Unrequited Love: The Best of The Week
Leon casino, Photo: Constance Kostrevski
Well, I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend, and an even better Black Friday. Last week proved that even when there’s a holiday in tow, there’s still plenty to do here in Houston. Now that the craze of gift giving is in full swing, this week has more great options than you’d think. Here’s where to skip the shopping lines this week.
Wednesday the noise punk avant garde sounds of Austin’s Street Sects will be over at Mango’s. These guys kind of sound like “Psalm 69” era Ministry mixed with Death Grips, to me. They’ve literally dropped three mini albums this year alone, and their latest is a single, “Things Will Be Better In California.” The broken and chopped sound structures of Rhode Island’s Timeghost will also be on the show. Timeghost basically sounds like a blender full of trippy sounds and beats that were mixed into some form of chaotic rhythm. The electronic punk of Dallas’ Hex Cult will be on board, while the trippy synth noise of the Austin/Houston hybrid Future Blondes will perform as well. Houston’s “killwave” noise punks Cop Warmth will be there to blow everyone’s ear drums. They just dropped a new album, “Womanizer” that’s as bizarre as it is crazed. Houston’s experimental techno act, P.L.X.T.X. will also be there, while the power violence of Stress33 will open things up. The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and the cover is $5.00.
Over at House of Blues, they’ll host the legendary sounds of John Hiatt. Hiatt has had his songs covered by everyone from Iggy Pop to the Everly Brothers. The guy is a legend in the truest sense of the word, and he’s one of our nation’s best songwriters. His latest masterpiece, this year’s “Terms Of My Surrender” has the singer bringing a much softer yet harsher sound. The show is sold out I believe, but they might have tickets at the door. The doors are at 7:00.
Bayou Music Center will bring over the prolific alt country garage rock sounds of Ryan Adams. Adams has such a storied past that there’s not enough time to begin to go into it. Aside from the drama that’s been in and out of his life, I’ll say that the guy is a pretty strong force in music. I saw him with U2 back in the day, and then caught him in a small club at a low point in his life; yet both were pretty great. He has, literally two releases this year alone with “Vampires” and a self titled release, “Ryan Adams.” “Vampires” has this kind of Verlaines meets Peter Murphy vibe. The s/t release has a bit more of that “Ryan Adams” feel, with songs that sound like a guy who knows what living on the streets is like. Mixing the vibe of Tom Waits and Wilco, Adams really did himself justice with this album. Technically, he has a third release with “1984” a collection of singles. Most of these shows had Jenny Lewis on the bill, though that doesn’t appear to be the case here. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets are between $39.00 and $48.00.
Thursday, you have more options than you’d think. This can start off with one of two shows at Warehouse Live, the first being Circa Survive. I forgot these guys were a band until they dropped that split RSD 7” with Sunny Day Real Estate earlier this year. I own that 7” and actually didn’t play the Circa Survive side prior to writing this. The post hardcore screaminess of these guys on their earlier albums has since been dismissed for a softer and more melodic sound. Their back with a new album, this year’s “Decensus,” that’s a mix of the old and the new sound. Pennsylvania’s Title Fight will be there as direct support. Title Fight kind of sounds like a mix of emo and punk, and their last release, 2012’s “Floral Green” was their strongest release to date. The Touche Amore sounding Pianos Become The Teeth of Baltimore will also be on the bill. These guys just dropped a new album this year called “Keep You” that mixes the soft with the melodic almost perfectly. California’s Tera Melos, who were just here on Halloween will open the show up. There’s a good chance this all ages show will sell out with doors at 7:00 and tickets between $20.00 and $25.00.
