Pimp Decision: The Best of The Week
Leon casino, Photo: Chad Batka
Last week our city was full of surprises that included a set from Robyn Hitchcock alongside tons of great local content and everything else. This week…this week is stacked with more options than we saw last year around Saint Valentine’s day. To make half of what’s happening you might need some sort of super computer. Here’s where you should spend your sweetie’s gift money this week.
On Wednesday, you can head over to MKT Bar to watch local singer/songwriter Chase Hamblin spin records on the MKT Bar Vinyl Night. This should be an especially great version of this show, because Chase is into everything from The Who and Beatles, to Bee Gees, Jeff Buckley, and beyond. If you’re a fan of sixties sounds, then I promise this will be the night for you to attend. As always this is an all ages and 100% FREE event that runs from 7:00 to 10:00.
Of course, maybe you’d rather get down to some garage rock, and if you do then you should be at Under The Volcano for Mikey & The Drags. Hot on the heels of finishing their follow up to 2013’s “On The Loose,” the band is also gearing up for tour. If you haven’t caught these guys before then this is your chance as they have an immense amount of energy and they’re great to see live. Not to be outdone, one of Houston’s best bands going; Nick Gaitan & The Umbrella Man will be performing as well. I feel like if you haven’t seen this mix of Gulf Coast with Latin fusion, then you’re not much of a Houstonian; as Nick is possibly as Houston as a musician can get. The show, which is 21 & up has doors at 8:00 and it’s 100% FREE.
Every now and again, a pro comic who got their start here in Houston returns and does a free show. On Wednesday at Hans Bier Haus, Matthew Broussard will return to Houston to od just that. Currently starring in the Mtv2 show, “Guy Code,” Broussard has also been touring the country doing stand-up and proving that Houston comics can still rule the world. Ad with all of these shows at Hans, there’s FREE Food, No Cover, and the 21 & up show will also have an open mic to follow.
Thursday, you can head out to Improv for the hilarious antics of comic Pablo Francisco. Francisco is best known for his massive list of impressions, alongside selling more tickets than pretty much any club comic going. He’s toured all over the world, he’s dropped several albums, and he’s been all over television. His last release, 2011’s “They Put It Out There,” is a good barometer for his comedic style. As with all of these shows, two of Houston’s better up and coming comics will serve as host and feature performer. There’s one show on Thursday at 8:00, two on Friday at 8:00 and 10:30, two on Saturday at 7:00 and 9:30; and one show on Sunday at 7:30. Some of these have already sold out, so you should grab your tickets early, all are between $22.00 to $32.00.
Mucky Duck will have a real treat of a show, when Kelly Willis drops by for two very special performances. If you’re unaware why these are special shows, maybe the fact that Willis hasn’t toured much as a solo act in almost a decade will convince you? After taking a hiatus, she returned with two duets albums with her husband Bruce Robison. Those albums, most recently 2014’s “Our Year,” produced plenty of exposure for the two but not much for Willis separately. Rumor has it that Willis will soon be releasing a follow up to the 2007 single, “Teddy Boys.” Either way, both of these shows are a nice change on a Thursday for an artist who’s worked with Don Was, Jay Farrar, and Vince Gill among others. The shows are at 7:00 and 9:30, and both carry a ticket price between $28.00 and $30.00.
At Notsuoh, the magic of Stephen Farris will be making an appearance at the first of many Prints NotPrince parties at the venue. Farris has pretty much blown me away since I caught him perform on the Crasis show, and I feel like you’re an idiot if you don’t catch an artist who performs about four times a year; as often as you can. Eroda One will also be on hand to drop his mix of hip hop and trap sounds on all who attend. The San Antonio duo of Calico Club will bring their electronica to life, when they perform as well. Last year, these two dropped the “Permanent Night” EP, and really changed how I felt about San Antonio’s scene. The album has a very synthwave and dancey vibe that harken back to a time when we all thought Don Johnson was cool. Houston’s DNCSxWLVS will be there to drop his multilayered and trippy beats for all to groove to. DJ Angieliste will get things started on the 18 & up show with things starting around 10:00, and no mention of cover.
