No Reward: The Best of The Week
Leon casino, Photo: Home Box Office
Well, last week was a pretty hectic one that had more options than you’d think for the beginning of September. However, this week is actually more stacked than the last. It’s a crazy week filled with plenty of options and a comedy festival too. It’s your decision on what to attend and what you’ll be sad you missed. Here’s what you should be up to this week.
Wednesday, you can make it over to Fitzgerald’s for the Southern twang of Chris Robinson Brotherhood. You may or may not remember Robinson from his former act, The Black Crowes, but since that he’s been doing all sorts of things, including putting this band together. It’s a sound that’s a little more funky than his previous efforts, but still pretty twangy. This could be a really good show if you’re in the mood for his brand of music. There doesn’t appear to be an opener, but that could change by door time. The show is all ages, the doors are at 7:00, and the cover is between $18.00 and $22.00.
Of course, no one would be shocked if you made it over to Walter’s to catch the singular and Southern indie sounds of Georgia’s White Violet. This four piece has a very simple and unique sound, while still keeping the Southern thing going on; it’s almost difficult to explain, but they’re worth checking out. Their 2013 release, “Hiding, Mingling” was it’s own sound, yet still beautiful and a little rockin’ as well. They’ll have help from Houston’s Second Lovers, who’ll be on as support. I can’t say enough good things about these guys who’ve gotten more diverse and lush with each incarnation. This third version of the band is as strong as ever with Chelsea on vocals, there should be great things from this Americana act with more Southern swagger than a bottle of Jack Daniels. If that just wasn’t enough show for you, then possibly having the storytelling anti-folk pop of Adam Bricks as opener will make it for you. Bricks has this almost Warren Zevon meets Bob Dylan kind of sound; but with a voice that’s as unique as M. Ward. You’ll think you’ve heard his stuff before, but it’s really just that he’s that strong. The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and the cover is a paltry $8.00.
Down at Scout Bar, you can check out the thrash metal of Prong. I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen these guys before or not, but Prong has the ability to almost snap your neck from their intense sound. These guys play drudge thick metal, and they’re here in support of their newest album, “Ruining Lives.” Deer Park’s Hydrilla will also be on hand to bring their Southern metal to the show. These guys have that Crowbar meets Lamb of God sound, with a little more twang than either. Houston’s Erase The Virus will also be on the bill, bringing their industrial metal sound. They kind of sound like old Nine Inch Nails mixed with KMFDM. The groove metal of Houston’s Twelve Years Driven gets things started with doors at 7:00 with tickets ranging between $12.00 and $15.00 for the 18 & up show.
Over at House of Blues, you could make it out for the rock of NYC’s Coheed and Cambria. These guys put on a pretty great live show, but I don’t really know what genre you can place them in. They play all over the musical landscape between emo and hard rock. They’re in town in support of their latest album, “The Aftermath.” The prog rock of New Jersey’s Thank You Scientist should blow pretty much everyone in attendance away, as I’ve heard great things about the seven piece’s intense live show. The doors are at 7:00 and the tickets are a little pricey at $45.00 a piece.
Thursday at Walter’s, you can catch the hip hop rhymes of Philly’s Tayyib Ali. Ali has been honing his skills for a long time, and his 2008 mixtape, “Eighteen” was one of the best of the year. His latest drop “Keystone State of Mind 2” picks up where part one left off, and is still as amazing as it’s predecessor. Walter Malone of Def Perception will be on the bill to add a little of that H-Town flavor to the show. I don’t think you can call yourself a hip hop fan if you haven’t seen Def Perception in action. The dope rhymes and inventive style of Houston’s Nosaprise will drop songs from their latest, “Book of The Dead.” Houston’s DJ Baby Roo will get things started with doors at 8:00 and a measly $8.00 cover for the all ages affair.
Continental Club has the raw power of NOLA’s The Soul Rebels in house to funk up your mind. This killer eight piece has been making the festival rounds, they dropped a killer mixtape of covers last year, and their live show is about as energetic as shows get. The fact that these guys are technically a brass band with vocals, should be enough to get you out to catch them. There’s no opener, and the doors are at 10:00 for the 21 & up show, carrying a $20.00 cover.
Over at Warehouse Live, they’ll have the hip hop talents of Miami’s Denzel Curry on hand. Curry hits the mic harder and faster than the bulk of his Floridian contemporaries, and his style is pretty unmatched. His 2013 release, “Nostalgic 64” might be one of the better hip hop albums to come out of Dade county in a long time. The up and coming style of Charlotte’s Deniro Farrar will be getting things started. I think Farrar has pretty much opened for every big name in hip hop, and he should impress those within the studio at Warehouse. The doors are at 8:00, the show is all ages, and the tickets are between $15.00 and $20.00.
