Surface Envy: The Best Of The Week
Leon casino, Photo: Brigette Sire
Well, I feel like we got pretty spoiled last week with the KTRU Outdoor Fest, and some pretty decent weather. Well, this week is kind of like SXSW spillover with all of the options. Legendary acts like Sleater-Kinney pictured above, will be rolling through town to make those decisions on what to do tougher than you’d think. Here’s how you should navigate your week.
Wednesday you can get things started over at the Midtown Bar & Grill for the High Bar Comedy Show. The evening will be headlined by the very dark yet poignant and brilliant comedy of Katy’s Sean Rouse. Like most of Houston’s comics, Rouse is that guy who should be one of the biggest going. He’s got a ton of credits including tours with the likes of Doug Stanhope, he appeared in “MIB2,” and his Cosby jokes alone are worth making it out for. You’ve never seen a comic like him deliver jokes and pain in the same sentence, and especially without making both so damn funny. The show will also have comedy from Mycal Dede, as well as the heavy hitting laughs of Zahid Dewji. Zahid could be the most improved comic going so far this year. He appeared on the Come And Take It Comedy Festival and he’s been getting stronger and stronger ever since. Andrew Youngblood will also be on the show to prove that some bookers want to also be in the spotlight. Ironically, Youngblood’s jokes about his kid and his day to day life are actually pretty funny. The entire evening is hosted by the hilarious Bob Morrissey and the riotous jokes of Nick Meriwether. The doors are at 8:00, it’s a 21 & up show, and it’s 100% FREE.
Warehouse Live will have the hip hop of Chicago’s Sir Michael Rocks in the studio. This guy has been garnering praise since he dropped his first songs under the name Mikey Rocks. After changing his stage name in 2011, he’s been gathering a stronger fan base and putting on more and more energetic live shows. His latest album, “Banco” from last year is his most impressive to date. He’ll have direct support from Florida’s Robb Bank$. Bank$ has been getting bigger since doing everything on his own. His father, Jamaican singer and DJ Shaggy; hasn’t helped him in any way according to the artist. His latest drop, the recently released “No Trespassing” with Chris Travis is dark and on its own in hip hop. POUYA of South Florida will open the all ages show up with doors at 8:00 and tickets between $16.00 and $18.00.
Thursday you can kick things off over at The Nightingale Room, when Bombon DJs perform. The collective mixes all kinds of Latin music together to create a sound that’s like no one else in town. Their performance will only be made more magical, when they’re joined by the insane live performance of Gio Chamba. So, Gio could easily be the next big thing to come out of Houston. I’ve seen this guy no less than ten times, and I yet to be disappointed. He can play a ton of instruments, he sings, he dances, and he is like a one man band. Watching this guy go from laptop to drums and then to guitar on one song is something you’ve never seen before. The 21 & up show has doors at 7:30 and the cover is between $7.00 and $10.00.
Walters will have the always entertaining and energy driven sounds of Turquoise Jeep. The collective always puts on a great live set, and the fact that this show will feature Flynt Flossy, Yung Humma, Pretty Raheem, and WhatchaMCallit just means that this will be a great one to catch. Keeping them on their toes, Houston’s Fat Tony will be there as direct support. If you haven’t seen this guy perform then you’ve been doing Houston hip hop all wrong. A consummate performer, Tony should be a hard act to follow, especially if he drops songs like last year’s “No More.” One of Houston’s hardest hustling groups going, Rosewood Thievz will be on the bill as well. Prepping the soon to be released follow up to “Enter The Terrordome,” these guys go hard and I’d be lying if I said you shouldn’t get there early to catch them. The dirty South sounds of DJ Good Grief will get the all ages show started with doors at 8:00 and tickets between $10.00 and $15.00.
Doug Benson Photo: SUNY
At Improv there’s a one night only show from stoned comedian Doug Benson. Benson has basically made a life from weed and weed humor with his “Getting Doug With High” podcast, and stand up albums like his latest, “Gateway Doug 2: Forced Fun” from last year. Like all of these shows, there will be two of Houston’s better comics serving as feature act and host. There’s only one show at 8:00, it will probably sell out, and the tickets are $17.00.
