Gonna’ Raise Hell: The Best of The Week
Leon casino, Photo: Artist
It looks like we’re in the home stretch where we are going to see 2015 sooner than later. You may notice some changes here, and that will continue into the new year. If you’re an artist, and I don’t put your event in here, you can always place your event on the FPH event page, here. It’s so simple that pretty much anyone can do it. That aside, this is a pretty good week so close to NYE. While you dread the impending madness that’s the holidays, here’s where your “quality time” with loved ones can go this week.
Wednesday, you have no reason, not to go see the amazing live show that is Cheap Trick at House of Blues. I say that, but the show is sold out. Though I’m 97% sure that longtime smoking drummer Bun E. Carlos won’t be there, the hits alone are worth attempting to finagle tickets at the door. “Surrender,” “Dream Police,” “I Want You To Want Me,” for starters should be worth the attempt. Before you turn your nose up at these legends, remember that their guitarist, Rick Nielsen has not only inspired some of your favorite guitarists; but that he also owns seven of the first thirteen Gibson Explorers ever made. Maybe you’ll get to see one of them or several of the custom made guitars that he owns; which is part of a guitar that’s as big as Jay Leno’s car collection. They’re here in support of being pretty damn great, but their last album, 2009’s “The Latest” might also be why. There’s no opener, the doors are at 7:00, and you might be able to grab tickets at the door.
Starting off Thursday, one of Houston’s best comics Bob Biggerstaff will be hosting another “Chilitime” show over at Improv. Bob might be one of the strongest comics you can catch in this town that has a ton of TV credits. He’s a shockingly accessible guy for someone who’s been on “Last Comic Standing” twice, and who has been on Comedy Central and HBO. His podcast, “Enjoy Guys” is a laugh a second, especially when he drops commentary in about an interview when it goes South. He’ll have three of Houston’s better “new class” comics on the show as well. John Nguyen just won Laff Town’s funniest, he’s constantly taking steps to hit the next level, and he’s one of the most consistently funny guys in town. Matt Han’s observational style will also be on hand, as well as everyone’s favorite one liner comic, Gabe Bravo. The show is 18 & up, the doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are a reasonably priced $10.00.
Warehouse Live has a pretty good one as well, when they host the hip hop of Atlanta’s Young Thug. If you follow hip hop, then you should know Young Thug. After a successful run of mixtapes with guest spots from some pretty heavy hitters; Thug broke out last year and has been on fire ever since. His latest, “Brick Squad,” has guest spots from the likes of Gucci Mane and Lil’ Silk. The show is all ages, and the doors are at 9:00 with tickets ranging between $40.00 to $75.00; the latter being a special VIP ticket that is some type of private area and that’s it.
If you’re up for a drive, then Dosey Doe’s Music Cafe in the Woodlands will be having a true Texas original, with Carolyn Wonderland. Back in the day, you could catch Wonderland’s mix of hippie style and bluesy growl for almost nothing over at Last Concert. Now, Wonderland will be out in the burbs, but her mix of gospel, zydeco, and soul hasn’t lost its lustre. Playing with a full band, the show has doors at 8:30 and the tickets are $24.00.
If you can’t get into the show at Improv, then you can catch one of Houston’s hometown heroes at Joke Joint Comedy Showcase; when Sheng Wang returns. Wang seems to just get bigger with every passing year, and 2014 was no different. He’s been on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, as well as John’s Oliver’s Stand up show and Comedy Central. He’ll have another great comic on the show with him, France’s Armando Anto. Like with all of the shows at Joke Joint, one of Houston’s better up and coming comics will perform the host duties. There’s one show on Thursday, and two on Friday and Saturday. The Thursday show has doors at 8:00, with the Friday and Saturday shows having doors at 8:00 and 10:30; where all carry a ticket price of $16.00.
You’ve got some crazy decisions to make on Friday, starting off with the Mistletoe on the Go event over at Discovery Green. Starting at 7:00 am and running to 11:00 pm, Texas’ biggest mistletoe ball will be making an appearance in the park. Whether your kiss beneath it is with your longtime sweetie or someone you just met; it’s a one time chance to drop some PDA sponsored by the Houston Downtown Management District.
