Latch Key Kids: The Best of The Week
Leon casino, Photo: Epitaph
It might have felt like last week meant that the city was back on the slower end of things to do. Well, if it did; I can say that this week isn’t that way at all. There’s some tough decisions to make for the bulk of the week, pretty much every day in fact. Legends like Bad Religion, pictured above will be rolling through town making those decisions more difficult. Here’s where your free time should go this week.
Wednesday, House of Blues will have the sixties pop influenced sounds of Philly’s Dr. Dog. I know I’m not the only person in town who really likes this band, and their latest, “Live At A Flamingo Hotel” from this year solidifies the band’s sound. I’ve seen them at least four times, and each times has been really great. They’ll have their Philly natives, the fiery five piece also known as MeWithoutYou on the bill as well. Another band who knows how to “bring it” live, their tour last year where they played their classic “Catch For Us The Foxes,” was one of the best shows I caught all year. The show is all ages, the doors are at 7:00, and the tickets are between $25.00 and $27.00.
However you slice it, and no disrespect to anyone else, but Walters has a killer show with the crazy sounds of Seattle’s Big Business. This duo does sludge rock better than most five pieces, and all I can say is that the word is out on how amazing of a live band they are. Featuring members of Karp and the Murder City Devils, these two dropped the intense, “Battlefields Forever” last year and the whole world is calling it great. Austin’s Skycrawler will be there as direct support, while Austin’s American Sharks perform as well. The doom metal of Houston’s From Beyond open things up. Things are all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and tickets are between $10.00 and $14.00. Ps…this show could sell out.
Barbarella will have a cool show, when Sound Control Records hosts The Factory Party of Houston. There’s a chance you haven’t heard this band, but they basically echo early U2 and Joy Division. They dropped an album five years ago called “After Death There Is Nothing” that you should totally check out. They’ll have their work cut out for them, as Houston’s Satellite D’Homme will be there prior, and make it hard to follow them. About six months ago, these guys dropped the funky and dancey song, “The Wolf.” I feel like Satellite is like if Tax The Wolf started a more melodic band. They have a very favorable and eclectic sound that utilizes dual vocals, multi-instrumentation, and pop hooks. I think the show is 18 & up, the doors are at 8:00, and the cover is a paltry $2.00.
Scott H. Biram Photo: Bloodshot Records
Thursday at Fitzgerald’s, you can catch the blues of Austin’s Scott H. Biram. Scott’s an old pal of mine who I could spin plenty of tales of drinking’ and raisin’ hell with; but it’s best to say that this guy is as genuine as it gets. Once booted off a tour with Keb Mo, Biram is one of those guys who lives and breathes the blues. He’s written songs with Shooter Jennings and Hank Williams III, he’s appeared on The Tonight Show, and he’s had his music featured on everything from ‘Sons of Anarchy’ to ‘Dawg The Bounty Hunter.’ His latest album, last year’s “Nothin’ But Blood” is his strongest to date. He’s a force to see live, and a guy who I witnessed pack the area around the yellow stage at Fun Fun Fun Fest last year. There isn’t an opener listed yet; but that shouldn’t matter. The show is all ages, the doors are at 7:00, and the cover downstairs is between $10.00 and $13.00.
Out at Joke Joint Comedy Showcase, you can catch a comic who’s pretty damn hilarious, when Geoff Tate comes to the club. Sadly for eighties metal fans, this isn’t the Queensryche lead singer, but Tate is a really great comic. Covering topics of religion, drugs, and feeling like a loser, Tate covers all these topics. His latest album, “Just Another Clown” from last year is hilarious and strong. As per all of these shows, one of Houston’s better comics will perform the duties of feature act, while the hilarious and thought provoking humor of Houston’s Victor Tran will host the entire weekend. There’s one show on Thursday at 8:00, two on Friday at 8:00 and 10:30, and two on Saturday also at 8:00 and 10:30; and they all carry a $16.00 cover.
Friday there are a ton of options, starting off with Anime Matsuri at Discovery Green. The three day festival encompasses all things anime and Japanese culture, and features all sorts of fun. Cosplay, fashion shows, music and so much more are there to experience. Things start Friday and run through the weekend. The tickets are between $55.00 and $65.00 for an adult 3 day pass, $25.00 to $30.00 for a kids (6-12) 3 day pass, and kids under 6 are 100% FREE.
