Focused Chaos: The Best of The Week
Leon casino, Photo: Nikko La Mere
Well, last week was definitely one of those seven days where there were sleeper events that snuck up and went off more than most of us would think. This week isn’t much different with some legends rolling through town, as well as legends in the making like Tokimonsta pictured above. This is how to spend the next seven days.
Wednesday you can start things off over at Fitzgerald’s when they have the indie folk rock pop of sister duo, Good Graeff in town. The two piece has been garnering attention since they dropped their debut “Better Half” two years ago. Though it had pop elements with stunning dual vocals and minimal hooks, it’s nothing near as catchy as their latest, this year’s “Good Job Go.” On this new album, the girls take on a higher plane of pop writing structure to create a sound that’s as catchy as it is beautiful. The eighties sounding and synth heavy vibes of chillwave artist, Brothertiger will be there to open things up. This guy has been dropping some slow jammed out tunes that have enough pop to make you move your feet. His latest, was 2013’s “Future Splendors,” but I’m sure he’ll drop some of his more popular gems in as well. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets for $10.00.
You could swing by MKT Bar to catch Jonathan Perez of Pitter Patter drop a DJ set. It’ll be interesting to see the synth heavy meets live drums artist bring that energy to a DJ set, and I’m sure he’ll bring some trippy tunes to spin as well. The all ages event gets going around 7:00 and it’s 100% FREE.
Over at House of Blues, you might want to hear the pop rock of Argentina’s Los Enanitos Verdes. Formed in the seventies, these guys have scored more hits in South American than you can count, and they’re known for a passionate and fun live show. Their latest release was 2013’s “Tic Tac,” and if you’re a fan then I’m sure you’ll hear the bulk of their hits from the past forty years. Houston Latin rockers and performers to the extreme, La Sien will open things up. I feel like these guys could be the closest mix to about four landmark Latin acts from the past decade, while still having their own original sound. They always put on stellar live sets, and though they’ve been working on a follow up to 2012’s “La Sien,” that record by itself stands alone. The all ages show has doors at 7:30 and tickets between $46.00 and $62.00.
black kite Photo: DinoLion
Thursday you can kick off the night over at The Nightingale Room, when two of Houston’s better up and coming acts perform. Houston’s black kite will make an appearance after a sixty day hiatus to record a new album and to add a third member, producer and RBMA alumni birdmagic. The first time I heard black kite I had no idea that it was a Houston band, and I certainly wasn’t told that it was two people I knew. Since then they’ve worked on a follow up to 2013’s “Bird,” that from the few tracks I’ve heard, will be something that’s truly insane and on a whole new level. If you missed them at some of their more recent appearances, then this is a great time to catch their intense live show. Joining them on the bill, will be one Houston’s best kept secrets, Jawwaad Taylor/BLVCK FETISH. When I met Jawwaad, he talked about a guy named JJ, a guy named Yasiin, and two guys named Steven. Little did I know that Yasiin was his his friend Mos Def, the two guys named Steven were Flying Lotus and Thundercat, and JJ was Jneiro Jarel aka JJ Doom. Jawwaad has made albums with MF Doom, he’s toured the world several times, and he’s part of the Red Bull Music Academy. He dropped “The Bully Love Set” last year, and further cemented himself in the hip hop game, and his album with JJ Doom under the name The Shape of Broad Minds is still next level almost a decade later. Last year I stood in the freezing cold to watch a 20 minute private set at a warehouse, from BLVCK FETISH, and it blew me and the other 25 people in the room away. This is a must see show if you like electronica or hip hop, or just if you like being on the ground floor of artists on the verge of blowing up. The 21 & up show has doors at 7:00, and it’s 100% FREE.
If you want to unleash your inner burlesque talents, then you could take a class at Dance Source Houston, when Tifa Tittlywinks hosts the talented Coco Lectric for three dance workshops. The performer, producer and instructor will be in Houston for one night only to teach three separate classes on the artform. The classes run from $25.00 for one to $60.00 for all three, the info is all here, and they start at 7:00.
Of course, you could also head over to Libra Lounge when TROY Hip Hop radio hosts Tru Skool and Classic Hip Hop night. This edition of the monthly affair will feature jamz from DJ Sly Fox, and TROY Hip Hop, as well as sweets from Ella Russell at E-Dub-A-Licious Treats. They have drink specials and hookahs available on the show w/o a dress code. Things start off around 8:00 and it’s 100% FREE.
