Brilliant Boy: The Best of The Week
Leon casino, Photo: Samantha Saturday
Well, we survived Drake’s version of appreciating Houston to come back with a week full of entertainment options that are almost as stacked as the FPSF lineup. This week feels like Summer is starting to shape up to that point where we’ll have tough decisions to make nightly. Artists with storied pasts like The Rentals, pictured above will be coming through to delight our senses. Here’s how to navigate the next seven days.
Wednesday, if you were starting things off over at MKT Bar to see if Channel 39’s Ky Meyer can actually DJ; she has since canceled. However, you can still head to the MKT Bar environment & just chill, as it’s just as inviting as their complex beer list; even without a guest DJ. They have the Rockets game on at 8:00 with all sorts of specials to help you enjoy hoping for a comeback.
Fitzgerald’s will host the americana meets “bummer core” of LA’s Christian Lee Hutson. Hutson plays soft and pretty tunes that have a pop twinge with hints of upbeat notes. His latest, this year’s “Yeah Okay, I Know” is an album that’s gaining plenty of traction with the music media, and he’s a fan favorite in the bay area. He’ll have the indie rock of Houston’s The Caldwell on prior as direct support. The Caldwell hasn’t been playing a whole bunch lately, so if you’re a fan, I’d say that you should make this show. Their 2013 album, “Modern Love” is so good, that I wish they played more often. The sweetly voiced sounds of Houston/Waco’s Dollie Barnes will also be on hand. Barnes has one of the most delightful sounds going whether it’s solo or with her backing band. Steph Cooksey will open the all ages show with doors at 7:00 and cover between $7.00 and $11.00.
Walter’s will host the the dream psych pop sounds of Chile’s The Holydrug Couple. This two piece makes incredible sounds that are all over their latest, the recently released “Moonlust.” They’re kind of blowing up with a Daytrotter session, and the bulk of the music press praising their efforts, and this show is a great way to see them before they’re too big to knab tickets for. The free groove based psych sounds of Houston’s Pleasure 2 will be there as direct support, and should make for an interesting aspect to the show. The experimental psyched out grooves of Houston’s Ak’Chamel will open things up. If you’ve never seen these guys, I’d just say that they’re an experience all their own, which even their 2013 album “Pus Ch’en” doesn’t do justice. They’re like doing low grade acid with Dennis Hopper before he turns into a snake that also hands out Pez candy. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and the cover is between $7.00 and $10.00.
Thursday, things start over at The Nightingale Room when they host one of Houston’s best bands you might not have heard of, Satellite D’Homme. I’ll admit, when Mario from Wonky Power debuted this band at Fitz last year, I think most people thought it would be Tax The Wolf part two. What they got, was this soulful and fusion based rock and R&B act that is just too good to ignore. I caught them recently at Barbarella and was seriously blown away. Sure, members of Tax The Wolf are in it, but the dual vocals up front create this lush landscape of sound that doesn’t really exist in this town. They’ll have the new project from Austin Smith (A SEA Es) JERK on hand to open things up. One of the strongest sells I’ve been given on a new act, everyone who has heard it keeps saying that they’re seriously amazing. The doors at the 21 & up show are at 7:00, the tickets are a measly $5.00, and there’s glitch visuals from Houston’s FLCON FCKER.
Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox Photo: Courtesy of Artist
You could also go to Warehouse Live to get your dance on as they host the old school sounds of Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox. So, I’m guessing some of you won’t know who this guy is, but he’s a pianist who uses old school methods like swing, big band, or jazz to cover modern pop songs. He’s kind of a genius because he’s dropped covers from Radiohead with “Creep,” and Miley Cyrus with “We Can’t Stop.” What makes this whole thing genius, is that these are completely reimagined versions of some of your favorite songs, but done like it’s the 1920’s. His latest album, this year’s “Emoji Antique” falls in line with this style. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets for $25.00 in the ballroom.
If you’re a fan of the legendary sounds of Todd Rundgren, then you can catch him over at House of Blues. This guys’ been around for an insane amount of time, he’s produced works for acts like New York Dolls, Meatloaf, and Badfinger, and he’s a great artist on his own. He’s best known for the Carole King song, “I Saw The Light,” but he can bring it on his albums as well. The latest is a fusion of futuristic funk meets modern day electro prog rock called, “Global.” The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets are between $25.00 and $55.00.