House of Blues will have the punk rock royalty of Bad Religion. So, these guys have been around for a really long time, and while most of us wish they’d return to their roots, the fact remains that they’re legends. Their latest album that isn’t Christmas songs…seriously..was 2013’s “True North.” The band did pick up the pace and it was the best record they’ve made in a long time. They’ll really really have to bring it, because the best punk band I’ve seen in a very long time, OFF! will be there as direct support. OFF! features vocals from ex-Black Flag and Circle Jerks singer Keith Morris. Last year’s “Wasted Years” was one of my favorites of the year where the band got political, stayed energetic, and kept all things punk. If that wasn’t enough for you, Houston’s Dead To The World will be there to teach the elders of punk how things are done here in the Bayou City. These guys are melodic, legit, and they sound like early Rancid and Operation Ivy. You’re an idiot if you miss them live, so get there early. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $25.00 and $35.00.
Going in the opposite direction of things, the man, the myth, and the country music legend Mickey Gilley will be out at Dosey Doe in the Woodlands. Aside from a landmark club that was featured in “Urban Cowboy” and a signature beer, Gilley is a true performer who is worth the drive to see. He’s had hits like “Don’t The Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time,” “I Overlooked an Orchid,” and “Room Full Of Roses,” and that’s just a sample of them. The guy is a gem and should have a statue erected here in Texas. Last year he released “The Wild Side of Mickey Gilley” and I caught him a couple years back where I was shocked how vibrant he was. Gilley goes on at 8:30, but your ticket includes dinner which is served between 6:00 and 7:30. The tickets are between $98.00 and $158.00, and this might be your last chance to see him scientifically speaking.
Upstairs at Fitzgerald’s they’ll be hosting the ep release from Houston’s Nathan Quick. So, you might not know this, but Quick is a seriously hard working guy who dropped a pretty great album last year called “The Mile.” Since then he’s changed up his sound a bit, and will be releasing it to the public, on “City Lights.” The three song release, reviewed here is a new direction for the artist. He’ll have Houston’s Color Gravity on prior with their soft but rock sound, as well as The Caldwell before them. The rock/Americana of Ben Jarred’s Ruckus will be there to open things up. Jarred is pretty much a musical bad ass, so it shouldn’t shock you to hear me say that this band is pretty amazing. Their recently released, “Better Than It Was” single is proof of that. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $10.00 and $12.00.
The studio at Warehouse Live will feature the pop punk of Magnolia’s Carter. So, I caught these guys a while back, and they remind me of NOFX and Pennywise. They’re a good band to catch live and one to watch on the punk side of things. They’ll have the alt pop rock of Houston’s Shadow of Whales on the bill with them. These guys released a 6 song album last year, “Shadow Of Whales” that should give you an idea of their hooky chops. The industrial rock pop of Shadow 13 will be there as well as the pop rock of Social Smokers Club. The punk of Fat Mannequin opens the all ages show with doors at 7:30 and tickets between $10.00 and $15.00.
Mucky Duck will have the epic songs of Alejandro Escovedo all night. I shouldn’t have to sell this show too hard, as Escovedo is a true Texas treasure. The San Antonio native has released some amazing music, and he’s still great to catch live, even in his sixties. His last album was 2012’s “Big Station,” but that doesn’t mean you won’t get to hear what he’s been working on since. There are two shows, one at 7:00 and one at 9:30, and both have tickets between $30.00 and $33.00.
Over at a venue without a name yet, but tentatively called The Shop, LA’s Colleen Green will bring her stoner pop punk sounds to life. Green has this adorable voice that mixes well with Jawbreaker styled songs, equalling a pretty great sound. Her latest album, the just released “I Want To Grow Up” feel like what it would sound like if Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles formed a pop punk band. The highly emotive tunes of Houston’s Hearts of Animals will be there as direct support. Mlee’s latest album, last year’s “Another Mutation” keeps in line with her lo-fi folk pop sound. The pop rock of Houston’s Far Out will also be there, and they sound like Magnapop meets Jets To Brazil. Another one of Chase DeMaster’s newest incarnations, Get A Life will open things up. They basically sound like a mix of Children Of Pop mixed with the elements of pretty much everything good about eighties and nineties music. The show is byob, the doors are at 8:00, and the cover is $10.00.
Talib Kweli Photo: Anna Sian
Warehouse Live will have a hip hop extravaganza, when they host Talib Kweli & Immortal Technique. Since being a part of supergroup Black Star, Kweli has been dropping skillful album left and right. He hits a mic with skill and ease, and his last two releases “Gravitas” and “P.O.C. Live!” are excellent examples of how ahead of the game he is. I think we all know that Immortal Technique was arrested last week, but as far as I know he’s still performing on this show. His latest was 2008’s “The Third World,” but that doesn’t mean that the Peruvian rapper has been going slow. New York’s Chino XL will also be there as direct support. XL dropped an album in 2012 called “RICANstruction: The Black Rosary” that makes it hard to miss his set. Brazilian born rapper, Niko is will also be there to drop songs from this year’s “Brutus,” and should make for an interesting set. CF(Constant Flow) will bring his Jersey City hip hop to the bill, performing songs from this year’s “Six Shades of Gray.” New Jersey’s Hasan Salaam will open the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and tickets between $22.00 and $27.00.
