Social Anxiety: The Best of The Week
Leon casino, Photo: Steve & John
Are we all over the excitement of FPSF yet? I ask only because I got to see so many people enjoy themselves, as well as some old and new friends; so I hope you had a similar experience. This week has so many things going on, that it’s hard to start to figure what you will and will not make it out for. There’s a festival with lots of beer, some great comedy shows, and even some living legends rolling through. Here’s how you should navigate your week in our city.
Your Thursday should start off with a trip over to the studio at Warehouse Live, for the pop goodness that is New Orleans’ Royal Teeth. There aren’t too many times you can see a band who always seems to be at the top of their game, but these guys really seem to know who they are. Dual vocals from singers Gary Larsen and Nora Patterson that mix with synths and pop melodies make the perfect indie pop mix. The rumors are strong that this six piece can really light up a stage, so you might be missing a band that’s on the verge of blowing up if you don’t make it out. The atmospheric sounds of Houston’s Glass The Sky will be helping shape this show as well. They have a very subtle mix of The Cure meets St Vincent kind of sound, so you should definitely see how they bring that all together if you’ve never caught them. I like that they have powerful vocals in a subtle sense, which doesn’t happen much anymore. The dream pop emo of The Woodlands’ Showers will get things started with their almost Interpol light sounds with a $10.00 cover, and doors at 7:00 for the all ages show.
Of course, you can get your laugh on with some of Houston’s comics at The Improv, with The Houston Homegrown Show, also on Thursday. The show will feature one of Houston’s funniest in Dale Cheesman, alongside the always hilarious Bryson Brown. The lineup also includes Alan Adams, Neetra Babbins, John Nguyen, and comedy legend Andy Huggins. It’s an 18 and up show that gets started at 8:00, and the cover is a paltry $5.00.
If you’d rather catch some local fare, the guys in Featherface are playing over at Fitzgerald’s downstairs. Featherface is one of those bands that you have to see live to appreciate. They have an energy that’s pretty intense, and not seldom matched by many acts. The layered guitar and pop based indie rock of Omaha’s See Through Dresses are on the bill as well. They will be bringing their Starflyer 59 meets The Cure sound to town alongside Houston’s Vampire Weekend sounding Deep Cuts. The vocally charged chaos of Houston’s Whit will get things started with an 8:00 door time, and a $5.00 cover for under 21, FREE for 21 and up.
If that wasn’t enough Thursday options for you, over at Walter’s, Brooklyn’s Swearin’ will be stopping by. These guys sound like what I wished every band where Kim Deal sang, that wasn’t Pixies; sounded like. Luckily for you, they have a female and a male singer, which means they can also have that almost Pavement type of sound as well. That should tell you that you should just go see them do their thing. One of the best bands I’ve heard in a while, Houston’s Chemistry will be playing as well. If you haven’t heard them yet, they really remind me of Knapsack, in a good way. A band called Toast will be playing their first show as openers, but I have no idea what they sound like. The doors are at 8:00 and the cover is a miniscule $8.00.
On Friday, your best bet to start the evening is over at Heights Vinyl, when Catch Fever plays a FREE stripped down set. These guys have that pop rock sound that even your mom would love, and they’re definitely worth seeing in an intimate setting. If you’re one of the fifty plus girls who waited in line at their House of Blues show for a pic, then this is your chance to see them up close. This is in conjunction with the Houston Beer Festival, so they’ll have plenty of refreshments on hand. They’re also giving away a pair of passes to the festival, so it’s a win win. Things get started at 7:00 and it should be an all ages event.
You could also venture over to Beta Theater to catch the latest BooTown offering, “Platahontas.” It’s a shadow puppet show that chronicles the life of a semi-aquatic animal; which is to say, it sounds really cool. I mean, when was the last time you saw a shadow puppet show that was worth seeing? Exactly. This Friday show is also offered on Saturday, but both start at 8:30, and they follow Beta’s usual pay what you can policy.
There was a time in music when we weren’t as dreary and depressed as music has gotten in recent years. Yes, the nineties were a magical time when you were merely judged by how much acid wash your jeans had. Then grunge happened and the rest is history. However, on Friday night at Fitzgerald’s downstairs; you can catch a glimpse of that nineties goodness again. Canada’s The Courtneys will be stopping by our fair city, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you that they’re a not to be missed band. They seriously sound like Susanna Hoff of The Bangles and Sonic Youth started a band, and since I’ve seen them before; I can tell you that they’re insanely great live. If that wasn’t enough, one of my favorite bands who I haven’t seen in a while, Austin’s Ume is also on the bill. Ume might be one of the only Austin bands I’d tell you not to miss. They have the ability to mix saturated guitars with dreamy pop vocals in a way that doesn’t get matched often. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets range between $10.00 and $14.00.
Since you should already be at Fitzgerald’s for The Courtneys, you might as well head upstairs for The Tontons make up show from FPSF. I’m pretty sure that by now, you’ve heard of The Tontons, and you were sad that the weather killed their show last Saturday. They’re getting ready to hit the road on a pretty large scale tour, so you should go if you wanna’ see them sooner than later. The hip hop swagger of Houston’s Fat Tony and the DJ goodness of Wrestlers will be on the show as well. Houston’s newest and best kept secret, BLSHS will be there with their synth pop meets powerful vocal style. De’Wayne Jackson, another up and comer in the world of Houston hip hop, will be getting things started. If you haven’t heard his latest album with Donnie Houston, “Halftime,” you’re missing out on some great rhymes. The doors are at 8:00, but there’s a catch to this show. It’s 100% FREE, but you have to RSVP which doesn’t guarantee you’ll get in, so there’s that. I seriously don’t like RSVP shows because there’s almost always some kind of confusion involved. You can RSVP for the show here, and I hope it goes smooth for all who wish to attend.
