Failure By Design: The Best of The Week
Leon casino, Photo: Artist
Well, I think we might talk about this week for months to come. Not that the fact that we had Untapped, Against Me, and so much more last week wasn’t great; but this week has just as many options. There’s more than enough options on Saturday alone, and that’s just one of seven days. This is where your Halloween costume savings should go.
On Wednesday, you can attempt to find some free parking downtown, when Rodrigo y Gabriela bring their Flamenco sounds to Bayou Music Center. There may be a part of you that feels like flamenco is repetitive, but these two have such a crazy chemistry, that they make you forget that you’re watching two speed through flamenco guitars. They’ll be here in support of their latest effort, the bluesy and almost Jimmy Page-esque “9 Dead Alive.” It’s just another example of how diverse these two can be. There doesn’t appear to be an opener, but that may change. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets are between $38.00 and $60.00.
Avant Garden will be hosting the Houston Poetry Collective, for a poetry slam. The show will feature the talents of Joe B., the director of the Austin International Poetry Festival. The show will also give away prizes for the top three poets, ranging between $10.00 and $30.00. Things start around 7:30, it’s 18 & up, and there’s a $5.00 cover.
The coffee shop at Dosey Doe in Conroe, will be keeping the tradition of songwriters in the round when they host Brandon Steadman and Madi Dean. Steadman performs singer songwriter types of songs, alongside a more rock meets country vibe. His group, Brandon Steadman Band dropped a “new country” type of album with this year’s “Recovery.” Madi Dean dropped an album as well this year, called “My Kind of Love.” Dean performs a bit of a more old country meets new country sound, while steering clear from the more pop elements of what Nashville’s been offering lately. Dean has the voice of a seasoned veteran, which makes the fact that she’s seventeen even harder to imagine. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets are $10.00.
There won’t be too many people that would call Madison, Wisconsin a “raphaven,” but in the case of Brother Ali; you’d think that was the case. Wednesday he’ll bring his crazy mad rap skills to the studio at Warehouse Live. Ali made his name by winning rap battles and then blew up with his 2003 album, “Shadows On The Sun.” A part of the Rhymesayers Collective crew, the white rapper is here in support of his 2012 album, “Mourning In America and Dreaming In Color.” LA’s Latin infused rapper Bambu will also be there to expand minds and blow attendees away with his crazy style. Bambu got big from his 2012 album, “…One Rifle Per Family,” but his latest, “Sun Of A Gun” is just as fresh. The hip hop meets mambatron sounds of Minneapolis’ DJ Last Word will be there to keep the grooves going, while the entire evening is hosted by the hip hop of Minnesota’s Mally. This is a pretty stacked show with doors at 8:00 and tickets between $13.00 and $15.00 for the all ages show.
You can start Thursday off over at Discovery Green, when Houston’s own, Rodney Crowell performs. Crowell has been around a good while, but it seems like he’s always touring and dropping albums left and right. His latest, “Tarpaper Sky” has him sounding as fresh as ever, and that says a lot for a guy who’s performed with everyone from Jerry Reed to Johnny Cash and Townes Van Zandt to Guy Clark. The americana meets alt country of Houston’s Grand Old Grizzly will get things started. I feel like GOG is a band that everyone needs to catch at least once, even though I feel like you’ll see them more after that first time. Things get started at 6:30, it’s all ages, and best of all, it’s 100% FREE.
At Notsuoh over on Milam, the instrumental hip hop from Louisiana’s AF THE NAYSAYER will be putting feet on the dance floor. AF dropped a pretty insane album about a month ago called “The Autodidact Instrumentals Vol. 1” and it’s seriously addictive. The first track alone will be stuck in your head for days after one listen. FLCON FCKER will also perform and light up the venue with his crazy glitch visuals. You might not know this, but FLCON is getting really big outside of Texas, and his visuals are becoming that of legend. New Orleans’ Birdmagic will get things started with a DJ set. Birdmagic was recently in Houston just to hang out, and those of us who got to catch his thirty minute DJ set at Notsuoh all left in amazement. The doors are at 8:00, it’s an all ages show, and it’s 100% FREE.
