Medieval Times: The Best of the Week
Leon casino, Photo: AV Club
As far as weeks go in Houston, this week and the following week will be some of the most stacked of the year. This is mainly due to the massive amount of artists who cram into Austin for SXSW. Keep in mind, SXSW was started to showcase unsigned talent…which is not really what it is at all anymore. Last week, we had a crazy Friday whereas this week, even Wednesday has options. There’s a ton of comedy like the hilarious Wyatt Cenac pictured above. Here’s how you should get your March started.
Wednesday, one of the funniest comics in the game going, Kyle Kinane will be performing in the studio at Warehouse Live. Kinane has been all over the place recently, including the bulk of the talk shows, and pretty much every show worth catching on Comedy Central. He’s a serious force to catch slay a mic, and his latest album, “I Liked His Old Stuff Better” from last year is easily his strongest to date. Houston Outlaw Comic and all around “jokesmith,” Andy Huggins will perform as the opener. Hugging just dropped his debut comedy album this year, “Inspired By True Events” which is one of the strongest comedy debuts you can hear. The all ages show has doors at 7:00, and the tickets are between $16.00 to $19.00. FYI, this show will more than likely sell out.
How do you follow up an album that sold a boatload of copies and everyone still associates with your sound; you make a follow-up that’s harder and in my opinion; stronger. That band, Helmet will be performing that album, 1994’s “Betty” in its’ entirety at Fitzgerald’s upstairs. Released only two months after Kurt Cobain took his own life, the album could’ve been a massive success if radio hadn’t been fixated on Nirvana megamixes. I caught Helmet when they toured this album, and two times after; and they’ve always been impressive live. I have always adored this record with hard hitting tracks like, “Wilma’s Rainbow,” or the sonic guitar on “Biscuits For Smut,” or even the throwback thrash of “Vaccination;” and even the slow roll to “Overrated” are all great. I mean, if you think I’m kidding about loving this album, bandleader Page Hamilton easily rekindled my love for sludge thick metal riffs, and made me consider buying an ESP or similar metal looking guitar. They’ll be performing the album in its’ entirety, and it’s a show that won’t happen again. There’s no mention of an opener, but that may change. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $17.00 and $22.00.
Over at MKT Bar, you can see a Children Of Pop DJ set. I think by now I’ve told you that band leader Chase DeMaster is Houston’s most prolific songwriter, and obviously a guy who can’t sit still. It runs from 7:00 to 10:00, it’s all ages, and as always; it’s 100% FREE.
So, you might not know Seattle’s La Luz; but they’re pretty great sounding and they’ll be at Walters. La Luz mixes surf rock with a hint of shoegaze as well as some psych and garage rock pop. The best part of their sound is their lead singer’s voice mixed with a doo wop backing vocal from the other members. Their latest, 2013’s “It’s Alive” brings tons of energy as they criss cross genres in the best way possible. One of the better bands in the garage rock meets psych revival, The Shivas will be on the bill as direct support. Does it help to know that their recently released album, “You Know What To Do” was produced by K Records owner Calvin Johnson? Possibly not as it’s a great album on its’ own. The truly amazing sounds of Houston’s Hearts of Animals will also be on the show. I don’t think there’s a way to describe the sound of this band other than to say that Mlee’s endearingly sweet vocals mixed with the psych vibes on every lo-fi track is pure beauty. Last year’s “Another Mutation” was one of my favorites, and I feel like if you miss this band; you’re just hurting yourself. The Lories, also from Houston will open the show with their indie pop sound, that has hints of lo-fi garage peppered throughout. The all ages show has doors at 8:00, and tickets between $8.00 and $10.00.
If that wasn’t enough options for a Wednesday, then you can catch the visuals and electronic goodness from Houston’s FLCON FCKER over at Boondocks. FLCON is putting the finishing touches on his album, he’s a seriously big deal in his genre, and he’s also re-inventing what a live show looks like with his ever evolving glitch visuals. The arena wave synth sounds of Austin’s Knifight will also be on hand. These guys dropped their latest about two weeks ago, “V” that has this really cool vibe to it, while it creates its’ own sound. -Us. will be there as well, with BLSHS’ Michelle Miears dropping by for a guest vocal spot. The amazing and crazy live set from Houston’s George West will get things started, and be almost impossible to follow. This guy is definitely worth getting there early for when he starts at 10:00, on the 21 & up show with doors at 9:00 and a measly $5.00 cover.
Thursday, you can catch the return of Come See My Dead Person’s Matt Mejia, when he performs at MKT Bar. Matt recently moved to Colorado, but that doesn’t mean that you should miss him when he plays here. This guy has more passion and growl in one vocalized not than pretty much anyone you can see live. The all ages show runs from 8:00 to 11:00, and it’s 100% FREE.
