50,000 Kilowatts: The Best of The Week
Leon casino, Photo: Nadie Sound
It doesn’t look like it will cool down anytime soon, especially with options of what to do in this city. All I can say about the multitude of options you have at your feet this week, is wow. There are some seriously great shows by locals and touring acts alike that might make some nights like Saturday a little overwhelming. Luckily for you, I’ve planned the best way to spend your time and your cash.
Starting things off this week, is Flesh Lights from Austin over at Mango’s on Wednesday night. This is one of those bands that you should check out, especially if you like bands like The Jam, The Kinks, and Television. The pop punk mixed with garage rock of Flesh Lights is only made easier to swallow with a sing song type of melody. Since I’ve heard they’re pretty energetic, I’d say make it out for them. The simplistic approach of Houston’s Cool Piss should bring some energy with their garage rock meets new wave pop sound. I also hear great things about Houston’s Spare Bones, who are also on this show. They have a seventies era guitar driven sound that’s more stripped down than Grand Funk, but not as edgy as The Stooges. Houston’s Pleasure 2 will get things started with their mix of new wave and glam rock. Things get rolling around 9:00 for this all ages show, and the cover is reasonably priced at $7.00, so you have no excuse not to go.
If you don’t want to rock and you would rather catch some folk pop, then Us The Duo at Fitzgerald’s is probably more your speed. Us The Duo is a married couple who plays acoustic pop complete with dual vocals, a bass drum, and shakers as well. I don’t know if I believe the saccharine laced fairytale of their bio, but I’ll admit to their infectious pop sound. The Voice reality show contestant and St Louis native, Caroline Glaser will be opening things up. The doors are at 7:00, the show is all ages, and the tickets are $15.00-$17.00.
If you like hip hop, then you should make it over to Warehouse Live for Doughbeezy. The South East Beast will be dropping mad rhymes on the crowd in the studio with ease and grace. His last album drop, 2012’s “Blue Magic” showed the rap world what we all know here in Houston; that he’s a great representative of our city’s hip hop talent. He’ll have the talents of Dat Boi T on the show as well. Dat Boi drops some slowed and screwed rhymes like it was 2000, but that doesn’t mean he’s not worth checking out. California’s Cray Cray gets things started with doors at 9:00 and tickets at $20.00.
If you feel like a Free show on Wednesday, then over at Under The Volcano, Mikey and The Drags will be doing their thing. I like the garage rock meets psych sound that these guys drop when they play. They have the vibe of The Cavemen mixed with the attitude of Fuzztones, and everything sixties sounding. They’ll be performing with Austin’s electric sixties act, New Mystery Girl. Lead by singer Chrissy Flatt, the group has the sound of The Beach Boys if they had a female singer. Things get started at 7:30 and it’s a 21 & up show.
On Thursday, the new wave goth of Peter Murphy will be making his way to town down at Scout Bar. I tried to get an interview with Murphy for this show, but we couldn’t ever seem to make it work. For those who don’t know, Murphy was once a member of and the lead singer of seventies goth rockers Bauhaus. Since then, he’s taken his sweet time by ever so often dropping solo records at his leisure. Murphy is touring in support of his latest album, this year’s trippy and dark “Lion.” The album falls in line with Murphy’s previous efforts where he mixes his baritone vocals in with great energy alongside goth-like overtones. Lucky for you, the Jeff Klein supergroup, My Jerusalem will be performing on this show as well. Jeff has always been a fan of grabbing the best musicians for his work, like he did with his solo work, and like was done with his Greg Dulli lead The Twilight Singers. My Jerusalem has the same vibe as Twilight Singers, but with a little more of a swanky groove; if that’s possible. Their 2012 release, “Preachers” had the mix of Girls Against Boys meets Afghan Whigs, so you should seriously check them out. The gothic sounds of Houston’s The Abyss will get things started with doors at 7:00 and tickets running $21.00. There’s also a VIP & meet & greet ticket option that sounded nuts until I realized that there was a signed poster and a shirt in the package as well for $100.00.