Rudyard’s will be hosting the solo indie blues folk of David Dondero. Dondero has been getting more and more praise since he first dropped an album in 1999. He was once part of the band Sunbrain, but since leaving to go solo; he’s been compared to Townes Van Zandt and Woody Guthrie. His latest album, last year’s “This Guitar” feels like early Bright Eyes meets early M. Ward. Adam Bricks will also be on the show, to add his mix of John Prine, Elvis Costello, and even a little of The Mountain Goats. Bricks dropped an album called “City Songs,” that everyone should hear, while his live show is something everyone should see. Buxton’s Sergio Trevino will also be there to get things started. Trevino sings and plays like he was born in a time when the dust bowl was ending, and America was rebuilding. His Americana based sound is something that any bluegrass or old school country fan should realize, is as pure as that genre gets. The show is 21 & up, the doors are at 8:00, and it’s an $8.00 cover.
If you’re up for a laugh, then the Joke Joint Comedy Showcase will be hosting LA’s Danny Lobell. Lobell is more of a storyteller than anything else. Not that he’s not a strong comic. He’s been on “This American Life,” Funny Or Die, and he hosts the “Modern Day Philosophers” podcast. His 2013 album, “Some Kind of Comedian” is pretty hilarious. As per most of their shows, the club should drop two of Houston’s better up and coming comics on the shows as feature and host. There’s one show on Thursday, and two Friday as well as two on Saturday. The Thursday show is at 8:00 and there’s a $16.00 cover.
So, if you know me well enough, then you’ll know that I have a soft spot for good pop music. Over at Fitzgerald’s on Thursday, they’ll be having some good pop music, when Charli XCX performs. The British artist mixes synth pop and and gothic influences to make a deeper version of what Katy Perry does. She’s been getting bigger and bigger since her hit song, “Boom Clap.” She’s spent this year dropping singles, but her album from last year, “True Romance” was deep and poppy, if that’s such a thing. In an odd twist, an artist who’s been blowing up just as equally, Sweden’s Elliphant will be on the bill as well. Elliphant has been gaining fans since her single, “Down On Life” in 2012. Her new album, “Look Like You Love It” has collaborations with Diplo and Skrillex. London’s popstress, Femme will be getting things started. Femme mixes EDM with pop and it’s pretty infectious. Her 2014 drop, “High” was almost as good as the mass amount of singles she’s dropped in the last year. The doors are at 8:00, the show is all ages, and the tickets are between $18.00 and $22.00.
If there’s a slight chance that you haven’t seen Michael Anthony Shanks, then Continental Club has you covered when he and The Merry Shanksters perform there Thursday. Shanks plays a mix of funk and soul that’s rooted in the blues in its style. He’s a heck of a guitar player who can play harmonica and various instruments just as well. His 2013 album, “Shankster Style,” had so many different styles on it, that it’s difficult to beg him to one style. He’s known for a pretty epic performance and he’s been playing all over lately. The show is 21 & up, things start at 10:00, and there’s no mentioned cover, so it might be free.
Mango’s has the deathcore metal from the UK’s Desolated on deck for Thursday. Desolated plays hard driving metal that’s reminiscent of early eighties metal mixed with the weight of something Max Cavalera would do. Their 2014 single, “End Of The Line” is pretty great, and they should incite headbanging fury when they play. The growling squeal of Florida’s Traitors will be dropping their slowcore metal as well. Traitors has been gaining steam lately, and their recent single, “Malignant” keeps with their slow doom sound. Pennsylvania’s BENCHPRESS will be there to play their blend of speed metal meets screamcore. These guys released a six song album last year called, “Controlled By Death,” that would make any fan of heavy metal proud. New York’s Vice HC is also on the show, and they’ll play thrash punk like early DRI did. If you like thrash speed punk, then this is the band for you. Houston’s Due Punishment will perform their blend of metal meets slow doom, while Chipped Teeth will get things started with their scream metal sounds. The doors are at 6:00, it’s an all ages show, and the cover is $10.00.