Rudyard’s will go out of their usual element and bring some electronic acts in, when recent NOLA transplant and now member of Black Kite, Birdmagic performs. So, what you may know about this guy is that he has remixed for Sudie, Guilla, Black Kite, and more. What you might not know is that he’s played Bonnaroo and he’s a member of the Red Bull Music Academy. He recently dropped an EP called “Forget,” and he has one of the craziest live sets you can see in the genre. The ambient psych of Houston’s Pitter Patter will bring their drum heavy sounds on prior. I would think that you’d have caught them live before, but if you haven’t then this is a good way to check them out. The crazy fast and often next level hip hop of Houston’s Perseph One will also be on the bill. I feel like if you haven’t seen this girl rock a mic, you should check her out as she flows with precision and speed. She’ll be backed by one of Houston’s hottest producers, Josiah Gabriel. The 21 & up show will have doors at 8:00 and a $5.00. cover.
If you ever wondered how reggae music has stayed so vibrant and always a part of pop music, then you should head to Fitzgerald’s to catch the guy who made all of that happen; Lee “Scratch” Perry. Perry is kind of a mad wizard, and he’s crafted some of the best tunes you’ll ever hear in the reggae dub genre. His latest, “Supreme Leader (Live)” is a great example of what he brings to a live show. It’s really hard to believe this, but the 1950’s and 1960’s inspirational sounds of The Skatalites will be on the bill as direct support. So, these guys are legends and easily responsible for shaping how we perceive the sound of reggae. Though I’m pretty sure only one founding member is still alive, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t check them out. They had crazy hits like “Rude Boy Dreams,” and “The Guns of Navarone;” plus their latest from 2013 “Walk With Me” is pretty good. Houston’s The Skatastropics will also be on hand to keep the show moving in true rude boy fashion with their slower paced ska sounds. DJ Simmerdown will open the all ages show with doors at 7:00 and tickets for $25.00.
At Alley Kat, you can check out Houston’s insanely energetic sounds of hip hop group Def Perception. I don’t know how anyone in town can watch these guys or at least hear their sounds and not want to blow them up into the biggest group to come from Houston’s thriving hip hop scene. Tracks like “Excite,” “Ghost,” and “All I Do” should tell you that a DJ and a live band are where it’s at to create such a lush hip hop vibe. The funky horn sounds of NOLA’s Naughty Professor will go on prior, and show us all how they groove down in Louisiana. This six piece brings such an acid induced feel when they jam out on tracks like their latest, “Brain Storm” from this year. Houston’s Locate will also be there to bring their bluesy jams to all who attend. The four piece plays an almost psych mix with bluesy riffs and soulful vocals. Indie pop three piece, Camera Cult will open the 21 & up show with doors at 8:00 and a paltry $5.00 cover.
Out at Joke Joint Comedy Showcase, they’ll bring in the comedy of Washington’s Gabriel Rutledge. Rutledge has appeared everywhere from Comedy Central’s “Live At Gotham” to The Great American Comedy Festival. He’ll be in town in support of last year’s hilarious album, “Breeder.” Like all of the shows at Joke Joint, one of Houston’s better comics will perform the duty of feature act, while this week the hilarious jokes of Victor Tran will perform the host duties. There’s one show on Thursday at 8:00, and two on Friday and Saturday, both at 8:00 and 10:30; with a $16.00 cover for each.
Mates Of State Photo: Courtesy of Artist
Friday you can make it over to Fitzgerald’s for the dual vocals and minimalist pop of Mates of State. If you’ve never seen this duo perform then I strongly recommend that you make this show. They have the ability to make you bop your head with the simplest songs, and their latest album, “Mountaintops” from 2011 is pretty magical. The twin sister act of Good Graeff will be there as direct support and bring their indie folk pop to life. So, in 2013 they dropped the beautiful album “Better Half,” but they’re back with a great new single this year called “I Want That.” You should definitely get there early to check them out and there’s a good chance that the all ages show will sell out. The doors are at 8:00 and the cover is between $12.00 and $17.00.