Of course, goth rock might not be your thing; which is why you can catch some noise rock instead. Over at Fitzgerald’s, you can see the hip hop/acid jazz/noise of B L A C K I E. Anyone’s who’s been around Houston and who hasn’t seen him do his thing, is seriously missing out on some experimental stuff that seems to change with every performance. He’ll be joined by Houston’s electro pop engineers of dense and lush sounds, Indian Jewelry. If you’ve never seen Indian Jewelry, I’d suggest checking them out, as their haunting sounds will stay with you long after the show. The soulful and dreamy acoustic folk of Jana Hunter will be on the show as well. I don’t know if this show will be Jana by herself, or with a full band; but either is worth making it out for. The electronic rock of Houston’s Wicked Poseur will get things started with doors at 8:00 and tickets falling at either $8.00 or $9.00.
Over at Mango’s, you could catch the folky pop of Georgia’s Ruby The Rabbitfoot. If you’re a fan of pop folk, it probably won’t get much better than this as Ruby’s most recent release, “New As Dew,” is a tour de force in folk pop with sweet vocals that come in like a porch swing on every song. Equally matched will be Houston’s Adam Bricks, who’s also on this show. I’m not sure if this is Adam with his band, or just solo; but you should check him out. He kind of has this Warren Zevon meets Snow Patrol kind of sound that’s worth seeing live. The soft voiced solo sounds of Houston/Waco’s Dollie Barnes will get things started to round out the night. Things get rolling at 8:00 and the cover is a low priced $7.00 at the door.
If you’re up for a laugh, then you could head out to Joke Joint Comedy Showcase for the hilarious Mike Merryfield. The comic, originally from Spain has been talked up by Louis CK while having his first comedy album nominated for a Grammy. He has a pretty irreverent style and covers everything from everyday life. The hilarious and legendary Houston comic, Andy Huggins will be on the show as well as the funny as hell Ashton Womack. The shows run from Thursday through Saturday, with one on Thursday and two on Friday and Two on Saturday. The show starts at 8:00 Thursday & the tickets are $16.00.
Of course, if you really want to get your dance on, then The Chainsmokers over at Stereo Live should be up your alley. The dreamy dj duo has worked with pretty much everyone from hip hop to pop, and they’re supposed to put on a pretty killer live show. Nepal’s DJ Surain will also be on the bill, with the crazy sounds of London’s DJ Charles opening things up. When I last checked, only the $40.00 VIP tickets were left, so if there are still some available, this is a show worth seeing. Things get started at 9:00 and it’s an 18 & up show.
Friday night, you could start things off with a trip over to Discovery Green, for a screening of the HBO documentary, “All About Ann: Governor Richards of The Lone Star State.” I got to meet Governor Richards once, and I’m excited about how this film will portray her; as she may have been one of our state’s best governors. This event, it should be noted; is hosted by Planned Parenthood and Annie’s List. They will be registering voters at the event as well. I’m not going to tell you how to vote, but if you’re a woman who values your rights,or if you have a daughter or a niece who you want to teach about strength; I recommend making it out to this screening. There will be FREE food and drinks starting at 8:00, while the film itself starts at 9:00 with a ZERO cover charge.
You could decide that you really just want to laugh while you support your friend who’s just trying to make his or her way in the world of comedy. I guess it’s a good thing for you that Phoenicia MKT Bar will be hosting the third week of the twelve week Beta Bracket Comedy Competition. This week is a redemption round, meaning that if you have a friend, family member, or co-worker who lost; this is their chance to still have a shot at the grand prize. Maybe the comic got stage fright, maybe they didn’t bring enough of a crowd to vote for them, or maybe it just wasn’t their night? No matter what the situation was, this is their last shot. The event is 100% FREE, it starts promptly at 9:00, and comedian Bob Biggerstaff will be hosting, so you’ll at least laugh your head off even if you pal still loses.