Friday, Dan Electro’s will be having the blues rock of Austin’s The Docs. These guys make that kind of dirty rock that used to exist back in the seventies. It made a comeback before Kings Of Leon started writing pop songs, and still exists like it does with these guys in dark bars. Their 2013 album “Audacious” plays like a steamroller of bluesy riffs mixed with bombastic drums and twangy vocals. Houston’s Nathan Quick will also be performing, and dropping his soft vocals atop his blues based Southern sound. Quick released an album this year called “The Mile,” that while great, doesn’t give you the sheer power of his live show. The piano based melody of Keeton Coffman will get the show going. Coffman’s six song album, “The Ghost” is something you should check out. He has a sound that’s like a mix of Coldplay in its’ structure, but with more soul like the songs are performed by Van Morrison. The show is 21 & up, the doors are at 8:00, and there’s a $10.00 cover.
Fitzgerald’s will have a living legend play, when Cheetah Chrome performs on Friday night. You might know him from bands like Rocket From The Tombs, and one of my favorites, Dead Boys. While he’s been an influence on pretty much every punk band that came after him, he’s been touring lately in support of his 2013 album, “Solo.” On it, Chrome stretches his legs on guitar and really branches into new territories of psych, old country, and even a bit of classic rock. Chrome sings like Lou Reed on many of the songs, and he sounds as fresh as ever. The punk from Houston’s The Drunks will be on hand, as well as the sleaze rock from The Guilloteens. It’s a little mind blowing that these legends now call Houston home, but it’s crazy awesome and totally true. The Pagans, The Plague, AK-47’s and more have had founding member Robert Conn in them, as well as that of The Guilloteens. Do Not miss these guys if you’re a fan of bands like Electric Frankenstein or even Red Fang. The throwback garage rock bombastics of Houston’s The Born Liars will open things up with some high energy sounds. The doors are at 9:00, the show is all ages, and the cover is a miniscule $10.00 to $12.00.
If you’re up for a laugh, then you can make your way over to Phoenicia MKT Bar to catch Comedy Night presented by Beta Theater. This week, local comic and Whiskey Brother, John Wessling will host as a crop of comics compete for a $100.00 cash prize. The comics do three minutes each, and Wessling will choose the winner based on audience reaction. Things get started at 9:00, it’s all ages, and it’s 100% FREE.
Warehouse Live has a FREE concert provided by Black Horse Limo, from alt rockers Buckcherry. I’m not a Buckcherry guy, really at all. But, it’s super cool that Black Horse Limo puts on these free concerts for the sake of promoting their business. They’ve brought in all types of bands, and Buckcherry falls in line with what they usually have play. If you’re a fan of the band, then you already know that they dropped a new album this year with “Fuck.” The six song album has the word fuck in every song title, and keeps with the band’s guitar driven sound. The alt rock and nineties sound of Las Vegas’ Otherwise opens things up. The show is all ages, the doors are at 7:00, and you can go for FREE if you go here.
London’s massively popular Allo Darlin’ will bring their indie pop sound over to Rudyard’s, also on Friday night. The group has enjoyed success since they released their catchy debut, “Allo Darlin’.” Since then they’ve been on the two year release schedule with 2012’s “Europe” and their newest; this year’s “We Come From The Same Place.” The band has a very Belle and Sebastian meets The Vaselines type of sound with loud quiet loud structures. The Caldwell will be there to open the show. The Caldwell sound like what would happen if Black Francis and Tom Verlaine started a new wave garage rock band. Their debut album, last year’s “Modern Love” is one of those records that you can’t help but listen to for days on end. The doors are at 9:00, the show is 21 & up, and the cover is between $10.00 and $12.00.