If laughing is what you want to do, then you should make it out to Improv to catch the side splitting humor of Sean Patton. The New Orleans raised comic has been cracking up people all over the place, he’s been all over Comedy Central, and he’s been on Jimmy Fallon and Conan. In 2012 he released his debut, “Standard Operating Procedure,” that’s as funny as a comedy album gets. As per all of these shows, one of Houston’s better up and coming stand-ups will be on the shows as feature act. The host for all of these shows, is the ever growing popular Houston comic, the funny Gabe Bravo. There’s one show Thursday at 8:00, two on Friday at 8:00 and 10:30, two on Saturday at 7:00 and 9:30, and one on Sunday at 7:30. All of the shows have a ticket price between $15.00 and $27.00.
You could also head over to Cullen Performance Hall at University of Houston, to hear the silly songs and stand-up of Bo Burnham. Burnham has been busy since he got big off youtube, with a book of absurdist poetry called “Egghead,” non-stop touring, and appearances on hordes of shows. His last album, 2013’s “what.” was filled with lots of hilarity. Hopefully, this show won’t be as chaotic as the college kids who screamed out constantly at the Trailer Park Boys show last week; but we will see. There doesn’t appear to be an opener on the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and tickets for $35.00.
Cold War Kids Photo: Courtesy of Artist
House Of Blues will have the bluesy indie rock of California’s Cold War Kids. As early as 2005, I had friends telling me about this band they saw perform that blew them away. So when I finally caught the diverse and enigmatic band myself in 2006, I was impressed. I can tell you that these guys put on an amazing live show, and their latest, “Hold My Home” has more elements than previous works. The album has some well crafted songs that should make for an interesting evening to hear live. Mixing things up, they’re bringing the alt electronic sounds of New York’s Elliott Moss as direct support. Moss mixes live instruments with electronics in a way that really reminds me of Radiohead. He’s been dropping singles lately, most notably “Big Bad Wolf.” Austin’s The Vanity will bring their harder edged pop to the show as openers with doors at 8:00 and tickets between $31.75 and $39.83.
Friday, you can kick things off over at Numbers for a special “Friday I’m In Love” edition of Boo Town’s massively popular series, Grown-up Story Time. The documentary being produced locally and by locals Marcus Pontello and Dinolion is in the final stretch of their Kickstarter campaign that could totally use Houston’s help. Why should you do this? Because for starters, Grown-up Story Time is great, secondly your donations and cover go straight towards the film, and third, Numbers is a Houston institution. To put it all into perspective, Numbers represents what happens when the kids who are “different” take over a whole scene. Back in the day, Houston’s music scene was pretty much run by one guy, and then those at Numbers swooped in, booked the music they liked, and then basically called the shots for the next fifteen to twenty years. The stories of love lost, love found, and just the love of individuality need to be told in this documentary; and you can hear some of these Numbers themed stories at this edition of the show. The doors are at 7:00, the cover is $5.00, and it’s an 18 & up affair. Classic Numbers will follow promptly at 9:00.
Bayou Music Center might be fun for the hit parade of songs from Steve Miller Band. So, even though he hasn’t released any new material since 2011’s “Let Your Hair Down,” the guy is a great show to see live. I mean, does he need to put out new stuff to tour? He is the guy who wrote favorites like, “Take The Money And Run,” “Rock’n Me,” and of course, “The Joker.” And that’s before you bring up other hits like “Fly Like An Eagle,” and “Jet Airliner,” the man is a legend in more circles than you know. He has Houston’s The Mighty Orq opening the show up for him. These guys are bluesy and a good fit for the show which you can judge for yourself by their 2008 album, “To The Bone.” The show, with doors at 8:00, has tickets between $53.58 and $97.91.
Fitzgerald’s will host an evening filled with alt-country and memories with Drive-By-Truckers upstairs. The five piece that’s one of the few bands to tell a story once at a show that made me tear up, will be here in support of their beautiful and rockin’ album from last year, “English Oceans.” If you’ve never seen these alt-country rockers, then I feel sorry for you. They might be one of the most legitimate and entertaining acts you’ll ever see. They’ve been around for close to twenty years, and they are definitely worth checking out…especially if you’d like to see an act that should be at the Houston rodeo. The all ages show has doors at 8:00, and tickets between $24.00 and $28.00.
