Word Problems: The Best of The Week
Well, summer is officially here, if not at least due to the fact that things are getting hotter by the minute. Although you’re probably aware that Free Press Summer Festival is coming up this weekend, it certainly doesn’t mean there aren’t a ton of events happening elsewhere around town. Houston, here’s where to spend your free time this week.
Wednesday you can begin at Cactus Music for an in-store set from Robert Ellis. The first of two shows from the singer songwriter this week, Ellis’ new album Robert Ellis is his strongest and most diverse to date, and this is a good way to hear some of it in an intimate setting. The all ages event has gratis beer for those who can legally drink it, and it gets going around 5:30. It’s also 100% FREE.
You should swing by MKT Bar to see if photographer Daniel Jackson can drop a DJ set. Jackson has been taking band photos for a good while now, and he’s an awesome and nice guy as well. There’s a good chance that this DJ set will be full of Houston artists getting played on the decks. The all ages event is 100% FREE and runs from 7 pm to 10 pm.
Taake. Photo: Jorn Veberg
Or if you’re up for darkness, then you could go to the studio at Warehouse Live for the Norwegian black metal of Taake. This band has been around since 1993, they were around during the church burnings that made Norway famous, and they were a part of the scene that spawned black metal…they also kind of scare me. They’re pretty popular and they’re known for a dark and intense live show. Their latest album, and EP from last year called Kulde is pretty creepy to say the least, and they’re mired in controversy surrounding their anti-Islamic lyrics. The post sludge doom black metal mixture of Minneapolis’ Wolvhammer will be on as direct support, and should creep everyone out when they play songs from 2014’s Clawing Into Black Sun. Morbus 666 will bring their scream fueled darkness to the bill as well, while things gets kicked off by Mexico’s Sacrocurse. The all ages show has doors at 7 pm and tickets between $15 and $20.
If that’s just too dark for you, then you could go over to Nightingale Room to catch the fuzzy doom psych of Houston’s Ganesha. These guys are a three piece full of trippy undertones and sludgy overtones, and their live sets are on point. They’ll have the bluesy jam rock of Tribe Hill on prior, and these guys bring their a game to every set. The 21 & up show has doors at 7 pm and it’s 100% FREE.
Satellite Bar will bring the hip hop jams of Austin’s Riders Against The Storm to town. This husband and wife duo have received all sorts of praise from the Austin press outlets, and they dropped a pretty lit EP in 2013 called Riders Against The Storm. Coming in hot as direct support will be the mic slaying skills of Houston’s Mark Drew. I feel like I’ve told you countless times that this guy is on point. This year’s Red Lights At 3 am EP alone is definitely worth giving an ear to, and he’s always worth seeing perform. The hip hop of Fullmetal will be on prior, while up and comer producer and rapper Buckamore will open things up. Don’t sleep on Buckamore, he’s a hell of a hook writer and his deep voiced rhymes are on a different level. The all ages show has doors at 7 pm and a $5 cover.
Robert Ellis. Photo: Stephen Anderson
Thursday you could’ve been at Discovery Green for a performance from Robert Ellis, however it has since rescheduled due to the weather. The rescheduled date is for July 7th, and it will still be all ages & 100% FREE.
If you had planned to keep that Americana sound going when Buxton was to drop a set over at Nightingale Room, the show has since been cancelled due to concerns about the weather. The show is set to be rescheduled with a new date announced soon.
You can get your metal fix over at Walters when the epic heavy metal of LA’s Holy Grail performs. This five piece plays heavy metal that sounds like it should be opening for bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, and their latest album Times of Pride and Peril from this year is pretty epic. They’ll have the female lead occult driven metal of Kentucky’s Savage Master on as direct support. There’s something kind of wicked about how this five piece sounds, and last year’s Mask of The Devil is a pretty intense release. The dark trash metal of Houston’s Hel-Razor will prove that Houston gives bands a run for their money when they perform as well, while the trash black metal of Houston’s Thundertank will open things up. The all ages show has doors at 7:30 pm and tickets between $12 and $15.
Of course, if you find yourself over at Big Top for Charlie and the Regrets, you won’t be disappointed. This three piece mixes Americana, country twang, and rock to form their own sound. Their latest release, the EP New Night is a hell of an album and they’re always worth seeing live. The 21 & up show has doors at 10 pm, and though it’s 100% FREE, you’re more than welcomed to drop a five spot in the band’s direction.
On Friday you can begin at the ballroom at Warehouse Live for the massively popular sounds of Nashville’s Old Dominion. These guys make a mix of pop rock and country that people seem to really like. There’s no mention of direct support or openers but that could change. The all ages show has doors at 6 pm and tickets between $18 and $22.