Walter’s will be bringing in the Moog heavy pop rock of The Rentals for a very intimate performance. So, I seriously love these guys, and the band features Matt Sharp, former bassist and founding member of Weezer. Sharp was always my favorite part of Weezer back in the day, and anyone who saw them on their 1st tour can say that he had the best stage presence. The Rentals were meant to be a side project, and then became a full time gig for the bassist. Their first album, “Return of The Rentals” yielded the massive hit “Friends of P,” and they dropped a couple of albums and went off into obscurity. Then last year Sharp brought the project back with the beautiful album, “Lost In Alphaville.” I’m telling you that this band will blow you away and has gotten rave reviews for their amazing live shows on this tour. The indie pop rock of Portland’s Radiation City will be there as direct support. They kind of mix doo wop with modern pop and hints of garage to create their own thing. Their latest album is 2013’s “Animals In The Median,” and they’re supposed to be great to catch live. An act I feel like EVERYONE should check out, Mexico City’s Rey Pila will open things up with their synths and guitar dance sounds. This four piece is so easy to get into that you’re an idiot to miss them live. Their latest is a slew of singles this year, the strongest being “Apex.” The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $16.00 and $18.00, and could easily sell out.
Over at The Summit, you can catch Houston pop punkers, The Medicine Years. So, these guys play melodic and loud pop punk like they’re from the West coast. Their 2013 EP “Pool Party” is pretty damn strong, and they’re known for an energetic live show. The pop punk of North Dakota’s Baltic To Boardwalk will also be there prior. These guys have a bit more of a screamo singer, and their 2014 single, “These Past Few Years” should give you an idea of their sound. Minnesota’s High Hopes will be there as well. These guys say that they’re pop punk, but they really sound more like the poppier side of first wave emo. Like in the vain of The Get Up Kids and Braid, their “Irony’s Got The Best Of Me” from last year has a really catchy sound that should be great to see live. The heartfelt indie pop of Frank opens the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and a $5.00 cover.
Out at Joke Joint Comedy Showcase, they’ll be bringing in the funny comedy of Boston’s Shane Mauss. mauss has appeared on CONAN, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham, Showtime, and Playboy TV. He’s also been on Australian TV, Canadian HBO, and the BBC. His latest album, last year’s “Mating Season” is seriously hilarious, and he’s known to work a crowd enthusiastically as well. The nerdy humor of Austin’s Maggie Maye will be the feature act on these shows, as will one of Houston’s better up and coming comics. There’s one show Thursday at 8:00, two shows Friday at 8:00 and 10:30, and two on Saturday also at 8:00 and 10:30; and they all have a cover of $16.00.
Fitzgerald’s will play host to San Francisco electro pop three piece, Geographer. This band has such a catchy sound, that I’d think you’d have heard of them before. They have hits off of their debut 2010 album, “Animal Shapes,” and they sound really fun. Their latest is “Ghost Modern” from this year that has a sweeter sound than previous works. Chicago indie rock quartet, Empires will be there as direct support. These guys dropped the massively popular album “Orphan” last year, and they’ve been getting praise ever since. Mixing pop structure with soulful vocals, they should be worth getting there early for. San Diego’s Idlehands will bring their alt rock pop to life when they open the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and tickets between $12.00 and $17.00.
On Friday, you can get things going at Numbers when Houston’s Dem Damn Dames perform their monthly show at the legendary nightclub. This time they’ll be bringing in their celebrated and infamous Digital Dames: Round Two show. If you were unaware, this is a video game themed performance that highlights characters like Pac Man, Mega Man, and Zelda alongside newer favorites like Grand Theft Auto & Borderlands. Of course, catching the troupe in scantily clad costumed versions of your favorite games doesn’t hurt the show either. Austin’s The last Domino will host the show that not only features the entire troupe, but out of towners like Diverta Devotchka and Vivienne Vermuth of Dallas. This show is so popular, that even adding a mystery musical guest just means that it will more than likely sell out. The show is 18 & up with doors at 7:00, and tickets between $15.00 and $30.00.