You could also make it out to Joke Joint Comedy Showcase to catch the return of comedian and former Joke Joint owner; Danny Martinez. Martinez is known for mentoring comic Mo Amer, he’s appeared all over the world, and he’s worked with George Lopez, Paul Rodriguez, and many more. As per all of the shows at the club, one of Houston’s better up and coming comics will perform in the feature spot. Hosting this week, will be the rapid fire jokes of Houston’s Kazeem Rahman. Kazeem has a likeable quality to his humor, and his jokes cover a broad range of topics that can make anyone laugh. There’s one show on Thursday at 8:00 and two on Friday at 8:00 and 10:30, all carrying cover for $16.00. The Saturday Valentine’s Day shows are at 8:00 and 10:30, include a dessert for two, a special feature slot from Whiskey Brother and renowned comic Slade Ham, and carry a $20.00 cover.
Downstairs at Fitzgerald’s, you can catch a DJ set from Maryland’s Animal Collective. So, this is basically the three members of the band that aren’t Panda Bear doing DJ sets. The tour has been rolling around for a year, so if you’re a fan then I’d say make it out for the all ages show. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets are between $15.00 and $17.00.
Friday you can kick off the weekend with some FREE Comedy at MKT Bar from Beta Theater. This week, the show will be hosted by longtime Houston comic Al Bahmani. The show will also feature one of Houston’s hardest working and busy comics, the funny and self deprecating humor of Tim Mathis. Mathis seems to be on a mic every weekend, and since he gets paid for the gigs, he does them all over. Netra Babin will also be there to drop her brand of funny on the guys, who might learn something from someone as strong as she is. Matt Donovan, also known as English Matt will also be on hand, as will the humor of Adam Bob. These shows are a great way to catch some of Houston’s better comics in a nice and safe setting. The shows, which are all ages get started at 9:00 sharp and are 100% FREE.
Of course, you could want to stop by Toyota Center to see the comedy of Katt Williams. Williams is best known as the “Pimp of Comedy” and his albums, “Katt Williams LIVE” and “It’s Pimpin’ Pimpin’” could be some of the funniest comedy ever recorded. His latest, 2012’s “Kattpacalypse” stays in line with his pimp meets ghetto observational humor. Rumor has it that Katt is back and stronger than ever after some public “issues” from the past. The doors are at 7:00, the show starts at 8:00, and the tickets are between $52.00 and $125.00.
Warehouse Live will host Houston’s PuraPharm for their album release party over in the Studio. If you missed where I reviewed this EP, I’ll just say that their mix of psych, new wave, and Britpop is done with more elements than I’ve ever heard while staying true to its core and sounding fresh and inventive. Houston’s Jealous Creatures will also be on hand to bring their indie rock sound to life. Their latest, 2013’s “Bazooka” reminds me of so many albums made by the likes of Kristin Hersh, Kim Deal, and Petra Haden. Maybe you don’t know any of those names, so if you don’t; then imagine if That Dog and Magnapop had a baby. The art rock of Austin’s Casual Strangers are also on board, and they’ll bring their hazey sounds with them. Their debut album, “Casual Strangers” from last year is a spacey mix like you may not have heard before; but should be entertaining live. The complex indie pop of Glass The Sky will open things up with doors at 7:00 and tickets between $8.00 and $10.00 for the all ages show.
Walters will host a different and eclectic lineup that may have been made with Friday The Thirteenth in mind. The show features a mix of varying genres, headlined by The Wandering Buffaleros. These guys make an Americana kind of music that has a mix of old Western cowboy thrown in. Last year, they dropped “The Wandering Buffaleros” which is a great example of their live sound. The space pop of Monorose will be there dropping their far out sounds and genre mixing. The hip hop stylings of Nikkhoo will also perform his blend of mic melting rhymes and free flow like you’ve never heard before. The hillbilly thrash folkabilly of Son of Bitch will also be on the bill. The group performs their own blend of bluegrass, hill tunes, and rockabilly, best found on their latest album, 2013’s “Venus and the Cat.” Houston’s ambassador of next wave sounds, Josiah Gabriel will also be there to mix things up. I think we’re all almost dying in anticipation of what Noah’s getting ready to drop next, and that’s not even mentioning all the collaborations he has going. Houston’s Little Outfit will get things started for the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and tickets between $8.00 and $15.00.
