They Want My Soul: The Best of The Week
Leon casino, Photo: Graeme Mitchell
Well, this is the last full week of 2014, and as we all prep for NYE and we grab those last minute holiday gifts; there’s more than enough happening here as it has been all year. While you get smashed on eggnog and sing carols, this is where you can avoid the holiday craziness this week.
On Thursday, aka Christmas, the annual 30FootFall show will be happening over at Fitzgerald’s. This yearly event has always been one of those things that brings the city together in a good way. The punkers have been rehearsing back in town, and from what I hear, gearing up for a reboot complete with a new album. For now, their 2002 release, “The Doppler Effect” will have to tide you over. But don’t make a mistake here, these guys are just as strong as ever and their live shows are just as great now as they were back in the late nineties. Making a return to the scene, Houston’s Spunk will also be on hand to punk things up in their own special way. But hey, this isn’t a show that’s steeped in the past, as Houston’s Dead To The World will also be there to offer up some new blood. These guys kind of remind me of a mix of Rancid and Total Chaos, and they’re pretty great in a live setting. The Pennywise meets NOFX sound of The Ballistics will open the all ages show with doors at 8:00, and tickets between $12.00 and $15.00.
You could however, mix it up and head to Continental Club for Grand Old Grizzly. The alt country meets americana sound of these guys is pretty impressive, especially in a live setting. From what it sounds like, members of The Palisades will be performing with the band or before the band; it’s hard to tell. It’s a 21 & up show with doors at 10:00 and as far as I can tell, it’s FREE.
Friday has a pretty nice list of options post Xmas starting with a special screening of “Home Alone” over at Discovery Green. Remember when you knew Macaulay Culkin for his work as an actor, and not for that terrible pizza based Velvet Underground cover band he started? Well this is the flick that everyone fell for. It’s a family affair that’s also closed captioned in Spanish that’s 100% FREE and gets started at 7:30.
If you are over on that side of town, but you don’t want to be outside, then you can head over to MKT Bar inside Phoenicia for another night of comedy provided by those at Beta Theater. The show, which gets started at 9:00 has switched to a “TV Clean” format, it has an EXCLUSIVE beer from 8th Wonder, and it’s a great place to catch some great stand-up comedy for the low low price of FREE.
Numbers will be hosting another show from the saucy ladies of Dem Damn Dames Burlesque with the Lord of the Raaangs show. This time the Dames will be performing their monthly show in the guise of characters from a similar sounding film directed by the guy who directed the “King Kong” reboot. This end of the year performance will be peppered with extra talent like Chris Amerson of 8E Tribe and Taylor Danforth alongside out of town performers like Vivienne Vermuth of Dallas, Ginger Snaps from Austin, and Houston’s Jordan Sifu Kolar. When you add up the amount of talent, the performances, the comedy and of course the sex appeal; this is a good bet for a Friday after Xmas. As with all of these shows, your ticket price includes entry to the nightclub’s “Classic Numbers” after the show. The doors are at 7:00 and the tickets are $15.00 as the VIP is SOLD OUT, so you might want to do presale.
Speaking of epic shows, Walters is having their 3rd anniversary party with Wild Moccasins as the headliners. You know, Houston needs a great 500 capacity sized room for shows, and that’s what Walters is. In the years since I’ve been around, I can say that everyone involved is a good person who takes care of bands and is super easy to work with. Since this is the first anniversary show since founder Pam Robinson’s passing, it would be super cool for it to sell out in her memory. Having a show with Wild Moccasins is just as great as the club itself. Their 2014 album, “88 92” is just the tip of what they have in store for the upcoming year. They’ll have the new kids on the scene, Rose Ette on the bill with them as well. Containing members of Young Mammals, Giant Princess, and The Lories; the group is supposed to be great and should make for an interesting show. Another new comer to the Houston scene with a familiar face, the electronica of Black Kite will also be performing. The two piece consists of Vicki Tippit on electronics and vocals, and James Templeton of LIMB & By The End Of Tonight on drums. If you missed their recent show at Fitz, then this is your chance to see one of the better new acts I’ve seen in Houston as of late; and their album “Bird” is pretty amazing too. The show will be kicked off by DJ Flash Gordon Parks, who will also drop his science inbetween sets. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $8.00 and $10.00.
Station Theater will be having their 300th show in the history of the small venue/church. This show will feature the talents of Rogue Improv, as well as some improv jams and a karaoke party afterwards with Jesse Salinas. The BYOB affair gets going at 8:30, and the tickets are $6.00.
Over at Improv, the funniest and most successful stand-up going in Houston right now; Ali Siddiq will be performing. Siddiq has been everywhere from Showtime to Comedy Central, he has a show in the works, and his last album, “Enjoy Your Life” was proof that he’s on the rise. He’ll be recording his fifth album, tentatively titled “Damaged Goods” during these shows. The hilarious and multi-talented Bryson Brown will be on the show as well. Bryson was too good for Austin, and since he’s been back in Houston, he’s been working at a feverish pace. Like all of these shows, there will be some crazy talented Houston comics on the show too. There are two shows on Friday at 8:00 and 10:30, two shows on Saturday at 7:00 and 9:30, and one on Sunday at 7:30. All of them carry tickets between $20.00 and $30.00.
Saturday something truly amazing is happening over at Rudyard’s, when Outlaw Comic and Houston comedy legend Andy Huggins records his first comedy album. Andy is like this “stand-up buddha” who has basically given advice to pretty much every other comic in Houston that’s come after him. The fact that this is his first comedy album is just a little crazy, as his self deprecating style that mixes age and wisdom together is pretty tough to beat. He’ll have Houston native and now LA transplant Sarah Tollemache as the feature on the show. Tollemache is pretty hilarious, and she’s been making her name known by performing all over since she left our city. One of Houston’s strongest up and comers, Victor Tran will be there as host and to open up the show. This is easily the show to make if you only go to one or a handful of stand up shows in a year. The show is 21 & up, the doors are at 7:00 and 9:00, as there are two shows, and the tickets are 100% FREE.
