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 David Garrick
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Taking Away The Fire: The Best of The Week

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Leon casino, Photo Credit Mike Watt

As hot as it’s getting lately, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Houston.  It’s a good thing that the majority of the best stuff this week starts off in the evening. Comedy, comedy for men in pink pony costumes, and lots of great music fills this week with tons of entertainment.  Here’s a list of how to spend your earnings without getting a heat rash.

So, I’m not the guy to list open mics all over the city of Houston.  If you like new music or comedy, or you wanna get into either; there are spots all over town to do so at.  However, inside the city, there are open mics, many of which no one knows about.  One of the open mics that could use some serious love from comedians and a respectful crowd, is the open mic at Christian’s Tailgate in the Heights.  Before you get all freaked out at the idea of frat boys slapping hands to the excitement of general stupidity, I’ll say that it’s not really that type of scene on Wednesdays. The comedy is done in the bar’s back room, and it has one of Houston’s funniest and hardest working new comics, Ashton Womack serving as it’s new host.  You can catch him and some of Houston’s best comics both professional & just starting out every Wednesday. Things get started around 9:30 and it’s 100% FREE.

On Thursday the 15th, Fitzgerald’s will play host upstairs to one of the best and brightest new songwriters of recent memory, with Justin Townes Earle.  Earle is in town in support of his latest masterpiece, “Nothing’s Gonna’ Change The Way You Feel About Me Now.”  In a mix of John Prine meets Jeff Tweedy, Earle is known for his uncomplicated live shows.  This is a show that shouldn’t be missed for any fan of the genre.  Appropriately, a local act who holds a similar style to Earle, Adam Bricks will be getting things started with doors at 8:00 and tickets ranging from $17.00 to $24.00.

If you don’t already have tickets, then I should also mention that Ingrid Michaelson will be dropping by House of Blues, also on Thursday.  Possibly one of the most diverse pop female vocalists around, Michaelson is touring in support of her latest effort, “Lights Out.”  As someone who has caught Michaelson live, I can say that her vocals sound better in a live setting; and you’ll be surprised by how energetic her show is. The show will also feature the western swing pop of Sugar & The Hi Lows.  Interestingly enough, the duo’s lead singer sounds eerily like the late Jeff Buckley.  The pop infused singer songwriter sounds of Brooklyn’s Storyman start things off with doors at 6:30 and tickets ranging between $12.25 and $39.00.

Friday looks to be pretty packed with options, starting with Jimmy Eat World at House of Blues.  In my perfect world, they’d be touring in support of “Static Prevails,” but they’re actually touring their new album, last year’s  “Damage.”  However, I’ll just say that I’ve seen these guys no less than ten times, most prior to their hit songs. These guys are one of the last links to the original emo scene of the mid-nineties, and they put on a good show.  If you go, you’re in for a treat with openers Stagnant Pools.  The Indiana natives have a Joy Division meets The Strokes kind of sound, that’s impressive in person.  I caught them a couple of years ago and was pretty impressed.  The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets are $25.00 to $35.00.

I would guess that you already know about and have purchased your ticket to We Are Scientists downstairs at Fitzgerald’s on Friday.  If you don’t, you’re gonna’ miss a great show in an intimate setting.  We all know these guys put on a great live show, but I’m really excited for opener Paws.  I would be okay if they were still touring in support of their first album, but knowing that I’ll get to hear songs from their dynamic new release, “Youth Culture Forever,” just makes it better.  If you need more reason to go to this show, just ‘Google’ Morrissey Vs Paws; and then realize that these Scottish natives might be the coolest band you’ll see in a long time.  The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets fall between $12.00 and $16.00, and they’re worth every penny.

So, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have to perform a web search on what a Brony is.  For those of you unfamiliar to the term, it’s basically a male fan of the TV show, “My Little Pony.”  The bronies have their own convention that’s coupled with cosplay & lots of other things that I’ll never understand.  But, that’s not to say that there isn’t humor to be found within this world of guys who like tiny combs and fuschia colored toys.  On Friday, Beta Theater will be hosting the “Laugh With Me with Bradley Smith” show; which will be the first comedy show recorded for Bronies.  A veteran of the Brony conventions, Smith will perform his Brony based comedy that covers everything from becoming a Brony to online role play within the Brony community.   While I’m pretty sure you don’t have to be dressed as a pony to get in, this first ever event gets started at 7:00 and the tickets are $7.00.

If you just happen to be in the market for some seriously great graffiti art, then Saturday’s Aerosol Warfare Yard Sale should peak your interest.  In it’s third year, the collective places everything from furniture to art & electronics.  The sale is a great way to support local artists while getting some serious “steals” on art.  The sale starts on Saturday at 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, and continues on Sunday at the same times.  It’s FREE, there promises to be some eats, and it’s a great way to meet people who don’t need a traditional canvass for their art.

