Brilliant Dancer: The Best of The Week
Photo: Ryan Russell
Last week was a good one for sure, though I was a little sick when I wrote, so I apologize if I missed something. This week, we have a good bit of entertainment to keep us all busy. While we all mourn the loss of Little Joe Washington, there’s plenty happening with touring acts, comedy, and the future of the Houston music landscape. Here’s where your earnings should go.
Wednesday you can start things off with the crazy mad DJ skills of DJ QBert over at Fitzgerald’s. A former member of Mix Master Mike’s crew, Invisibl Skratch Piklz; QBert has some intense style to how he scratches and utilizes the tables. Plenty of chops via crossfade and beat mixes, QBert is as talented as those before him like DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist. This year, QBert dropped “Extraterrestria” and upped the game by leaps and bounds. Not to be outdone, Jeremy Ellis will open things up. This guy is kind of a mixing wizard, and any fan of EDM should get there early to watch him do his thing. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $10.00 and $17.00.
At Walter’s they’ll host the indie pop of Austin’s Tele Novella. This group has this twisted psych sound that slips in and out of their poppy nature. They dropped a song earlier this year called “Trouble In Paradise” that sums their sound up pretty well. The Gulf Coast sway of Deep Cuts will be on the bill as well. Deep Cuts wasn’t my thing when I first heard them, but their latest release, this year’s “Love Grows EP” made me an instant fan. The band grew forward and embraced the third coast turning their initial sound into something no one else could claim. The Lories(formerly Toast) will be opening the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and tickets for $8.00.
Over at Mango’s, they’re trying new things. One of those is a dedicated movie night with a healthy mix of bad and great films. This week it’ll be a Sci-Fi Night featuring three films that are either classics or classically bad, depending on who you ask. The three films are “Alien Nation,” “Silent Running,” and the David Cronenberg classic “Existenz.” The doors are at 8:00, it’s all ages, and 100% FREE.
Bayou Music Center has some comedy for you from those at NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” The details were super scant on this show, so I’m not promising that these details are 100% or not. But it’s basically the show in a live setting. The celebrity judges of Roseanne, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Russell Peters, and Wanda Sykes will be there. So, Sykes & Roseanne are worth going if you just get five minutes of comedy from either. The contestants are the five finalists from the show, Nicki Carr, Rocky Laporte, Joe Machi, Rod Man, and Lachlan Patterson. The tickets are $42.00 and it gets started around 8:00.
Warehouse Live will have the pop hip hop of Shwayze over in the studio. So, Shwayze isn’t terrible, but he falls in line with what I feel like the major label system wants to see rap look like in the future, where it’s more pop than traditional hip hop. Shwayze falls into that category where the music feels more like Taylor Swift than Ice Cube. Shwayze is gaining in popularity, and his latest “Shwayze Summer” from last year falls in line with his previously pop hop sound. DJ Bvillain will open things up with doors at 8:00 and tickets between $18.00 and $23.00 for the all ages show.
Your Thursday should get started off over at Fitzgerald’s with the hauntingly gorgeous sounds of The Lone Below. The Brooklyn three piece makes country music that’s coming from some yankees. But, that’s not a bad thing as it seems that in a world where so much country has no soul; this band has enough soul to spare. Their 2013 self titled album, “The Lone Below” was like a mix of Delta Spirit and The Carter Family. The Nashville two piece, Foreign Fields will also be on the bill as direct support. Foreign Fields has a sweet and breathy sound that has that kind of “music you sing a child to sleep” vibe. They dropped an amazing album in 2011 called “Anywhere But Where I Am,” and they’ve been dropping singles ever since. Kristin Diable of Baton Rouge will be opening things up with her signature twangy sound. Diable echoes the soul of Emmylou Harris in the body of Tammy Wynette, and her debut “Kristin Diable and The City” was pretty amazing. The all ages show has doors at 8:00, and tickets are between $17.00 and $22.00.
