Under Pressure: The Best of The Week
Leon casino, Photo: Verge
Well, we survived the barrage of comedy that rolled through town last week, and I don’t mean the Bob Seger show. This week you can witness history as some local comics will tape a comedy special, a comic will tape an album, as well as grabbing some great local and touring bands like Logic pictured above. Here’s where to spend any of the scratch you have left post-Valentine’s Day.
On Wednesday you can trek out to the Joke Joint Comedy Showcase for their weekly open mic. Anyone who knows how this goes, knows that I rarely recommend an open mic as a way to see comedy; because you might not act appropriately or you might judge a comic off of what you hear. But, I feel like you should go out to Joke Joint, because that club has been instrumental to many local comics’ careers and they could use people out at their establishment. The show is usually hosted by one of Houston’s better up and coming comics alongside often at times, professional comics as well. Things get started at 8:00, it’s 18 & up, and it’s 100% FREE.
Over at Fitzgerald’s, they’ll have the sweet voiced and well played tunes of New Jersey’s Pete Yorn. You might remember Yorn for some of his hits from the past. He’s been staying low key recently by performing in a newer band called The Olms. However, Yorn is more than just a guy who’s dropped some big time hits albums like, “musicforthemorningafter,” and “Break Up;” he’s also a multi-instrumentalist and a hell of a songwriter. This is an acoustic show that doesn’t list an opener yet, but that may change. The show has a cover between $28.00 and $32.00, the doors are at 7:00, and it’s an all ages show.
No one blames you if instead, you trek over to Hans Bier Haus to catch some FREE food and the taping of an album from Houston comic Bob Biggerstaff. Biggerstaff has been on “Last Comic Standing,” Comedy Central’s “Live At Gotham,” and he’s opened for a slew of bigger touring acts as well as toured the country himself. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s one of Houston’s funniest comics and that the show has no cover. Things should get started at 8:30, it’s 21 & up, and 100% FREE.
You can get your Thursday started at House of Blues, when Taking Back Sunday brings the post emo sound to town. So, last year I was with these guys for too long to not interview them. Instead we just joked around and discussed the music industry. Then I watched them do more pre-show work than I feel like I’d do. They’re here in support of last year’s “Happiness Is,” which I saw them perform live and was actually impressed with. They’ll be joined by the post hardcore of LA’s letlive. These guys are rumored to have an intense live show, and their supporting their 2013 album, “The Blackest Beautiful.” The punk rock of Pennsylvania’s The Menzingers will be on hand to get things started. Their newest release, “Rented World” from last year really reminds me of a mix of Bad Religion and early Against Me. The all ages show has doors at 6:00 and the tickets are between $27.50 and $35.00.
If you’re a fan of the silly work of the younger Wayans brothers, then you might want to head to Improv to catch Shawn and Marlon Wayans. The brothers who wrote the film “White Chicks” will be in town for the weekend to perform their brand of stand-up. As per all of these shows, two of Houston’s better up and coming comics will perform host and feature act duties. There’s one show on Thursday at 8:00, two on Friday at 8:00 and 10:30, and three on Saturday at 7:00, 9:30, and 11:30. Some of these have sold out, but the tickets for them all are between $40.00 and $50.00.
Downstairs at Fitzgerald’s, you can catch the future sounds of Houston’s Josiah Gabriel. I think everyone into electronic music is chomping at the bit in anticipation for this guy’s new album. Until then we’ll all just have to get down to his emotionally filled next level sounds at live shows. His Children of Pop remix is just a very small sample of all that he has in store for the world this year. The raw and emotional sounds of the synth heavy and raw vocals of Dallas’ LEV will also be on the bill. LEV makes an interesting mix of dance music and pulsing emotions. -Us. is also on hand, while Houston’s Android Genius will make it almost impossible for anyone to follow him when he opens the show. I spent some time with his newest release, “Niraya” before I reviewed it; and I spent most of that time getting down to the future beats vibe it displays. The all ages show has doors at 7:30 and the cover is a measly $5.00.
Hardcore revivalists, Trash Talk of Sacramento will be at Walters, and hopefully it’s still standing after their crazy live show. Last year this four piece dropped the rough and tumble album, “No Peace,” that harkened a time when bands like Bad Brains and Black Flag were constantly touring. In a strange twist, one of NYC’s better new hip hop acts, Ratking will be on the bill as well. Touring in support of their debut “So It Goes” album from last year; these guys have been getting all kinds of praise since they inked a deal to XL and hit the scene two and half years ago. California’s Lee Bannon will get things started with his trippy drum and bass sounds, on the all ages show that could easily sell out. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets are between $13.00 and $15.00.
