Jus Coolin: The Best of The Week
I think we can all agree that the Summer heat is definitely here, and the heat we felt two months ago wasn’t actually the definition of hot. If you’re attempting to navigate through all of that around the Houston streets, then you have plenty of entertainment options in the coming week. Those who rep Houston on the daily like Devin The Dude pictured above, will be gracing a stage here this week, while many others will be rolling through as well. Here’s how to spend this week.
Wednesday you could start off the week over at Fitzgerald’s, when Bayside’s Anthony Raneri pops in to drop a solo set. Funny enough, I’m not a big fan of Bayside, but I actually like Raneri’s solo stuff. He’s here in support of this year’s album, “Sorry State of Mind,” where you get to hear a different side of him that feels more emotive than Bayside. The sweetly voiced sounds of Brooklyn’s Laura Stevenson will be there as direct support. Two years ago, Stevenson dropped one of my favorite releases of that year, “Wheel,” and she’s pretty amazeballs live. LA DIY queen, Allison Weiss will be there as opener, and will bring her sugary indie pop to life. Check out her 2013 album “Say What You Mean” and then realize that there’s better stuff in Cali than you thought. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $12.00 and $16.00.
Warehouse Live will have the up and coming California hip hop of Baeza in the studio. Producer, artist, clothing company owner, Baeza is definitely on the rise in the hip hop world. His recently released album, “The Man” has been getting praise while it rises up the charts. The show doesn’t have openers listed, which probably means that there will be 20 separate openers on the bill, but who knows. The doors are at 7:30, and the all ages show has tickets between $18.00 and $45.00 for a VIP option, which includes a meet & greet.
Robbie Fulks Photo: Jim Harrington
Thursday you could find yourself getting down over at Mucky Duck, when the talented guitar work of Robbie Fulks and Redd Volkaert grace the intimate stage. I would guess that you would have heard about Fulks before with write ups in The New York Times, praise from the bulk of the alt country world, and tons of acclaim for his organic sound. His latest album, the Steve Albini produced “Gone Away Backward” from 2013 is easily him at his recent best. But, that being said, you might not know Volkaert. Redd is the most impressive guitarist I’ve ever seen perform, and when I first saw him I realized how bad I was at guitar. That Carl Perkins “chicken pickin” sound is what he’s best at, and he plays like a chubby white Hendrix, without a pick. The lead guitarist for Merle Haggard, Redd has played with Dale Watson, Ray Price, and many more. His 2014 album “For The Ladies” is like taking the best of every country guitar sound and putting it on one album. If you think you know about country music, then you need to witness this show. The doors are at 7:00, and tickets are between $25.00 and $27.00.
If you’re not ready to do the country thing,then you could trek down to Scout Bar to catch the electronica chill wave of Houston’s Rex Hudson. Part of the Wonky Power Records family, Hudson is set to drop an EP sometime this year. His music is part chillwave and part eighties synth, but sounds like fun either way. He’ll have the electronica duo, The Radio Broadcast on the bill with him, as well as Amygdala Hijacked. The all ages show will get opened by the rock four piece American Martens. The doors are at 7:00 and the tickets are between $5.00 and $8.00.
Over at Fitzgerald’s they’ll have the singer songwriter tunes of Seattle’s Rocky Votolato. Originally from south of Dallas, Votolato has been compared to Elliott Smith and Jeff Buckley. His latest release, this year’s “Kindred Spirit” shows a more rockin’ side of the performer. He has a pretty strong bout of direct support, with Dave Hause going on prior. Hause is best known as lead singer for the Philly based band, The Loved Ones. His solo work is pretty strong, and his most recent was 2013’s “Devour.” Leader of Florida’s Fake Problems, Chris Farren will be on hand to open the show. Farren just dropped a pretty great release, “You Be Me For A While,” with Tim Kasher, and should be a great opener. The all ages show downstairs has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $12.00 and $16.00.
Warehouse Live will be hosting the upcoming and popular hip hop of Snow Tha Product. The California native who resides in Texas, has been popping off lately, and garnering tons of attention in the meantime. The female MC has been dropping singles at a crazy pace, and her latest, “Hola” shows her intense mic skills. LA hip hop duo and jerk movement pushers, Audio Push will be on hand to bring their dance heavy sounds to life. These guys are blowing up, and they’re known for a nutty live show. Their latest release, “Quick Fast” feat. Wale has been grabbing eyes and ears. The all ages show in the studio will have doors at 8:00 and tickets between $20.00 and $25.00.