Joke Joint Comedy Showcase will be having the comedy of Utah’s Bengt Washburn for three nights. Washburn has appeared on Conan, The Late Late Show, and Live from Gotham. His 2014 album, “Bengt Over In Europe,” is pretty damn funny, and he’s one of the funniest comics you’ll see in a good while. As per all of these shows, two of Houston’s better comics will serve as host and feature acts on the Thursday show, with DC’s Matty Litwack performing on the Friday and Saturday shows. The Thursday show is at 8:00, with two on Friday at 8:00 and 10:30, as well as two on Saturday also at 8:00 and 10:30, all with tickets for $16.00.
On Friday, you can start the night off over at Fitzgerald’s, when TheLastPlaceYouLook plays their last show with longtime drummer Mikey Owens. It’s not the end of the band, just the last time he’ll be performing with them. As it stands the band is shopping producers for their follow up to 2014’s “Rip It Out,” and from talking to members, they’re covered as far as future drummers go. We all know that they put on a killer live show, and from what I’ve heard there will be plenty of surprises on this performance. Fresh from a stint over in the UK, American Fangs will be there as direct support. The always energetic rockers will be dropping tunes from this year’s “Dirty Legs.” Returning after a brief hiatus, Houston’s From Guts To Glory will be on the bill as well. Their 2011 album “From Guts To Glory” still holds up, and from what I remember, they’re a strong live act. The bluesy swagger of Houston three piece Fire Moth will also be there to add their Southern tone to the show. Last year they released “Oil Paintings & Gold Chains,” and it definitely has the twang of Southern blues rock. Opening things up will be the intense energy of Only Beast. The three piece is one of those acts that’s mesmerizing to watch, and their 2015 release, “Live at Notsuoh” doesn’t give you a glimpse into their live show. Things are all ages, the doors are at 7:00 and the tickets for the upstairs show are between $10.00 and $17.00.
Dem Damn Dames Photo: Penland Pinups
If you find yourself up for something more randy, then you could head to Numbers to catch the monthly show from Houston’s Dem Damn Dames. The Cabaret Hideaway edition of the show will bring some of the South’s finest burlesque names to one show. Coco Lectric from Austin, NOLA’s The Lady Satine, Lola LeStrange of Austin, and Layna D’Luna, also of Austin will all be on hand to perform. Of course you get the troupe as well with Nick The Vegan, Honey Moonpie, Lady Lush, Emma D’Lemma, Tifa Tittlywinks, and a performance from Chanel St Sin. The always entertaining affair has Lone Star specials, and your ticket price includes entry to Classic Numbers which immediately follows the performance. The doors are at 7:00 and the tickets are between $15.00 for general admission and $30.00 for VIP seated.
Warehouse LIve will be hosting another edition of the popular Pancakes and Booze show. A show full of live music, body painting, FREE pancakes, and art from over fifty emerging artists awaits you at the event. Last time they had a line around the block, so I’d suggest getting there early if you plan on attending. Things are all ages with doors at 7:00 and a measly $5.00 cover.
At Arena Theatre, the R&B of Avant on hand in the round. The Ohio native is best known for his hits in the early 2000’s. His latest, a single from this year, “Special” has more of his earlier vibe to it. He’ll have the popular sounds of Ginuwine on the show with him. Most popular from that era in the nineties when hip hop soul was a sub genre, the R&B singer scored a massive hit with “Pony.” He’s kept up releasing album, most recently with “A Ginuwine Christmas” from 2011. The show has doors at 7:00 and tickets for $39.50.
If you remember 311, then you can go see them over at Bayou Music Center. The hip hop reggae rockers have been around a pretty good while, and they’re who invented the genre that gave us crap like Limp Bizkit. I saw 311 in the nineties when the spot where Late Nite Pie was, was actually a club; so I can’t vouch for how good they are today. Their latest album is from this year, and it’s called “Archive.” I didn’t realize they had a new album, but I also don’t really care either. The reggae of The Green will open the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and tickets between $53.00 and $64.00.
Beta Theater will be having another of their Triple Header comedy shows. The ongoing show features three comics doing 20 minute sets each, and is a great way to see some of Houston’s better comics perform longer than the usual five minutes they do at open mics. This edition will have the hilarious comedy of Chase Durousseau, the knock down drag out jokes of Jaffer Khan, and self effacing humor of Stephen Brandau. Of course, the show is hosted by the thinnest comic in Houston, Zahid Dewji. There’s a show at 8:00 and a show at 10:00, and both are BYOB with a $10.00 ticket price.