If you like what happens when the dirty blues meets the tripped out sounds of psych rock, then Continental Club is your go to spot when they host Amplified Heat. The three piece has always sounded like what happens when Southern guys love Cream, Sam Cooke, Howlin’ Wolf, and Jefferson Airplane. These guys put on a really great live show, one that’s like a punch to the face, and their 2010 album, “On The Hunt” is a great example of their sound. The Sideshow Tragedy will bring their dark and murky based blues rock vibes to town as well. The Austin two piece is one of those bands you gotta’ catch live, and two years ago they made an album called “Persona” that was one of the best of that year. The show is 21 & up, the tickets are $10.00, and things get started at 10:00.
There will be plenty of screamo happening at Walter’s, when Ohio’s Beartooth plays there. Beartooth is basically Attack Attack reformed with more pop hooks mixed with screamy vocals. The band has garnered plenty of fans since they were just a side project, and they just released a new album this year, “Disgusting” that keeps their tradition of scream fueled alt rock. The post hardcore/hardcore sounds of Boston’s Vanna will also be there. These guys are almost a little too heavy for this show, but they’ve been getting bigger since their formation almost a decade ago. They’ll be performing songs from their latest, this year’s “Void.” Another harsher band on the bill who’s close to a decade in formation, New York’s Sirens & Sailors will drop their metalcore sound complete with creepy sounding vocals. The keyboard meets scream core sound of newcomers, Sylar of New York will also be there. The pop of Oregon’s Alive Like Me will open the all ages show with doors at 6:00, and tickets between $13.00 and $15.00.
There’s a Goth Punk showcase happening at Mango’s that features the sounds of LA’s goth rock legends, Ex-VoTo. Formed in the eighties, the band has steadily released albums for the last decade. Their last album, “Antioch” from 2009, had the band go in a darker direction like that of Voivod meets KMFDM. The horror punk of Houston’s Brumes will also be on hand to drop their piano based sounds on all in attendance. DJ Hex will be dropping his horror goth sounds, while San Antonio’s DJ Detra Munster will get things started. The show is all ages, it’s $5.00 to get in, and it gets going around 9:30.
Notsuoh will be hosting the alt country of Houston’s Quiet Morning and the Calamity. The five piece just released a new ep, they’ve toured all over, and their live show is just as good as you’ve heard. That ep, “Son of The Sad Soul” reminded me so much of Uncle Tupelo that I got chills. It’s like Tweedy & Farrar mixed on vocals playing the rock based Tweedy songs from Tupelo’s catalog. The folk based acoustics of Kevin Taylor Kendrick will also be there to bring his Guthrie meets young Tom Waits sound to life. There are moments of Kendrick’s songs that remind me of Dylan and moments where they sound like a mix of Woody and Arlo Guthrie, but they all sound good. New York’s Eric Ayotte will be on the bill adding an interesting sound to the bill. Ayotte has a folky indie sound that’s similar to that of Kevin Devine, and his recent album, “Transparency” is really catchy while still having depth. Trey Miller gets the show going with doors at 8:00 for the 21 & up show that’s 100% FREE.
Saturday at Joe Jamail Skatepark, they have some skateboarding legends coupled with music, for the third annual Skatestock. This year the legendary skaters of my youth will be on hand to show anyone who shows up, what skateboarding used to be like before giant corporate sponsors got involved. The legends this year include the coolest skater of all time, and easily the most punk rock, Tony Alva. Tony was an original Z-Boy with Stacy Peralta and Jay adams, he’s the grandfather of vert in that he was one of the first to do a frontside air, and his style is legendary. Alva started Alva Skates at 19, became the first skater to own a company, and ushered such pros as Christian Hosoi, Mark ‘Gonz’ Gonzales, and John ‘Tex’ Gibson. Growing up, the Alva decks were the best made due to their revolutionary layered maple design, and their team was so punk rock. There will also be legends like John ‘Tex’ Gibson, Steve Alba, Craig Johnson; and the guy who made skating fun, Lance Mountain. Mountain was one of the original members of Powell’s Bones Brigade, and his pool skating is intense. There’s much more than skating however, as there will be a demonstration on vert skating science, and music from some great Houston Bands. Venomous Maximus, Something Fierce, Supergrave, and DJ Good Grief; plus many many more. This event is GREAT for Houston and new & old school skaters alike. Lance Mountain and Tony Alva were my athletic idols as a kid, so it’s a big deal that they’ll be here, for me. The event is open to the entire family, it gets started at 1:00 and ends at 6:00, and it’s 100% FREE.