If you’d rather watch some guys from El Paso swap off each other’s instruments and still be entertaining, then you should head to House of Blues for The Dirty River Boys. These guys have been around for a little over five years, and they have a pretty awesome sound. Like a mix of country, bluegrass, and Americana with hints of rock and rockabilly thrown in; they dropped their latest “The Dirty River Boys” last year. That album is like a genre crossing tour de force performed by a band of multi-instrumentalists with more energy than most going. There doesn’t appear to be an opener on the all ages show with doors at 9:00 and tickets for $19.33.
Saturday, you can kick off Valentines Day by heading over to Arena Theatre for one of the two shows from comic Cedric The Entertainer. The comedian and performer should bring his a game to the two shows while he makes everyone in attendance laugh till’ it hurts; while possibly singing and doing all sorts of other things. It’s Cedric & Friends, though the “friends” aren’t listed…so I don’t know what that’s about. There’s a show at 7:30 and a show at 11:00 and both carry a ticket price of $65.00 & $75.00.
Alice Cooper Photo: Global
You can catch the theatrical drama of Alice Cooper over at Bayou Music Center if that’s your thing. I mean, the guy pretty much a legend in the world of music. I caught Cooper about a decade ago and I can admit that he puts of a hell of a live show. That’s before you delve into the hits he has like “I’m Eighteen,” “School’s Out,” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy” to name a few. There’s no mention of an opener, but that may change prior to show time. The doors are at 8:30 and tickets are between $39.99 and $59.08.
Black Barbie will be hosting the Unsafe Sex Party featuring the music of the instrumentalist drummer known as notLando of Denton. This guy mixes live instruments in with a whole kitchen sink of synths, and should be interesting to see live. The proggy psych extravaganza known as Sunrise and Ammunition will also be on hand to blow everyone away with their epic sounds. If you’ve never seen these guys or listened to their 2013 album, “Tesseract,” then you’ve been missing out. The trap house sound of Italy’s The Delay In The Universal Loop will also be on hand for his first Houston performance. So, this 18 year old guy drops a crazy electronica mix that sounds pretty awesome, and he could be someone worth really checking out based on his sound alone. Houston’s Trooth will also be there to drop bassy dance tunes, as well as the soul groove sounds of Zech who will open the 21 & up show. The doors are at 9:00 and the tickets are a measly $5.00.
Toyota Center will have Bob Seger if that’s your thing. I’m not really a fan, so I’m just saying that he’s performing. If you wanna hear a song from a Chevy truck commercial, then this is the show for you. Is his newest album, “Ride Out” any good? I have no idea because you can’t stream it and I don’t care enough about him to hit up his label for a copy of it. He did have hits like “Night Moves,” “Old Time Rock N’ Roll,” and so on. The doors are at 7:00, there isn’t an opener listed, and the tickets are between $55.00 and $95.00.
Downstairs at Fitzgerald’s you can catch Indiana’s Murder By Death. This band kind of sounds like The Decemberists mixed with Nick Cave, but I’ve seen them live and they’re pretty great. Their latest album, the recently released “Big Dark Love” emits as much emotion as their previous albums, and they have a bit of a pop edge that makes them easier to swallow. Singer songwriter, Rocky Votolato of Frost, Texas will open things up on the all ages show. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets are between $15.00 and $19.00.
