Sing To The Moon The Best of The Week
Leon casino, Photo Cred RCA/Victor
Another week’s end in Houston, this week is filled with plenty of options worth making it out for, including some one off comedians who don’t make it here often. While you start counting the days until this year’s Summerfest, here’s how you should spend your free time this week.
In the vein of alternative comedians, one of the better in the world of comedy today, Maria Bamford will be stopping by Houston on Wednesday the 23rd. Making appearances on almost every late night talk show as well as some memorable cameos on Tim & Eric Awesome Show: Great Job!, Bamford is one of the funniest comedians going right now. Irreverent wit and self deprecating humor are just a small part of what she does best to rooms full of people laughing. Her appearance at Houston’s Improv, will be her only show here, and one of possibly only a handful of alternative acts that the club will host all year. The show starts at 8:00 and the tickets are $22.00, a small price for someone of her hilarious caliber.
If you just aren’t a fan of Bamford, then you should make it over to Beta Theater to see “Everything Will Happen with Saurabh Pande” on Wednesday. The show promises to be that of improv based around anything and everything you can conjure up. The hilarious Amy Birkhead and Bryan Cruz will be among the list of those in tow to make sure it’s worth making it out for. As with most Beta shows, it’s BYOB and the pay what you can price applies. The show runs from 7:00 to 9:00.
Over at Fitzgerald’s, the synthy dream pop of Warpaint makes an appearance in the upstairs room. Warpaint’s 2013 self titled release was filled with all types of lush and layered vocals atop a sound that’s more reminiscent of Cocteau Twins than most things released from the genre. Warpaint has been known to shake things up in their live shows, so this should be an interesting offering for a Thursday. The break beat trippy nature of California’s James Supercave should mix things up as well when they open the show. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets fall between $16.00 and $20.00.
Over at the Brown Theater at The Wortham Center, the comedy of Mike Birbiglia will make it’s way over for one night only on Thursday as well. Birbiglia is not only one of the more diverse comedians currently touring, he’s also one of the funniest. His back catalog of comedy albums, theater work,and even movie work is as all over the place as his comedy style. The ticketing options for The Brown theater are varied, like more than I think almost any other venue in Houston. The tickets that are still left range from $35.00 to $45.00 and the doors are at 7:30.
Every so often, bands that I forgot existed pop up on tour, and they usually land over at Scout Bar in Clear Lake. For the thirty or so of you who remember Powerman 5000, they have just popped up with a show on Thursday the 24th at, you guessed it; Scout Bar. I’m not a fan, but I realize that some people that read our paper don’t live close in to town. If you want to relive those nights in the nineties where you were juiced up on Mountain Dew while you rebelled by wearing an “Antichrist Superstar” shirt; then this is the show for you. The polarizing rock of one of the most cartoony looking bands I’ve seen in a long time, 9 Electric is on board alongside three bands whose information was too difficult to find as openers. The doors are at 7:00 and the tickets range between $16.00 and $20.00.
On Friday the 25th, the trippy pop sounds of New York’s Phantogram will be dropping by the ballroom at Warehouse Live. Hot on the heels of their new album “Voices,” the duo is known for a fairly energetic live show, that should impress all in attendance. The poppy and interestingly catchy sounds on Brooklyn’s sister trio TEEN will get things started. TEEN’s latest album, “The Way and Color” is pretty great from what I’ve heard so far, and they should make for an interesting act to see live, so get there early. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets are $20.00.
Also at Warehouse Live, on the 25th; the endearing sounds of Denton’s Seryn will be playing their hearts out in the Green Room. I’ll be honest when I say that these guys have a very interesting sound of pop hooks interlaced with folk structure and Americana era instruments. The vocals from several members should be noted as well, as the harmonies alone carry so much weight and emotion; that they are hard to ignore. The pop folk Americana sounds of Alabama’s John & Jacob should be great as openers. The doors are at 7:00 and the tickets are very fairly priced $8.00.
If you don’t have your Free Press Summer Fest tickets yet, then you can see one of the acts performing on the festival a little early. Cage The Elephant will be stopping by House of Blues on Friday night, and bringing with them their quirky and melodic sound. The chaotic and Southern blues based sounds of J. Roddy Walston and the Business will be on board too, and they’re truly a force to catch live. The indie electro noise pop of Bear Hands get things started with tickets from $22.00 to $30.00, and the doors are at 7:30.