Warehouse Live will host a strong show when the energetic pop rock of OK GO. I’m pretty sure that you know these guys from their hit song, “Here It Goes Again,” or at least from their insane videos. What you might not know is that they’re one of the country’s best kept secrets in a live band. They have more energy in one song than most bands have in an entire set, and that’s before we talk about the confetti cannons. Their latest, last year’s “Hungry Ghosts” falls in line with the fun pop rock of previous efforts. On the heels of their upcoming release of the “Be Honest” EP, Houston’s Another Run will open things up. I’ve heard their new stuff and I can honestly say that if you weren’t their fan before, you might be after hearing it. Always known for an energetic and enigmatic live set, this might be the only Houston band who can get this show started properly. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $20.00 and $23.00.
Improv will bring in one of the funniest foul mouthed comics in existence, Joey “Coco” Diaz for a limited engagement. Diaz tells it like it is when he performs, he covers everything from his Cuban heritage to his overweight size with plenty of cocaine jokes in-between. His latest album, 2013’s “The Blue Album” is pretty damn hilarious, and he’s definitely a comic to catch live. One of Houston’s better comics will perform the feature act portion of the show, while Houston’s hilarious Dale Cheesman will host the shows. Dale might be one of the strongest comics from Houston’s new class, and he’s definitely worth getting there early for. Diaz is only here for two nights, and these shows could easily sell out. There are two shows on Friday at 8:00 and 10:30, and two on Saturday at 7:00 and 9:30, while all carry a cover between $20.00 and $30.00.
Arena Theatre will have the epicly talented voice of R&B superstar, Toni Braxton performing in the round. I’m guessing that you remember Braxton from her mega-hits like “Un-Break My Heart, “He Wasn’t Man Enough,” and “You’re Makin’ Me High.” She’s sold a boatload of albums over the years, and she’s known for being a top notch performer. Her latest album, “Love, Marriage, & Divorce” from 2014 received great reviews. There doesn’t appear to be an opener on the show with doors at 8:30 and tickets between $69.50 and $89.50.
Out at Dosey Doe’s Big Barn, you can catch the mandolin genius of Ricky Skaggs. Don’t get it wrong though, he also plays banjo, guitar, fiddle and mandocaster with great ease. If you remember when country music didn’t sound like it was penned by Britney Spears, then you can’t miss this guy. He’s had more hits than you think, and his latest album “Hearts Like Ours” from last year holds up with his bigger works. This will actually be a Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder show meaning that it’s a full band performance. The ticket price includes dinner which is served between 6:00 and 7:30, the show begins at 8:30, and the tickets are between $108.00 and $158.00.
Downstairs at Fitzgerald’s, you can catch the lo-fi R&B trio also known as Young Fathers. That being said these guys don’t really fit that vibe as they also bring alt rap, reggaeton, and electronic music to the table. They’ve earned quite the reputation for a killer live show, and their latest release, “White Men Are Black Men Too” from this year should let you know that they’re not like any other act you’ve heard before. Canadian composer and visual artist, Mas Ysa will be on the bill as direct support. Ysa has dropped some pretty crazy tunes that are like a mix of love songs and pop electronica. The crazy good and almost ambient meets surface noise sounds of Houston’s George West will be there to open things up. This guy brings his “a game” everytime he performs, complete with live drums; he’s an act you need to see to believe. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $12.00 and $17.00.
Starting later in the evening, you could head to Boondocks to catch the trap and tropical bass sounds of Brooklyn’s Ricky Vaughn. Vaughn has been making a name for himself with his high energy shows and Latin rhythms. His latest, “Art Of Moombahton Vol. 5” should give you an idea of what’s in store when he appears. The show is presented by Houston’s Blackout crew, and will feature their resident DJs Hydro, Act Badd, and Leckie. The 21 & up show is $3.00 or FREE w/RSVP till 11:00. The doors are at 10:00.
Jawwaad Taylor Photo: Peter Gannushkin
Saturday, you will more than likely scratch your head on what of the many options to partake in. This all starts with a special performance from Houston’s David Dove & Jawwaad Taylor over at the Cy Twombly Gallery. We all know the experimental sounds of Dove’s music, and I would hope that you would know about all that Jawwaad has done musically. I mean, this guy has made an album with MF Doom, he’s an incredible rapper on his own, he’s also an immensely skilled jazz performer, and his latest project BLVCK FETISH is so next level that I can’t wait to share it with you. This performance should be nothing short of amazing when these two get together. It’s all ages, there will be two sets with a break, it gets going at 12:30 and runs until 3:30. It’s also 100% FREE.