Downstairs at Fitzgerald’s, they’ll have the EP release from synth pop duo, Promenade. Started as a “just for fun” side thing, the duo of John Allen Stephens and Andres Soler quickly realized that they might have something here with these tunes. The result is a hook heavy and super catchy band. The electro pop of Houston’s Bang Bangz will be there as direct support. I would hope by now you would’ve seen the band that contains members of Tax The Wolf and George West, but if you haven’t then you’re missing out. Their latest is a FREE download of three songs from Mexico called “Bang Bangz Mexico.” The beat heavy future bass of Houston’s Josiah Gabriel will be there to open the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and a paltry $5.00 cover.
Notsuoh will have the indie alt rock band, Closed Eyes Open presented by psych rockers Disfrutalo. This three piece mixes blues choruses with indie rock overtones, and they sound like they could be fun to see. The trippy psych blues of Houston’s InZurgo will also be there. Though the band calls themselves rock, there’s clearly something more diverse happening with their tunes. Rhythm changes and varying chord structures are all over their tunes, and they should make for an interesting act to see live. The alt rock of Mannequin On The Moon will open things up with doors at 8:00 and a $5.00 cover.
If you like your comedy in a super intimate setting, then you could head over to 1509 Stuart St. for another edition of House Party Comedy. The show that hopes to raise funds to help Jacob Calle to afford an upcoming trip to Africa, will have a slew of comics and music as well. The comics on board are Andy Huggins, Victor Tran, John Nguyen, and Dusti Rhodes. They’ll also have NES systems to play games and a live performance from Lisa’s Sons. The show is FREE but there are donations accepted; with doors at 8:00.
Alley Kat will host a barn burner, when ZECH brings his intense jams to life. This guy is one of those artists that I think you’re missing out on if you don’t catch soon. He goes hard, he brings fun tunes, and his sets always leave me a little blown away. Eroda One will also be on the show, and again, he’s a guy you should see sooner than later He doesn’t perform much anymore, and his most recent release, “Flex II” from last year is lush and gorgeously crafted with heavy beats and that future bass sound. The trippy and soundscape tunes of Houston’s HAKEEM will perform as well, and it’s good to see the dup back to performing live again. Earlier this year they dropped the single, “Since You’ve Been Gone,” that could easily become your Summer jam. The modular synth sounds of Pfaffenberg will be there to open the show. This guy usually doesn’t play the same set twice, and his live show is intense to say the least. The 21 & up show has doors at 9:00 and a $5.00 cover.
Young Mammals Photo: Courtesy of Artist
The Shop will have the indie rock goodness of Houston’s Young Mammals. If for some strange reason you missed their 2014 album, “Alto Seco,” then you missed one of the best albums of last year. The stripped down sound of it works even better in a live setting, that’s always fun and energetic. Decider will be there as well, while the eighties sounding indie pop of Camera Cult opens the show with doors at 9:00 and a $6.00 cover.
Traffic Premium Lounge will be hosting six of the final twelve comics in Laff Town’s Funniest Semifinals. Three of these six comics that include Victor Tran, Ashton Womack, and Chris Scott will advance to the finals in hopes to win $1,000.00. These shows are audience vote, meaning these comics can’t waste or hopefully utilize the prize money if you aren’t there to vote for them. Laff Town has been doing these contests solely on their own, so it’s definitely something you should attend to help the local scene. The 21 & up show has doors at 9:00, a $5.00 cover, and things start promptly at 10:00.
The Commoner will have a DJ set from Houston rapper, Fat Tony. Fresh from a decent sized tour, Tony is riding high on the popularity of his collaborative single with Asher Roth, “Sushi.” If you’ve never seen Tony drop a DJ set, then you’ve been missing out as he goes hard. The 21 & up show gets going at 10:00 and it’s 100% FREE.
Saturday you can start off at Acadia Bar & Grill when they have the Houston Underground Punk Festival, 3. The all day affair with stages inside and outside will feature a ton of acts from bands like Zipperneck, Giant Kitty, Carter, and many many more. The doors are at 1:00 with music running from 2:00 until 1:00 am. The all ages show has tickets for $7.00 for 21 & up, and $10.00 for under 21.