Sunday I’d say that you’d be best by heading over to The Corkscrew to catch February’s Sketchbook Saloon show. This edition will feature two performers from the Dem Damn Dames troupe, Nick T’Vegan and the mistress of the aerial silks; Emma D’Lemma. You may not realize that the smallest and most sultry member of Dem Damn Dames is also immensely accomplished; but Emma has a bachelor in Dance, she’s trained in ballet, and she can do more in the air than anyone you’ve ever seen. The show, which invites you to come draw, sculpt, or paint the models; is a great way for beginning artists and seasoned artists to draw a figure while having fun. The show starts at 2:00, and the cover is $10.00 for members, $15.00 for new members, and $20.00 for photographers. You have to bring your own art supplies, which can be anything but glitter.
If you’ve never been inside the green room at Warehouse Live, then you might not know that Mark C. Austin was a music photographer before he got into music management. You can see examples of his work over at Ladybirds Bar, Sunday at 4:00. The exhibition that runs until 8:00 is all ages & is 100% FREE.
Over at Fitz, there’s two great shows, starting upstairs for The Slappy’s: A Skate Video Awards Show. The whole thing supports the Houston skateboarding community, and it is FREE if you’re 21 & up. If you’re under 21 it’s $5.00, and the doors are at 7:00 for the all ages show.
Downstairs at Fitzgerald’s, you can catch the hardcore of California’s Retox. These guys have been hammering out screamy vocals and hard hitting songs for over five years now. They’ve become known for an energetic live show, they dropped 2 new songs this year from their upcoming “Beneath California” album, and last year they released the a split EP. They’ll have the sludge rock of Atlanta’s Whores to contend with. This band is known for wrecking audiences with their over the top high powered sound. The latest full length, 2013’s “Clean” is as epic and rough as you’d expect from this band. Sores will also be on hand, as will Houston’s Moths who will get things started. The show is all ages, the doors are at 7:00, and the cover is between $10.00 and $13.00.
You can start your Tuesday off with one of the two Grown Up Storytime shows happening from Boo Town over at Rudyard’s. I don’t think that I have to oversell the participation aspect of these shows, as they seem to have a hearty list of those who wish to participate. However, I will attempt to sell you on the fact that these shows sell well and sell out quickly. There are two, one at 8:00 and one at 10:00, and both are 21 & up with a $5.00 cover.
Neil’s Bahr will host the punk rock of Houston’s Dead To The World. The sing song punk from the guys make me wonder when Houston will hear a proper full length album. They’ve gotten to open for more of the heavy hitting touring acts who roll through town, and they put on an energy driven show. DJ Mohawk Steve will get things started on the 21 & up show that starts around 8:30 and is 100% FREE.
If you remember that there was a comedy open mic over at Warehouse Live, well now those same guys are doing the show at Boondocks. It’s a comedy open mic that starts at 9:00, it’s 21 & up, and it’s FREE to attend.
I don’t know what to expect from it, but Evan Dando of Lemonheads will be performing at Fitzgerald’s downstairs. With Lemonheads, Dando has created some memorable tunes, made some great albums, and made the world a better place. I still say that their “Car Button Cloth” album is severely underrated, and everyone knows about “It’s A Shame About Ray,” and “Come On Feel.” On the solo front, Dando did make a pretty beautiful album in 2003 called “Baby I’m Bored.” However, even after reuniting Lemonheads, Dando just has the one solo album. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a gem for sure; I just don’t know if it fills an entire set list or not. I guess that I’m saying that the past that lurks around Dando’s personal life, the trainwreck that I’ve seen him in before; I don’t know how this show will go. I’d guess that he’d play a mix of your favorite Lemonheads songs coupled with new and old solo material…but I don’t know. The bonus is that New York’s Willy Mason will be on the show as direct support. There’s a good chance that you don’t know much about Mason, but he’s kind of a bad ass. Mason is like a mix of Bob Dylan and Conor Oberst, and his latest, 2012’s “Carry On” is pretty damn great. The big voiced solo sounds of Montreal’s Sarah Johnston will get the show going. She has hints of pop rock peppered throughout her stuff, and he 2011 album “Trespassing” means you should get there early to see her. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $18.00 and $22.00.
That’s about all there is for this week, keeping in mind that there are always shows that I leave out on purpose. No matter what you find yourself doing this week, please do so in a safe manner. The better you are means the better we all are as well.