One of Scotland’s best exports since Johnny Walker, Mogwai will be playing at Fitzgerald’s, also on Friday. Mogwai has easily been one of my favorite bands for the past two decades. The fact that it seems like forever since they’ve played in Houston just makes this show seem sweeter. Their most recent release, 2014’s “Rave Tapes” continues the progressively slow dreariness that their earlier albums have. Sometimes sounding like the soundtrack to Spy Hunter, Mogwai has that ability to draw you in with their eclectic music. They also don’t disappoint with their live shows, so this is an easy bet for anyone who’s been a long time fan. The synthed and prog based dance sounds of Majeure get things started. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets range between $23.00 and $27.00.
Downstairs at Fitzgerald’s, on Friday as well, the lo-fi pop of Ohio’s Cloud Nothings will be giving the upstairs show a run for it’s money. Seriously one of the better and underrated newer acts going, their newest release, “Here and Nowhere Else” should sound as amazing live as it does through headphones. The bonus here, is that these guys have enough energy as a live act to actually draw you in while you bop your head. The pretty and emotionally acoustic sounds of Chicago’s Ryley Walker will get things started with doors at 8:00 and tickets falling between $12.00 and $16.00.
Upstairs on Saturday at Fitzgerald’s, you can catch local songster Nathan Quick as he throws his album release party. His soulful vocals that get mixed with a folky rock based sound seem almost too good to be true. You can show him some local love by purchasing his new album, “The Mile” in person where he can actually sell it without paying out anyone else. The synth pop melodies of BLSHS will be joined by the chaos of The Trimms. There’s a $10.00 cover and the doors are at 8:00.
It’s going to sound confusing, but the Houston Ifest is four days long, but not consecutively. The first two days begin on Saturday the 26th, and will host a myriad of internationally renowned and local acts. One of the standouts this year is England’s Laura Mvula, performing at 6:30, and definitely worth the confusing schedule. Her 2013 album, “Sing To The Moon” was one of vocal prowess mixed with a rhythmic vibe that’s hard to ignore. Houston’s own The Suffers will be performing as well as a band I think we all should see, Spain Colored Orange. There are various other acts and even the energetic pace of Young Girls. The ticketing comes in various forms ranging from $4.00 to $300.00 depending on your age or size of group. The doors are at 11:00 in the morning, and as usual, it’s a good time had by all.
What can I say about comedian Todd Barry that I didn’t say in the stand alone piece I wrote about him already? Todd Barry is one of the funniest comedians on the planet who also has the ability to really work a crowd. On Saturday the 26th, Barry will only work the crowd as he appears at Warehouse Live without a prepared set. The Final Crowd Work Tour will be making it’s stop at the studio at Warehouse, where Barry will interact with the crowd and freeform his act based around his interactions with the audience. Appropriately, one of Houston’s best and brightest comedians Bob Biggerstaff will be opening things up. Biggerstaff is one of the most naturally funny comedians I’ve had the honor to be around. His off the cuff demeanor will make anyone come close to peeing their pants from laughter. The doors are at 7:30 and the tickets are pretty cheap at $15.00.
If you like trippy pop based songs with a mix of disco and eighties synths thrown in, then you’re more than likely going to House of Blues on Saturday to see Cherub. The Nashville based duo has consistently raised the bar for their genre, and the rumors are that their live game has really stepped up in intensity. The dance pop duo Carousel should easily get you moving your feet when they perform after NOLA’s Pell gets things started. The tickets are between $15.00 and $17.00 with doors at 7:00.
Trae Tha Truth appreciates his fans so much, that he’s playing Warehouse Live on Saturday for FREE. His most recent effort, “The Tonight Show With Trae Tha Truth” might be his strongest solo effort yet. As part of the Guerilla Maab & Screwed Up Click, Trae has proven that there are still MC’s willing to spill stories from the streets. You have to RSVP and it’s first come first served; but that’s still pretty awesome. If you wanna show Trae some return love, there are VIP Meet & Greet tickets also available in a short supply for $45.00 that guarantees you’ll get into the show. The doors are at 9:00, though I would suggest getting there around 6:30 if you are trying to go the FREE route.
You can do this any day, but this Sunday is one of your last Sundays to see some amazing works of art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The Age of Impressionism: Great French Paintings from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute exhibit comes to an end in early May. The works of Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Degas, and more will be on display in this stunning collection of seventy master works. Weekend tickets vary in price, but this is one of those, once in a lifetime chances to see some of the impressionist eras best works.
This is just another week full of lots of chances to get out and see some great touring acts, some great art, and even some great comedy. The stacked options on Friday and Saturday alone would cripple a city of lesser value. For us in Houston, it’s just another great week before the heat sets in and we start looking for housing in Portland.