Hold Yourself Up: The Best of The Week
Leon casino, Photo: Lauren Logan
It feels like it’s getting hotter, and it certainly feels warmer than the temperature gauge says. I’ve found lots for you to do this week that’ll make you laugh, make you dance, and I’ve even found lots of free things to do. Here’s how your weekend should be spent.
You can safely kick off your week at Discovery Green with their Sundown At The Grove event, opening night. Every Wednesday between July 9th & September 17th, you’ll be able to enjoy craft beer flights paired with delicious bites. The evening takes place on the patio of The Grove, and you should go just to school those socialite types on your craft brew knowledge. The 4 oz beer flights from the likes of Karbach, Goose Island, Saint Arnold and more can also be swapped for wine if you aren’t a beer person. Things get started at 5:30 and tickets are $15.00, and they include a flight with a customized food pairing.
Of course you can get your groove on over at Fitzgerald’s, when The Polyphonic Spree makes their way back into town on Wednesday. If you’ve never made it out for this coupling of robe wearing geniuses, you’re missing out. I was shocked to see that all twenty plus of them could fit on the stage at Fitz last year, and even more surprised that they played over two hours. Singer Tim Delaughter’s vision of music in his head has always been impressive and inventive with Polyphonic, and their latest offering, “Yes, It’s True” follows that tradition of inventive pop tunes. They never disappoint in a live setting, and this time; they’ve brought an amazing opener in Denton’s Sarah Jaffe. From what I hear, she puts on a pretty great live show, so get there early to check her out. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets range between $22.00 and $27.00.
But, if you’d rather see the likes of a young Paul Shaffer, a then unknown Dana Carvey, and three American comics playing British musicians; then the Spinal Tap Quote A Long at Alamo Drafthouse is for you. I mean, we all know that “these amps go to eleven,” that the band had a drummer “who was killed in a bizarre gardening accident,” and that they released an album where the cover was “so black, it couldn’t be more black.” I could quote all day and still not get enough of this brilliant mock-u-mentary that showcases the genius of Christopher Guest. This all takes place at 7:45 at the Vintage Park location, and the tickets are $9.00.
If you’re in the mood for a drive, then on Thursday you can travel to Scout Bar to check out the prog rock goodness of Houston’s Sunrise & Ammunition. If you haven’t caught these guys live yet, you should definitely do so and quick, as they remind me of what Trail of Dead has been trying to do lately, but in a more relevant way. And, that says a lot, because I love Trail of Dead. Their most recent album, “Tesseract” is all over the map and yet amazing, which is what a prog album should do. They will be joined by the gypsy fueled eclectic sounds of Houston’s Shotgun Funeral, who should do their best in mixing things up as only they can. The evening will be opened by Houston’s Valens, who have that emo core sound that mixes Braid and The Get Up Kids, while still having their own sound. It’s a pretty hefty lineup that should carry a pricey cover, but it’s actually 100% FREE. The doors are at 8:00 and things should get loud around 9:00, and it’s 18 & up.
Back when I was in highschool, I really liked Cro-Mags, so I’m a little blown away that they’re still playing shows. They’ll bring their metal meets horror punk sounds over to Walter’s on Thursday night. I caught these guys about fifteen years ago, and it was pretty loud and chaotic, so I’d guess that that’s how their shows still are. The squealing speed punk of Houston’s Die Young should get things moving, while Black Coffee will remind you of what Circle Jerks would’ve sounded like if they had played faster. The metal slowcore meets punk sounds of !Blunt! will be on board, while the evening will be opened by the speed punk of Clute’s HRA. It’s an all ages show with doors at 8:00 and a $15.00 cover.
If you aren’t in the mood for a sweaty punk show, then you could head over to the IMPROV, to catch the hilarious and in your face antics of Pittsburgh’s Anthony Jeselnik. Jokes about rape, sexual harassment, and pretty much any other topic that seems too taboo are all up his alley. This guy has been on Conan, Jimmy Kimmel, and he’s done a couple of Comedy Central Roasts; and in none of those places was he as funny as he’ll be when you see him live. He might be one of the funniest comics going nowadays. There are shows on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and the tickets run between $25.00 and $35.00. Get there early with 8:00 doors to catch some of Houston’s best new comics open up for him.
It seems as of late, there have been all types of americana shows rolling through town, and Thursday is no different with Austin’s The Band of Heathens at Fitzgerald’s. You have to give it to these guys when it comes to not giving up, when they reformed after three of the original five left a couple of years back. What resulted was the band finding a new way to redefine their sound to that of a more acoustic sounding version of The Black Crowes. By no means is that a bad thing, as their most recent effort, last year’s “Sunday Morning Record” is truly a great listen. The album is full of sweet little ditties and jams that remind you of what Texas’ americana sounds like. They’ll be joined by openers Lukas Nelson & The Promise of The Real, which will make you forget real fast that Lukas is the son of Willie. Lukas has definitely forged his own path with a more bluesy country rock vibe, that is as entertaining to see live as it is to listen to. This should be a pretty entertaining show with doors at 8:00 and tickets ranging between $20.00 and $27.00.