House of Blues will have the Local Brews, Local Grooves show that is set to be headlined by Houston pop rockers Catch Fever. This three piece has made all of the right moves to earn a loyal fan base, they just finished their follow-up to last year’s “Shiny Eyes,” and they wowed everyone at Fitz from their convincing portrayal of internationally acclaimed band U2. They’ll have the raucous and energetic party vibes of Houston’s We Were Wolves on prior. After replacing a founding member last year, these guys immediately booked a session with famed producer Chris “Frenchie” Smith for their follow-up to 2013’s “Wolf House.” They bring the party to their loud and high energy set, and you’ll become a fan of the band who toured with The Dwarves and wowed them as well. Before them, Houston’s Guilla will bring his flavor and energetic hip hop to everyone there. He dropped the magical EP “Rap, Trap, & Drums” last year to critical praise, and like Catch Fever and We Were Wolves, he’s appearing on this year’s Free Press Summer Fest. There’s much more on this show than just these three artists, as Jay Hooks Band will bring some blues, Cassette Tape will bring their reggae vibes, and Ruckus will shine the light on their Americana meets acoustic rock sound. Ransom Bandits and Potbelly will also be there, as well as Charlie and The Regrets and Wayne Garner Band. The entire event takes over three rooms and all are filled with local brews that will make your mouth water. The 21 & up show has doors at 6:00 and tickets are between $12.00 for G/A, $25.00 for G/A with a tasting wristband, and $75.00 for a VIP 2 pack of tickets that includes two tasting wristbands and more.
I feel like many or most of you will be joyously be heading to Warehouse Live to catch the recently reunited Sleater-Kinney. The three piece recently returned from a decade long hiatus with the amazingly tight and beautiful album, “No Cities To Love.” I don’t think it’s much of a secret that they’ve always been one of my favorite bands, as I’ve seen them no less than eight times. They have the Seattle based R&B duo of THEESatisfaction on prior, and they’ll bring their politically based sounds to all who attend. Their latest, “EarthEE” sounds like Shabazz Palaces mixed with Erykah Badu, and they’re a group worth checking out. There’s a FREE afterparty in the green room afterwards complete with all types of feminist swag as well. This show will sell out, so be warned. The doors are at 7:00 and the all ages show has tickets between $28.00 and $33.00.
Wonky Power Live will keep things moving on the next level tip when they have the EP release party for Houston’s Handsomebeast. These guys drop all kinds of funky vibes and psych jams when they perform, and that EP, “Sexy Face Reaction Time” emanates all that the group represents. Of course, all of these acts will have to contend with the one man Latin electronica jams of Gio Chamba. Gio is like watching Carlos Santana when he was young perform with modern technology. Part guitarist, part vocalist, part producer, and part percussion machine; Gio is a hard act for anyone to follow. The Southern bluesy tones of Houston’s Fox Parlor will also perform, and bring a new blend of rockabilly to life. Their latest, “Hell Or High Water” from last year is as fast paced as it is gritty. The seven piece funk outfit known as Soul Creatures will also be on hand to make people move. Their “Soul Creatures” EP from last year is full of life and horns…so many horns. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets are between $10.00 and $12.00.
Over at Alley Kat you can get your fill of indie pop, when they have Houston’s Since Always perform. I think I made it pretty clear that this band made a pretty amazing debut album called, “Consequences.” If you haven’t heard it then you’re doing Houston wrong as they are just as great live as they are on this album. The funky and psych glam vibe of Houston’s Tan Dragon Clan will also be there. This duo makes songs that make you feel like you’re hanging with your uncle who loves “Priest” and his T-Top Firebird a little too much. Their album, “Ear Makeup” from 2013 is lushly crafted in all things glam and you should definitely see them live. The pop punk of Houston’s We Are Computers will go on prior, and Carpet and the Drapes will open the 21 & up show with doors at 8:30 and a $5.00 cover.