If you’re broke and you like thrash metal hardcore, then you should go to Mangos to catch Austin’s Sex Chamber. The stoner punk of Houston’s Satannabis will also be there, as will the punk of new Houston act, Ullatec. Houston’s Thundertank opens the all ages show wil doors at 9:00 and cover for $1.00.
Upstairs at Fitz, Iva Dawn will bring her sultry sounds back to Houston for her EP release show. The alter ego of Whitney Mower, Iva Dawn is this very beautiful and breathy voiced singer who makes a mix of dream pop and Roy Orbison-esque kind of music. Her vocals are as distinguishable as that of Kate Bush, though the two sound completely different. Her band that consists of your pal and music genius Lucas Gorham alongside drumming from Soundgarden’s Matt Chamberlain is a nice way of saying you should check her out. Houston’s funky Reverberation DJs will be on the bill, as will the alter ego of Mikey & the Drags Miguel Ponce; Mikey Drag. Drag will bring a reverb heavy guitar and dreamy throwback sound to the show that should be great to see live. The Gulf Coast swagger meets Latin rhythms of Deep Cuts will get things started, bringing tunes from their latest; last year’s EP “Love Grows.” The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and the cover that includes a digital download of Dawn’s new EP, is only $5.00.
Friday, you can make it over to MKT Bar for another evening of FREE Comedy from your pals at Beta Theater. this week, Al Bahmani will be hosting again, and will make the room crack up like he successfully did last week. He will be joined by the hilarious and observational comedy of Nia De-Bose. When I interviewed De-Bose last year, I learned that some people are funny even when they aren’t trying, so she’s definitely worth seeing. Elaine Phillips will bring her brand of silly humor to the show; as will Will Grogan. The funny and silly jokes of Son Tran will open things up. As always, this show starts at 9:00, there’s a killer 8th Wonder Beer special, and the show is 100% FREE. Afterwards, there’s a secret DJ set from DNCSxWLVS that’s totally worth sticking around for.
If you’re a fan of Wild Moccasins, or at least their lead singer Zahira Gutierrez; then you should make your way over to BLUEorange Gallery to catch her perform a solo show. The performance should be interesting as well as entertaining; and is in conjunction with the exhibit “Public Communication: Performing Knowledge of the Body.” The all ages show gets started at 8:30 and has a measly $5.00 cover.
Warehouse Live will host the crazy mic skills of Maryland’s Logic. This guy can slay a mic almost like he’s from here, and he’s just getting bigger and bigger as he goes. Last year he dropped the dope and real album, “Under Pressure,” which is what brings him to town. The all ages show is Sold Out with doors at 8:00.
Mangos has another rager with the melodic emo sounds of Houston’s Holder. These guys just released a live recording of themselves that should give you the feel of their high energy sound. They’ll be joined by Austin’s Gentlemen Rogues. Last year they put out a two song 7” called “Mocking Love Out of Nothing At All,” that was a tour de indie rock force. The throwback indie emo from Houston’s Valens will also be on hand. I’ve been telling you for a while to catch these guys, as they have the talent to take their sound somewhere bigger than their hometown. The indie punk of Houston’s Far Out will get the all ages show started. They have a really melodic sound that’s partial Bad Religion meets the indie melody of Promise Ring; into a really great sound. The doors are at 9:00 and the cover is $5.00.
Upstairs at Fitzgerald’s they’ll host the album release party for Houston’s alt country Americana act, Grand Old Grizzly. To be fair, the album “Cosmonada” is already available to stream, and has been since the middle of January. On it, the band stretched their musical legs to go a little further than the country tunes they penned on their debut three years prior, as I explained when I reviewed it. I contend that this is one of Houston’s better acts going, and that you’re a damn fool if you don’t see them sooner than later. The mixture of Houston, Los Angeles, and Austin culminate together within the members of the show’s opener, Thunderado. Their 2012 album, “Hilltop Sister” is this crazy mix of psych, garage, and country rock that I don’t think anyone else has attempted yet. They have a really tight sound, and should make for an interesting opener. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and a $10.00 cover.
Over at Last Concert Cafe, you can check out the funky sounds of The Heights Funk Collective. The large scale group usually has an entertaining blend of funk and jazz as well as plays an energetic show. They’ll have the folky sounds of Houston’s Fear The Poet. The upbeat band plays a mix of folk and indie pop that’ fronted by the sultry voice of singer songwriter Sherita Perez; and should make for a fun performance. Things get started at 9:00 for the 18 & up show with a $10.00 cover which drops to $5.00 if you show with a hula hoop or something like it.