Back in the day, before all these crappy white boy bands, there was the insanely popular sound of New Edition. On Thursday night at NRG Arena, they’ll bring their R&B pop swagger back to Houston, when the original lineup performs. Before Bobby Brown found jail time and substance abuse, he fronted this super group that bred hits like, “Candy Girl,” “Mr. Telephone Man,” and “Cool It Now.” It’ll be interesting to see if they can bring it like they did when they were younger. The soulful sounds of Georgia’s Joe will be getting things started. Joe is seriously an amazing performer who sounds better live than he does on album, at least he was when I saw him. He’ll be performing songs off his latest album, the sultry sounding “Bridges.” You’re going to have to really want to go because the tickets aren’t cheap. If you factor in the $15.00 parking charge with tickets ranging from $54.50 to $125.00; I just hope they’re worth the price. The doors are at 7:00 and the show starts at 8:00.
If you’re a fan of George Lopez, then you can catch him at Bayou Music Center on Friday and Saturday. George has been back touring stand up since his “Lopez Tonight” show was cancelled. I caught George a couple of years back and he was a pretty solid act, so be prepared. The venue website doesn’t list an opener, but I’m sure that’ll change. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets fall between $49.50 and $61.00.
Over at Avant Garden on Friday, they’ll be hosting a fundraiser for Little Joe Washington. For anyone who’s ever caught Little Joe over at Boondocks, or over at Continental; this is something you should at least stop in and drop $5.00 for. Sometimes, we forget how amazing someone is when they play around town all the time, but legends like Little Joe can always use a helping hand. Like many bluesmen before him, Little Joe has always kind of lived on the streets, and he’s our city’s last tie to the era when the ACA studios existed alongside the Peacock label. Mance Lipscomb, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Little Joe all have and had ties to Houston, as well as all being blues legends. The event has an art auction, a meet and greet and signing with Little Joe,as well as many Houston acts who will play before Joe takes the stage. The working man’s sound of Houston’s bluesy Nathan Quick will be onboard, with Shotgun Funeral mixing things up. The punk of Fat Mannequin will also be there, while the eleven piece bar jazz sounds of Howl and the Rougarou also. The alternative blues sounds of Rory Jagdeo will be opening things up. A Donation of any kind, meaning money not a can of pie filling, will get you in the door and things get going around 6:00 and run all night.
At Discovery Green, the Chipotle Green Film Series will be hosting an event at the Anheuser-Busch stage that will feature the film, “A Place At The Table.” The film discusses how hunger affects people, and the event aims for you to bring donations for The Houston Food Bank. As your reward, the soulful sounds of Houston’s The Suffers will be on hand to get your feet moving. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t looking forward to the upcoming full length from Kam and company, and this should be a great way for you to see what I’m talking about when they perform. They will be FREE food from Chipotle, as well as samples of Barefoot Wine & Saint Arnold’s beer. Things get started at 8:00, it’s 100% FREE, it’s all ages; and it’s a great way to help your fellow Houstonians by making a non-perishable donation as well.
If being outdoors isn’t your thing, then you could make it out for Supernova Armando over at Station Theater. If you weren’t aware of this show,there’s a guest monologist who tells his or her tales; and then those tales are acted out through improvisation. This week their guest is John Blomstrom. John was and again is, one of the biggest names in the world of music managers & music agents ever. He’s worked with the likes of Iggy Pop, The Police, The Ramones, and even the late Stevie Ray Vaughn to name a few. His tales will most certainly be epic and grandiose, and worth making it our for. The doors are at 8:10, things start at 8:30, and the cover is a measly $6.00.
On Friday over at Rudyard’s, you can catch one of Houston’s most eclectic, yet best kept secrets when Hearts of Animals performs. For those of you unfamiliar, Hearts is basically a one person act coming from the mind of vocalist Mlee Marie, while sometimes backed by other musicians. Usually it’s just her, playing melodies via electric guitar, backed by a drum machine, and her immense set of pipes singing sweet notes in the most endearing way possible. The latest Hearts of Animals album, the recently released “Another Mutation” is another example of one woman’s heart left on the page, in the most melodic way possible. At this show, she’ll be backed by members of The Linus Pauling Quartet. Things will certainly go well, when Houston’s Young Mammals play. I think we’re all eager to hear the album they’ll drop on us later this year. I mean, I don’t think you can not like these guys with their lushly landscaped guitar sound atop a pop rock melody that feels more indie than major label. There are times I’ve seen them, and wondered how many guitar pedals does it take to remind me of Bauhaus and Superchunk at the same time. Getting things started, is one of Houston’s most creative and electrifying acts, LIMB. James is seriously an electronica wizard, who seriously blew me away at the FPSF after party this year. When you see what new tricks he has up his sleeve, you’ll realize why he’s on this show, as he’s pretty damn amazing to see live. The doors are at 9:00, things get going at 10:00, and it’s 100% FREE. Sorry kids, but you have to be 21 to see this show.