Over at Fitzgerald’s, Ishi will be returning to Houston with his groove heavy electronic sounds. Last year, Ishi dropped some electro pop science with his album, “Digital Wounds.” On it there are tunes that make you get your groove on while bopping your head. He’ll have Houston’s FLCON FCKER on the bill as well. FLCON is such a double threat with the whole glitch visuals that seem to get better with every show, and his intense music that covers everything from intricate slow jamz to upbeat tempos that make you move. Opening the show will be the soulful sounds of Houston’s original trap wizzard, Josiah Gabriel. Like FF, Gabriel only seems to get better and better, and if the songs he’s been dropping at shows lately are any indication of what his new album will sound like; then we’re in for a real treat. The downstairs show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and the cover is between $8:00 and $10.00.
The taqueria turned venue, Black Barbie will be hosting the Free Press Holiday Ball. The event will feature some of Houston’s better music, headlined by Fat Tony. I’ve had the chance to speak with Tony candidly, I’ve seen him perform at most of his events this year, and all I can say is that his hustle is just as strong as his rhyme abilities. He’s easily at the top of Houston’s new class of hip hop artists, which was showcased on last year’s “Smart Ass Black Boy.” The theatrical hip hop party known as Vockah Redu will also be there to get feet moving, while the straightforward power pop rock of Young Mammals will be there as well. This year these guys dropped their strongest album to date, “Alto Secco,” and it’s a treat to hear live. The synth pop of the Austin/Houston group BOAN will be on the bill, and the soul/funk/electro pop of The New Mercies will perform as well. The New Mercies are like that mix of Daft Punk, Earth, Wind, & Fire; and Stevie Wonder rolled into a one man performance that’s crazy to watch while you get down to it. The experimental instrumental hip hop and slow jamz of Quincy Banks will open things up with complimentary beverages included with the $20.00 cover charge. Attendees are being asked to dress festive for the 21 & up show with things starting at 9:00.
Grand Prize will be having the annual XXX-Mas Party for those over at Boo Town. The 21 & up event will have Neo-Benshi that promises to be an all star cast performing the form. There’s music from the Seize The Beat DJ’s Andy V & Jae, DJ Joe Pizza, and Scott Butt too. There’s a raffle and a sexy sweater contest to boot. Things get going at 9:00 and this is a FREE event upstairs.
On Sunday, you should start off at MKT Bar for Nick Gaitan & The Umbrella Man. So, if you hadn’t heard, Nick just performed on David Letterman with Billy Joe Shaver and Willie Nelson. If that’s not enough for you, he and his band have also been on NPR and they are one of my favorite examples of what I’d call Gulf Coast sound. Mixing Tejano and traditional country, this group is as infectious as they are creative; and Nick writes songs about all things Texas. It’s an all ages event that gets started at 1:00 and is 100% FREE.
You can make it out for the last Generators Playground event of the year with the December To Remember event. You have to respect local artists & curator of these events, Bao Pham. This guy wants to share Houston with you so bad, that he’s creating his own events to do so. This one will feature art from Yari, Joseph Marinick, Lindzy Pham, Moses Jourdine Lee, and Michael Alexander Colyer. There will also be music starting at 6:00 from Bobby Balderas, though the 8:00 set from Houston’s Rosewood Thievz is the one not to miss. This collective hustles, they have mad skills, and they are a group to watch in the Houston hip hop scene. Underground Merger closes the music out at 11:00, though there are many more acts prior including Banger at 9:00.. The event will be at the new food truck park at 1311 Leeland and appears to get going sometime in the afternoon for FREE.
Over at Warehouse Live on Monday, you can catch the pop punk of Canada’s Propagandhi. These guys seem to have been around for a good while, but they don’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Their latest, 2012’s “Failed States” is a little tougher than their previous works, but still as melodic and just plain good. Washington’s female led pop punkers RVIVR will also be on hand to add some spice to the show. They’ll be here in support of their newest release, this year’s “Bicker and Breathe EP.” The hardcore feminist punk of Baltimore’s War On Women will open the all ages show up. The doors for this show are at 7:00 and the tickets are $20.00.
Tuesday, House of Blues will be hosting one of the best bands to come out of Texas since ZZ Top; Spoon. I’ve been a longtime fan of these guys all the way back to when they had a female bassist and sounded a little like Pixies. Since then they’ve been on Matador, briefly on Elektra, Merge, and now Loma Vista. Their latest album, “They Want My Soul” feels like their strongest to date, and their live show is always impressive. The dark indie pop of Austin’s I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness will be there to open the show up. They recently dropped a pretty great album called “Dust” that should let you know how good they are. The doors are at 7:00 and the tickets are between $46.00 and $68.00.
Fitzgerald’s will have a good one as well when they have the singer songwriter style of Texas’ own Hayes Carll. Carll is one of the most talented and creative guys going, and he’s always fun to see live. His latest album, “Kmag Yoyo” from 2011 still rings true today as it did when it was released three years ago. The alt country of Austin’s The Band of Heathens will open things up. These guys have been getting praise for some time now, and their 2013 album “Sunday Morning Record” is pretty great. The all ages show has a cover between $20.00 and $22.00 and the doors are at 7:00.
That’s about it this week. Some pretty cool options prior to the insane amount of options on NYE. No matter what you decide to do, stay safe and be mindful of those around you. If you don’t see your event here, you can always use the FPH event guide to promote your show. The details are here, and it’s super simple to use.