In the green room at Warehouse Live, they’ll host the liquor fueled rock of Alabama’s Maylene and the Sons of Disaster. These guys kind of sound like .38 Special fueled by Jack Daniels and weed. They’re here in support of their newest album, 2011’s “IV.” They’ll have their work cut out for them, when Houston’s We Were Wolves will perform in the direct support slot prior to them. We Were Wolves have been around long enough to weather the storm of this “rock downturn” everyone keeps talking about. Playing with a new bassist, the high octane rock band will perform some newer cuts alongside old favorites from last year’s “Wolf House.” The quick paced and melodic sounds of Knights of The Fire Kingdom should get everybody ready for a great night, when they open the all ages show with doors at 7:00 and tickets between $7.00 and $10.00.
Improv will host the comedy antics of New Jersey comic Steve Byrne. You might know Byrne from the TBS show, “Sullivan & Son,” but you may not know that he’s a hilarious comedian. He has the ability to cover everything from homosexuality and being married with ease, which he proves on his 2014 album, “Champion.” Like with all of these shows, the feature and host slots will be performed by two of Houston’s better comics. There’s one show on Thursday, two on Friday, and two on Saturday. The Thursday show is at 8:00, and the Friday and Saturday shows are at 8:00 and 10:30. They all have tickets priced between $20.00 and $30.00.
If you like Black Sabbath performed by an explosive Latin psych band, then you should head to Fitzgerald’s for Brown Sabbath. Psych Latin fusion rockers, Brownout will bring their Black Sabbath covers show to Houston in the downstairs room. I’d be lying if I said that their “Brown Sabbath” album wasn’t pretty amazing, because it is. Usually when a band makes a covers album, they basically perform the songs in the same vein as the original. However, Austin’s Brownout took these songs in a completely new direction & truly made them their own. Houston’s doom metal band, From Beyond will serve as opener. Two years ago, these guys dropped the spaced out and doomy sounding “The Color Out of Space” ep, and pretty much blew everyone away with its epic sound. The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are between $12.00 and $17.00.
Over at the Contemporary Arts Museum, they have a pretty intense show with the hip hop likes of Doughbeezy, one of Houston’s most underrated rappers Jawwaad, and some new guys in Houston who hustle like I’ve never seen before; Rosewood Thievz. The show will feature the innovative glitch visuals and a set by FLCON FCKER, and a soundtrack by Flash Gordon Parks. This is all the universe’s way of saying that you should go. Things get started at 7:00, and it’s a FREE show.
Down in Clear Lake at Scout Bar, they’ll have some dubstep, when London based DJ/Producer Caspa performs. So, Caspa has been kind of big deal since his debut release about five years ago. Since then he’s dropped albums and countless singles. This year alone he dropped an album, “The Blue Eyed Ghost” as well as six singles. The newest of those singles is “500: Episode Two.” London’s The Others will open things up on the all ages show with doors at 7:00, and tickets between $12.00 and $15.00.
Continental Club will host the soulful pipes of Nashville’s Alanna Royale. Royale has been making sultry tunes in the Motown way since 2012; but she sounds like a seasoned veteran. The five piece that backs her has two horns and a hint of funk to their sound. She’s here in support of her latest, “Achilles” from this year. The 21 & up show should have doors at 10:00, and a cover no more than $15.00, but it might be less.
Joke Joint Comedy Showcase will host Minnesota’s Tim Harmston for the weekend. Harmston has appeared on The Late Show, Comedy Central, and the Bob & Tom Radio Show. He’s appeared on countless comedy festivals, and is known as a strong comic no matter where he performs. His latest album, this year’s “The Most Bees Ever” covers everything from racism to church in a pretty hilarious manner. Like all of these shows, two of Houston’s better up and coming comics will serve as host and feature for the show. There’s one show on Thursday at 8:00, and two on Friday at 8:00 and 10:30, as well as two on Saturday at 8:00 and 10:30 as well. All of them carry a $16.00 cover charge.