Over at Continental Club, there’s a crazy show on Saturday night that might be the most diverse of the evening.  The Mighty Clash show that features the chaotic sounds of Oklahoma’s Bruce Flea should make for an interesting show.  For some guys who have a kind of early era White Stripes sound, their DIY ethic and eclectic sound should make for an energetic performance.  The funky sounds of Houston’s Mellow Riot will be joined by the Southern twang of Fox Parlor.  Thrill gets things started with doors at 8:00 and a $10.00 cover.

You might remember Eels from the late nineties with their hit song, “Novocaine For The Soul.”  Well, their sound and overall demeanor has changed since that “feel good” hit.  In the almost twenty years since, the band lead by a guy named E has released some of the most strange and diversely beautiful albums that would make you forget about their radio smash.  On Saturday evening, the band returns to Houston in support of their latest release, “The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett” at House of Blues.  Though the album covers some dark subject matter, there are still some uptempo tunes peppered throughout the slower songs.  The bizarre and haunting vocals of Chelsea Wolfe will open things up in the darkest and yet still entertaining way.  The doors are at 8:00 and tickets range between $32.50 and $37.50.

Over at Beta Theater, one of the most entertainingly funny sketch comedy groups I’ve seen in a while, Feelings makes it’s return on Saturday.  Featuring Amy Birkhead and Antoine Culbreath, the two have the ability to cover everything from soured relationships to failed robberies. As it is with most shows at Beta, it’s a pay what you can policy that’s also BYOB, and things get started around 9:00.

This is going to sound crazy, but also on Saturday night at 14 Pews, punk rock legend Mike Watt will be back in Houston with his band Dos.  Before you get all excited over the idea that you’ll get to hear Minutemen songs, Dos is literally Watt on bass and Kira Roessler from Black Flag, singing and also playing bass.  That’s it.  No drums or guitar, it’s actually the longest running band in Watt’s career.  The show is presented by the Girls Rock Camp and Nameless Sound, and it will possibly be the closest you’ll get to Watt in a long time. I can’t deny my excitement for this show, as Watt is seriously one of my punk rock idols.  The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets are $13.00, with $10.00 student tickets and Free for anyone under 18.

On Sunday, Walter’s has one of the better seventies punk revivalist acts you’ll hear in a while, with Moving Units.  The band was known for that kind of Television meets Stiff Little Fingers vibe that’s a little hard to ignore.  In support of their most recent release, last year’s “Neurotic Exotic,” the band diverted to a more electro pop sound.  It’s more New Order than Joy Division, but still enjoyable.  The infectious pop rock of Houston’s Young Girls will be onboard, as well as either Toast, or the synth pop tunes of  Children Of Pop.  The doors are at 8:30 and the tickets run between $10.00 and $12.00.

Also on Sunday the 18th, Lucinda Williams will bring pride to her hometown of Lake Charles as she graces the ballroom at Warehouse Live.  One of the most interesting songwriters around, Williams’ voice emotes the attitude of Leonard Cohen with every gravelly note.  Her americana meets country sound doesn’t come around Houston often, so any fany should make it out for this rare appearance.  There doesn’t appear to be an opener, but that can change prior to showtime.  The tickets are $25.00 and the doors are at 8:00.

Also on Sunday, up and coming comedian Coleman Cox will be hosting a comedy event over at Notsuoh.  The show titled, “The Massive Explosion, No Survivors Show”  features the likes of Jermaine Warren, Jaffer Khan, Zach Dickson, Kazeem Rahmen, & John Nguyen.  This is a great way to check out some of Houston’s best comics on the rise.  Things get started around 9:00 and it’s 100% FREE.

On Monday evening, the hilarious Doug Benson will be in town to riff on the Bruce Willis classic, “The Last Boy Scout.”  Over at The Alamo Drafthouse in Vintage Park, you can watch The Benson Movie Interruption that will feature comedian friends of Doug’s, this time including the hilarious Bob Biggerstaff.  This might be the best way to guarantee that you’ll laugh yourself to pains, as I can only imagine how many jokes can come from such a weak movie.  Things get started at 7:30 and the tickets are a reasonable $20.00.

On Monday, North London’s Bombay Bicycle Club will be making their presence known upstairs at Fitzgerald’s.  The electronically charged synth pop act promises to be an entertaining affair.  This could easily be the most fun sounding band you’ll hear prior to FPSF, and there’s a good chance that the show will sell out.  Canada’s Royal Canoe will bring along their dreamy electronic goodness as they open things up with doors at 7:00 and tickets between $20.00 and $22.00.

Let’s hope that none of us get heat exhaustion while we eagerly await for the nine months of Houston heat to end.  This week has more to offer than many in the calendar, and it just proves how great our city truly is.

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