If you’d rather watch strangers make complete fools of themselves while offer insights into what they do in their spare time, then the Air Sex World Championships show at Fitzgerald’s is for you. Last year, the Air Sex group came to Houston and it was pretty damn funny as many Houston comics and strangers acted out sex scenes for laughs. It will be no different this time as well. If you would like to have fake sex in front of others, you can sign up here to be a part of the festivities. The show is all ages, the doors are at 9:00, and the cover is between $10.00 and $12.00.
If you’re in the mood for some “stout Irish rock,” then over at Continental Club, they’re hosting the tenth anniversary show for Houston’s Blaggards. If you’ve never heard these guys, I’d say that they’re one of those bands that everyone should see at least once. In the vein of bands like Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphy’s, Blaggards have the ability to brink Irish drinking tunes to life better than most. They have an insane energy, so get ready to drink, and dance, and see a band have more energy than any drunken frat boy. If you don’t know what “stout Irish rock” sounds like, check out their debut album “Standards,” it’s pretty damn great. The doors are at 10:00, it’s 21 and up, and the cover is $10.00.
I don’t know if one genre describes Nick Greer & The G’s accurately, but it’s definitely entertaining. I think the best way to describe them is to say that they’re Houston. The music is pretty much all over the map ranging from piano based ballads to funk and soul. No matter what you want to call it, good is good; and Nick Greer & The G’s is good. They’ll be over at The Corkscrew on Friday night playing for FREE. Their latest album, this year’s “Heart On Fire” really showcases their diverse style. Things get started at 9:00 and it’s a 21 & up show.
Saturday is White Linen Night in The Heights…which is usually something I steer clear from because it’s a healthy mix of suburbanites waltzing the streets with a drunken disregard for traffic laws. However, this year seems to have enough great festivities that it’s worth making it out for. Over at Heights Vinyl, they’re hosting a show that’s full of plenty of soul, funk, R&B, and the in-between. Starting things off is the crazy souled out and funky sounds of DJ Flash Gordon Parks. He will be followed by the doo wop sounds of Houston’s The Motion. I caught The Motion recently when they opened for Mikey & The Drags, and I’ll just say that they’re worth checking out. They have a sound that’s like a mix of The Ronettes and Connie Francis, and they put on a pretty good live show. They will be followed by the funky and spaced out sounds of Houston’s Radio Galaxy. Radio Galaxy has the ability to mix trip hop and soul with funk and electronica in a way that’s pretty amazing to see and hear. Their ep, “Darkness Everybody” is a great mix of old and new with a little Janelle Monae thrown in that should be an example of what you’ll see on Saturday. I don’t even know how Craig did it, but somehow he got Kool & Together to make an appearance as well. There’s a really good chance that you have no idea who Kool & Together were/are; but they might have been one of the best overlooked funk rock acts in the history of music. Hailing from South Texas, the Sanders brothers were so funky, that you’ll immediately see where Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye were listening to back in the day. Closing things up, is Houston’s newest soul revue, Tight’n Up. I caught Tight’n Up at Record Store Day this year, and I’ll just say that you’re in for a treat. The group is made up of some of Houston’s best musicians and their sound is pretty epic in a live setting. The show is a healthy mix of old meets new, and possibly the future as Tight’n Up has these crazy breaks in their music that I haven’t heard since Funkadelic. Things get started at 5:00, it’s 100% FREE, and I’m sure they’ll have plenty to drink out in front of Heights Vinyl on White Oak.
Not to be outdone on White Linen Night, Fitzgerald’s will be offering up the Americana goodness of Houston’s Grand Old Grizzly. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it at least ten times now; Grand Old Grizzly are an act to catch. They mix American roots with Texas swing in a way that’s never really been done before…and if it has been done before, it wasn’t this entertaining the first time. The doors are at 6:00, it’s all ages, and it’s FREE.