Your Friday can get going over at Discovery Green, when they show the Christmas classic, “A Christmas Story.” Sponsored by Bank of America, the film taught us all what happens when you stick your tongue on an icy pole, and that you could almost shoot your eye out with an under powered bb gun. A clueless mother and father alongside a bratty brother and a kid who has his eyes on the prize throughout the whole film; this movie has it all. It’s much better to appreciate this film on a big screen rather than the neverending TBS marathon that will undoubtedly occur again this year like it always does. It’s an all ages affair that gets started around 7:30 and is 100% FREE.
Since you’ll be in that area, you could also make it over to Phoenicia MKT Bar, for another installment of Beta Theater’s Comedy Night. This time it’s a show put on by FPH Sammy Winner, Ashton Womack. This show will not only feature Ashton, but the hilarious and insightful Mycal Dede will host. The show also has the funny and quick Victor Tran, the rap lyrical translation of Beta Bracket finalist Zach Dickson, and the long form jokes of Jaffer Khan. Like all of these shows, there will be an EXCLUSIVE 8th Wonder beer only available at this show. Things get started at 9:00 and the event is 100% FREE.
Warehouse Live will host one of the best performer’s you’ll see all week, when they host Jessica Hernandez and The Deltas. Hernandez caught Craig at Heights Vinyl’s attention so much, that he ordered the record directly from her website just to sell it. He then turned me on to it, and it’s pretty amazing. The album, 2014’s “Secret Evil” might be one of the best albums I heard all year, and easily one that should’ve gotten more attention. Port Neches, Texas’ Jenny & The Reincarnation will also be on the bill, and will bring their swampy melodies to all in attendance. This act has moments of pop rock mixed with a Southern folk rock that’s different from what you may have ever heard. Houston’s powerfully soul and R&B combo, Moji will open things up. This is a really great show that feels like it would be better suited in a space larger than the green room. It’s all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are reasonable between $7.00 and $10.00.
If you missed the two times in the past year that thrash metal punks, D.R.I. were here, the you can trek down to Scout Bar to see them this week. Dirty Rotten Imbeciles are in many ways legends, they’re from Houston, and they’ve been around since the early eighties. However, how do bands tour, tour, tour, and not release any new music? I’ve noticed that bands that subscribe to this model, have tons of merch which proves why they still tour but never make new music. Either way, they’ll have the thrash metal of Houston’s Owl Witch on the bill as well. The thrash metal of Houston’s Thraxis will also be there, while the metal of Indiana’s Legion opens the show up. The show is all ages, the cover is between $14.00 and $18.00, and the doors are at 7:00.
Continental Club will bring the Roots meets R&B sound of North Carolina’s Nikki Hill. Hill has the swagger of a vocalist from the Stax era mixed with a rockabilly sounding backing band. Last year she dropped her debut, “Here’s Nikki Hill” that’s gotten her swarms of fans from coast to coast and especially overseas. There’s no opener, it’s a 21 & up show, and the tickets are $12.00 with doors at 10:00.
Notsuoh will have a pretty cool show when Prints Not Prince bring Boston’s Urbindex brings his epic electronic sounds to town. This guy…this guy has his own thing going where he’s basically mixing genres to create an amazing sound. He dropped an album this year called “Walsh” that’s one of those albums everyone should check out. Cleveland’s Broken Keys will also be on hand to drop his vibe heavy synth sound. Austin’s Man-of-the-Downtrodden will also be there to release his trap heavy meets Cali Fresh sound. The hip hop sounds of Houston’s Rez will be there, as well as the spacey trap of LA/Houston’s Eroda One. Houston’s latest up and coming future sounds creator, Android Genius will be there to open the show. This guy has the ability to mix old school video game sounding synths with pretty much everything else while keeping a nice slow jammed beat going. The doors are at 9:00 and the cover is a measly $5.00.
On Saturday you can grab some local goodies over at Houston’s Watershed Market on the East end of downtown. The market will be doing their Holiday Market, and is a mishmash of local vendors, artists, and innovators. Entry is FREE & they open up at 10:00 am.