If you just want to dance until you pass out, then you could head over to Boondocks for the Blackout show. Things will definitely get dancy with the tropical sounds of Ape Drums, Hyro, the electrifying sounds of DJ Act Badd, and Leckie. Things get started at 10:00, and the show is FREE for the 21 & up show.
Dr John Photo: Bruce Webber
Out at Dosey Doe in the Big Barn, you can get your groove on when legendary performer Dr. John performs out at the Woodlands venue. I shouldn’t have to oversell this show, as this guy who can tickle the keys like nobody’s business is a force to see live. His legendary growl still permeates the funky vibe he creates on the organ, while he still brings that bluesy R&B feeling to every song. He had hits like “Down in New Orleans,” “Revolution,” and the one we can all sing along to, “Right Place Wrong Time.” He’s here in support of his latest, last year’s “Ske-Dat-De-Dat..The Spirit of Satch.” Like all of these shows, dinner is included in your ticket price, running from $138.00 to $198.00. The doors are at 6:00, and dinner is served until 7:30; with Dr. John starting at 8:30.
Saturday you can start things off over at Discovery Green for the Texas Lunar Festival. The multi-cultural Asian and international event showcases diversity as well as showcases the foods and cultures that are thriving daily across our great city and beyond. Things run from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm, it’s all ages, and tickets are $8.00 unless you’re under 12, in which case they’re FREE.
If you want to see something legendary and you want to laugh, then you should head over to Warehouse Live to catch the live taping of the comedy special that Houston’s The Whiskey Brothers are taping. The four comics who have collectively toured the world alongside releasing albums and doing a weekly podcast; plan on selling this special to Netflix, or someone like that. You could be a part of the magic of a live album taping, and lie to your friends later about who is you when the camera pans over the audience when it airs. The four comics, Sam Demaris, Rob Mungle, John Wessling, and Slade Ham don’t get to perform together much due to the fact that they’re constantly out on the road. But, rest assured that this show will more than likely sell out, as they have a pretty loyal fanbase, and they’re all great comics in their own right whether it be solo or as the group. The all ages show has doors at 6:00, and tickets between $10.00 and $25.00, the latter being a first four rows seated option.
Down in Clear Lake, you can see what former Marilyn Manson guitarist John 5 has been up to lately, when he performs at Scout Bar. He’ll be performing with his band The Creatures, and he’s here in support of last year’s “Careful With That Axe.” Arizona’s With Our Arms To the Sun will bring their prog based sounds to the show. They’ll have the hard rock of Houston’s Pulse Rate Zero on the bill with them as well. They’ll be performing songs from their 2014 album, “Ripped Apart.” The Steve Satchel Band of Spring opens the all ages show with doors at 7:00 and tickets between $14.00 and $18.00.
Downstairs at Fitzgerald’s, you can see what the best local album makers of 2014, Catch Fever are up to since their recent recording session in Austin. The band whose album “Shiny Eyes” is a pop rock tour de force will be hopefully dropping some of their new stuff as well. They’ll have the twangy sound of Houston’s Fox Parlor on hand as well. These guys make Southern blues rock sounds better than most, and their 2014 album “Hell or High Water,” is one you should check out. Houston’s HandsomeBeast will bring their jammy funk to the show when they open things up. The all ages show has doors at 8:00, and it’s FREE for 21 & up or $5.00 for under 21.
If you’d rather catch some rockabilly, then Continental Club will host Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys. So, the first time I caught this guy was in the nineties when he opened for Morrissey, and I’ve been hooked ever since. He has a voice that’s large and in charge as he and his band play all of their melodic and swing based songs. Their latest, 2013’s “What a Dream It’s Been” falls in line with previous works while staying fresh. He’ll have the rockabilly of Shaun Young & the Texas Blue Dots on the bill with him. The 21 & up show has tickets for $15.00 and you should call about door times.
If hip hop is more what you’re into, then over at Arena Theatre they’ll host Atlanta’s Future. The rapper who rose to prominence from his collabs with artists like Gucci Mane, Pharrell, Pusha T, and Kanye West is here in support of his 2014 album, “Honest.” This should be a killer show from the rapper he seems to just get larger with each passing year. The show has “guests” listed but doesn’t actually name them. The show has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $25.00 and $100.00.
Black Barbie will have the first Terraform party of the year. This one will feature producers and DJs from all over Texas. With visuals by Houston’s FLCON FCKER, the show will be headlined by the bass filled jams of Houston/Austin performer Layer. He’ll have Austin’s Mugsy on prior, as well as the future sounds of Houston’s Josiah Gabriel. The progressive tracks from Austin’s Detox Unit will also be on hand, while Houston’s Psillysubbin will open the show. Things get started at 9:00 and the all ages show has a “name your price” cover at the door.