King Diamond Photo: Courtesy of Artist
You could also trek out to the woodlands for the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival at the Woodlands Pavilion. The show has a bunch of acts, but will feature Slayer. The newly reformed metal gods have dropped three new singles this year, with “Implode” being the most recent. So, these guys are intense live, and honestly, some really nice guys to boot. They’re also insanely energetic performers. Not to be outdone, another metal legend, King Diamond will also be there. His performance at Fun Fun Fun Fest last year blew me away more than how kind he was to me backstage when we chatted about coconut water…seriously. His latest release is a retrospective from his years on Metal Blade Records, last year’s “Dreams Of Horror.” Like I said there are other acts on this thing with gates at 1:00 and tickets between $30.00 and $99.00.
It’s White Linen night in the heights, which means it’s the one time where people from the woodlands feel safe enough to drink inside the loop. Or, the heights has just changed that much. There are plenty of events happening, though the Good Dog Hot Dogs event seems pretty cool. DJ Andrew & DJ Damon Allen will be there as well as a live set from The Clinky Boots. Things start around 5:00, it’s 100% FREE, and it’s all ages.
At Replay on 19th, you can catch the Chase Hamblin lead sounds of Picture Book. The sixties and seventies era rock cover band is always entertaining, and they actually do those songs justice by performing them better than what you might be used to from a cover act. Things run from 7:00 to 10:00, it’s all ages & 100% FREE.
House of Blues will be bringing SOCal’s Social Distortion back to town. Social D has always put on a hell of a show, they treat their fans right, and you’re pretty guaranteed to have a great time when they play. Though their last release was in 2011, this tour is in celebration of the 25th anniversary of their most popular album, “Social Distortion.” The sixties country twang of South Carolina’s Nikki Lane will be on hand as direct support. Last year she dropped a beautiful new album called, “All Or Nothin’,” that sounds like it was made fifty years ago. Colorado’s Drag The River will open the all ages show with doors at 7:00 and tickets from $35.00 to $49.50, though it looks like this show will SELL OUT soon.
Kurt Braunohler Photo: Mandee Johnson
Over in the greenroom at Warehouse Live, one of the funniest comics I’ve interviewed, Kurt Braunohler will bring his smart comedy to town. Braunohler ran through jokes about cop on civilian violence, cat people vs dog people, and pretty much every other topic in between with ease. His latest album, 2013’s “How Do I Land?” is a truly hilarious release, and his Comedy Central webseries “Roustabout” is even funnier. He just taped a new special called “The Love Butt” that should be out soon. The hilarious Houston comic, Dale Cheesman will be on the show as the feature performer. Whether Dale is kidding about his dead grandfather, or growing up in Africa; he’s easily one of our city’s best up and comers going. The self effacing humor of Gabe Bravo will also be on hand, and should leave the audience in stitches after he performs. Up and coming comic, Zach Eaton will open the all ages show with doors at 7:30 and tickets are between $15.00 and $20.00.
Over at Fitzgerald’s they’ll have the beat heavy vibes of LA’s Tokimonsta. Seriously, this woman lives up to her name with some of the best beats going and arrangements that can make anyone want to dance. Last year she dropped the gorgeous album, “Desiderium,” and she’s been blowing audiences away with her crazy live shows. LA’s Lil Texas will open the all ages show with doors at 8:00, and tickets are RSVP only, available here.
The Summit will have the emo core sounds of three piece Football, etc. The band embodies the spirit of first wave emo with a new and fresh sound that’s hard to dislike. Their latest album, this year’s “Disappear” EP is pretty stellar, and they always put on a great live show. The June of 44 meets Joan of Arc sounding math rockers, Tare will be there as direct support. Last year the NOLA four piece put out the complex and intriguing release, “By Proxy” and they should make for a good band to catch live. The rockin’ indie rock of The Wheel Workers will also be on the bill, and hopefully they’ll perform tracks from this year’s “Citizens.” The indie fuzz rock of Houston’s A Sundae Drive will be there to open things up, and hopefully the bulk of the set will come from last year’s “The Senseless & The Sound.” The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and a TBA cover.