The creative forces behind Wonky Power Records have a show happening over at their warehouse on Navigation, with the East End TrillWave Winter Series. The show will be the debut of Houston ambient beat maker and instrumentalist, George West. He’ll have Houston’s resident scientist, beat maker, and glitch visuals innovator FLCON FCKER on the bill as well. I keep telling you that FF is like having a celebrity in our city, as he’s getting bigger and bigger everywhere he visits; including the Yucatan where he just performed. The tropical bass and all around badassery of Gio Chamba will perform as well. Chamba’s set at Houston’s Best Halloween Bash blew me away with his mix of lights, Latin flavor, and tropical beats. He’s like if Tito Puente did acid and then formed an electronica act with Sergio Mendes and Tom Ze. The trippy multiverse sounds of Houston’s Android Genius will open things up, and get feet on the dance floor while he kicks out some sultry slow jams. It’s a BYOB affair that’s 21 & up and carries a $10.00 cover with doors at 7:00.
Fitzgerald’s will have Austin’s Danny Malone in town. Malone calls his sound future folk, which is actually a pretty great way to describe it. Though, for me, it sounds like what Elliott Smith might sound like in today’s progressively electronic world. Malone has been racking up critics who love his work since his debut in 2005. This year, he dropped the rather beautiful and poetic album, “Speeddreamer.” On it, Malone’s voice slinks in and out of a drum machine coupled with other instruments to create a world in which it seems he’s all alone; and that’s a good thing. Houston’s pop rockers Catch Fever will be there as direct support. Earlier this year, this three piece dropped one of the best pop rock albums I’ve heard in a long time called “Shiny Eyes.” What separates it from other albums in the genre, is its’ made in a way where the drums come in when they’re supposed to, the two part harmonies are spot on, and the riffs are as catchy as they could get. Prior to them, another great group from Houston, The Caldwell will also be performing. Last year, they dropped a pretty amazing album when they put out “Modern Love.” The album sounds like a mix of Interpol meets Television, Spoon meets The Jam, or even Tom Waits meets Bad Books..it’s all good no matter what the comparison. The experimental spaced sounds of Austin’s Modern Medicine will open the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and tickets for $5.00.
Notsuoh will host the growling and twangy sounds of Houston’s Fox Parlor. These guys have the sound of rockabilly mixed with a bit of blues and a hint of punk. They dropped an album this year appropriately called “Hell Or High Water,” where all of these sounds can be heard. The indie folk of Austin’s Madisons will also be there. Madisons is a seven piece acts that mixes in the vibe of Townes Van Zandt with the country twang of Doug Sahm. Their latest release, this year’s “You Can Take Your Sorry Ass Back To West Texas” upped the ante with a louder and more electric sound. Jealous Creatures of Houston will be performing as well. Jealous Creatures has the sound of about ten different genres put into one overall feel. The best way to describe them would be to say if you took Nancy Wilson of Heart, Patty Loveless on vocals, and then told them to start a spacey indie alt country band; you still might not have this four piece. Listen to their 2013 album “Bazooka” and tell me what you hear, cause sometimes good doesn’t fit into a label. The folky sounds of Lubbock’s Wolverton will open things up with doors at 8:00 and a $5.00 cover for the 21 & up show.
There’s a double bill over at Rudyard’s starting off the the Altercation Comedy Ruins Xmas show. The show that features Altercation Comedy creator and comic JT Habersaat will also host a large list of Houston and out of town acts. Mike Wiebe of Austin band Riverboat Gamblers will be on the bill, and he’s actually a pretty funny guy. I feel like you can’t be in a band nowadays without having some sort of sense of humor, and Wiebe drives that fact home. Austin comic Jay Whitecotton will perform as well, as will former Houstonian turned Austin transplant Lisa Friedrich. Houston’s Brian Zeolla, Dan Schlissel of Minnesota, Rob Gagnon of Austin, and Austin’s Norman Wilkerson will all perform as well. There are many extra guest set to perform, and the show is one of only three being performed in Texas. There’s an ugly Christmas sweater contest, the show is 21 & up, and the doors are at 6:00 for the $10.00 show.