Out at the Joke Joint Comedy Showcase, Hawaii native and all around funny man, John Bush will be in town for the weekend. Bush is a natural born storytelling comic, and his stories are hilarious as he insults the crowd in the funniest way possible. He’s been on Conan, HBO, and Comedy Central, as well as opening for a ton of heavy hitting comics. His latest album, this year’s “Comedy Night” is pretty damn funny, and proves his comedic powers. Featuring on the show, is one of Houston’s best comics and best kept secrets, Alan Adams. I haven’t met one comic who wouldn’t call Adams one of the best joke writers going, and it may have to do with the fact that he made a living off of doing just that for a big name comic. As usual, one of Houston’s better up and coming comics will perform the duties of host on the shows. There’s one performance on Thursday at 8:00, and two on Friday and Saturday at 8:00 and 10:30, and all carry a $16.00 ticket price.
Rudyard’s will have a rockin’ evening on the books, when they host the bluesy sounds of Houston’s Tribe Hill. The four piece has this SRV meets Lenny Kravitz kind of sound, with all of the swagger that comes with it. They’ll be joined by the gritty guitar heavy jams of one man band, JVS Reel. This guy embodies that mix of Scott H Biram and Jimmy Reed while still having his own sound, and a one man band is always a trip to catch perform live. AP Stark of The Woodlands will be on the bill as well, bringing his Ben Kweller meets Dirty Projectors vibe to those in attendance. The cool thing about this guy is that he plays his heart out whether or not he’s in front of fifty people or five. Spring’s Grand Antler Teeth will be there to open the 21 & up show, with doors at 8:00 and an $8.00 cover.
Out at Dosey Doe’s Coffee Shop in Conroe, the popular country sounds of East Texas’ JB and The Moonshine Band will be in town if you’re up for a drive. These guys have had a Billboard chart topper, and they honestly remind me more of Cracker than they do Hank Williams, but that might just be me. Their latest release, this year’s “MIxtape” has been grabbing attention and they’re supposed to be impeccable artists in a live setting. The doors are at 8:30 and the tickets are $15.00.
Friday you have a ton of options starting off over at Hard Rock Cafe for their Happy Hour sponsored by Saint Arnold’s, and catch Houston’s Chase Hamblin drop an intimate and acoustic set. Chase is in the top five best Houston songwriters, he has an incredible ear and penchant for song craft, and he’s always hella’ entertaining. His latest single, this year’s “Way Back” just proves that he’s always got his A game going. Things start at 5:00 and run until about 7:00, and it’s 100% FREE.
Sam Smith Photo: Splash
You could also make it over to Toyota Center, for the massively popular sounds of the UK’s Sam Smith. Smith got his first taste of success from his use of vocals on a Disclosure track, and since he’s done collabs with Mary J Blige, A$ap Rocky, John Legend, and many more. The soulful singer has grabbed four Grammys at once, and still keeps going strong. His latest releases, this year’s singles “Omen” with Disclosure & “Lay Me Down” with legend have been climbing the charts, and he’s supposed to be an amazing force to see live. There’s no word of an opener, but I’m sure there’s one of some sort. The doors are at 7:00 and tickets are between $35.00 and $89.50.
Metz Photo: Eric Hess
Downstairs at Fitzgerald’s you can catch the intense noise punk sounds of Toronto’s Metz. This three piece has been going hard since 2008, and I’ve never seen them disappoint on a live set. Like a mix of Wire, Jesus Lizard, and Brainiac, they go hard every time and leave you shaking afterwards. Their latest album, “II” from this year is their best to date, and you’re foolish to miss them perform. NYC’s Big Ups will be there to drop their nerdcore sounds to the bill as direct support. The four piece is known to throw down when they play live, and their 2014 full length “Eighteen Hours of Static” is pretty damn great. Opening things up is hometown favorites and a party on very stage they appear on, We Were Wolves. Since releasing “Wolf House” in 2013, these guys replaced a founding member and didn’t lose a beat, they grabbed a PR rep and an agent, and they’ve still kept their amps on 11. Adding to their changes, they tapped famed producer Chris “Frenchie” Smith and dropped an EP this year called “Ruin Your Weekend” where they tackled newsounds and grew as a whole without losing their core. The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and tickets are between $12.00 & $16.00.
Alley Kat will be bringing the electronica folk sounds of TOW3RS to town. The North Carolina based artist will be heading to Houston for what I believe is his first time here. He’s touring in support of his latest release, last year’s “TL;DR” and he should make for an intriguing live show. Houston’s newest ambassador of chillwave, -Us. will be there to open things up, and perform songs from last year’s “V.XXVII.IX.” The 21 & up show has doors at 8:00 and a $5.00 cover.
Bayou Music Center now called Revention Music Center will be bringing the popular tunes of Irish singer/songwriter, Damien Rice to town. Rice has been a big deal since his old band Juniper blew up in the late nineties. Since going solo, he’s had plenty of chart toppers, and his latest album, “My Favourite Faded Fantasy” from last year has gotten huge. There’s no word of an opener, but the doors are at 8:00 and tickets are between $46.04 and $54.08.
