Keep It Goin': The Best of The Week
Leon casino, Photo: Wire Image
Well, SXSW is in full swing three hours away, proof positive by the rush of touring artists making their way into Houston this week. This will spill over into next week as well. For many, this is Spring Break, so there’s a good chance that you’ll also have to wait longer for a drink or a latte. But, this is a week for the record, as there’s more happening on off days than usual, and many of the shows like Rich Homie Quan pictured above, will sell out fast. Here’s how to spend this week wisely.
Wednesday things kick off over at the Visual Arts Alliance inside Williams Tower, for the 32nd juried open exhibition. What’s that mean? Possibly that many artists around town will be showing works that will be up for the grand prize of $2500.00. There’s an opening reception that appears to be all ages, it runs from 6:00 to 8:30, and it’s a great way to see the 598 entries for 100% FREE. The exhibition runs until April 11th.
Since you’ll already be out earlier than usual, depending on your schedule; you should swing by MKT Bar to see if Moji’s drummer, David Garcia can actually DJ. He’s an all around nice guy who can play a kit like a cross between Keith Moon & Buddy Rich. Things start at 7:00 and run until 10:00, it’s all ages, and it’s also 100% FREE.
I’m guessing that you’ve never heard of Los Angeles based psych alterna rock band, Moon Honey. That doesn’t matter because their singer sounds kind of like Kate Bush while the sounds behind her are a bit all over the place. They’ll be performing at Alley Kat, and the world is a fan of this band. NPR, The New York Times, and massive amounts of music critics all say that this is a band you should see. They’re here in support of their 2013 release, “Hand-Painted Dream Photographs.” The album was produced by Greg from Deerhoof, and it’s honestly kind of amazing. Houston prog rockers and all around math psych enthusiasts, Sunrise and Ammunition will be on the show as direct support. I think I say this everytime; but these guys are pretty cool. I still jam their 2012 album “Tesseract” on the regular, and they’re just as great live. The art pop avant rock of Houston’s Whit will get things started on the 21 & up show with doors at 6:00 and tickets between $5.00 and $7.00.
if hip hop is more your style, then Warehouse Live will have Houston’s own Paul Wall. It’s the Birthday show for Paul and rapper Nessacary. Paul has always been the consummate performer, and his latest album, “Po Up Poet,” falls in line with his Screwston sound. The show is all ages and the doors are at 9:00 with tickets for $30.00.
Thursday you can get started over at Joke Joint Comedy Showcase for touring comic Ryan Singer. Singer, coming from LA, has been called a “comic who should be big” by WTF podcast and comic Marc Maron. He’s toured all over the US and his 2012 album “Comedy Wonder Town” is pretty hilarious. As per all of these shows, one of Houston’s better up and coming comics will serve as the feature act. Speaking of a better up and comer, Zahid Dewji will bring his barrage of jokes to the show when he hosts the entire weekend. Zahid could have a banner year in 2015 after performing on the Come And Takes It Festival, and possibly one of the strongest sets of jokes for a guy doing stand-up for such a short time. There’s one show at 8:00 on Thursday, two at 8:00 and 10:30 on Friday, and two at 8:00 and 10:30 on Saturday all with a $16.00 cover.
Second Lovers Photo: Daniel Jackson
Over at The Nightingale Room, they’ll host Houston’s Second Lovers. This band has been to hell and back and has changed for the better along the way. Now, featuring dual vocals, one male and one female, the americana act has started to go the way of most alt country acts by streamlining their sound. They have more of a Wilco “Being There” era sound to them mixed with that of Wilco “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.” That basically adds up to a band that sounds better than most of what you could hear. They’ll be joined by Nashville’s Somebody’s Darling. Though technically from Dallas, this five piece makes soulful music that’s like if Janis Joplin started a soul revue with country musicians…if that makes sense. Things start with 7:30 doors and a $5.00 cover for the 21 & up show.