If you aren’t up for all that, then you could venture over to Beta Theater for a special screening of the indie flick, “Meet Me There.” This wouldn’t be anything other than watching the film, if it didn’t star Houston’s own comic/actress/artist Lisa Friedrich. Some artists head off to Austin only to get a really mediocre job at Whole Foods. However Friedrich has been on a roll performing more and more since she left Houston late last year. From the trailer I saw, it looks like a thriller complete with some blood and it also features WWE’s Goldlust, also known as Dustin Runnels. It should be a trip to watch and a great way to support your fellow Houstonian. Things get going around 7:00, and it’s a $10.00 cover.
If you live under a rock, then you probably haven’t heard of Alejandro Escovedo. He’s been playing all over the world for the past forty years, and on Saturday night he’ll be at Continental Club with his backing band, The Sensitive Boys. Escovedo is a seriously amazing act to catch live, mixing a sound that’s like a mix of Tom Petty meets Uncle Tupelo. His latest release, the Tony Visconti produced “Big Station” is something everyone should take a listen to. Local americana rockers Ragged Hearts are opening things up as well. Their recently released album “The Champ” sounds like a sped up version of Son Volt, or early Wilco with pop elements thrown in. Things get going around 8:00, it’s 21 & up, and the cover is $23.00.
Over at Walter’s, you can catch one of Houston’s, by way of Austin, best kept secret when Walker Lukens brings his indie pop sound back to town. Touring in support of his amazing 2013 release, “Devoted,” Lukens won’t have to try hard to turn the crowd into ardent fans. His strong vocals mixed with pop melodies of piano and guitar are pretty hard to ignore. Helping Lukens round out the crowd, will be the pop rock power of Houston’s Featherface. I would think by now, you would have seen them rock an audience with their intense live show; but if you haven’t seen them then this is your chance. Opening things up will be the pop rock sounds of The Caldwell. These are some entertaining guys to see in a live setting, so make sure to get there early. The doors are at 8:00, the show is all ages, and the cover is a measly $8.00.
If you remember Tony! Toni! Tone!, then you are probably already heading to Arena Theater to see them Saturday night. The two brothers and one cousin have been around since the late eighties, and it’ll be interesting to see if their voices still have the power for hits like “Whatever You Want,” “Pillow,” and “It Never Rains.” Not to be outdone by nostalgia, nineties R&B powerhouse duo K-Ci & JoJo will be opening things up for the show performed in the round. There might be limited seats because this is a rescheduled show from July 4th, but things get started at 8:00 and the tickets are $37.50.
Of course, the free show isn’t all that’s happening over at Fitz, as later in the evening they’ll host singer songwriter Ben Kweller. If you’ve never seen Kweller live, I’d seriously recommend making it out to this show. I’ve seen him twice and both times were pretty amazing. His latest release, 2012’s “Go Fly A Kite” is a little more rockin’ than his previous efforts. That’s not a bad thing though as he almost channels Elliott Smith on some of the tracks. Getting things started will be the amazingly powerful voice of singer/songwriter Amy Cook. One of Austin’s stand out acts, Cook will hopefully be performing songs from her storied career alongside those from her newest album, “Summer Skin.” It’s an all ages show, the doors are at 8:00, and tickets are between $20.00 and $24.00.
Over at Nouveau Art Bar, they’ll be hosting REI Fest; a music event that features the music of Washington state’s Allen Stone. Stone has gotten more write ups than most twenty-five year olds in the music business, and his music is like that of seventies R&B. His 2012 self titled release was as infectious as music can get. He’ll be joined by the blues rock sounds of Detroit’s Leopold and His Fiction. Anyone who’s heard these guys immediately compares them to The White Stripes, and rightfully so. But as someone who has seen them live, I can tell you that they’re more than that. The power pop rock meets soulful swag of San Francisco’s The Soft White Sixties will bring their Don Henley sound to the show as well. Things will get started off by Houston’s ten piece The Suffers, meaning that the touring acts have their work cut out for them. Things get going around 5:00 and the tickets range between $35.00 to $105.00; depending on what you want to experience at the show which has seminars starting at noon as well.