You could venture down to Scout Bar to catch the rockabilly of Supersuckers. These guys have been around as long as I can remember and they’re still great to see live. I caught them in the nineties when Houston still had an Emo’s, and they’ve still been great the three times I’ve seen them since. Their latest album, “Get The Hell” from 2013, keeps their fast and furious sound going strong. Houston rockabilly legends, The Flamin’ Hellcats will be there as direct support. Back in the day I used to go to Rudz as an underage kid who just happened to be tall, and watch these guys. Since then they’ve kept things going just a crazy as they were twenty years ago. Houston’s Punk Rock Project opens things up with their NOFX meets Face To Face sound. The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are between $12.00 and $15.00.
Saturday you can start the day off at El Rincon Social for the Artifacts: a collection of art and artist show. The show will feature a multitude of artists and their work on display. Everyone from DUAL to Darcy Rosenberger will have art on display. There’s seriously way too many to list, but the opening party will feature BBQ & a DJ set from Jean Paul of Reverberation DJs. Things get going at 7:00, it’s byob and it’s 100% FREE.
Eastdown Warehouse will have one of the Terraform parties as well. The show will feature a visual installation from FLCON FCKER, as well as a horde of producers on hand. Things kick off with the Austin/Houston duo known as Layer, followed by the glitch hop of Houston’s ZECH. The funky electro hip hop of Houston’s Funky Jesus will also be on hand, while the future soul of Austin’s Froogle will also be there. Houston’s Mr. Peabody will close the evening down. The show is 18 & up I think, the cover is name your price, and the doors are at 7:00.
At Bohemeo’s, they’ll be hosting a benefit for the family of Chelsea Norman. The show, will feature a whole bunch of bands, with proceeds going to the family. The evening is headlined by Houston’s Space Villains. In December of last year, this trio dropped the jazz and funk punk sounding “Asterism.” Since then I’ve seen them drop their energetic set several times, and I’ve never been disappointed. The three piece tour de force of Giant Kitty will go on prior, and possible make some eardrums bleed. They have more energy than a punch to the face, and their upcoming full length should be pretty damn awesome. The indie rock of Jealous Creatures will be there as well, and if their performance at the PuraPharm release show was any indication; then be prepared to be blown away. They back so much melody and fuzz into one song, that their 2013 album “Bazooka” doesn’t crack the surface of their sound. The Wheel Workers will also be there. Last year this band dropped the grandiose double album, “Past To Present” where they criss crossed genres. This year, they’re set to release a follow up to it, and hopefully it’ll be just as epic. Jody Seabody and The Whirls will open things up with their indie pop sound. The doors are at 8:00, the show is all ages, and the cover is $10.00.
Over at Fitzgerald’s, you can get your synth on, when Houston’s Pleasure 2 performs. Pleasure 2 is like listening to video game music inside of a nightmare, but that’s meant in the most positive way possible. Trippy vocals and heavy synths are all over their music. The synthed out sound of Ceeplus Bad Knives latest project, Millennial Grave will also be on the bill. The key heavy sound that’s intermingled with vocal samples is pretty cool. Of course, he’ll have the craziest thing you’ll see in a long time on prior, Houston’s Pfaffenberg. So, this guy uses modular synths to create this crazed techno sound that’s one of the craziest and interesting things going right now. Since you probably don’t know what a modular synth is, it’s where you do what a modern computer program or synthesizer can do; but you actually do it manually. So, you can watch as this guy makes the patches happen LIVE…it’s seriously nuts. The lo-fi and experimental acoustic sounds of Ak’chamel will be there as well. Ak’chamel is like some bizarro world where there’s a gypsy uprising, and this is the soundtrack to it. The DJ work of Mr Castillo and Chingerson will get things started with visuals from Terry Suprean as well. The show is all ages, it has doors at 8:00, and it’s 100% FREE.
Alley Kat will have a rave of sorts when Seize The Beat hosts the Children of pop tour kickoff & Madonna Rave. Children of Pop headline the evening with a set of songs that will more than likely get your feet moving. I give Chase a hard time about the multitude of bands that he’s in, but this guy is onto something with this band. The duo is constantly dropping songs at a record pace, and they’re really good in a live setting. The techno house sounds of Miguel Flaco will also be there, as will the drone sounds of Maramuresh. Seize The Beat will be there to drop all sorts of synthpop on wax, while there promises to be music til’ close after Children of Pop performs. The show is 21 & up, the doors are at 9:00, and the cover is $7.00.