Walters will have the alt country folk pop of Georgia’s Ruby The RabbitFoot. Last year, they dropped the soft and sweetly soul based tune, “Ways” that should give you an idea of their sound. Direct support will be the pop folky sounds of Dollie Barnes. I feel like if you missed the four piece open for Buxton recently, then you have no idea how one woman’s voice, singer Haley Barnes; can light up a room like a torch in the darkness. The raspy voiced folk rock of Houston’s Adam Bricks will also be on hand, while the show will be opened by Austin’s Elaine Greer. Recently, Greer dropped inventive pop sounding “Mockingbird/Mountain Lion;” that mixes sounds like Angel Olsen with an almost Emmylou Harris vibe. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $7.00 and $10.00.
If 86 bands sounds like what you’re into, then Super Happy Funland will have their Overflow Fest from Thursday the 12th, to Wednesday the 25th. Good luck getting details out of all the bands from me, but the event link is here & it’s $8.00 a night or $24.00 for all of it from start to finish.
Friday, you can get things going over at Discovery Green for the French Cultures Festival. The Cultural Service at the French Consulate in Houston is putting on the show, and there’s a good chance that many of you have parked in front of their offices in the past without realizing it. Things are headlined by a performance from The three piece French indie pop of Air Bag One. They’ll have to bring it as the soul revue meets funk rock of France’s The Inspector Cluzo will be there prior. In 2012, this band dropped “The 2 Mousquetaires,” album that’s like a shot in the arm of funk and everything in-between. The Latin vibes meets Gulf Coast indie rock of Deep Cuts will also be on hand. Last year these guys dropped the upbeat and fun “Love Grows” EP, and this show will have some extra percussion from Dpat’s drummer, Jordan Brady. The French duo known as The Dove & The Wolf will open things up. These two have a sound that’s kind of like a heart heavy version of Air with a feminine vibe. They’re on the verge of a full length release, and their 2014 single, “The Words You Said” is pretty beautiful. The family friendly affair that runs from 7:00 to 10:00 is 100% FREE.
Warehouse Live will host the Flockaveli’s Circus show featuring the hip hop of Waka Flocka Flame. Waka has a pretty good flow on the mic and his last release, “From Roaches To Rollies” is a great example of that. He’s known to put on a killer live show that doesn’t appear to have openers, though that may change. The all ages show has doors at 7:30 and tickets between $25.00 and $35.00.
Speaking of hip hop, Arena Theatre will host another big name from the hip hop community when Atlanta’s Rich Homie Quan performs. This guy is known to throw down when he performs, and his newly released album, “No Pen No Pad” should keep him at the top of the hip hop world. There aren’t openers listed, but that could change. The doors for the show are at 7:00 and the tickets are between $45.50 and $70.50.
Of course, you might like your hip hop loud, and if you do, then you should catch B L A C K I E at Big Star Bar. This guy is easily the most next level artist in Houston. I’ve told you before that he’s been imitated by big name artists, and if you haven’t heard his latest, “Imagine Yourself In A Free And Natural World” yet; you’re missing out. His live shows are legendary and almost always different from the rest of the herd; which is saying go see him. Collin Hedrick of the indie rock band Giant Princess will also be on the bill with his latest solo offering. The experimental and insanely trippy sounds of Ak’Chamel will open things up on the 21 & up show with 10:00 doors that’s 100% FREE.
Natachee’s showroom will have the alt country rock of Houston’s Grand Old Grizzly. They’ll be bringing their twangy sounds over mixing the songs from their most recent album, “Cosmonada,” with the favorites from their debut. These guys are one of the hardest working and best sounding bands in the country game going, and you’re foolish to miss them. The show is 21 & up, things starts at 9:00, and the cover is $7.00.