There are several shows over at Warehouse Live, and the best bet is hard to say. Over in the Greenroom, Mark Drew will be having his album release party. Drew, who dropped his “Sleepwalking Through Reality” within the last couple of weeks, represents this “new class” of Houston hip hop that’s onto something that’s fresh and inventive. The album has collabs with Guilla, Roosh Williams, and Brian Angel as well as others; and is definitely one that every Houstonian should own. Houston’s hard working and heavy hitting Raj The Rapper will be on as direct support. Raj just dropped a new single called, “Never Turn Around” where he reps hard for this new school of hip hop. Another hot rapper, Fred Donato will be on hand; while the Spanish rap of Dinero will open the show up. The doors are at 8:00, the show is all ages, and the tickets are between $10.00 and $15.00.
In the Ballroom at Warehouse, Red Bull will be hosting their first ever show in conjunction with their Sound Select series here in Houston, by bringing the legendary soul of Lee Fields & The Expressions. On his own, Fields made his mark in the seventies by recording hard hitting funk albums for smaller labels. His ties to James Brown earned him the nickname “Little JB,” while his return to music in the nineties was never made out as triumphant as it truly was. Wuthe The Expressions, Fields has hit his stride and had released an album a year since 2012. His 2014 release, “Emma Jean” takes you back to a time when soul and funk were king; and artists like Fields were regarded as the crown princes of the era. The soulful swagger of Houston’s The Suffers will be on the bill as direct support. I think we’re all eagerly waiting for the upcoming EP from this band of musical impresarios that’s due early next year; and the sounds of leader Kam Franklin will make the show that much more entertaining. Capping off a pretty stellar 2014, The Tontons will open things up. If you somehow missed their most recent album, “Make Out King and Other Stories of Love,” then you’re doing yourself a disservice. The doors are at 8:00, the show is 18 & up, and the tickets are FREE with RSVP ONLY, available here.
Traffic Premium Lounge will host a comedy show that has a pretty great list of Houston comics performing. The show, which will be headlined by Houston’s resident comedy legend Andy Huggins; is a great way to see some of Houston’s best in a comfortable spot. Huggins was one of the “Outlaw Comics,” he was a close friend to Bill Hicks, and he’s easily a gem in the Houston comedy scene. The observational and often food based comedy of Owen Dunn will be on the bill as well. Dunn has started to make a name for himself by performing regularly on shows at Houston’s Improv, while making food review segments on Youtube. Joining these two, will be the return of Houston’s Sarah Tollemache. A Houston native, Tollemache has made a name for herself by constantly performing all over and the Vooza Web Series, and her time away from Houston has made her funnier than most who leave here. The hilarious and off the cuff humor of Dale Cheesman will perform the hosting duties. The whole evening is presented by Laff Town Comedy, the doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are $10.00.
Fitzgerald’s has a pretty epic metal fest/show that’s the first of a three night run that starts there on Friday night, and ends at Warehouse Live on Sunday. The End Of The World Fest Friday night show has a huge cast of bands that’s headlined by Houston’s eighties metal act Helstar. Depending what circle you traveled in, Helstar was kind of the best kept secret in metal back when they started. Since then, the band has soldiered on by releasing albums fairly regularly. Their latest, this year’s “This Wicked Nest” continues their tradition of crunchy riffs and epic solos. To prove that this lineup is serious, the following bands are also scheduled to appear. Mothership, Relayer, The Blood Royale, Apocalyptic, Toxic Steel, Bowel, Oceans of Slumber, Project Armageddon, The Dirty Seeds, The Scourge, and Crusher. The craziest part of all of this is that this is just the Friday night lineup. The Saturday show is headlined by The Sword and Deadhorse, and the Sunday show at Warehouse Live is headlined by Down and Orange Goblin. The shows are all ages and the doors are at 4:00 on Friday and Saturday, with doors at 7:00 on Sunday. Tickets are between $15.00 and $17.00 on Friday and Saturday, between $25.00 and $30.00 on Sunday, or $55.00 for all three.