Rudyard’s has a show worth checking out if you’re old enough to drink, when The Ex-Optimists bring their indie rock meets noise pop sound to life. The College Station band has been bleeding ears for a while, in the good way with their loud rock that sounds like a cross between Hum and Bob Mould’s Sugar. They’ll have the amazingly lush and beautiful sounds of Houston’s A Sundae Drive on the bill with them. Last year, this band dropped “The Senseless and the Sound” that easily proved that they are easily one of the better indie rock bands going. They remind me of what it would sound like if J Mascis played in Superchunk, which is my way of saying that they’re pretty damn great. The indie rock of Golden Sombrero will be there as well, and should be great to hear as they kind of sound like Cheap Girls. A band called LUCA opens the 21 & up show with doors at 10:00 and is 100% FREE.
House of Blues will host the indie pop from Austin’s Wild Child. I’ve seen this band before, so I can say that they’re pretty good and worth catching live. I don’t know if they’re actually playing the songs from last year’s “Christmas Mixtape, Vol. 1” or not. Two years ago they made a pretty great album called, “The Runaround” and the six piece does a good job to mix great group vocals and fun together into their songs. Houston’s four piece indie pop rockers, Featherface will be there as direct support. I keep hearing that they’re on the verge of dropping a new album, but last year’s Coldplay meets Duran Duran sounding single “Make U Mine” is all that’s new from them for now. Austin indie synth pop performers, Holiday Mountain opens the show with doors at 8:00 and tickets for $17.33.
You can get your rock on over at Walters when the grunge gaze of Virginia’s Brief Lives come to town. So, this band features Valient from Valient Thorr, and they’re pretty good sounding. Hopefully the energy from their recently released “VHS” transfers over in a live setting. They’ll have their work cut out for them though, as Houston’s We Were Wolves will be on prior with their breakneck pace and feverish rock sounds. So, you aren’t supposed to know this, but I have already heard the masters from the band’s sessions with famed producer Chris Frenchie Smith; and they’re intense. Whenever these guys decide to drop what comes from those sessions; I’d just say that they took their sound to the next level, and whatever follows 2013’s “Wolf House” should be amazing. The Dead Space from Austin will also be there, as well as will Houston’s HogLeg who opens the show. The all ages show has doors at 8:30, and is FREE for 21 & up, or $5.00 for under 21.
If hip hop is more your thing, then I’d guess that you already knew about the Juvenile & Mystikal show happening at Arena Theatre. Juvenile is here in support of his song with Biggg Slim, “Nothing” from last year, or the two year old album “The Beginning of The End.” Mystikal will be here because he can tour again after his 2010 release from prison. I mean, Mystikal was at the top of his game when he went in, and his hit song, “Shake Ya Ass” will be one that unites the room in a sing-a-long. The show has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $29.50 and $49.50, and shouldn’t be missed by anyone who’s a fan of either of these great rappers.
Saturday, things are hairy with a host of options that start with the FUNomenal Family Festival over at Discovery Green. Look, even if you don’t have a family, can you really stand to miss something called Baby Olympics? I’m guessing that they won’t allow wagering, but with crawling races for babies happening, it’ll either be awesome or insanely slow. This is seriously a fun sounding day that has stuff like three different foam parties, the wrecking ball carnival ride, and some bounce thing filled with water balls. There’s much much more than I have listed, and music from DJ Ill-Set. It’s a family & dog friendly day that runs from 11:00 am until 6:00 pm, and it’s 100% FREE.
Bayou Music Center will be hosting the British trance trio of Above & Beyond. They’re here in support of their recently released album, this year’s “We Are All We Need.” If you missed them at FPSF, then this is your chance to hear one of the most successful trance acts of the 200’s. The doors on the 18 & up show are at 8:30, though it is sold out. But if tickets become available, expect them to be more than the $42.99 pre-sale price.
Walters will have top 40 selling hip hop artist, Roosh Williams for his album release party. That album, the recently dropped “Unorthodox,” stays true to its’ name, where Williams mixes things up by mixing a style that’s both simple and complex in its’ approach. That’s all before he drops a song with Scarface, on an album where the collabs feel more like they’re the lucky ones. Direct support will be T2 The Ghetto Hippie, as well as the return of Houston’s Kyle Hubbard. Hubbard lights a mic like he’s lighting a path for the lost when he hits it. And, his newest material, “Rip The Page (feat. Truck North)” is as fresh and inventive as his older stuff. Also on the bill, Guilla will be there to get the crowd worked up. Guilla is riding high after his release of last year’s “Rap, Trap, & Drums;” that’s gotten him on NewsFix, FPSF, and all sorts of press and praise. His live show is one that no one should miss, as he has the ability to get everyone who sees him to become his biggest fan. The rap of Virginia born and Houston raised Stockz will open the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and a $10.00 cover.