Fitzgerald’s will have the dance inspired electronic antics of Ishi & Rose Quartz on hand downstairs. Ishi has been riding high since his amazing 2013 album, “Digital Wounds,” and he always puts on an entertaining live show. Last year Rose Quartz dropped two three song EP’s and a single. One of those EP’s, “The Flashlights EP” had the kind of dissonant sounds that make you wanna’ get down. Houston’s synthy trio, BLSHS will be there to get everyone moving when they open the show. Last year, the trio gave the world their throwback electronic sounds with “Abstract Desires,” but in 2015 the group has gotten much more progressive with the slow jamz sound of “In And Out.” The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $10.00 and $13.00.
Ally Kat will host a very special edition of the Gio Chamba Cumbia Fever show, Birthday Edition. I feel like I’ve been shouting at you to catch this multi-instrument playing, live percussion performing, Latin explosion of electronica also known as Gio Chamba live. Gio could easily be the next big act to fall from Houston’s electronic genre, and his sets are legendary to say the least. He’ll have Senor Jukebox spinning wax prior, and it’s a great way to move your feet & shake it on the dance floor. The 21 & up show starts at 10:00, and as always is 100% FREE.
Saturday, if you’re old enough, then you can mod out over at Continental Club for the Fuzz-A-Rama Beat Stomp. The entire show is headlined by the crazy psych rock sounds of the original 60’s band Bubble Puppy. They’ve dropped more recent works, but let’s not kid ourselves; we all love this band for their 1969 classic album, “A Gathering of Promises.” That album contained the all over the place bluesy psych jam song, “Hot Smoke and Sassafras.” I’ve seen them before and I promise, they can still kick out their jams. The garage rock pop goodness of Houston’s Mikey & The Drags will be there as direct support, and their energy alone is worth making it out for. Look, this is an epic offering of a show that includes highlights like the swinging garage rock of Modfag, and an opening slot from doo wop act, The Motion. There are way too many acts to mention including DJ sets from A Fistful of Soul, Here Come The Girls, and Alamo City Soul Club. The 21 & up event gets going around 4:00, your ticket includes a discount at Natachee’s, and it’s $23.00 for a day full of music & fun.
Avant Garden has a great billing on the “Skin In The Game” show thrown by the guys at Prints NotPrince. This show is kind of what’s up on Saturday, as there’s a multitude of artists on it headlined by Roosh Williams. It feels like this guy could finally pop after his latest top 40 charting album, “Unorthodox.” If you missed him this last weekend at Walters, then this is your chance to see him rock a mic. Along with a visual installation that’s more than likely something crazy, Houston’s FLCON FCKER will drop jamz from his past and upcoming album. This guy is a big deal, period. If you don’t catch him while you can, the rest of the world can tell you how great he is as he constantly tours all over. Keeping it fresh is Houston’s newest import by way of NOLA with Birdmagic. So, this guy has the ability to DJ like no one else, and his latest drop, “Forget” from two weeks ago is just a little insane. Making a return to the scene, MKE will be there to release his barrage of beat heavy sounds on all in attendance. I think we all know now that Noah is on to stuff that no one else is; so it’s best just to enjoy his stuff now before he leaves and blows up elsewhere. The show just keeps getting more diverse, when Houston’s newest hip hop artist and possibly the most inventive; Guilla shows up to perform. This guy has hustle, the slays on a mic, and if you haven’t seen him live yet then you’re missing a true performer. His “Rap, Trap, And Drums” ep from last year is just the beginning for the minimalistic rapper. NIKKHOO will be there to hit the mic as he’s known to do, as well as a dreamy upbeat jam set from Android Genius. I feel like if you haven’t picked up or at least heard his new ep, “Niraya;” then you just aren’t paying attention here in town. Mark Drew will also be there to attack the mic as he’s known to do rapping songs from last year’s “Sleepwalking Through Reality.” This guy is seriously making moves here in town, and he’s also a pretty damn great performer. If that wasn’t enough Duro SPLFF, MLCBR, Jon Black, and D Keela will all also be there. The synthy jams of Jarmzzz will open the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and a zero charge cover on the 100% FREE show.
