll get with this guy, so I’d suggest checking it out over in the studio. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 with tickets between $28.00 and $32.00.
Fitzgerald’s will be hosting British punk rock legends, Slaughter & The Dogs. So, these guys have been around since the beginning, they were the first UK band to release anything independently, and from what I hear; they can still bring it live. They’re best known for their song, “Cranked Up Really High.” They’ll have their work cut out for them, as Houston’s Modfag will be there as direct support. Modfag plays high energy punk meets R&B that’s kind of hard to follow, so it’ll be an interesting show nonetheless. Speaking of High Energy, Killer Hearts will also perform on the show. There’s something about a band that calls themselves sleaze rock that’s always alluring, and this Houston five piece really represents the genre well. Things get started on the all ages show, when The Velostacks open this stacked bill with doors at 7:00 and tickets for $12.00.
Tuesday I’d suggest making it over to Fitzgerald’s to catch the art punk turned eclectic pop sounds of Blonde Redhead. This three piece is easily one of my all time favorite bands. I’ve seen them since the late nineties, and I’ve never been disappointed. Last year, the beautifully different sounding album, “Barragan” came out, and that’s what they’re touring on for this show. LA psych pop dream rock band, Talk In Tongues will be there to open the show. Known for a trippy live show, this band has been getting bigger and bigger, and their debut “Alone With A Friend” has that shimmering nineties Brit pop feel. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $20.00 and $24.00.
All in all, it’s not a bad week that as usual, is more stacked than you probably thought. No matter what you decide to attend, please do so in the safest way possible. Drink like an adult, and get home safe for everyone else’s sake, as well as your own.