Outer Spaces. Photo: Micah E. Wood
If you’re up for an engaging and fun show, then I’d suggest swinging by Satellite Bar to catch the indie pop rock of Baltimore’s Outer Spaces. This three piece makes indie rock with tons of pop hooks and catchy melodies. Their latest release A Shedding Snake that was literally just released is full of lush sounds that should be fun to hear in a live setting. Houston’s The Lories will bring their indie pop sounds on as direct support, while the indie rock of Jazz Radio will go on beforehand. Get there early to catch one of my favorite new bands, El Lago. This four piece consisting of members who live in Galveston and in Houston remind me a lot of Superchunk meets Lush, and their latest Tell Me How It Ends is strong but not as great as their live show. The all ages show has doors at 7 pm and a $7 cover.
At Raven Tower you can catch the blue eyed soul of Austin though now Nashville’s The Roosevelts. These two play a mix of Americana and pop rock, but it really sounds closer to white boy soul than anything else. Their latest release, The Greatest Thing You’ll Ever Learn from this year is pretty solid. There’s no word of openers or support, but that might change. The all ages show with doors at 7 pm has tickets between $10 and $13.
Out at Joke Joint Comedy Showcase you can catch the always funny antics of Houston’s Billy D. Washington. This guy has been all over national television, he tours pretty relentlessly, and if you’ve never seen him then you’re missing out. His mixture of jokes and music is hard to ignore, and he might be one of the most underrated comics in Houston. He’ll have Austin’s Joe Staats on as his feature act, and as per all of these shows, one of Houston’s better up and coming comics will serve as host. There are two shows, all 18 & up on Friday and two on Saturday both with doors at 8 pm and 10:30 with tickets between $16 and $18.
Rudyard’s will host the Chapel Hill, North Carolina folk duo known as Mandolin Orange. These two have been compared to the likes of Gillian Welch and the Civil Wars, and their latest release Such Jubilee from last year is pretty intense. They’ll have the folky singer songwriters tunes of Brooklyn’s Michaela Anne on as direct support and opener. This year Anne returned with a more progressive sound on Bright Lights and the Fame, and she’s known as a pretty strong performer. The all ages show has doors at 8 pm and tickets for $15.
Feufollet, Photo: Chris Kissel
If you want to catch an intriguing band, then you should head to Continental Club to catch the roots Americana Cajun blend of Feufollet. Originally a six piece, this now five piece full of multi-instrumentalists utilizes Cajun and English vocals coming from multiple members into a blend that’s pretty hard to ignore. Their latest album, last year’s Two Universes is a mix of good time jams and beauty. The 21 & up show has doors at 8 pm and tickets for $12.
Fitzgerald’s will be hosting the alt country tunes of singer songwriter Robbie Fulks. Fulks blends Americana, bluegrass, and alt country to create an unmistakable sounds that’s hard to ignore. He’s a hell of a performer to see live, and his new album Upland Stories is pretty and engaging. The singer songwriter country tunes of Nicole Starch and Torpedoed Heart will be on as direct support, while the pop rock of Houston five piece, The Glass will open things up. The all ages show has doors at 8 pm and tickets between $15 and $20.
You can close out Friday night with a comedy set from Houston’s Michael Paras over at Midtown Bar & Grill. Since winning last year’s Beta Bracket comedy competition, Paras has gotten married and done sparse sets of comedy around town. I’m to understand he has a whole new set that he’ll debut at this show, that also features a slew of other comics as well. The other comics will include Britt Vasicek, Greg Deal, Bob Morrissey, Justin Blandford, and Joe Gardner. The 21 & up show has doors at 10 pm and it’s a measly $5.
Jamie XX. Photo: Brian Parker
Saturday you can get going at NRG Park (Yellow Lot, 1 NRG Park) for this year’s Free Press Summer Fest. For the second year in a row, mother nature has decided that the ground will be overly wet and the festival has had to relocate. But, as someone who attended the festival after it was moved last year, the layout is actually more friendly for attendees in my opinion. A headlining set from Collegrove featuring the duo of Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz should be fun, their new album COLLEGROVE is pretty lit and both are strong performers. That alongside as well as sets from Modest Mouse, Father John Misty, Matt & Kim, Logic, and more. Make sure not to miss the set from producer Jamie XX who really on fire as of late. His latest release In Colour from last year is pretty intense and he’s become known for crazy live sets. There’s also sets from psych legends The Black Angels, indie alt jam band Built To Spill, and a grooved out alt country set from the always entertaining sounds of White Denim. Do yourself a favor and watch the punk legends Refused perform, as this could be your last chance to see them for a while. The four pieced Swedish group rarely comes around here, and last year’s Freedom was a true return to form. The psychobilly of Tiger Army is another band that no one should miss, as they’ve always reminded me of Reverend Horton Heat on speed. Don’t miss the electrifying sounds of California garage psych rockers Thee Oh Sees. Seriously, you have to watch this band because their live show is insane, and their latest release Transparent World is a trip. Also make sure that you catch the intense sounds dark electronica of Zola Jesus. The first day of the festival will see things kicked off by Houston’s Children of Pop who’ll be jamming their latest release What Does 69 Mean?, while they drop an immersive live show. You should also make sure to catch a set from alt rockers King Finn, who are entertaining and full of energy in a live setting, and their album As Part of Me from last year was one of my favorites. You can also catch Houston native and now Austin transplant Walker Lukens and the Sidearms. Lukens is a hell of a songwriter, his live shows are on point, and his latest release Devoted is really gorgeous. The tongue in cheek sounds of Houston’s Get A Life are also worth catching a set from as well. Their album As If Emoji is catchy as hell and one you’ll want to jam on repeat. The all ages event has gates at 11 am and gets started at 11:10 am. The one day tickets range between $92.50 and $119.50, and two day passes between $157.50 and $999, depending on how fancy you want to make your experience.