At Beta Theater, you can catch their monthly Triple Header show, also on Friday night. The show is always a great mix of Houston’s funniest comics doing twenty minute sets each, and as always, it’s hosted by the hilarious Bob Morrissey. This month’s show will feature Warren Wright, who has recently been on an upswing of brilliant bits on everything from living with a grandparent to the rules of Waffle House. You can also catch Ty Mahany, one of our city’s most talented an irreverent performers who will make you laugh as he discusses topics on how much of a jerk his kid is, and beyond. Of course, with the side splitting humor of Nia De-Bose also performing, you’ll find out real fast why almost every comic in Houston looks to her for inspiration. There are two shows, one at 7:00 and one at 10:00, and both carry the “pay what you can” policy that Beta shows are known for. I will warn you, these shows have filled the tiny space at Beta pretty quickly, so you might want to grab your tickets in advance for the BYOB show.
Downstairs at Fitzgerald’s, you can catch the soft voiced sounds of Minnesota’s Jeremy Messersmith. This guy goes far beyond the singer/songwriter vibe that’s been placed on him, and his sound is like if John Darnielle did a solo tour. His most recent release, this year’s “Heart Murmurs” has a bit more of an electric guitar feel, but it’s still just as beautiful and pop oriented as his previous works. If you’ve been paying attention, then you must know that openers, Houston’s Second Lovers are worth making it there early for. I can’t convey how much I liked their 2012 album, “Wishers, Dreamer, and Liars,” just like I can’t convey how much I adored their release last year, “New Mexico.” Since then, this americana group has grown into a six piece affair, and they’re more diverse than ever with the adding of vocalist Chelsea Renee. In other words, get there early to check them out as I’m sure you’ll be blown away by them. The doors are at 8:00, the show is all ages, and the tickets fall between $12.00 and $16.00.
If you’re like me, you have fond teenage memories of listening to Black Flag while smoking cigarettes in your best friend’s garage. On Friday, what’s being called Black Flag nowadays will be playing over at House of Blues. I should say that I seriously love pro skater Mike Vallely, I own two of his Elephant Brand boards, and he’s an inspiration in the world of skateboarding. However, I don’t really know why he thinks he’s a great singer, much less that he should be fronting a classic punk rock outfit, but apparently he is. In keeping with the tradition of total control, Greg Ginn’s experimental group HOR will also be on the bill. Brooklyn’s noisy two piece, Cinema Cinema will be getting things started, and will be the most punk thing at this show. The doors are at 8:00, it’s all ages, and the tickets are $20.00.
On Saturday, you can catch one of the best bands Austin has to offer, when Rudyard’s will play host to Austin’s Pong. It was recently pointed out to me, that even though these guys formed from what was left after Ed Hall broke up; that Pong has existed way longer than Ed Hall ever did. Donning matching outfits while sounding like what DEVO would sound like if they had stayed a little closer to their punk beginnings, Pong is easily one of the most entertaining bands I’ve ever witnessed live. You should seriously see these guys sooner than later, as they never seem to disappoint with their wide array of lights and crazy live show, and they rarely make it down to Houston. Opening things up, will be Houston’s psych rockers, The Linus Pauling Quartet. I’ll be honest, when I was younger, I didn’t appreciate these guys as much as I do now. Now, that there are so many mediocre bands who are riding the recent psych wave, it’s nice to have a true psych band along the lines of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, here in Houston. Like all shows at Rudz, this is a 21 and up show, with doors at 9:00 and a TBA cover.
At Beta Theater on Saturday, you can see Mills McCoin in his Autobiographical Neurotic Asphyxiation show. The one man affair should be filled with tales of Mills’ eclectic and intriguing world, while carrying plenty of mishaps and laughs. It’s a one night showing, which means that with the list of friends he has, you might want to get there early, as the room at Beta fills up quickly. The doors are at 9:30, it’s BYOB, and it’ll get going around 10:00 with the pay what you can policy.