The Generators Playground will host a crazy party that covers both the inside and outside of Mangos. This one is a bit more epic than the last where there promises to be lots of stand-up comedy from Gabe Bravo, Jaffer Khan, and many more hosted by Danny Mo. There’s also a whole bunch of music from Pitter Patter, Free Radicals, and many more. There promises to be art installations, food, and even those from NORML. Things starts at 6:00 and run all night, it’s all ages, and the cover is a measly $7.00.
Avant Garden will have the country folk rock sounds of Houston’s Ragged Hearts. This three piece sounds like a mix of early era Old 97’s meets The Replacements. The show that has doors at 8:00 doesn’t have a cover listed, but that might change when doors open.
On Sunday you can head over to Double Trouble to donate some money to the Numbers documentary, “Friday I’m In Love.” So, here’s the deal, Numbers has been a part of Houston for longer than most of us can remember. Many of us saw a ton of great bands, danced with strangers, and got acquainted with the Montrose for the very first time because of the iconic nightclub. More importantly, going to Numbers I feel helped many people from my generation keep from growing up backwards. Coming in from the suburbs in the early nineties, many of us saw a side to our city that none of us knew existed; and it taught us that no matter who you were or how you looked, everyone was welcome at Numbers. It’s just a bonus that those who are making the documentary are seasoned pros and people who see Numbers as a place of importance. But, this film can’t be made without money, and that’s what this is for. They have a kickstarter campaign here, but you should make it out to meet those who you’ll be giving your money to. It also happens to be at one of Houston’s best bars, especially over on Main Street. Things start at 6:00 and run until 10:00.
At Warehouse Live to catch the synth pop mixture from Canada also known as Lights. Known for an insanely great set of pipes, the experimental singer rose to fame when she dropped her 2011 album, “Siberia.” Though she had been around for about four years at that point, the album made her come off more like a veteran than anything else. Last year, she returned with “Little Machines;” where she really shines in a more diverse way. The Brooklyn based alt rockers X Ambassadors will open the all ages show with doors at 7:00 and tickets between $17.00 and $20.00.
You could also catch acclaimed folk artist, Malcolm Holcombe over at Mucky Duck. Holcombe has been called great by pretty much every music writer, and his growling vocals sound like he’s gargling gravel and cheap whiskey while he sings. His latest album, last year’s “Pitiful Blues” will probably sound better live on the show without an opener listed. The doors are at 6:00 and the tickets are between $20.00 and $22.00.
Monday you should head to The Summit to catch the folky Americana of Christian Lee Hutson. This guy has one of those sounds that could be the incidental music in a film, or possibly your favorite new song to listen to over dinner. It’s seriously some good stuff. His new album, “Yeah Okay, I Know,” is one that you should let your ears experience. Houston’s Adam Bricks will bring his singer songwriter vibe to the bill as well. Bricks dropped the album, “City Songs” in 2013, and it’s one of those records where it sounds like lots of things good, but you can’t pin it to one or another. I can’t stress enough how important it is that you catch the beautiful voice of Elaine Greer, who opens this show. She’s from Houston, but has since moved to Austin, and in 2011 she put out a pop gem called “Annotations” that everyone should hear. She returned this year with a two song release called “Mockingbird.” Check her out for sure cause she’s really great. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and a measly $5.00 cover, so you have no excuse not to go.
On Tuesday, you can make it over to Black Barbie for what should be a great show, headlined by Oakland psych punk dark wave band, Healers. they’ll be rolling through town on their Winter tour in support of their latest, last year’s, “time is a vulture that is always circling.” They sound like if the Doors had a baby with Bauhaus. Houston’s own B L A C K I E will be on the bill as well, and will be difficult to follow after his live assault of the senses. Last year he dropped his most ambitious and progressive album to date, “Imagine Yourself In A Free And Natural World.” I felt like again, he just stepped about five years ahead of everyone else in music, meaning that if it were his last album; the music industry will have gotten on his level by 2035. The puppetry by Austin’s Zardoz should really set this show even further apart from anything else out there, as will the synth of Austin’s Babbies. Houston’s DJ Stickers will open the all ages show up with doors at 8:00 and a cheap $5.00 cover.
That’s about it for what’s happening this week. No matter what you choose, please be mindful of everyone around you, and do whatever you do like an adult. The better you are, the better we all are, as Houstonians.