Over at Fitzgerald’s, The Beans will blow minds by performing on the upper level of the club. I feel like I’ve said it before, but this band plays the kind of sweltering blues rock that will make pretty much anyone who hears it, want to strip off clothes. They’ve been working on a follow up to 2013’s “The Beans,” and they will more than likely play some of those tunes at this show. They’ll be joined by the indie piano pop sounds of Walker Lukens. Walker’s folky elements were ever present on his 2013 album, “Devoted,” and then his inner pop fan came out last year on “Devoted (Remixed).” He’s one of the best songwriters to ever leave Houston for Austin, and a really entertaining act to see live. Austin’s electro synth poppers, Sphynx will also be on the bill to mix things up. In the latter part of last year, they dropped a couple of singles, including the fun sounding, “Snow White.” This trio is pretty great to see perform with all kinds of smoke and lights mixed with a super high energy. A DJ set from Children of Pop will open the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and tickets between $10.00 and $12.00.
At Alley Kat, you can get your rock on when the Chicana punk of San Antonio’s Fea comes to town. So, when your lead singer decides to make a solo record, the best set is to start a side project, which is what Phanie and Jenn of Girl In A Coma did. Fea is next level in approach by the fact that you can download their album and zine for free at their website; but the zine has the lyrics to the songs too. It’s some good stuff that everyone should check out. They’ll be joined by the punk of Screech of Death, as well as the steamroller of rock from power trio Giant Kitty. As we all wait eagerly for what their full length album will sound like, we can all rejoice in the fact that the Giant Kitty live show is still a great punch in the face. Speaking of getting punched in the face, the high energy and no holds barred sounds of Houston’s Only Beast will open things up. I feel like I’ve said way too many times that this trio, that sounds like a five piece, is the most energetic band in Houston. But, if you don’t want to see what a “hard to follow” act looks like, it’s cool. Just keep in mind that I told you they were amazing before they blew up; even as they record the follow up to the two year old album, “Only Beast.” The doors for the 21 & up show are at 8:30 and the tickets are a paltry $5.00.
In the ballroom at Warehouse Live, they’ll host the non-stop laughter of Wyatt Cenac. You might remember Cenac from his stint on The Daily Show, but he’s been in everything from the web series “Yacht Rock,” to the new David Cross film, “Hits.” He’s here touring in support of his latest comedy album, “Brooklyn,” and when FPH interviewed him, we found out lots about the funnyman. Two of Houston’s best newer school comics will open the show up. Dale Cheesman will be the feature act, and I promise you that he’ll make you laugh and think throughout his blisteringly funny set. FPH Sammy Award winning comic and Beta Bracket Comedy Contest winner, Ashton Womack will host the show. Come find out why every old school comic from Houston thinks Womack could be the next big comic to come from Houston when he opens the show. The doors are at 9:30 and the all ages event has tickets for $20.00.
Eastdown Warehouse will host the “Girthday Extravaganza” for Houston punk rocker and all around nice guy, Ryan Girth. Because Ryan is such a nice guy, he’s throwing a birthday bash with a bunch of your favorite bands. The Velostacks rock away when they headline the night that includes the reunion of Pbearadactyl, comedy from Gabe Bravo, and the debut of punk band Cut Ties. For those who aren’t in the know, Cut Ties sounds pretty damn good from what I’ve heard, and they have a nice melodic sound that isn’t pop punk. If that wasn’t enough for you, a drunken AC/DC cover band called Brian’s Johnson will be there, as will a new band called Patterns, and the rough rock of HogLeg. The entire night will be hosted Jared SanMiguel who will emcee and keep the tunes going all night, alongside DJ The Last Dragon. The show is FREE if you have a March birthday, and $10.00 for everyone else.
Sunday, I’m guessing that a handful of you will get all giddy over the post punk meets second wave emo sounds of Bayside. The New York four piece will be bringing their guitar heavy sound over to House of Blues. They’ll be in town in support of the recently released, “Cult (White Edition).” It’s also the 15th year Anniversary tour for the band. The heavy riffed sounds of Senses Fail will also be on the bill as direct support. They’re here after they just dropped a split release called “Split.” The album who made the split with them, Man Overboard is a much more welcomed sound. They dropped an album in 2013 called “Heart Attack” that has tons of melody within their emo pop meets pop punk sound. The Ontario five piece pop punk band Seaway will be there to open the show. The all ages show has doors at 6:00 and tickets between $25.08 to $46.37.
Tuesday, you can get in line to join the ever popular show, The Moth at Warehouse Live. The long running and increasingly entertaining show this time revolves around hair. They creators ask that you prepare your five minute “hair” or hair day related story for the evening. The all ages show is first come first serve seating, and the doors are at 6:30 with cover between $8.00 and $16.00.
That’s about it that isn’t tied to the biggest drunken faux cowboy event running around town. While you attempt to navigate through suburbanites who don’t know that downtown has changed since the last time they were on the train; keep in mind that we’re all Houstonians, so try to be mindful and safe.