Black Barbie will have what they’re calling The Unfathomable Stoner Feast, which promises a nacho cheese fountain and a bunch of munchies. There’s also tons of music headlined by the dark thrash metal of Houston’s Thundertank. The drone noise of Houston’s MOTHS will also be there, as well as ZECH. The tripped out acid tones of Disfrutalo! will also be there to melt minds, and the reggae punk of Retaboice will also perform. The shoegaze pop of Melted Eyelids will be there as well, while the R&B hip hop of Jeska Mone’a will open things up. The show has a cover of $7.00 and FREE entry before 8:30. The music starts at 9:00.
Buxton Photo: Peter Derwin
The Summit will have the amazing sounds of BUXTON on hand. So, these guys just dropped the beautiful and amazing sounding album, “Half A Native.” If you haven’t heard it yet then you’re missing my favorite album so far from this year. Imagine that you took the giant leaps that Wilco took on “Summerteeth” and “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot,” and put them on one album. That’s what this record is. It’s a departure of the Buxton you thought you knew, and a whole new sound that’s lush and straightforward. The landscaped rock of NOLA’s Caddywhompus will also be there as direct support. These guys make a very intriguing and at times, hard rocking sound that’s not like anything you’ve heard before. Their latest, 2014’s “Feathering A Nest” is pretty, chaotic, and melodic all at the same time. The garage pop of Native America will also perform, and will teach many what garage rock sounds like. Last year this New Orleans group dropped “Grown Up Wrong” which transforms you back to the corner of Haight/Ashbury without an actual time machine. The Gulf Coast indie pop of Houston’s Deep Cuts will open things up, and perform songs from last year’s “Love Grows” EP to everyone’s delight. The all ages show has doors at 9:00 and a $10.00 cover.
If comedy is your deal, then you can see Gabe Bravo at Station Theater for the Sad Boy Birthday Party. It’s not just Gabe as there will also be comedy from the hilarious Bob Biggerstaff, Stephen Brandau, and special guest Patrick McLellan. Things will end with a live podcast that should be hilarious as well. This is a great lineup for very little money with doors at 9:45 and cover between $6.00 and $10.00.
Sunday, you can get your drawing on for another edition of the Sketchbook Saloon over at The Corkscrew. This edition features muscle dancer and fire performer/visual artist MS YET. The performer has made the rounds of most press outlets for her intriguing performances, and should make a great subject to sketch in any medium. Things start at 2:00 and the cover is $10.00 for members, $15.00 for new members, and $20.00 for photographers.
Fitzgerald’s will have a crazy night of punk featuring Houston’s Dead To The World. These guys play straight forward punk, they recently opened for OFF! and Bad Religion, and they’re known for a raucous live show. They’ll have Houston punk legends, The Hates there as direct support as well. I feel like you can’t call yourself a punk in Houston if you haven’t seen The Hates before. I mean, they’ve been around for over 35 years, and their retrospective, “30 Years Of Hate” is a nonstop punk extravaganza. The punk rock five piece of Cut Ties will go on prior, and bring an early era Rancid vibe to the show. Their just dropped “EP I” is pretty damn great, and they have a ton of energy on their live shows. The punk of Fat Mannequin will also perform, as will the Latin ska hardcore of Fuska. The pop punk of Houston’s Action Frank will open the show up that will include tons of local artists on display as well. The show is all ages, the doors are at 6:00 and the cover is $10.00.
Out at Joke Joint Comedy Showcase, they’ll be hosting a benefit for comedian Ed Blake. The show, which will feature four of Houston’s heavier hitting comics promises to be a night filled with laughter for a great cause. Houston legend and Texas Outlaw Comic Andy Huggins is set to perform. If you haven’t heard Huggins before, you can check out his hilarious debut album, “Inspired By True Events,” which was recently released. Not to be outdone, one of the hardest working comics in Houston, Billy D. Washington is also set to perform. Washington isn’t in town much because he’s always out performing somewhere else, so it shouldn’t be lost on you that he’s on this show. One of the famed Whiskey Brothers, John Wessling will also be on the bill. I feel like most of you know that this guy is one of Houston’s strongest joke writers, and his sets are always intently funny. The show will also feature the always funny humor of Juan Villareal who will bring the funny you might have caught from hi DVD sets “Only Juan.” A set from comic Matt Golightly and a secret sixth comic are also set to perform. There’s a limited amount of tickets available and this could easily be the biggest comedy bang per buck you’ll get all year. The show has doors at 7:30, 100% of the ticket sales go to the cause, and the tickets are between $20.00 and $25.00.