Your Friday options are almost as crazy as your Saturday options. Of course, Friday you can head over to House of Blues to catch Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst. So, I actually like Bright Eyes, Desaparecidos, and the early solo work from Oberst. However, I find it kind of contrary that not only is Oberst on a major label and he now eats meat after a decade of crying over dead animals; but that he’s actually performing in Houston. That’s right, I guess time can heal all wounds as long as the check’s big enough. And, in a time where Oberst stated that he was dropped from Warner imprint, Nonesuch when he wasn’t; he’ll be here on his weakest album to date, this year’s “Upside Down Mountain.” Let’s get this straight, I’m not a guy who likes Bright Eyes so much that I’m mad that he’s here solo; I just honestly feel like this record is thin. However, it’s news that he’s here after his self-imposed block of our city. I guess a guy just wishes he would’ve come here with a stronger release. There doesn’t appear to be an opener, but you’ll have to really want to go with tickets at over $50.00. The doors are at 8:00 for the all ages show.
Over at Fitzgerald’s you can catch some guys who’ve never had a ban on our fine city, when Deep Cuts bring their Latin sound to life. Recently, I gave their latest release, “Love Grows” my stamp of approval, as it’s a truly great sounding mix of Latin meets the sound of the islands. You’ll hear old school rock infused with influences from all over the Caribbean, while still retaining their core sound. There should be great things to come from these guys, and you can get a physical copy of the EP at the show as well. The alt garage pop of Houston’s Young Girls will be on hand to make butts shake to their infectious tunes. These guys sound like what a garage rock band from Brian Wilson and Robert Smith would sound like. Along for the ride of this great bill, the magic of Houston’s one man electronic sound explosion; LIMB will also be performing. I don’t think I can oversell what James does in a live setting, but you’re a fool if you miss his energetic and intense live set. The dreamy pop chaos of The Caldwell will also be in tow. These guys dropped a pretty great album last year called, “Modern Love,” and they put on a pretty great live show. The indie rock goodness of Chemistry will also be there, which is a treat as they don’t play much nowadays. You need to get there early to check these guys out, as I’m pretty sure you’ll hear new stuff mixed with classics from their previous album, “On The Loose.” The entire show will be MC’d by Lisa’s Sons, which I guess means that they’ll just drop songs periodically. The doors for this epic billing are at 8:00, the show is all ages, and the tickets are between $10.00 and $12.00.
At Improv, you can catch one of Saturday Night Live’s alumni, Kevin Nealon. Nealon is a pretty funny guy who I’ve caught twice before, and he’s much more than his characters from SNL. He’ll be in town in support of his 2013 album, “Whelmed…But Not Overly.” As per all shows at the venue, two of Houston’s better veterans, Bob Biggerstaff and Theo Taylor will get things started. There are two shows on Friday and two on Saturday, all with tickets ranging from $25.00 to $35.00. The Friday shows are at 8:00 and 10:30, and the Saturday shows are at 7:00 and 9:30.
If you’re up for a FREE show, then there’s a good lineup at Alley Kat on Friday night. If you didn’t get enough of the trippy duo Ma & God last week over at Yes, Indeed, then you’re in luck as they’ll headline this show. Ma & God have a very unique sound that’s only brought to life by dual vocals and catchy hooks. Second Lovers will add their Americana sound to the bill in what will be number two in three shows for the band this week. I should say that if you don’t catch them this week, you must not be going out much. The Panhandlers will bring their country rock sound to the show, if that’s the actual one who’s playing; as there’s like 10 bands with that name. Sand-Dollar Swing will add their blend of singer songwriter sounds, while Giant Kitty will more than likely set the place ablaze when they open things up with their intensely driven rock. The doors are at 9:00, it’s a Free show, and I think it’s 21 & up.
San Antonio’s best export, Girl In A Coma will be dropping into town over at Last Concert Cafe. I think the first time I saw these women, was when their singer Nina was fifteen, and they still seem to get better and better with every passing year. Their Mike McCarthy produced album, “Exits & All the Rest” is still one of my favorites. They have the ability to play indie rock with the swagger of seasoned veterans, while still adding a dreamy twist of their own to each and every song. They’ll have plenty of fun with the immensely talented sounds of Nick Gaitan and The Umbrella Man getting things started. Nick is so much more than just a guy who played bass for Billy Joe Shaver, as his Latin Gulf Coast Americana is as truly unique as anything you’ll hear anytime soon, and with the full band it’s something like nowhere else. Things get started around 8:00, and the tickets are $13.00.