Warehouse Live will be bringing David Lowery and Co to town under the guise of his nineties alt rock act, Cracker. You would know Lowery from his groundbreaking act Camper Van Beethoven, and you’ll know Cracker from hits like “Low,” “Teen Angst(What The World Needs Now),” and “Get Off This.” Their latest album, last year’s double disc release “Berkeley To Bakersfield” finds Lowery mixing in his softer side with his rockin’ side. If you’ve never seen Cracker perform, then this is a great chance to catch them as they’re really great live. The Atlanta seven piece that calls themselves a mix of Twang Core and Cowpunkytonk; The Whiskey Gentry will be there as direct support. The band is known for an inventive and high energy live show, and their 2013 album “Holly Grove” is a small sample of their Dolly Parton meets Ramones sound. The hard rockin’ good time sounds of Austin’s Not In The Face will be there to get things started as only they can. I caught these guys when they played with We Were Wolves in 2013, and I was impressed. Part of Red Bull Sound Select, the band’s latest offering, an EP from 2013 called “Not In The Face” doesn’t convey their energetic live shows. The all ages show in the studio has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $20.00 and $22.00.
You can get your dance on, when Houston’s Wrestlers bring their energetic beats and sounds to life over at Walter’s. So, if you weren’t aware, this duo will be dropping a full length album in the fall, they’ve hit up tons of festivals including Lollapalooza, and their single, “Say Anything” featuring Twin Shadow is pretty dope. They’ll have the slow boil jammed out sounds of Denver’s Rose Quartz on prior. These two make these sweet little jams that take a bit of time to permeate, then go off like a bomb when they hit. Their latest is last year’s single, “Leaving Now,” and it really showcases their overall sound. The synth soul vocal trio known as Keeper from Austin will also be there to add to the mix. Keeper drops these sweetly voiced tunes that are crazy synth heavy with different beats, that create kind of their own sound. They’ve dropped some tight music, especially the Boom Baptist produced jam, “Happy To Be Sad” from last year. Houston three piece, and synth pop heavyweights BLSHS will also perform, and drop new work from their upcoming release. This year the group gave us a sample with new direction of “In And Out” that changed things up while still keeping their core sound intact. Opening things up is Houston’s Dave Wrangler on the decks with a DJ set. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen this guy, though he is part of the Vinyl Ranch crew. The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are $5.00 advance and $10.00 at the door.
Total Unicorn Photo: Maye Marley
Over at Notsuoh, Austin’s Total Unicorn will bring their crazy beat heavy and dreamy synths sounds to town. So, this act is as visually stunning as they are musically. Live, they don unicorn outfits and use visual aesthetics while musically, tracks like 2013’s “Hella Bass Drum” should give you an idea of their power. Houston’s FLCON FCKER will be there as direct support, and should drop his slow jams alongside his crazy glitch visuals. The crazy drone noise experimental thrash sounds of Houston’s Moths will also be there, and should blow everyone away with their inventive tunes. The acid induced psych sounds of DiSFRUTALO will be there to possibly melt minds too. Last year they dropped the crazy, beautiful, and flashback induced album, “Disfrutalo!,” that’s just a small glimpse into what they do live. The pop psych of Houston’s Faberge will be there to open things up with doors at 8:30 and a $5.00 cover.
Beta Theater will be bringing you the laughs, when Hoja Lopez and Katie McGee offer up their live podcast, the Stalk Show. The live podcast features local performers in a hilarious and frank manner, where comics, improvers, and musicians alike get lots of inappropriate questions. This edition of the show features 2014 Beta Bracket winner and 2014 FPH Sammy winner, Ashton Womack. For those of you who don’t know this guy, he’s funny, charismatic, and possibly the next big comic to break inside & outside of Houston. The show will also feature some music from Hearts of Animals’ and Clean Teens own, Mlee Marie. The BYOB show gets going around 9:00, it’s $6.00 at the door, and seating is limited.