Later on at Rudyard’s, they’ll host the stoner rock metal of Houston’s Funeral Horse. Is it fair to say that these guys are filling a void here in Houston by bringing the bombastic vibes of early Black Sabbath mixed with a hint of Fu Manchu? They dropped a pretty great album this year called “Sinister Rites of the Master,” where they mixed fuzzed out guitars with a breakneck pace that never let up in it’s entirety. They’ll have the heavy riffs of Houston’s The Linus Pauling Quartet on the show as well. These guys have this distorted guitar that gets mixed with an almost too trippy vibe from two different singers. Their latest, a 7” called “C is For Cthulhu,” shows how diverse of a group they really are. The noise pop rock of College Station’s The Ex-Optimists will open things up with their Sebadoh meets Dinosaur Jr. vibe. The 21 & up show has doors at 9:00 and a cover of only FREE.
Over at Sojourn Studios, there’s a pretty cool art show, when they host the Adornment Past show. It features art by locals Meredith Richey and A. Ward. The show, which will also feature musical performances by Asli Omar of The Tontons, Lomelda, The Wandering Bufaleros, and Veleria Pinchuk of Son of Bitch. The show gets going around 7:00 and is 100% FREE with Free Adult drinks.
On Sunday you should make it over to House of Blues to catch the guy who brought attention to the Bill Cosby allegations; the hilarious Hannibal Buress. Buress might be one of the funniest comics going today, and his latest album, “Live From Chicago” proves as such. You might know Buress as the guy who stands up next to the guest chair on The Eric Andre Show on Adult Swim. If you like comedy, and you want to laugh hysterically, then Buress’ show is where you should be. There doesn’t appear to be an opener, but these things often change by showtime. The doors are at 6:30 and the tickets that are left, are $39.50.
Walter’s will have the pop punk of Milwaukee’s Direct Hit! for the first time since their new album dropped. That album, 2013’s “Brainless God” took the band in a direction that felt more adult than their previous works. Like a mix of NOFX and Blink 182, these guys have been putting on energetic shows since they put out their 1st album in 2011. The hardcore punk of New Orleans’ PEARS will also be on the show. PEARS sounds like a more melodic GBH where they utilize the sing song nature of modern day punk rock. Earlier this year the four piece dropped a new album called “Go To Prison” where the longest song isn’t even three minutes long. The Green Day sounding pop punk of Houston’s The Turnaways will also be there. These guys seriously sound like the Green Day that was on Lookout Records, and not whatever Green Day calls their music now. The emo of Houston’s Valens will open things up with their sound that’s like a mix of Braid and Boilermaker. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets for a measly $10.00.
Tuesday, you can head over to Fitzgerald’s for the raucous and crazy tunes of Legendary Shack Shakers. If you ever wondered what former members of Hank III’s band would sound like on their own, then this is the act to see. They have a mix of satan meets a bluegrass and country punk sound. The band that one time included Duane Denison of Jesus Lizard fame, is here supporting their last full length, the four year old “Agridustrial.” The hillbilly sounds of Austin’s Whiskey Shivers will be there to open things up. They’ve garnered some critical attention from their newest album, 2014’s “Whiskey Shivers,” and they’re known to put on a hootenanny type of show. The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are between $12.00 and $16.00.
You might want to drive the distance to Conroe, as Art Alexakis of Everclear will be performing out at Dosey Doe Music Cafe. The show, which will consist of Alexakis performing mostly songs from Everclear’s career; will include the stories behind those songs. So, basically like that “VH1: Storyteller’s” show, but live. Things get going at 8:00 and if you’re a longtime fan, then you’ll be able to justify the $34.00 ticket.
That’s not a bad week between holidays. No matter where you go this weekend, please remember to get there to and fro as safely as possible, and to keep your eyes peeled as the holidays can get a little crazy at times.