Of course, over at Bayou Music Center, the legendary genius of Chrissie Hynde will be happening. So, it should be said that Hynde is an insanely great performer, and one of the nicest entertainers you’ll ever meet. This show will encompass songs from her latest solo effort, this year’s “Stockholm,” while also have Hynde performing her songs from Pretenders albums as well. If you’re a fan of her stuff, then this is the show for you as she’s an incredible performer. The husband and wife duo of The Rails from London will open things up with doors at 8:00 and tickets between $60.00 and $90.00.
Joke Joint Comedy Showcase will host club circuit comic, Matt Golightly. Golightly has been on the Bob & Tom Radio show, he’s appeared on The San Francisco Comedy Festival, and has stayed a favorite of those in the club circuit. As per all of these shows, two of Houston’s better up and coming comics will serve as host and feature performer. There’s one show at 8:00 on Thursday with two shows on Friday and two shows on Saturday, and all carry a $16.00 cover.
Friday begins a two day trek of packed evenings that get started off with Beta Theater’s Comedy Night at Phoenicia MKT Bar. This week, one of Houston’s funniest up and coming comics, Zach Dickson will be hosting the evening. Dickson has the ability to deconstruct UGK lyrics and talk about fruit in the funniest way possible. Dickson curated this show that features Comedy Central and Last Comic Standing alum, Bob Biggerstaff. Biggerstaff is possibly the only comic you’ll see in Houston who can tie sports and nerdom together with such ease and hilarity. He will also have the observant comedy of Matt Han, the self hating comedy of Bob Morrissey, and the hilarious and bizarre premises of Nick Meriwether. Kazeem Rahman will use his irreverent humor to start things off. As an added bonus, 8th Wonder Brewery has sponsored the evening with a beer that can ONLY be purchased at This Show at a crazy low price. The show gets started around 9:00 and it’s 100% FREE.
Somehow, over at Fitzgerald’s, they’ll have the psych rock sounds of Corpus Christi’s Bubble Puppy. I say somehow because these guys released albums in the late sixties alongside the 13th Floor Elevators. By the grace of some higher power, they’re back and performing all of their songs including their hit “Hot Smoke and Sassafrass.” If you’re a fan of psych rock, then you undoubtedly know of their album, 1969’s “A Gathering of Promises.” They were known back in the day as one of the best live bands of their time, so it’ll be interesting to see how they are nowadays. They’ll have The Lories (formerly Roast) opening things up. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $12.00 and $17.00.
Rice Media Center will host a screening of a documentary on the life of Fela Kuti. The film, titled “Finding Fela” explores the life and inspiration of Kuti’s music. It features rare and never seen footage, as well as this screening will be shown in Dolby Surround Sound. For those of you not in the know, Kuti has inspired everyone from Paul McCartney to Bob Marley. Kuti’s sound can be heard in pretty much every type of music that came after him. Things get started at 7:00 and tickets are only $10.00.
Rudyards has a double billing starting with the Susan Messing and Rachel Mason show presented by Beta Theater. Messing is a tour de force in that she teaches at the famed Second City in Chicago, she’s an accomplished actress, comedian, and an adjunct professor at the famed Steppenwolf Theater. In many ways, Messing is an improv wizard that any fan of the scene should not miss perform. Rachel Mason is also an improv master who studied under Del Close, she performs with the Second City All Stars, and she also teaches at Second City. Both of these women don’t just show up in Houston, so this is a rare and hard to come by show. The doors are at 7:00, it’s 21 & up, and the cover is a measly $10.00.
The second show at Rudz, will be one full of trippy spaced out sounds, and features the instrumental ambient sounds of Houston’s Raceway. Raceway has a very crafted and slowcore sound that meanders from ambient to chaotic, yet it’s all pretty magical. They’ll have Houston’s Purapharm on the bill as well. Purapharm is like a mix of Britpop, new wave, and psychedelia all mixed into one intense package. They have a really immense and lush sound that is one of those things you can’t appreciate unless you see it live. Empty Shells will open things up with their Afghan Whigs meets Smashing Pumpkins vibe. The 21 & up show has doors at 9:00 and the cover is $8.00.