D&W Lounge will be hosting an evening full of country twang, when Houston’s Quiet Morning & the Calamity perform. This time last year they dropped the part Rhett Miller and part Uncle Tupelo sounding album, “Son of the Sad Soul,” and they’ve been gaining steam with every energetic performance. The band plans on playing a long ended set and going to midnight or after on the show with doors at 9:00 and a 100% FREE cover.
At Rudyard’s they’ll be having the newly reformed sounds of Houston’s Giant Kitty. When the band was originally a three piece, they were like a steamroller of energy. Now that they’re a four piece, who knows what kind of energy they’ll bring to a show. They’ll have the metal of Houston’s Supergrave as direct support, which means that there should be plenty of energy between both acts. The intense and experimental thrash sounds of MOTHS will open things up, and possibly alter some minds on the 21 & up show with doors at 10:00 and an $8.00 cover.
Over at MKT Bar, Beta Theater will be hosting the 2015 Beta Bracket Comedy Competition. This year the twelve week and 40 comic engagement will see a slew of Houston and Texas comedians attempt to win over friends and coworkers, to get them out for their vote. Since it’s an audience vote, this year Beta will award best audience members with concert tickets and other prizes. In the first year, Bob Morrissey won, last year Ashton Womack won, and this year it can be anyone’s game. The prize money is crazy this time at $3,000.00 for 1st place, $750.00 for 2nd place, and $250.00 for third, making it the highest payout competition in Texas. Things get started at 10:00, it’ll be hosted by some of Houston’s best comics over the course of the event, and it’s all ages & 100% FREE.
Saturday you can kick the day off over at Silver Street Studios, when they have the Lone Star Beer Texas Heritage Festival: Houston. Besides possibly the longest named event this week, the event will have acts like Old 97’s, The Black Angels, Grupo Fantasma, Dale Watson, and many more. It’s also a good chance for you to attend an event put on by the group that’ll be taking over the booking duties at Fitzgerald’s, Transmission Events. The21 & up event has doors at 1:00 and tickets for $25.00.
Kevin Hart Photo: Ethan Miller
If you’re ready to laugh, then you could make it over to Toyota Center, for one of the two Kevin Hart shows happening. Hart enters an arena like he’s a professional wrestler, with big screens and fire, literally fire coming up from the stage. However, that’s just part of the show as Hart is seriously hilarious. His latest comedy album, “Live Comedy From The Laff House” from last year, and his hosting of both SNL and The Bieber Roast were top notch funny. Part of the “What Now” tour, Hart is at the top of his game, and worth making it out for. The doors are at 7:00 for show one with tickets between $65.50 and $125.50, or doors at 10:00 with tickets between $65.50 & $135.50. There’s also a Sunday show with doors at 7:00 and tickets between $65.00 and $150.00.
You can head to Fitzgerald’s downstairs in the evening for the Bummer Summer II show, with Houston’s Children of Pop headlining. I’m sure that you won’t be surprised if I tell you that COP leader Chase DeMaster has a bunch of irons in the fire for the future. DeMaster might be one of the most earnest performers I’ve seen in a long time, and his varying music projects prove that he’s the most prolific. The latest release from this duo, “Girls Like” is a dark ambient chillwave sound that’s just as infectious as pretty much everything they’ve released prior to it. The vocally strong synth pop of Brooklyn’s Mirror Kisses will also be there as direct support. Mirror Kisses reminds me of the eighties with modern delivery. The latest release from this guy, a three song drop from this year called “Keep A Secret” is poppy and fun. The chilled out tunes of George West will also be on the bill, which will bring songs from his recently released single, “Here Again” to life. Andrew Lee of The Tontons will open up the all ages show that’s FREE for 21 & up, and $5.00 for everyone else. The doors are at 8:00.
Fitzgerald’s upstairs should be going strong, when glam punk legend and founding member of New York Dolls, Sylvain Sylvain brings his incredibly high amount of energy to town. Sylvain recently sat down with me and gave a pretty candid interview about his past, his present, and future, while discussing what he’s got in store for Houston. His most recent release was the single, “Leaving New York” from 2012 strays from his roots without changing too much. He’ll be on hand to perform your favorite Dolls songs as well as tons of his originals & tell the stories behind his legacy. Houston sleaze rockers Killer Hearts will be there as direct support. Recently they dropped the NSFW video for their song, “Rocking Dead,” and they sound of it alone is enough reason to catch them live. The punk meets R&B of Houston’s Modfag will also be on hand, while Dead Roses, also of Houston open up the show. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $10.00 & $13.00.