Rudyard’s will have some indie rock from Houston’s A Sundae Drive. So, if you were unaware, this group made one of the best albums I heard last year with “The Senseless & The Sound.” They basically channeled Dinosaur Jr. and Superchunk, while still staying true and in all honesty, amazing. Austin’s SkyAcre will bring their loud and heavy indie rock goodness to town as direct support. Known for being loud and energetic, the band really shines on their 2013 album, “Sacred Ground.” The melodic rock of Houston’s Golden Sombrero will open the 21 & up show with doors at 9:00 and a TBA cover.
Sunday, you can start the day off for a good cause over at Last Concert Cafe, when they host an event for Child Abuse Prevention. Things are headlined by special guest Scotland’s Matty McVarnish of the Road To Change campaign. The event will feature the music of Austin’s Good Karma will be there, as will the jazz soul of Houston’s Dy’Lan Ashton. Sherita Perez will bring her catchy Americana/folk sound to the event when she opens things up. There’s also a whole bunch of artists including Houston’s Doll Partzz and Frozen Fox. The list of artists is here, and the all ages event has doors at 3:00 and is 100% FREE.
Over at Fitzgerald’s, they’ll be bringing in the indie rock pop of Stars. It seems like this band has been getting bigger and bigger since their 2010 release, “The Five Ghosts.” Last year, they became the darlings of critics when they dropped, “No One Is Lost.” Rumor has it that the band is a must see live show, which makes this one of those shows you should probably check out. Of course, the show is made sweeter by the fact that they’ll have their tourmates, Houston’s Wild Moccasins on the bill with them as direct support. I feel like I’ve said this countless times before, but their 2014 album, “88 92” was easily one of my favorites of the year. It doesn’t hurt that we all know that they’re great live either. If you’ve never seen them before then this is your chance. The all ages show has doors at $7.00 with tickets between $18.00 and $23.00.
You can keep the party going downstairs at Fitz, when The Van Allen Belt of Pittsburgh drops by. The three piece has become rather well known for their brand of melting pop music. Last year they dropped the majestic sounding “Heaven On A Branch” and should make for an interesting live set. Houston’s FLCON FCKER will be there as direct support. So, aside from the fact that this guy has serious cred in the electronic world, and aside from his crazy glitch visuals; he drops some of the craziest jams you can hear. The rhythm and drone sounds of Houston’s PopeNQM will also be on the bill, and will turn heads from the trippy sounds made. The electro beats of Houston’s Matsu Mixu will open the all ages show with doors at 8:00. The show is 100% FREE.
Making it’s way to Houston, The Underwear Comedy Party will be coming to town over at Midtown Bar & Grill. Though I can say that I hope it’s just a name, the show will be headlined by Atlanta’s Joe Pettis. The show has toured all over the country, and is in Houston for the 1st time. The show will also feature a bunch of comedy from Houston comics like Bob Morrissey, Andrew Youngblood, Chris Riddle, Ashton Womack, Liz Padjen, Gabe Bravo, Owen Dunn, and Zahid Dewji. While I’m pretty certain you don’t want to catch the physique of a comic in their undies, the show should be at least funny. Things start at 10:00, the cover is $7.00, and I’m pretty sure that it’s 21 & up.
Monday, you can head downstairs at Fitzgerald’s to catch the psych sounds of LA’s Dengue Fever. Known for being on the psych sound early, the group is well regarded as one of the tightest bands going today. They’ve definitely dropped some great tunes over the years, and this year’s “The Deepest Lake” continues that tradition. Houston’s Mikey & The Drags will get this psych train going, when they open up the show. These guys mix sixties garage pop with psych like you’ve never heard before, and they’re some of the best artists in one cohesive unit you can see live. They’re set to drop a new record this year, but 2013’s “On The Loose!” should let you know what they bring to the party. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $14.00 and $18.00.
Peelander-Z Photo: Allen Demling
If you like Japanese punk rock that looks like you’re watching a cartoon, then you could go upstairs at Fitz, to catch the always entertaining sounds of New York’s Peelander-Z. So, I’ve caught this band at least 4 times, and their costumed antics have always been entertaining. I could tell tales is what I’m saying, but you should just catch their infectious sound. Their 2013 album, “Metalander-Z” was a little heavier than previous efforts, but still good. They’ll have the pop punk sounds of Houston’s The Turnaways there as openers. So, no holds barred, these guys sound like a mix of Ramones and Green Day; but that’s meant in the best way possible. They play fast, hard, and they have really catchy songs. They just dropped a new three song release called, “A Taste of Texas” this year that should give you an idea of their hooky sound. The all ages show has doors at 7:00, and tickets between $10.00 and $13.00.
That’s pretty much it for this week, but still packed. Whatever you do please remember that this is a holiday weekend for some, so watch out for rabbits and everyone else. Be mindful of other Houstonians and act like an adult, and we will all be better off.