There’s another all day event in the Last Concert Cafe corridor happening that has too many bands to list. It’s the For The Community 9 fest that features Houston bands like Ak’Chamel, Funeral Horse, and Space Villains with acts from Italy, Japan, and everywhere else. There’s also poetry and vendors galore. Things start at 2:00 and run all night, it’s all ages, and 100% FREE.
Prior to leaving on tour as they always do, Football Etc. will be headlining a show over at The Summit. The melodic emocore sounds of this band give me hope for the future of guitar based music. They sound like a mix of Seam, Jets To Brazil, and That Dog, while still having their own vibe and sound. This is easily one of Houston’s most accomplished bands that doesn’t seem to get the accolades they deserve. They’re on the same label as Into It. Over It. and yet they don’t get the traction here like they probably should. They’ll have the lo-fi experimental pop of Philly’s Japanese Breakfast on the bill with them. Last year they dropped the fun and poppy album, “American Sound,” that is a great example of what’s in store. The acoustic emo songs of Greg Cote will get the show started with doors at 8:00 and a $7.00 cover for the all ages show.
Warehouse Live will have the one woman band from LA known as Kawehi in their green room. Kawehi mixes ableton live electronics with beat boxing, gorgeous vocals, and acoustic guitar to create her own pop sound. Her most recent effort, last year’s “Robot Heart” is something you should check out. Bea from Amsterdam will open things up with her crazy dark and tripped out electro pop. Last year she dropped the “Good Thinking” EP and she sounds like a trip to see live. The 21 & up show has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $15.00 and $18.00.
Rudyards will have a show that looks and sounds amazing, when Brooklyn’s Dead Leaf Echo brings their shoegaze ambient rock to town. A self described art collective that releases music, the four piece is here in support of last year’s “true. deeper. sleeper” EP. Houston’s Golden Cities will be there as direct support. Last year, this band dropped the thick and shoe gazed out “Pleasure Shapes,” complete with dual vocals that are at times haunting. Empty Shells will bring their My Bloody Valentine meets Hum sound to the show as well. Portland’s Delphine Coma will be there to get things started with a DJ set on the 21 & up show. The cover price is still up in the air but the doors are at 9:00.
The ballroom at Warehouse Live will be bringing the hip hop sounds of Meek Mill to town. The show, presented by Rap-A-Lot, has the rapper paired up for a “welcome home” show. Mill has kind of been blowing up, and the Philly born performer has gotten plenty of praise for his varying mixtapes, and his new single “B Boy” with Big Sean & A$AP Ferg is gaining traction fast. I’m sure there’s a bunch of openers not listed on the all ages show. You have to be a fan however, as the tickets are a lil’ crazy at $61.50. The doors are at 8:00.
Black Barbie will get a lot more crazy, when queer positive rapper Biz Vicious performs a headlining set. Biz has been making his rounds lately spreading a message that’s not usually heard in hip hop, and doing so with a style that’s above many in this town. Last year Biz dropped the dancey nerdcore album, “We Lurk Among You” which signified his ability to rock a mic with ease. The rhythm and drone sounds of Houston’s Popenqm will also be on hand to drop trippy synths and beats. The ambient electro psych of Pitter Patter will also be on the bill, as will All People from NOLA. These guys have an energetic punk sound that’s melodic; but doesn’t feel like pop punk…if that makes sense. Their latest was last year’s “Learn Forget Repeat,” and it’s a doozy of a good listen. The punk of Houston’s Pink Eye will get things started on the show with 9:00 doors and a $5.00 cover.
If you’re a fan of the sultry and the silly, then you could make it over to Outlaw Dave’s World Wide Headquarters, for Kiki Maroon’s “Burly Q Lounge” show. This is a vaudeville style show with burlesque from Dallas’ Janie Slash, entertainment from Frankie 4play also of Dallas, burlesque from Electra Mourning of Austin, and comedy from Andy Huggins. Plus a special performance from Houston’s Al E. Cat, it should make for a fun show. Everything is hosted by Maroon, it’s a 21 & up show that starts at 10:30 & Midnight, and it’s 100% FREE.