There’s a singer/songwriter show happening over Alley Kat Bar & Lounge headlined by Nathan Quick. You could learn a lot about the music industry if you hung out with Quick for more than five minutes. He’s a really interesting guy who crafts songs with great care and precision. Earlier this year he dropped the six song album, “The Mile” where he echoes sounds of past greats like Bob Dylan while still maintaining his own sound. He’ll have the beautifully simplistic sounds of Clory Martin on the bill as well. Martin has the kind of vocals that remind you of Norah Jones and Chan Marshall, and her sound is sincere and powerful. Her debut album “Summer Spent” gives you a small sample of what power exists with just guitar and vocals. The simple sounds of Houston’s Sand-Dollar Swing will also be on hand, while one of the five bands in existence with the name The Panhandlers will open things up. The show gets going around 9:00 and it’s 100% FREE.
The Improv will host the hilarious and self deprecating humor of comedian Josh Blue. Blue has Cerebral Palsy, yet it’s just a small part of his act. He has more TV credits than most comics that include a stint on Last Comic Standing and a half hour special on Bravo. Last year, Blue dropped his second album, “Sticky Change” while keeping up a steady touring schedule. As with all of these shows, two of Houston’s better comics should perform as feature and host for these shows. There are two shows on Friday, two on Saturday, and one of Sunday. The Friday night shows are at 8:00 and 10:30, and the tickets are between $20.00 and $30.00.
Walter’s has a local show that’s headlined by the indie emo sounds of Hear You Me. These guys have that kind of Boys Life meets Vitreous Humor sound that always feels like it’s on the heels of exploding. The pop rock of Houston’s A Sundae Drive will also be there, and I’d be lying if I said they weren’t impressive. It feels like it’s time for a follow up to their hook filled 2011 album, “You’re Gonna’ Get Me.” That album as great as it is, is nothing compared to seeing their explosive sound live. The garage rock of Austin’s Madd Comrades opens things up with doors at 8:00 and tickets for $6.00 on the all ages show.
If you’re a fan of Christian based pop punk, then House of Blues has Relient K reliving their youth. The band, for some reason, is touring the tenth anniversary of the 2004 album, “Mmhmm.” I’ll be honest when I say that these guys are pretty good live, and full of energy; though I saw them longer than ten years ago. They’ll have the electro-pop brother and sister duo of LA’s Blondfire on the show as well. These two are synthy and pop based, and just a little infectious. They dropped a popular album this year called “Young Heart” that’s given them all kinds of success. The indie rock of California’s From Indian Lakes will open things up with doors at 6:30 and tickets are $25.00.
Saturday you can start everything off over at Discovery Green for the Field of Light art installation. Created by British artist Bruce Munro, the installation is pretty much what it sounds like, and will be illuminated along the Brown Promenade. Diverse Works will host a FREE talk with the artist earlier in the day at 1:00, and the installation will be lit at dusk.
Downstairs at Fitzgerald’s, Children of Pop will be headlining a pretty amazing night of music. On the edge of releasing a Madonna 7 inch, COP will bring their high spirited blend of fun tunes and electronic goodness to life. Ronnie Heart, formerly of bizarro act Neon Indian will also perform at the show. Heart’s music differs from Neon Indian in it’s more accessible sound where he mixes electro pop with synth vibes. The indie pop of New York City Queens will also be on hand to drop some energetic science on the crowd. I know for a fact that NYCQ is getting ready to drop a new album in the first quarter of next year, and if we’re lucky, we’ll get a sample of what’s to come at this show. If it’s half as magnetic as their last album, “Burn Out Like Roman Candles,” then we should all be in for a treat. The mood rock of Denton’s Chambers are on the show, and will offer up their hyper melodic sounds as well. Complete with multiple vocals and pretty high pitched vocals, they should be interesting to see. A band that I feel like you’re an idiot to miss, Black Kite will also be performing for the first time in Houston. Black Kite is a music collaboration between By The End of Tonight and LIMB founder, James Templeton and vocalist Vicki Tippit. I got the off chance to see them practice and it’s a pretty intense sound that’s best found on their 2013 EP, “Bird.” The electronic drum and bass wizardry of Josiah Gabriel will open up the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and tickets at $10.00.