Saturday you can kick the day off over at Walter’s, after the show at Flying Squid Art Gallery, Tattooing, & Piercing was moved due to concerns about the weather; for the first ever VelocityFest. Hosted and headlined by Houston punk rockers The Velostacks, the all day event will feature rock all day and sponsored by Heights Vinyl with Boombox Taco serving food. Music from garage rockers Modfag, punk from Ese, old school rock from The Guilloteens, metal from Supergrave, and punk from Texas Mod Crushers just spells out a day full of tunes. The Velostacks headline the event with DJ The Last Dragon getting things started. The BYOB event with FREE adult drinks till’ they’re gone gets going at 3:00 and lasts until 10:00 with tickets for $10.00.
The folks over at Charity Gigs will be hosting a benefit for the Houston Food Bank at Notsuoh. The event which is headlined by indie rockers A Sundae Drive, is pretty stacked with entertainment. Last year this band released the beautifully crafted album, “The Senseless & The Sound,” and they’re just as great as it in a live setting. The Americana alt folk sounds of Houston’s Chris Lively will also be there, and he’ll play tunes from his 2014 album, “Feather.” The indie rock sounds of Houston’s Satellite Brigade will be on the bill as well. They dropped the album, “Facets” last year that utilizes various electronics to craft an intriguing mixture of indie rock and electropop. The bluesy rock of Fox Parlor will be there as well, as will the prog rock of Treehouse Project. The alt rock of Empty Shells will also be there, and the emocore meets indie rock dream pop of Since Always will be there too. I recently told you about their amazing new album, “Consequences,” and seeing them live is pretty amazing as well. The noise pop of Ft Worth’s Missing Sibling is there, and things will get started off by the electronic sounds of Volca Black. The stacked lineup gets going around 5:00, with tickets between $7.00 and $10.00.
George Clinton Photo: Courtesy of Artist
House of Blues will make sure you get your funk on, when the funkiest guy to ever to take a stage, George Clinton brings his funky self to town. Gone are those multicolored strands of hair in favor of a more refined look; but that doesn’t mean his sound has changed. Clinton is a legend who has influenced more artists than you can count. If you don’t believe me, just listen to “Atomic Dog” and you should get the idea. I mean, I don’t know how anyone can listen to Parliament Funkadelic’s “Mothership Connection(Star Child)” and not get inspired. He dropped an EP, “UFO Le Funk” with Funky Taurus last year, but the fact that he’ll bring his massive catalog of hits should be what you’re there for. DC eight piece act, The Funk Ark will be there to open things up. They released the amazing album last year called “Man Is A Monster,” and should be entertaining to catch live. The doors are at 8:00 and tickets are between $29.00 and $49.50.
LA and Austin based synth pop duo, Technicolor Hearts will be in town over at La Playa. These two released the dreamy and synth heavy album, “Now We’re Here” in March, and it has a really slowcore kind of roll to it. They’ll have direct support from Houston psychwave band, Mantra Love, meaning that some people might have flashbacks while they do their thing. The dream pop sounds of Houston’s Mojave Red will be on hand to open things up. This band has a real trippy sound that’s also kind of infectious in its approach. The show starts at 9:00, so I’m guessing doors are at 8:00 and the cover is $5.00.
If country is more your style, and you’re 21 & up, then you can head to Big Top to catch the alt country Americana of Quiet Morning & the Calamity. The six piece is easily one of Houston’s better bands, and their 2014 EP, “Son of The Sad Soul” is still an album I throw on on the weekly. The Americana punk tunes of Houston’s The Grizzly Band will also be there to drop songs from their album, 2014’s “Lost and Found.” The Ben Jarrad lead rock meets Americana band, Houston’s Ruckus will open things up. Earlier this year, they dropped the EP, “Ruckus” which truly blew me away with it’s intriguing tunes. Get there early to hear them for yourself, cause they’re really good live as well. The doors are at 9:00 and the tickets are a measly $5.00, so you have no reason not to attend.
Crocker Bar will be hosting the May edition of their massively popular Dykon Fagatron show, usually hosted by queer positive rapper Biz Vicious; will be hosted by Chrystal Toliver of the band Yello Echo. The show will feature a set from GRRRL PARTS DJs, DJ Mary Coronado, and DJs Fine & Dandy. This show is a really cool way, no matter what your gender, race, or anything else to come out and dance your ass off. The doors are at 10:00, it’s 21 & up, and as always, it’s 100% FREE.