Walter’s will be hosting what’s being called The Joint Show. The stage will be split by two performers creating split sets between the two in a completely different environment for a show. The evening is headlined by Moongun + Nikkhoo, the project between Josiah Gabriel & Perseph One. There will also be a one off set from black kite + Pitter Patter, Black Lodge + Kose, and Genesis Blu + Columbo. I’ve seen the bulk of these acts so I can attest the strength behind the Moongun & Nikkhoo set, the power behind the black kite & Pitter Patter set, and the crazy mic skills behind the Genesis Blu & Columbo set. I know Kose is high energy, but I’ve never seen Black Lodge before. The show will also feature a performance with the BetaMax crew + Ghost Dinosaur. There’s also a contest to give away prizes on the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and tickets between $8.00 & $12.00.
Warehouse Live will have the hip hop of Houston’s favorite pot enthusiast, Devin The Dude. Devin has been dropping solo albums since the late nineties, and his rhyme flow has always been top notch. His last new full length release was 2013’s “One For The Road,” and he’s always a crowd favorite. There doesn’t appear to be an opener, but that just means that there will be at least five openers. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $20.00 & $25.00.
You might remember the name NRG Dance Club, and if you do, then you should stop off at Etro Lounge to hear that music all over again. NRG was a club where jams from the eighties and nineties were in full swing, while also dropping acid house mixtures into the mix. All of that, was run by a DJ named NRG, aka Robert Castro. Everything from the Razormaid series to Front 242 will be on in full effect, as NRG returns to drop jams at Etro for one night only. More details are available here, it starts at 9:00, and it’s 100% FREE.
If you’d rather get your dance on, then you could make it over to Boondocks for another edition of Les Femmes. The all female coupling of Bombon’s Gracie Chavez, GRRL Parts DJ’s, and DJ Angiesliste is always a good time. Things run from 10:00 to close, it’s 100% FREE, and it’s 21 & up.
On Sunday you could head over to Grand Prize Bar to celebrate their fifth anniversary. DJ sets from Poison Girl’s Scott Butt, Seize the Beat, and more will greet you alongside eats and lots of drinking. Things start at 7:00, it’s 21 & up, and 100% FREE.
In a rare acoustic & piano appearance, guitar slinger Eric Johnson will be performing over at House of Blues. Johnson, one of the best guitarists going, will perform an intimate set of songs on acoustic guitar and piano. If you’re a fan of his, as well as his latest release, “Eclectic” from last year…then this is the show for you. The all ages evening has doors at 7:30 and tickets between $32.00 and $49.00.
Neurosis Photo:Relapse Records
Warehouse Live will host the late eighties alt rock metal of Oakland’s Neurosis over in the ballroom. The six piece has been going hard since their inception, and their live shows are always intense. They’ll be in town in support of their latest release, 2012’s “Honor Found In Decay.” They will have the hard metal of Seattle’s Brothers of The Sonic Cloth on as direct support. The three piece headed by TAD’s Tad Doyle is a force to be reckoned with, and their debut album, “Brothers of the Sonic Cloth” from this year is insane. Ft Worth duo and experimental musicians, Pinkish Black will be there to bring the trippy sounds from their album, “Razed To The Ground” to life. The stoner doom metal of Houston’s KRVSHR will be on hand to open things up, and slay the audience with tunes from their latest, “Church Burner.” The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets for $25.00.
Tuesday you might find yourself wanting to head over to Fitzgerald’s to catch the king of bummer core, Christian Lee Hutson. Hutson drops these beautiful folky jams that have a nice pop structure, and a sweet sound that’s earnest of straightforward. His latest album, this year’s “Yeah Okay, I Know” is pretty amazing and worth checking out. Houston’s best kept secret, and all around all types of awesome, Dollie Barnes will be there as direct support. Barnes drops these little gems with hints of country twang, and then takes them further by giving these deeply emotive vocals. While we all wait for her new album out later this year, make it out and catch her to see what I’m talking about…cause’ she’s pretty damn amazing. Opening things up will be the indie sounds of Houston’s The Caldwell. These guys don’t really perform much anymore, which is a shame. Anyone who has seen them before knows that they’re a great act live, and 2013’s “Modern Love” was my jam that year. The all ages show downstairs has doors at 7:00 and a paltry $7.00 cover.
Weird Al Yankovic Photo: Imaginary Entertainment
If silly is more your thing, then you could head to Revention Music Center, aka Bayou Music Center, aka Verizon, aka Voicestream…you get the idea, to catch Weird Al. I shouldn’t have to oversell this guy, but he always plays your favorites when he performs, usually in costume. Last year’s “Mandatory Fun” was more parody from the iconic silly songster. The doors are at 7.30 and tickets are between $29.50 and $49.50.
That’s about it for the week, but that doesn’t mean that you have to attend anything acting dumb. Whatever you do and wherever you go, remember to do so in the safest way possible. An Uber or Yellow Cab is always cheaper than a night in jail.