Over in the ballroom at Warehouse Live, Stephen Pearcy of eighties hair metal band, RATT will be performing. I should note that I’m not a fan, but this is one of those Blackhorse Limo shows which is always FREE. That is actually cool to do for the city, pretty much no matter who the band is. Pearcy will have L.A. Guns who were known for their hit song, “The Ballad of Jayne” back before Nirvana blew them and their contemporaries off the radio and Mtv. Rounding out the show with hair metal, Faster Pussycat will be opening things up. They were known for their hit song, “House of Pain.” If you’re a fan of this genre, and you want to attend the all ages affair with doors at 7:00; then RSVP HERE for a chance to attend.
Bayou Music Center will have one of the funniest comics going, Amy Schumer. Schumer has gained popularity as the star of her own Comedy Central show “Inside Amy Schumer.” She’s also successfully acted in shows like “Delocated” and “Louie.” Schumer also writes shows and is a touring comic of epic proportions. I caught her last year and couldn’t stop laughing the entire time. If you decide to attend, please don’t bring your kids as she gets blue real quick, but she’s seriously a riot. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets are $56.00.
Walter’s will host the indie folk of Water Liars. This trio has a mix of Father John Misty and Iron and Wine, while still having their own sound. Their 2014 album, “Water Liars” is the perfect follow up to last year’s “Wyoming.” Houston’s best kept secret, though I’ve been begging you to go see them; Second Lovers will also be on hand. I feel sorry for any touring act that has to follow their Americana meets alt country sound. Now with female vocals added to the mix, bands that are this good who don’t get love from their city leave, never to return. Don’t make that mistake with this group, they’re better than that and you’ll really love them too. The indie pop of The Caldwell will open things up. Last year they dropped a really great album called, “Modern Love” that I somehow missed, but you shouldn’t miss them live as they’re really tight. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $8.00 and $10.00.
The multifaceted pop of Spain Colored Orange returns over at Continental Club. I would guess that you would know this sextet of multi-talented musicians by now. They have the ability to mix things up where their sound is like Calexico if Daniel Johnston wrote their songs, but more diverse if that’s possible. If this isn’t a strong enough sell, then just check out their 2009 album, “Sneaky Like a Villain,” that’s one of the best pop gems I’ve ever heard. The fuzzed out emo punk of Holder will also be on the bill. Holder has this chaotic energy that sounds like they could dismantle at any point during their show. EVCO of Lake Jackson will be there, as well as the pop rock of Austin’s The Last Humans. The 21 & up show has doors at 8:00 and the tickets are $10.00.
Rudyard’s will be having an album release for Houston’s A Sundae Drive. This is long overdue, as their last album was pretty amazeballs. The show will be headlined by the garage rock new wave sounds of Houston’s Playing For No One. These guys sound like Peter Murphy started a garage band, not that that’s a bad thing. The loud and noisy rock of The Ex-Optimists will also be on hand. This band is really great, and they remind me of Small 23 meets early Sebadoh. The shoegaze indie rock of Galveston’s The Escatones will also be on the bill, while comedian Brian Zeolla will open things up. This is a pretty diverse lineup with doors at 10.00 and a $5.00 cover for the 21 & up show.
Warehouse Live has another show, of sorts over in their green room; when comedian Gabe Bravo hosts Down In Front!. This is a once a month show in the style of MST3K, where comedians riff on really crappy movies. The movie this month is the sci-fi crap gem, “Robocop 2.” The film has a tie to our city, as it was filmed here in Houston. The comics this month include Gabe Bravo, Bob Biggerstaff, and Nick Meriweather. That’s the world’s way of saying that three of the best riffers in Houston will be making you laugh, as Biggerstaff & Meriweather were almost born for this. The show includes FREE popcorn, the doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are between $5.00 and $7.00 for the all ages show.