Having her first featured show, local comic Liz Padjen will have the Nerd Comedy Show over at Midtown Bar & Grill. Padjen is a pretty funny comic, with more quirks than most, while still being naturally funny with good comedic timing. She has a pretty long list of strong local comics on the bill with her that include Whiskey Brother and joke machine Rob Mungle, the odd premise and incredibly crafted humor of Nick Meriwether, and the always hilarious and charismatic comedy of Ashton Womack. Brian Zeolla will also perform. Padjen will headline the show herself with a raffle for a nerd gift basket at the end of the night too. The 21 & up show will have doors at 8:00 and tickets for a measly $5.00.
Safehouse Sessions will host the energetic and quick flow hip hop of Houston’s Def Perception. I feel like if you haven’t seen Ray A rap, then you must not get what hip hop is all about. In Def, he drops rhymes alongside a full band and Roo on the decks with precision and ease. The six piece is in the middle of some next level things that mean you should catch them sooner than later, and tracks like “All I Do,” should give you an idea of their dope sound. Hip hop duo Guud Money will also be on the bill, and should blow minds with their precise rhyme heavy show. Check out their jam “Let Me Cook” and you’ll hear what I mean. These shows are super private with all of the details to get in here, doors are at 9:00.
Fox Hollow will have this month’s party from Bombon, with special guest from Mexico, Disque DJ. This guy drops some serious tropical jams that you need to get down to just by hearing. The entire Bombon crew will be there on the show that’s FREE with early RSVP, or $5.00 at the door. Doors are at 9:00 and it’s 21 & up.
The semifinals, night two of Laff Town’s Funniest contest will feature another six comics whittled down to three for the finals, over at Traffic Premium Lounge. Comics included in this batch are Scotty Peterson, Zahid Dewji, and Ryan Thauburn. The doors are at 9:30, it’s 21 & up, and the cover is $5.00.
Guilla Photo: Harley Garrett
Sunday you can get your groove on at Fitzgerald’s when they host the hip hop of Queens’ Heems. Former member of the hip hop group Das Racist, Heems has been garnering plenty of attention since going solo in 2008. His latest track, this year’s “Pop Song(Games)” should give you an idea of what you’re in for at the show. The dark rap of Detroit’s ZelooperZ will be there as direct support. Last year he released the bizarre and harsh album, “Help” and he’s known for a crazy live show. The popping off intensity of Houston’s Guilla will be there to open the show up. Backed by iLL Faded on this performance, it feels like Guilla is unstoppable right now; and last year’s “Rap, Trap, & Drums” proves that he’s onto something else. The all ages show has doors at 7:00, and tickets between $15.00 and $22.00.
If you want to laugh, you can make your way downtown to MKT Bar to catch the monthly comedy show brought to you by Beta Theater. Hosted by the award winning humor and all around charismatic comic Barry Laminack, the monthly show is a great way to see some of Houston’s best comics without a cover charge. This month’s show is a doozy loaded with talent from Dale Cheesman, Dusti Rhodes, Jaffer Khan, and Chase Durousseau from the up and coming pool of comics. However, the show will also feature two pro comics with tv credits when Kristen Lindner and Bob Biggerstaff perform as well. The show will be taped live, so come support the comics and get your laugh on camera. The all ages show gets going around 7:00 and as always it’s 100% FREE.
On Tuesday, you can head over to Warehouse Live for the always popular series, The Moth. This edition is called “The Fast Lane,” where storytellers are encouraged to write about living in the fast lane. As always, the five minute prepared tale can be heard by the usually sold out crowd if you play your cards right. The doors are at 6:30, it’s a seated show, and tickets are between $8.00 and $16.00.
Good Old War Photo: Natalie Escobedo
If you’d rather get down, then you could go to House Of Blues to see the indie folk pop of Philly’s Good Old War. The three piece has been getting bigger and bigger since they dropped their first release back in 2008. Since then they’ve added more pop and rock elements to become what they are today. Their latest release, this year’s “Broken Into Better Shape” is more melodic and catchy than their previous works. Nashville alt pop rockers, Elliot Root will be on hand as direct support. The five piece has been going strong since last year, consistently dropping three releases in just two years. This year they just put out “Thoughts From Yesterday,” a four song EP that shows their range. The indie folk rock of Philly’s Pete Hill will open things up, and drop tunes from his latest, “The Bullet Tree” from last year. The all ages show is in the bronze peacock room, with doors at 7:00 and tickets for $19.33.
That’s really about it for this week, but again, not a bad seven days. Plenty to do around town, but no matter what you do or where you go; please do it in the safest way possible…for all of our sakes.
Steven D. Powell