If you’re like me, you like to get your groove on when a serious hip hop artist from out of town decides to come to a town like Houston, with such an already diverse hip hop scene. Queens’ own Bas will be dropping by the confines of Warehouse Live on Friday over in the studio. If you don’t know, Bas latest album, 2014’s “Last Winter” is a force to be reckoned with. It’s simplistic approach makes it a great listen, and Bas’ lyrical flow that pepper each track; make it hard to stop listening to. There doesn’t appear to be an opener, but that usually changes on the show day. The tickets are a bargain at $15.00, and the doors are at 8:00 for the all ages show.
On Saturday, The Houston Beer Festival gets started with a pretty impressive list of music acts. Rick Ross, Juicy J, Action Bronson, and The Texas Tornados will all be on hand to see We Were Wolves, BLSHS, Catch Fever, and The Beans cover the local end of things. Of course, there are way more music acts than this, and there’s also beer pong and three hundred beers on hand. The tickets range from $65.00 to $300.00, depending on how many days and how VIP you want your experience to be. Things get started at noon Saturday and end at 9:00 pm Sunday.
If you aren’t heading over to Beer Fest, then you can make it over to Heights Vinyl for a FREE show. Slow Motion Rider will drop their bluesy and acid drenched music on an appreciative Houston crowd. There will be plenty of gratis beverages on hand while these guys record to vinyl their performance in the shop. Things get started at 3:30, and there’s a good chance you’ll love these guys almost as much as I do.
Of course, I’d be making up stories if I said you wouldn’t be in for a real treat, when Nashville’s Nikki Lane tonks her way into town. Over at The Continental Club, Lane will bring her Southern charm, and Tennessee twang to the crowd. Her most recent effort, this year’s “All Or Nothin’” is one of those hard to put down kind of albums. Lane sings like a mix of Loretta Lynn with Nancy Sinatra era arrangements, atop a steel guitar. The John Prine meets Townes Van Zandt style of Kansas’ Max Gomez will leave those in attendance a little mesmerized. Houston’s Will Van Horn will do our city proud, when he opens things up with his tremendous pedal steel sounds. I have no idea why, but there’s no ticket link to the show, nor is there a show time; so I would guess if you get there by 8:00 with cash in hand, it will work itself out.
If you’ve ever been to Free Press Summer Fest, then you’ve seen Mark Armes. This year, he was the guy to stage left taking pics of those who performed. You may have noticed that he wasn’t bending down like all photographers do. That’s because his knee is seriously messed up, and he needs your help in having a new one made for him. Surely, the thought of him having Steve Austin like powers should be enough for you to help him get this all rectified. You can help Mark on Saturday night over at Fitzgerald’s upstairs, when they throw a benefit for him to be back to full strength. As a reward for your kindness, The Energy will be playing their last show ever. That already should be enough for you to make it out for, however the energetic sounds of Houston’s Young Mammals will also be on hand. If that still hasn’t sold you, Turbokrieg, will be joined with the punk of The Secret Prostitutes, while Hamamatsu Tom gets things started. The cover is between $5.00 and $7.00, and it’s definitely appreciated for helping your fellow man. The doors are at 7:00 and it’s an all ages show.
You kids and your electronic music; I never know what will and won’t sell out nowadays. I’m talking about the electronica of Sweden’s Little Dragon, who sold out the upstairs of Fitzgerald’s on Sunday. I will say that they appear to be pretty inventive with their powerful vocals that sit alongside trippy synths and ratatat beats. The trippy nuance of LA’s Lawrence Rothman will get things started with an 8:00 door time. The tickets, which are all gone, are going to be $20.00, if someone doesn’t show up and you luck out.
On Sunday at Beta Theater, there’s a serious heavy hitter coming to town, in comedian Tom Simmons. Simmons has been on Comedy Central, Showtime, and the Just For Laughs festival, so seeing him at Beta is a real treat. The comedic stylings of Jay Whitecotton will also be on board. Of course, three of Houston’s best and brightest, Brian Zeolla, Ty Mahany, and Matt Hunt will be there to get things started. The show gets going at 9:00, the cover is a measly $10.00, and it’s BYOB.
On Tuesday the 10th, blues legend B.B. King will be stopping by House of Blues. There’s not much I should have to say to sell you on this show, as King might be the last of his era of great bluesmen. Because he’s getting up in age, I hate to say it, but this might be one of your last chances to see him live. I’m a little bummed that Eric Demmer & The Sax Dawgs are opening instead of another up and coming blues artist, but I didn’t book the show. If there are still tickets available, they range from almost $80.00 to almost $140.00, meaning, you have to really want to go.
Speaking of up and coming blues artists, Austin’s Black Joe Lewis will be over at Fitzgerald’s upstairs, also on Tuesday. A serious axeman, Lewis brings a seriously energetic performance together for his live shows. The garage rock of Houston’s Spare Bones get things started with 7:00 doors, and tickets ranging from $15.00 to $19.00.
Just think, next week we’ll all be so sick of hearing Drake’s name that we may never want to be so appreciated again. For now, make your way out to see some great tunes, laugh at some funny people, and get your craft brew in another week that makes us all realize why we love this city so much.