TV On The Radio Photo: Courtesy of Artist
Sunday you can head over to House of Blues to catch indie sounds of TV On The Radio. True story, years ago when Cactus Records was where there’s a Trader Joe’s; well not technically, I wandered in around 11:00 pm. I found this band I’d been looking for since I saw them play a free show, and that band was TVOTR. That album, “Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes,” was as landmark as anything I had heard at the time. So far ahead of its’ time, I couldn’t describe it to friends, and they had to kick me out of the store while I listened to it on the listening station. Since then I’ve caught them at least seven times, including at FPSF. Their latest album, “Seeds” isn’t my favorite, but it’s still pretty great. These guys innovate, first and foremost; so you have to trust them on whatever ride they’ll take you on. “Seeds” is much more upbeat, more dancey, almost like it was made by Bloc Party; but like I said, still great. Making things better on this show, is the fact that glitched out and beats heavy Nostalghia will be opening things up. I don’t know if it’s fair to say, but this woman has such a dark yet feet moving sound that I feel like you should go early to see what she has in store. Her album, “Chrysalis” is like that album you wish Bjork would finally make, or at least a tour de force of passion and darkness rolled into one. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets are between $40.33 to $46.37.
Last Concert Cafe will be bringing back their Attack of The Comedy Show, show. Since Al B left, the hosting duties have been taken over by Coleman Cox. The lineup this time includes, Ryan McGhee, Sergio Garza, Dale Cheesman, Bob Morrissey, Warren Wright, and Chris Rogers. All of these guys are funny in their own right, and some of them even performed on this year’s CATI fest. Things get started at 9:00 and they’re 100% FREE.
Walters will have the trippy and slow core meets songbird sounds of Shilpa Ray. The four piece is lead by a singer who can chill you to your socks with her gorgeous and artful vocals. This year she’s dropped some songs, including a two song release called “Make Up” that’s pretty diverse. The indie rock of Houston’s Rose Ette will also be on the bill, and now all we have to do is beg them to drop some recorded material for us to jam to when they aren’t playing live. The growl of hard rockers Giant Kitty will be there to open things up, and leave the club in ruins after their rockin’ set. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $5.00 and $7.00.
Black Barbie will be bringing the amazing hip hop stylings of NOLA’s Boyfriend back to town. Quite possibly one of the best rap performers I’ve ever seen, Boyfriend drops hard edged rhymes about men, sex, and everything inbetween. She looks all innocent until she starts to rap, and then it’s a free for all. Her latest, “Company Ink” is a good example of what you’ll hear when she performs. Nola’s The Madd Wikkid will also be on the bill, and will drop some electronic science that’s part hip hop and part soul. Never mind that this guy has worked with more artists than you can count, his jams are all over the map and still great. Guilla will be there to close out the show with his intensely high energy set. This guy seems to be getting tons of shows, and his hustle isn’t what it’s all about. Listen to his “Rap, Trap, and Drums” and judge for yourself. The electronic sounds of Houston’s SLO will get things started on the all ages affair that has doors at 9:00 and a $5.00 cover.
Fitzgerald’s will have a barn burner when Aesop Rock brings his MC heavy styles upstairs. If you’ve never seen this guy rock a mic, you’re not seeing everything cause’ he’s pretty amazing. His latest, “Cat Food” follows his past of great tunes and an amazing live set. This is a different show however, because he’ll be doing it with Rob Sonic. The two dropped an album last year called “Alice In Thunderdome” that speaks for itself. They’ll have the lyrical prowess of Queens rapper Homeboy Sandman. His latest, “Hallways” is one of the jammed out albums that you can get down to all the time. Seattle’s Dark Time Sunshine will get things started with their sweet voiced slow jamz vibe. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $18.00 and $22.00.