If for some strange reason, you missed that epic show for Grace Note last week, then there’s a good chance you missed Only Beast and their energetic performance. Well, lucky for you, they’ll be performing at Notsuoh on Saturday night. If I had to put my finger on their sound, I’d say it’s like if Corin Tucker sang for Unwound; which is basically saying go see them as soon as you can. They have this magnetic energy that’s only magnified by singer Danielle Renee’s vocals that power through their bombastic rhythm section; only to have guitar careen it’s way through it all. They’ll be joined by Doomstress Alexis of Project Armageddon’s new two piece act, Vendetta Diabolique. It’ll sound crazy, but from what I heard, Vendetta kind of sounds like if PJ Harvey sang at a Blondie type of pace with a metal edge. It’s much better than I can describe, and definitely worth catching live. The all girrrl punk rock of Giant Kitty will open things up with their L-7 meets Bikini Kill sound. I’ll tell you that I’m pretty sure Giant Kitty made my ears pop when I saw them play live, and they have this crazy stage presence that doesn’t occur nowadays, as often as it should. If you’re lucky, you catch their truly amazing cover of Devo’s “Gates of Steel.” The doors are at 8:00 ish, the show gets going around 9:00, and it’s 100% FREE.
If you’re in the mood for some of that second wave emo sound, then you should soldier on over to Fitzgerald’s upstairs for Thelastplaceyoulook. I think we sometimes forget that these guys are from our city, and I’m sure none of us forget how strong of a live presence these guys have. Their recently released E.P., “Rip It Out” follows in their tradition of solid releases, and it should be a treat to see performed live. Of course, the show will only be strengthened when the melodic chaos of Another Run on the bill. I mean, whether it’s Adrian’s vocals, or Bob’s antics, I think by now we all know that these guys can tear it up when they perform. Houston’s The Soapbox Revolution will be onboard as well, with their Jimmy Eat World meets Say Anything sound. The Mudvayne sounding The Obvious from Abilene will also be playing, with Justin Nava of Thelastplaceyoulook opening things with a solo acoustic set. This is a pretty hefty line up that looks like a really fun show. The doors are at 7:00 and the tickets range between $10.00 and $15.00.
Out at Scout Bar, you can catch the hip hop sounds of Curren$y. I think if you’ve seen Curren$y perform, then you already realize that he’s a force to be reckoned with in the hip hop community. If you haven’t seen him before, then get ready for a pretty stellar performance. His most recent release, “The Stoned Immaculate” lives up to it’s name with dope beats and a pretty killer mix of guest vocals and samples. New Mexico’s lyricist extraordinaire, C. West will also be there to drop his slower rhyme flow. West has that same weed flow as Curren$y, so he’s a great fit for the show. Since there’s like five acts called High Rollaz going nowadays, I’m going out on a limb to say it might be the one from Baltimore, but I’m not 100 percent sure on that. Albuquerque’s Outpatient will open things up with a DJ set from Phat Tony. The doors are at 8:00 and it’s an 18 & up show with tickets from $21.00 to $25.00. There’s also some bizarre $50.00 meet and greet VIP party, that for some reason doesn’t include admission to the show.
If driving to Clear Lake isn’t your plan, then over at Warehouse Live you can catch Florida’s own, Plies. His most recent release, has been blowing up, like most of his drops. Plies is known for a pretty crazy live show, so don’t be shocked if it’s an insane performance stacked with tons of guests. Plies has done work with T Pain, Lil Boosie, and Akon, and he should be worth making it out for. The show doesn’t appear to have an opener, but that usually changes closer to show time. The doors are at 9:30 and the tickets are a little pricey at $40.00 to $75.00.
If you just wanna’ dance until you pass out, you can head over to Mango’s for the Psych’d In Space City II party. The show will feature all kinds of visuals as well as some serious heavy hitting DJ’s and trippy bands. Things get started with a trippy set from Houston’s psych funk sounding Space Villains*, followed by a set from the jazzy and impromptu jammed sounds of Yakul. Kona FM will follow and then a performance from rising and talented trip hop artist Billy Black. The spaced out sounds of DJ Hi$to will be sure to drop some crazy beats while Houston’s 3m Spliff will drop some sick beats. MLCBR will wow everyone with crazy experimental sounds, only to have the evening capped off by a surprise guest DJ. The show is all ages, the doors are at 9:00, and the tickets are pretty cheap ranging from $3.33 to $7.00.
On Sunday, I’d strongly recommend that you head over to the Museum of Fine Arts’ Law Building, for a special screening of the classic film “Remains of the Day.” This could easily register as one of Sir Anthony Hopkins’ greatest works, and it’s a great way to beat the Summer heat. The showtime is at 5:00 and the tickets are $9.00.
It’s just another week packed full of great music, great art, and great laughs here in Houston. Make sure you make it out while there’s plenty to do at night, before the Houston heat kills us all in the daytime.