GBH Photo: Craig Burton
Sunday you have more options than you usually do, starting off at Fitzgerald’s, when punk legends GBH come to town. Hailing from Birmingham, England back in 1979, these guys pioneered a movement that became known as hardcore punk. I mean, if you just take the songs like “Sick Boy,” “Dead on Arrival,” and “Give Me Fire;” you could start any kind of revolution. I was always a fan of the band, and when asked what GBH stood for in middle school when I’d wear the shirt, I’d reply with “Ghost Busters Headquarters.” Of course, we all know that it’s really Great Brittain Hardcore. Their latest is a release last year of a live show from 1983, “Dover Showplace 1983,” and the last time I saw them they were still just as fierce. The hardcore sounds of London’s The Business will also be there to be direct support. Also starting in 1979, their 1983 album, “Suburban Rebels” is still one of my favorites. I saw them in the nineties, and they were still pretty electric live at that time. Late eighties hardcore revivalists, LA’s Total Chaos will also be on the bill. I won’t lie, I hate this band and I feel like though they have ties to great punk bands like Rancid; they need their own identity. The Austin punkers, The Stand Alones will open the all ages show with doors at 7:00 and tickets at $18.00.
House of Blues will be bringing the massively popular sounds of Queens’ Action Bronson in. Bronson is one of those guys where I can see why he’s popular. Aside from tossing out joints at shows, Bronson can hit a mic hard. His latest is this year’s “Mr. Wonderful,” and it’s just as big as he is. I’ve seen him twice and I can attest that he brings it when he performs. Queens’ Meyhem Lauren will be there to open things up, and should make for an interesting set. One of the best rappers going, Lauren’s latest, “Silk Pyramids” from last year is truly amazing. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $25.00 and $30.00.
At Warehouse Live, the hip hop of California’s Lil Debbie over to the studio. Debbie is best known for hits like “$lot Machine,” and “Bitches,” and if you’ve caught her live, then you know how strong she is when she performs. This year she’s already dropped the single, “Me and You,” and last year she released the full length “Young Bitch.” There’s no opener listed yet, but that could change. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $17.00 and $20.00.
Monday you can head to Fitzgerald’s to catch the Sea and Cake’s lead singer play solo, when Sam Prekop performs. Prekop on his own makes these sweet little tunes that are permeated by his soft vocals. His latest, 2015’s “The Republic” ventures into new territory for the singer. He’ll have one of the many Chase DeMaster acts, Get A Life as his opener. This time, Collin Hedrich will be performing with the group, and should make the show more interesting. Last year, Get A Life released the fun pop rock electro sounding album, “As If Emoji,” and they should be worth getting there early for. The doors are at 7:00 and tickets for the all ages show are $13.00 to $17.00.
LIMB Photo: Jason Smith
Walter’s will be hosting the very celebrated sounds of the Bay area’s dark electronica act, Them Are Us Too. This act has gotten tons of heat from the rock press, and they’re supposed to be a trip to see live. Their latest is the amazingly dark and lush sounds of “Remain” from this year. Their singer cuts through the dark electronics with this crazy falsetto that makes me think that they’ll be really amazing to see live. They’ll have Houston’s electronica wizard, LIMB on as their direct support. I feel like if you don’t know how amazing it is to catch James at his kit, with triggers attached; then you’re doing the Houston music scene all wrong. I’ve yet to be disappointed with a LIMB performance, and 2013’s “….But Rage At What” doesn’t scratch the surface of his intensity live; but it comes close. DJ Stickers will be there to open the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and tickets between $5.00 and $8.00.
Tuesday you can head over to Continental Club to catch the intensely high energy of rock duo, In The Whale. The Denver two piece plays high energy rock that contains hints of garage and blues; while somehow emanating bands like Rocket From The Crypt and King Khan & BBQ Show. The last year going, these guys have dropped the crazy sounding singles “(Mile High) Ride,” and “Radio,” and they should be amazing to see in person. They’ll have the roots rock of Boston’s Continental Band as openers on the 21 & up show with doors at 9:00 and a TBA cover.
That’s really about all that’s worth doing in the last weekend before FPSF. No matter what entertaining option you choose, please drink like an adult and choose the safest means to make it home safe.