You can also mosey over to Discovery Green to catch one of Houston’s better new bands, when Moji performs at the Green Flea By Night Market. I recently got to watch Moji and her band record at SugarHill, and all I can say is wow. Moji has such a sweet and sultry voice, that she emotes visions of love, passion, and volatility through her immense range. It doesn’t hurt that she nabbed two stellar band mates to complete their sound. There were moments that reminded me of Sergio Mendes, and times where it felt like Sharon jones; but it was all entertaining and fresh. The market gets going at 6:00, while Moji performs at 7:00. The event is all ages and it’s FREE.
If you’re one of the few who nabbed Brand New tickets, then you should have fun watching them when they play at Bayou Music Center. The band will be in town after the show sold out House of Blues and moved to BMC. These shows are great, but I feel like five years is just a little too long between albums to tour off of. That being said, I caught Brand New several years back, and I was impressed with their energetic live show. They’ll have the amazing sounds of New York’s Cymbals Eat Guitars. I’ve been a fan of these guys since their debut album, and their latest, “Lose” explores new territory while still keeping the band’s original sound intact. I’ve seen them several times so I can at least tell you that they’re really good to see live. The emo indie sound of St Louis’ Foxing will open things up with doors at 8:00 and some available seats left for $42.00.
Fitzgerald’s will be hosting a benefit show for the Jefferson Davis High School music program, that features some of your favorite bands performing as someone else. Austin Smith as Bowie, Auto-Felatio Dreams as Misfits, Bang Bangz as Gorillaz, Children Of Pop as Madonna, Ishi as Depeche Mode, Dune Tx as Green Day, Grand Old Grizzly as Tom Petty, and TheLastPlaceYouLook as Genesis. DJ Fredster will get things started with all proceeds going to the program, the show is all ages and the doors are at 8:00 with a $10.00 cover.
There’s also a big show of sorts at The Silo called Houston’s Best Halloween Bash as well. the show will feature a hefty list of acts that include BLSHS, We Were Wolves, Catch Fever, Bang Bangz, FLCON FCKER, and many many more. There’s also an after party featuring Mke and Gio Chamba. The craft beers and food trucks that will be there won’t be as awesome as the $500.00 costume contest, and it’s an all day affair that’s all ages. Things start at 1:00 and go to 2:00 am, with tickets from $10.00 to $50.00, depending how cool you wanna feel. But with twenty bands, if you pre-sale for $10.00, that’s like $.50 a band; which is insane.
There’s also a show at Space City called The Generators Playground. The show is a benefit for local artist Derek Mayo. The event features art by Donny Blinks, Scott Tarbox Tarbox, Lindzy Pham, and many more. There’s also music from Pitter Patter, Buddha DeerHead, Satannabis, and many more as well. Local artist Bao “Pocket Amp” Pham has organized the all ages event that gets started at 7:00 pm, and carries a simplistic $5.00 cover.