Over at Phoenicia MKT Bar, the Beta Bracket Comedy Competition is going strong and getting closer to the final rounds. The tensions between the comics are getting higher, the spirit of competition is in the air, and pretty soon Beta Theater will have to part with $2,000.00 for the winner to spend how he or she sees fit. There’s also another $600.00 bucks up for grabs and a live recording from Heights Vinyl on the table. Because it’s audience vote, you’ll have to get there a little early to grab a ballot and a seat as the shows have been standing room only lately. If you like a good fight, then this is where your Friday night should be spent. It’s 100% FREE, things get started promptly at 9:00, and it’s all ages.
If you’re up for a drive, then the hilarious hijinks of Loudon Wainwright III will be out at Dosey Doe’s Big Barn in the Woodlands. Wainwright could be one of our nation’s best treasures, and one heck of an amazing performer and songwriter. I say hijinks because he usually tells these funny stories behind some of his more popular songs, which there are more than a few to tell about. I still contend that his 1973 album, “Attempted Moustache” might be one of the better solo efforts I’ve ever heard, and was easily one of the more overlooked releases of the decade. He’ll be here in support of his most recent recording, this year’s more rockin’ “Haven’t Got The Blues (Yet).” Like all shows at Dosey Doe, dinner is included with your ticket price. Dinner is served from 6:00 to 7:30, and tickets fall between $68.00 and $108.00.
On Saturday, the Untapped Festival has been rescheduled to October 11th, due to inclement weather.
If you’d rather laugh till’ it hurts, then the Oddball Comedy Festival out at the Woodlands Pavillion is where you should be. The Funny Or Die festival has a pretty insane lineup this year, that should only make headlines about the talent and not the audience. One of the funniest comics to ever take a microphone, Louis C.K. will be headlining the event this year with his self effacing humor. This guy is on fire with a neverending stream of content, a hit TV show, and even plugging other artists’ work coupled with an insane touring schedule. Louis lives and breathes comedy, and his newest $5.00 special, “Oh My God” is as hilarious as his 2011 hit, “Hilarious.” He’ll have the hilarious and often fouled mouthed humor of Sarah Silverman on before him. I kind of feel like Silverman can’t miss with all she does. A movie, part of the Youtube JASH channel, and appearances on pretty much anywhere who’ll have her; Silverman will more than likely hit up the crowd with her over the top style. I don’t know how you couldn’t know about Hannibal Buress, but he’s insanely hilarious, and he’s on the bill as well. Buress just dropped a new album with “Live From Chicago,” and he’s way more than the straight guy on The Eric Andre Show. Buress is slated to be the next big thing in stand-up comedy, and he’s an excellent fit for this show with his off the cuff style. Though I’m not the biggest fan, Jeff Ross will be on board as well. You should know Ross, if not from anywhere else, than the fact that I think he’s made most of his living from being on Comedy Central Roast shows. The host of TBS’ “Very Funny News,” Julian McCullough will be on hand as well. McCullough has done everything from making the talk show rounds to a half hour Comedy Central special. If not the dark horse of the festival, the funny as hell act of Marc Maron will be on hand to make everyone in the audience either laugh hysterically or feel uncomfortable. Maron has his own TV show on IFC, he’s the host of the wildly successful podcast “WTF with Marc Maron,” and he’s got a new book as well as a new special “Thinky Pain.” If that just wasn’t enough show for you, then the impromptu musical funny songs of Reggie Watts will be there to step up the show’s game. Watts is insanely amazing to see live, and his songs are so epic, that he rarely performs the same one twice. His 2012 album, “A Live At Central Park,” might be one of the best things you’ll ever hear. Whitney Cummings will also be on hand doing stand up again after her show went the way of the buffalo. Cummings has the ability to cover topics from relationships to professional sports in a very female way while staying connected to the audience. Her latest release, “I Love You” is pretty strong and she should be a great addition to the show. Atlanta’s club DJ, DJ Trauma will get things started on the main stage. There’s also a second stage where California’s Brody Stevens will headline. Stevens has kind of been blowing up lately, and his HBO special, “Enjoy It” was pretty hilarious. There will also be Houston comedy happening, from the likes of Owen Dunn, Jaffer Khan, Justin Thompson, and Alan Adams. The doors are at 5:00, it’s an all ages show, and the tickets are between $35.00 to $79.75.