Monday, feel free to soak up all of the 4/20 fun you can at The Moon Tower Inn for the Get Weird II show. This time the Nirvana cover band Danneurysm is set to headline things. They’ll have to really bring it though, as Houston’s own B L A C K I E is set to go on prior. So, I sure hope you’ve seen the guy who inspired two separate acts to rip off his sound. He’s so far ahead of the music industry, that five years from now his recently released, “Imagine Yourself In A Free And Natural World,” will be hailed as the genius that it is. The punk of Talk Sick Brats will also be on the bill, and make for an interesting live set. There’s comedy from Gabe Bravo and Dale Cheesman as well on the all ages show that gets started at 4:20, and is 100% FREE.
Waxahatchee Photo: Michael Rubenstein
Walters will have the immensely talented and beautiful sounds of Philadelphia’s Waxahatchee. Coming to town on the recently released and already critically acclaimed album, “Ivy Trip;” singer Katie Crutchfield has shed the lo-fi sounds of her previous release, “Cerulean Salt.” This go around she bravely leads a full band that emotes sounds of indie pop, folk, and rock into one gorgeous package. Philly’s The Goodbye Party will be there as direct support, and will bring their ambient lo-fi power pop to life. Late last year these guys released the album “Silver Blues” which is the culmination of four track goodness mixed with lush guitars and powerful vocals. Houston four piece The Lories will open the all ages show with their pretty alt pop sounds. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets are between $10.00 and $12.00.
If hip hop is more your speed, then you can stop by Warehouse Live to catch New Orleans rapper, Curren$y. It’s no coincidence that he’s performing on 4/20, and while his latest “Pilot Talk II” isn’t out yet; he did drop an album called “The Stoned Immaculate.” There doesn’t appear to be an opener, but that usually changes before the doors open. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $30.00 and $100.00. The latter, being a VIP w/meet & greet, a lighter, T-shirt, and early entry.
Tuesday, Fitzgerald’s will have the post rock sounds of California’s From Indian Lakes. The band who was once called the best unsigned band in America will be here in support of their third album, last year’s “Absent Sounds.” They basically have this acoustic and experimental pop sound that’s actually pretty melodic and entertaining. They’ll have the orchestral rock of Michigan seven piece, The Soil & The Sun as direct support. This group that seems to make their own genre of sounds dropped the sweet and vocal heavy “Meridian” last year to great praise. Seattle solo artist Lemolo will bring her powerful voice and dream pop presence to the bill as well. Three years ago she put out the gorgeous and emotional album “The Kaleidoscope,” and is known for a gut wrenching live show. The post rock goodness of Katy’s Rome Hero Foxes will be there to open things up. Don’t mistake this band for just some group outta’ the burbs, as the CJ Burton lead act dropped the deep and immensely intense album, “Hunters & Demons” last year; and is a force to see live. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $12.00 and $17.00.
Walters will be bringing Sir Richard Bishop of Sun City Girls fame to town. This guy is one of the greatest guitarists ever, and his 2012 album “Intermezzo” should give you an idea of how great he is. He’ll have the amazing guitarist, composer, and everything else, Robert Mills there as direct support. Mills has crafted more music than anyone you know, and he’s been known for a trippy live show. Erase Errata’s Jenny Hoyston will also perform, while Uaeb Yelsaeb will be there as well. Houston’s bizarre sounds of Ak’Chamel will open the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and tickets between $8.00 to $10.00.
That’s about it on this crazy and stacked week. No matter what decisions you make on where to go, please make a responsible decision on how to get home safely. In hopes that we all make it home in one piece, do right by yourself and your fellow Houstonians and act like an adult when the night ends.