Mango’s will have the dirty punk sound of San Antonio’s Fea on Saturday night. Fea is the result of Jenn and Phanie of Girl In A Coma deciding to form a punk group. Away from what GIAC usually does, I know that these two are big fans of punk, and with a girl singer and a guy in the band, it could be a really great experience. Houston’s PuraPharm will also be on hand to play some trippy guitar based songs. I recently called PuraPharm space rock, but they’re really more like what Cocteau Twins guitars mixed with psych rock would sound like. Sure they have a bit of a spacey sound, but it’s much more diverse than that complete with a saxophone player and dual guitars; they definitely get what psych is all about. The end result is almost a new wave psych vibe that doesn’t exist anywhere else. The alt synth pop of Houston’s Vanilla Sugar will get things started for the all ages show. There’s no mention of cover or door times, but that shouldn’t be earlier than 8:00 and no more than $10.00.
There’s also an after party for the Skatestock show happening over at Notsuoh. The dirty rock of Houston’s Zipperneck will headline the show, and bring their fast and fuzzy sound to all who attend. Zipperneck has been around a good while, and their blend of punk meets garage is fueled by singer Melissa Bransfield’s raspy growl on vocals. The surf rock sound of pro skaters in the band 169ers will feature skaters Doug Saladino, Steve Alba, and Steve Olson, with Brian Brannon of JFA fame. This is a one off performance that’ll only happen at this show. The street punk of Screech Of Death, Zeroheros, and Hey! will all be on the bill as well. Things get rolling around 9:00, and there’s no mention of a cover.
On Sunday, you can get some drawing, painting, or some sort of medium done with the help of a great muse to look at, when The Corkscrew hosts the first Sketchbook Saloon show. The show is hosted by Hannah Bull, who used to host a similar show at Avant Garden. This edition will feature alternative model, and all around beauty, Sabrina Van Sin. The figure drawers and photographers should have plenty to learn from after this show. Things start at 2:00 pm and run until 5:00, it’s an 21 & up event, and the tickets range between $10.00 for members, $15.00 for non-members or voyeurs, and $20.00 for photographers. There are more details here for anyone who wishes to attend.
Over at Minute Maid Park, they’ll be hosting a Horror-Con that will have all kinds of crazy happening. A zombie walk, meet and greets with the original “Jason” from “Friday The 13th,” and music, plenty of music. It goes without saying that Dallas’ own, Vanilla Ice will be headlining the event. As easy as it is to poke fun at Ice, we all want our own reality show about living with the Amish, right? But there’s also the GWAR-like Green Jelly on the bill and Houston’s own Vendetta Diabolique. There’s plenty more mentioned, and fun for all who attend. Just make sure if you go, that you catch Vendetta. They’re led by Doomstress Alexis of Project Armageddon, and they sound like if Ministry was led by PJ Harvey. The doors are at noon, it’s all ages, and the tickets run between $32.50 and $173.00.
At Dean’s they’ll be having their songwriter show which will feature Lee Alexander. Alexander plays music that’s a mix of Jack Johnson and Zach Rogue. He’ll be joined by the piano music of Loreta Kovacic from the Alchemist Piano Theatre. Tucson’s Mason Reed will be there to round things out with his foot stompin’ sound. Mason dropped an album last year called, “Up To My Neck In It,” that was full of fun sounding songs. The show gets going at 8:00 and it’s FREE.
On Tuesday, you can head over to House of Blues to catch Ne-Yo. Ne-Yo has been wowing audiences with his R&B meets hip hop sound since his massively popular album, “In My Own Words.” Since then, he’s released plenty of successful singles and albums. He’ll be in Houston in support of his latest, “The Birth of Ne-Yo” from last year. New York’s insanely talented Kandace Springs will be on the bill as well. If you’re planning on going to this show, check her out. Her self titled album, this year’s “Kandace Springs” is a mix of hip hop, soul, and R&B that’s really good. Maryland’s Kevin Ross gets things started with doors at 7:00 and tickets between $55.00 and $88.00.
All in all it’s a pretty good week to live here in Houston. There’s plenty to laugh at, plenty to get down to, and plenty of locals to support. Please remember to be respectful of your fellow Houstonians while you’re out this week painting the town whatever color you decide.