However, if you just aren’t a festival person; then House of Blues might be where you’ll want to be as DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist roll into town. Shadow is pretty much at icon status within the world of DJs, and his recent release, this year’s “The Liquid Amber EP” might be as sick as it gets. If the fact that he’s pretty much one of the best DJ’s in the history of the genre isn’t enough for you, or the fact that he was a part of the original UNKLE duo; then maybe the fact that he’s bringing some insane records in tow will help. Rumor has it that he’s bringing actual Afrika Bambaataa records with him on this tour, which is insane figuring on how rare they are. Also, with legendary status, is the impeccable style of Cut Chemist. This guy is as smooth as butter, he was an original member of Jurassic 5, a member of Ozomatli, and he’s about as sick as Shadow. His full length release, 2006’s “The Audience Is Listening” is still one of my favorite jams. The hip hop DJ jams of Boston’s Eden will also be on hand to get things as funky as possible. This cat blew up in London and has been getting better and better ever since. His “Beauty & The Beat” album is still one of those albums you can listen to daily and it still feels fresh. Things will all get started by DJ breakbeats of Paten Locke with doors at 8:00, and tickets between $40.00 and $46.00.
There’s a party going on at Fitzgerald’s, when Craig Kinsey hosts the Burned Out #6 show. This will feature covers of Nirvana, The Cranberries, Third Eye Blind and more covered by some of your favorite local acts. The likes of Hayden Jones who will bring a psych folk element, Shadow Hound who will bring their stoner pop sound, Thrill who’s made a career of covers, and Kinsey himself will all be performing your favorite nineties jams. Since it’s a nineties themed show, you’re encouraged to throw on your nineties garb and party like you just found out that Ross and Rachel from “Friends” are hooking up. Please remember that the nineties wasn’t all flannel shirts, as there was a dark side that included things like acid wash jeans, and this horrible place with only a four color spectrum to their attire, called Structure…though you may know it as Express Men. It’s an all ages affair with doors at 8:30 and tickets for $10.00.
If you’re up for something different, then Warehouse Live will be hosting another Hip Hop Anonymous show. As always these are hosted by Guilla and Leckie, and feature a new crop of up and coming hip hop artists. Both Guilla and Leckie run a tight show that’s a great way to see a bunch of great hip hop all in one spot. This week The Mad Men Crew will be stopping by, and dropping their intense three piece jams. Honor Roll JBC will be on board to bring their slow jammed style to the show. Alief will get repped hard, when Poochie makes an appearance with his street style, that’s like a mix of nineties gangsta with current beats. A.C.R.E., originally from La Marque, will be on hand with his quick auto-tune rhymes, and he’s definitely someone to keep an eye out for. There’s an EAZY on the bill, and someone called Dedoe as well. The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are between $10.00 and $12.00.
There’s a benefit happening over at Walter’s that will go to the family of Josh Fergeson, and will be headlined by Austin’s Iron Age. I’m pretty sure it’s a been a good while since the speed metal of these guys has been in the space city, and what a perfect reason to bring them back. Straight up, these guys are intense and energetic, and they’ll make you forget that they’re from the same place as The Sword. The hardcore punk of Houston’s My Luck will also be on hand to help whip everyone’s energy up for Iron Age. These guys are loud, there’s screaming involved, and they have the sound as if it’s 1983 and they’re coming from the East coast. The metal screamcore of Houston’s Pride Kills will also be on the bill to offer some head banging sounds. These guys kind of remind me of DFL with a more latter day DRI sound. The punk of Your Mistake will also be there, while the sounds of Goon Life will get things started. The doors are at 8:00, the show is all ages, and the cover is $10.00.
Over at the Sheraton Brookhollow, the 22nd Annual Houston Transgender Unity Banquet will be happening. If you aren’t up for outdoors shows then this might be the event for you. The banquet raises money for scholarships, PRIDE events, and Houston DOR. This is truly a great cause that will hopefully raise plenty of money this year. There’s two types of ticket options, ranging between $65.00 and $90.00, and things get started at 6:30.
Notsuoh also has a benefit show put on by those over at Charity Gigs and Easy Credit Group, that benefits Westside Homeless Partnership. The show will feature some pretty great acts from the likes of the psyched out trippiness of PuraPharm, the pop rock of Catch Fever, the duo sounds of Thanks For Socializing, the Southern twang of Fire Moth, the indie pop of A Sundae Drive, Colonel Peter’s Pig, Jaeger Wells, and Super Robot Party. I can attest to the power of Super Robot Party, the pop goodness of A Sundae Drive, the energy of Fire Moth, and the tight sound of Catch Fever, as I’ve see them all multiple times. The doors are at 5:00 and the cover is a measly $8.00 for the show.