Monday there’s a fun show at Walters, when Michigan indie rock pioneer, Fred Thomas drops by. Thomas was/is part of the band Saturday Looks Good To Me, and their eclectic blend of melody is ever present on his solo work. He’s definitely one of those guys that you should check out, and from what I’ve heard off his latest solo effort “All Are Saved;” it’s just as amazing as his previous one, “Night Times.” The electro pop of Detroit’s Jamaica Queens will also be there to add some spice. They just dropped this interesting “Bored + Lazy” EP, and it’s interesting to say the least. Houston’s Young Girls will be there to drop the garage rock pop science on all who attend. Seriously, these guys are a band that everyone needs to see sooner than later. The tripped out jammy sounds of Vacation Eyes will open things up as only they can. Doors for the all ages show are at 8:00 and the cover is between $5.00 and $8.00.
Downstairs at Fitzgerald’s you can catch the indie rock of Surfer Blood. The last time these guys rolled through town, it wasn’t as packed as I thought it would be. Their latest album, 2013’s “Pythons” was produced by longtime Pixies collaborator Gil Norton, and is a great sounding release. Seriously, these guys are fun and solid in a live setting, and definitely worth checking out. The fuzzy garage rock psych of Avers will be there as direct support. Last year these guys dropped the beautifully sonic sounding “Empty Light,” complete with dual vocals and good times. Nashville’s Turbo Fruits will be there to get the all ages show started with doors at 7:00, and FREER for 21 & up. Under 21 have to pay $7.00.
Public Service Broadcasting Photo: Timm Cleasby
Tuesday, Walters has a crazy lineup that’s headlined by the ever popular rock of New Jersey’s Screaming Females. If getting nationally praised by pretty much every outlet isn’t every outlet isn’t enough for you, then maybe their latest album, “Rose Mountain” will convince you. Though it was just released, everyone in the music community is hailing it’s melodic and hard edges. Providence six piece punks, Downtown Boys will also be there to either scare or incite a good time. Last year they dropped a feminist and hardcore 7” called “Downtown Boys” that echoed the band FEAR if they were female fronted. Keeping things interesting, the entertaining electro rock pop duo Public Service Broadcasting will also be there. These two guys are also getting bigger by the second, and everyone who sees them becomes an instant fan. Their newest album, “The Race For Space” isn’t even a month old, and it’s already being called great. Houston’s Black Kite will be there as well to drop their mix of intense live drums with haunting vocals and electronics. There’s a good chance that you haven’t heard their 2013 album, “Bird,” but it just scrapes the surface of one of Houston’s better new acts going. Joe Mathlete of The Mathletes will open things up on the all ages show that has doors at 8:00, and is 100% FREE for 21 & up. There’s an $8.00 cover for those under 21.
Warehouse Live will bring the British post punk sound of legends, Gang of Four to town. Usually when reunions happen, especially from bands of the seventies; it’s a disaster. But, from what I’ve heard, this is a true reunion that is going strong. These guys dropped the classic album “Entertainment!” and they’ve been performing again since 2008. Recently, like within the last weeks; they released their latest, “What Happens Next,” where the band is utilizing a new territory while keeping some of their old sound. There’s no sign of an opener, but the all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $22.00 and $24.00.
Over at Notsuoh, Since Always will bring their shoegaze and emo core sound to life. This three piece just dropped a beautiful new album called “Consequences” that is a game changer from what you’ve heard in their genre. Seriously one of the better third wave emo albums I’ve heard, their singer Ashleigh Mendoza adds a spark to the loud quiet loud songs that the band creates. The drone and psych prog blues of Atlanta’s DAMS will also be on the bill. They’ll be here in support of their “DAMS” EP and SXSW. They’ll be joined by the math rock sounds of Kansas City’s, Via Luna. Last year they released the super mathy and jazzcore album, “Calm and Clear.” Alabama’s Daikaiju will also be there, as will Missouri’s Cauldron Point who will open things up. The 18 & up show has doors at 7:30, and it’s FREE for 21 & up, $3.00 for 18-20.
That’s about all there is, which is pretty much a ton. If you can’t be entertained this week, then you just aren’t trying. No matter what you do or where you go, be mindful and stay safe for everyone’s sake.