If you hadn’t gotten enough of Beta Theater, then you could head over there around midnight to catch Citizen Shame Presents: Altercation Punk Comedy’s Werewolf Fest 2014. It’s basically the guys of Altercation Punk Comedy watching the crap classic flick, “Howling 2: Your Sister’s A Werewolf.” There will be plenty of off color comedy by JT Habersaat, Mike Wiebe, and Mack Lindsey to name a few, as well as werewolf giveaways and more. It’s a BYOB event that’s hosted by Houston comic Brian Zeolla. Things get rolling around 11:30, it’s 21 & up, and the tickets are $8.00.
On Sunday, you could start things off by heading over to Fitzgerald’s for the Girls Rock Camp Summer Showcase. If you were unaware, Houston has a girl’s rock camp that only happens through donations and volunteers that are usually many of Houston’s best female musicians. This show will feature the music of this Summer’s attendees, and these are usually pretty impressive. The doors are at 4:00, it’s all ages, and the tickets are $10.00.
There’s a good chance that you either like or at least know of Three Six Mafia. However, after Juicy J blew up, the group decided to soldier on with a new name. On Sunday, Da Mafia 6ix will make their way to town over at Numbers. Their debut release, last year’s “6ix Commandments” was way better than I thought it would be, so it should make for an interesting show. Luckily for those in attendance, Roosh Williams will be starting things off in his epic way. I’ve been lucky enough to catch Roosh drop his insanely sick rhymes many of times, but after watching him energetically throw down during the heat of Beer Fest; I knew he was top notch. His 2013 album, “Deja Roo:Times Have Changed” might have been one of the year’s most diverse hip hop albums to come out; so he’s definitely worth seeing live. The doors are at 8:00, the show is all ages, and the tickets are between $20.00 and $25.00.
Over at the Wild Alaska Tavern, Houston comics Bryson Brown and Raymond “Raw” Williams are starting a weekly open mic comedy show. Based on Bryson alone I’d say go as he might be one of Houston’s best new comics out there. I would guess that any show with him and Raw as hosts is just a guaranteed laugh fest. Things get started at 7:30, it’s free, and Wild Alaska has a crazy menu with things like elk chilli if you’re adventurous.
Of course, there’s also a comedy show happening over at Rudyard’s on Sunday night as well. The Level Up with The Altercation Punk Comedy Tour will be going on continuing the series of shows hosted by local comic Brian Zeolla. The Altercation Punk Comedy show features Austin comic JT Habersaat, and the tour has done Fun Fun Fun Fest, Hell Yes in New Orleans, and even on Warped Tour. If Habersaat wasn’t enough funny for you, Mike Wiebe of the band Riverboat Gamblers will also be performing comedy. Wiebe is like a lot of musicians I’ve met, pretty hilarious with a great sense of humor, and definitely worth seeing. The show will also feature Lisa Friedrich, Joe Staats, Kat Ramzinski, and more. The doors are at 7:30, the show is 21 & up, and the cover is a paltry $5.00.
On Monday night over at Fitzgerald’s, the latest incarnation in the Cedric and Omar musical journey, Antemasque, will be making its way into town. The stripped down sound is pretty rad from the album I heard that’s mysteriously disappeared from the band’s bandcamp page. If I had to put a finger on a sound, I’d say it was a mix of The Mars Volta “Tremulant” ep and early At The Drive In. If this is like most of these guys’ efforts, this Fitz show will be the last time you’ll catch the band in an intimate setting. I saw At The Drive In at Electric Lounge in Austin, only to see them six months later at a much larger venue. The same could be said after that Mars Volta show at Numbers, followed by a bunch of arena shows. So, this is your chance to catch the band before they either get huge, or implode. The straight forward rock of Le Butcherettes will be getting things started as only they can. The show is all ages, the doors are at 7:00, and the tickets are between $17.00 and $22.00. You might wanna’ grab some pre-sale though as I suspect this one will sell out.
With the exception of this freak heat that seems to be worse than it’s been in a long time, this is still a pretty killer week in the Bayou City. If you make it out for White Linen Night, be sure to be mindful of those around you, stay safe, and make sure you have a safe way home. No matter what you do, this week is just another amazing one here in Houston.