There’s also another show at Fitzgerald’s upstairs, when Canada’s electro synth pop act, Caribou comes to town. Caribou is seriously blowing up, and he’s garnering prise from pretty much everywhere. His latest release, this year’s “Our Love” has gotten accolades from all over the place. The R&B inspired synth sounds of Montreal’s Jessy Lanza will get things started with doors at 8:00 and tickets between $18.00 and $22.00 for the all ages show.
Sunday you can get a tattoo and possibly win FREE pizza for life over at 8th Wonder Brewery. This is a contest, with rules, that can all be found here. That aside there’s plenty of beer, food truck eats, and music at this event. The Reverbnation DJ’s, the garage rock of Mikey & The Drags, and the garage rockabilly of John Wayne is Dead will on be on hand for the event that gets going around noon, and is free as far as I can tell.
At Dean’s they’re keeping the Singer/Songwriter night going Matt Mejia of Come See My Dead Person, Jacob Minter of Young Jacob, and Bel-Ami. You may or may not know, but Matt Mejia is getting ready to leave Houston/Galveston for Denver, Colorado. So, if you’re a fan of his solo stuff or even of Come See My Dead Person; then this could be your last chance to catch him before he leaves. Minter of course heads Young Jacob, and seeing him solo should be a real treat. Bel-Ami is the wild card here, as his stuff is a bit more diverse than what these shows have had in the past. Mixing R&B with a hint of soul and gospel, Bel-Ami will be bigger than most acts you’ll see sooner than later. As with all of these shows, they get started around 8:00 and feature the artists together in the round. You get to hear each one utilize the time to work together alongside explaining their songs and incorporating the show into an overall experience. You get all this and if that’s not enough, it’s 100% FREE.
I feel like, no matter what else is happening on Sunday, that the Lemuria show at Fitzgerald’s is the one show you should make. Lemuria is one of the better post emo bands you’ll ever hear. Like a mix of Superchunk and That Dog, Lemuria hasn’t made a bad album, in my opinion. Their latest, “The Distance Is So Big” from last year, keeps with that tradition of amazing albums. They’ll have the third wave emo sounds of Into It. Over It. on the bill with them. This guy, Evan is hope for the future of music with his inventive ways of recording, writing, and performing music. The latest Into It. Over It. album, last year’s “Intersections” evoked the spirit of bands like Braid and Mineral, without sounding like a copycat release. One of Houston’s most entertaining and energetic bands, Another Run will be opening things up. These guys have a new album that’ll be out sooner than later, but you can still jam out to their 2010 album “I’ll Be There.” The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and the cover is between $10.00 and $14.00.
House of Blues will host the Suicide Girls for their Blackheart Burlesque Tour. The details are kind of minimalistic on this show, but I’m guessing it’s just a burlesque performance from the troupe. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets are $34.75.
Arena Theater has the hip hop of Jeezy. Jeezy has been blowing up since his first release in 2003, and he just keeps getting bigger with each release. His latest, this year’s “Seen It All: The Autobiography” is just another notch in the Atlanta rapper’s belt. There doesn’t appear to be an opener, but that usually changes around the time doors open. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets are $59.50.
Tuesday you can head to Fitzgerald’s for the piano based songs of Andrew McMahon. The ex-Something Corporate front man is touring in support of his latest drop, this year’s “Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness.” It’s poppy and electronic, but pretty entertaining. Seattle’s electro pop act, Fences will also be on the show. Fences has spent most of this year dropping singles, including “Arrows” featuring Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Brooklyn’s Junior Prom will open the show, and honestly I feel like they’re the act to see on this show. Their 2013 “Junior Prom EP” was pretty epic in it’s pop complexity. The doors for the all ages show are at 6:30 and the tickets are between $22.50 and $29.50.
That’s a pretty stacked week that gives you plenty of options prior to the inevitable food coma that you’ll induce on Turkey Day. No matter what you decide on, please be mindful of those around you. Don’t talk during comedy shows, go outside to check your facebook, and use a safe alternative in getting home.