On Sunday at Fitzgerald’s, you can catch the melodic and often scream fueled sounds of Pennsylvania’s Balance and Composure. I caught these guys on tour with Kevin Devine and Manchester Orchestra, and I was surprised at their sound. They have a latter day emo sound coupled with catchy hooks. They’ll have California’s Seahaven on the bill, and they should bring a mix of emo post rock and acoustics. Seahaven’s recent release, “Reverie Lagoon: Music For Escapism Only” is a pretty interesting sounding album. Philly’s almost Starflyer 59 sounding, Creepoid will get the show started. I won’t lie, I think I’m going just to see these band, as they have this very muffled sound that’s coupled with a very shoegaze based sound. The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are between $13.00 and $16.00.
However, the show to see might be over at Walter’s, when Florida’s Merchandise makes their way into town. The dreamy pop of these guys makes you wonder how they’re from Tampa, as they have an almost British sound. Their recently released album, “After The End” almost has the feel of something that Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr would have made. Ben Wallers of The Country Teasers new act, The Rebel will also be on hand. The noise rock of Austin’s Spray Paint will give the show a bit of the bizarre. I caught these guys a while back and I’ll just say that it’s like they’re channelling DEVO from the future. The quick and false punk of Austin’s Institute will get things started as only they can. The doors are at 8:00, the show is all ages, and the tickets are a paltry $10.00.
There’s comedy happening over at Last Concert Cafe, with the Attack of The Comedy Show. This week, the comics on hand will of course be host Al Bahmani, DeWayne Birklett, Bo Toups, Zahid Dewji, Rich Williams, Len Krieger, and many more. The show is always 100% FREE, and things get rolling at 8:00.
On Monday, Walter’s will have the acoustic sounds of Luke Sweeney. Sweeney seems to zigzag between folk pop and solo sounds on his latest album, last year’s “Either Ore.” He tends to have a pretty chill vibe to his shows, so don’t go in thinking he’ll be rockin’ out. The psych of Houston’s Silver Blueberry will also be on hand to rock some trippy and melodic jams. These guys seem to really get the vibe of what psych is all about. Houston’s doo wop group, The Motion will get things started with their throwback to the sixties sound. Complete with a three piece all girl vocal section, they might be one of the next big things out of Houston. It’s an all ages show with doors at 8:00 and a miniscule $8.00 cover.
On Tuesday, the studio at Warehouse Live will host the blues rock duo of Brighton’s Royal Blood. I feel that these guys have been compared to White Stripes, when they should get compared to more of Led Zeppelin. Sure, their singer kind of sounds like Jack White, but these guys have their own thing happening and they’re insanely intense live. Their recently released album, “Royal Blood” is something everyone should hear. It’s energy meets British rock with catchy hooks infused into every song. In a completely different twist, Nashville’s singer songwriter Meg Myers will open the show. Myers has an intensely gorgeous voice, and she can almost hypnotize you with it, while she switches between indie rock to solo folk and a hint of pop. When it’s acoustic, her stuff is soft and sweet, and when it’s rock she throws off her gloves and goes for the jugular. Her 2014 EP, “Make A Shadow” might be one of the most beautiful and interesting things you’ll hear all year. The doors are 8:00, the show is all ages, and the tickets are between $10.00 and $12.00.
Also on Tuesday, you could head over to Mango’s for the indie pop punk of San Diego’s Western Settings. These guys have an intensely powerful sound to their driving rock, and they at times remind me of Jawbreaker mixed with Small 23. The Braid sounding emo of Houston’s Valens will also be on the bill, that feels like a show they were made for. Recently, Valens dropped a tour EP that stays in their tradition of making great songs. Houston’s pop punkers meets Western emo, The Turnaways will also be on the show. These guys are pretty catchy, and their “Came Quick” EP is pretty hook filled. The Medicine Years, also from Houston will bring a Jets To Brazil mixed with Boilermaker sound to the show as well. Mosaic Dream will get things started with doors at 9:00 for the 100% FREE show that’s all ages.
This weekend is just another example of how things are just happening as much as possible in this city. If you’re heading to one of the festivals, please be mindful your transportation options, as no one likes someone who won’t choose the safest alternative to get home.