If you ever wanted to see the genius behind Sammy Award nominees, Feelings; then Friday night at Rudyard’s may be your last chance for a while. The duo made up of Amy Birkhead and Antoine Culbreath might have one of the strongest chemistries you’ll see with a Houston based sketch comedy troupe. I say that it’s one of the last times for a while, because Birkhead is moving to the big apple; and this is your last chance to catch them before she embarks on a new phase in her life. The show, produced by Beta Theater, is a nice way to see her off in style; and one of those shows that everyone should make it out for. The 21 & up show has doors at 6:30, and the tickets are a measly $5.00.
Alley Kat has an interesting show, when The Demonic Hen will have their DVD/CD/Cookbook release party…seriously. According to the show details, the show will have a vegetarian spread, and a performance by a band that I can only describe as what it might feel like to watch the Fruit of The Loom characters form a band. The show will also have the likes of Houston’s Hog Leg as direct support. Hog Leg has members of Poor Dumb Bastards, Dixie Waste, and Born Again Virgins, so when I say that they’re sleazy and old school rock, that should accurately describe their sound. Nathan Quick will also be there with a full backing band in tow. Quick dropped an album earlier this year called “The Mile” where he performs some of the most straightforward tunes you’ll hear. For me he’s like if you took the drive behind Warren Zevon, the songwriting skills of Tom Waits, and the performance style of John Prine; and then put them all together. The Panhandlers will open things up with doors at 8:00 and a $5.00 cover.
Walters will also have a pretty great show when they have the electro pop of Austin’s The Sour Notes in town. This five piece makes the kind of music that’s like a mix of modern day Spoon, The New Pornigraphers, and nineties Brit pop; meaning that you might just dance when they perform. Their latest album, this year’s “Do What May” was a shining beacon in the vast landscape of Austin’s overpopulated music scene. They’ll have the slow and spacey sounds of Wonderbitch here with them. These Austinites feel like what might happen if you grew up on Lionel Ritchie if he was the singer in a Pink Floyd cover band that also likes Chromeo. The ethereal and trippy sounds of Houston’s Glass The Sky will also be on the show. This band plays a mishmash of moody slow core and psych pop. They recently dropped a song called “TBD” that’s a good way to gauge their sound. The Gulf Coast alterna pop of Deep Cuts will also perform, and they’re energetic live show is always a tough one to follow. This year, they released an EP called “Love Grows” that showcased how the band grew into their own thing without any compromise. Whit will open things up with their mix of keys and guitar that’s sometimes chaotic, but always entertaining. The doors are at 8:00, it’s an all ages show, and the cover is $10.00.
You can start your Saturday off with the Yip Deceiver show over at Walters. The Atlanta based duo featuring two members from Of Montreal, have made a name for themselves with their synth pop sound. Their debut album, last year’s “Medallius” was one of those albums that just made you move with its poppy sounds and bass filled rhythms. They’ll be joined by the stellar and often undervalued sounds from Houston’s Bang Bangz. Earlier this year they dropped a four song live album called “En Vivo” that showcases how diverse and rich their electronic based sound really is. Children Of Pop will also be there to wow everyone with their pop based electronica. Possibly the most prolific act going in Houston right now, these guys drop songs like most people think of them, and it feels like that won’t stop anytime soon either. Opening things up, Wild Moccasins will perform a DJ set, which will probably be pretty cool to see how that plays out. The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are between $8.00 and $10.00.
Warehouse Live has two shows, either of which make it difficult to choose which to attend. The first is over in the Ballroom, with TheLastPlaceYouLook 5th Annual Holiday Bash. The show, headlined by Houston’s TheLastPlaceYouLook, has become a yearly event where the band rewards our city with a great live show as well as some other great bands all in one night. Recently, I reviewed TheLastPlaceYouLook’s EP, “Rip It Out,” and found that the transitional phase that the band is in comes off better than most bands who grow and change their sound. The alterna rock of Houston’s Lost Element will be on the show in the direct support slot. These guys dropped an album in 2012 called “Back Again” that’s like a mix of Anberlin and Sevendust, but with more pop elements. The Texas rock of Hardy & Co will also be there, while the pop rock duo of Fox & Cats will also perform. I feel like if there’s one band on this bill to watch, it’s Fox & Cats. Their 2013 EP, “This Is Your Brain On Love” is pretty great; but their live show where Nicole beats the hell out of a kit while Josh sings and plays guitar is too great to miss. The pop rock of Spencer Fort opens things up. The show is all ages, the doors are at 7:00, and the tickets are between $10.00 and $15.00.
Over in the Studio, Warehouse will have the International ambassador of partying, Andrew WK. Performing solo, WK is like a one man party machine who really brings an “a game” when he performs solo. You probably remember him by his songs, “Party Hard,” “It’s Time To Party,” and “We Party(You Shout).” The party won’t just be with WK, as Houston’s We Were Wolves will be there to make ears bleed while they play with amps on 11. Last year this four piece dropped a beer fueled album of mayhem and rock n’ roll energy called “Wolf House,” that sounds like a party on every track. The pop rock of Catch Fever will also be there to balance out the bill. This three piece might be one of the best bands from Houston that you aren’t listening to; and their 2014 album “Shiny Eyes” sets them apart from everyone else in town. The energetic pop punk of Houston’s Carter will open things up with their Bad Religion meets Pennywise sound. The doors are at 7:00, the tickets are between $13.00 and $16.00, and the show is all ages.
Natachee’s Supper N’ Punch will have a special one night only performance from Chase Hamblin & The Roustabouts. If you were unaware, Hamblin might be one of Houston’s best songwriters going, and from the newer things he’s let me hear; it doesn’t sound like that’ll change anytime soon. Their 2013 album, “Vaudeville” is like a mix of The Beatles, Jeff Buckley, and “Modern Life Is Rubbish” era Blur. The show is to last no less than 90 minutes, the doors are at 9:00, and the tickets are a miniscule $5.00 with reserved seating available.
Monday, you can head over to Boondocks for a night of comedy with the Is It Christmas Yet-i? show. The evening, which will be hosted by Kiki Maroon, will feature comedy from the likes of LA’s hilarious Matt Ingebretson, Houston’s talented and brilliant Sarah Tollemache, and Katy’s dark humored genius, Sean Rouse. The show will also have comedy from Gabe Bravo, Jaffer Khan, and Brian Zeolla; with music from Leckie. The 21 & up show will have doors at 10:00 and a $5.00 cover charge.
If you’re up for a drive, then you can trek out to Tomball to catch Two Tons of Steel out at Main Street Crossing. These San Antonio natives have been honkin’ the tonk for a good while, and they’re always a great band to see live. Their 2013 album, “Unraveled” was one of their best to date; and they have a lengthy back catalog to pull from at their shows. The all ages show doesn’t appear to have an opener, but the doors are at 8:00 and the tickets are $15.00 to $22.00.
Tuesday, Rudyard’s will host Beta Theater’s Holiday Thing show. The night will be filled with a crazy lineup of music, readings, improv, sketch, and stand-up. The sketch duo of Feelings will host the night that will have a shadow puppet performance of “The Mousehole Cat” by The Shadow People, a very special Holiday reading from Ty Mahany, and holiday music from The Mustn’ts. Of course there will also be regular music from Lisa’s Sons, Nick Meriwether as Santa Claus, and stand-up comedy from Ashton Womack, Lena Silva, Zach Dickson, Victor Tran, and Mickey Housley. The doors are at 7:00, the show is 21 & up, and the tickets are $10.00.
That’s pretty much it, but not bad for this close to two major holidays. Keep in mind that this time of year brings out stupidity in many, so stay safe and mindful of others this week.