Walters will host the high energy of country and Americana twang rock of The Grizzly Band. These guys are definitely a not to be missed band here in town. They have a crazy high energy live show, and their latest album Lost and Found is really good. The high energy alt rock of Houston’s Before Radio will be on hand as direct support. These guys remind me of a mix of Buffalo Tom and Matthew Sweet and you can check out their music here. The swampy blues rock of Houston’s Sik Mule will be on hand to add plenty of rumble to the bill as well. If you missed them at their album release party, then I’d tell you not to miss them at this show because they’re pretty great to catch live. Psych two piece Black Lodge is set to open the all ages show with doors at 7 pm and tickets between $7 and $10.
Slim Thug. Photo: Courtesy of Artist/Facebook
You could get your hip hop fix over at Scout Bar when Houston’s Slim Thug stops by to drop a set. This guy’s been around a good while now and his live sets are definitely on point. Last year he dropped Hogg Life, Vol. 3: Hustler of The Year, and he just followed that with a new single with Z-Ro, Snake Life. The show should have a ton of openers, it’s 18 & up, and the tickets are between $23.50 and $27.
If that’s not your thing then you could make it to Fitzgerald’s to catch Houston’s Jealous Creatures. The engaging sound of this band makes them a no-brainer to catch live, and if you missed last year’s The Night Goes On For Days, then you should definitely give it a spin before watching them burn down the Fitz stage. The alt rock of Dallas’ Missing Sibling will provide direct support while Houston’s Cake Rangers will bring their proggy goodness on beforehand. The pop-rock of Houston’s Hello Planet will open the all ages show with doors at 8 pm and tickets for $8, unless you’re under 21 in which they’re $12.
If you’d rather laugh, then you can catch a headlining set from Bob Biggerstaff at the Tragical Comedy Show at Leon’s Lounge. Biggerstaff has been on Comedy Central and he’s toured all over, not to mention that he’s a really funny comic. The show will also feature sets from Liz Padjen, Warren Wright, Victor Tran, George Brito, and more. The 21 & up show has doors at 8 pm and it’s a measly $5 cover.
Over at Khon’s you could catch the “A Show” show. Music, DJ sets, comedy and burlesque will all take place on the Khon’s property. Music from Ak’chmel, Haley Barnes, and more as well as comedy from Gabe Bravo, Dale Cheesman, Zahid Dewji and more will greet you at the event that I think is all ages. Things get going around 8 pm, there’s more information including set times here, and it’s 100% FREE.
You could head to Satellite Bar to catch the film screening of the movie “Succubus,” as well as some live tunes for the Mystic Disco show. Sets from MNYNMS, Funeral Parlor, a Delphine Coma DJ set and more will be on hand. The all ages show has more information here, and the doors are at 8 pm with a TBA cover.
Guida. Photo: Lorenzo Bulfone
At Rudyard’s you could check out the epic rock sounds of Rome’s Giuda. These guys are pretty intense and will remind you of acts like Slade and Thin Lizzy. Their latest release, last year’s Speaks Evil sounds like it was recorded in the seventies and they should be a trip to see live. The punk meets R&B jams of Houston’s Modfag will give these Italians a run for their money with their high energy live set as direct support, while the sleaze rock of Houston’s Killer Hearts will bleed some ears with their squealing solos and hard rock sound. The all ages show has doors at 9 pm and tickets between $10 and $12.
You can bid Bombon DJ OG Bobby Trill farewell at the monthly set from Houston’s Bombon over at Fox Hollow. California bound, this might be your last chance to catch him with the tropical dance collective for a good while. Of course Navo, Gracie, and Principe Q will still be on the decks for this show that features a live set from Columbia’s Jefferson D Lion. The 21 & up show is FREE with RSVP, and $5 the day of with doors at 9 pm.
Beta Theater will say goodbye to the hilarious Elizabeth Stockdale in a fitting farewell show called Elizabeth Stockdale Is A Genius Farewell Show. Stockdale is moving away but the crew at Beta will make sure you know that she was integral in their growth over the past year. The night will have plenty of stand up, sketch, and improv alongside a champagne toast as well. The 18 & up show is BYOB with doors at 9 pm and a pay what you can cover.
Hoodboi, Photo: Courtesy of Artist
If you missed this quiet announce, you should know that two Fool’s Gold Records artists, Hoodboi and Promnite will be over at 505 Main street as part of the PureSaturday’s Presents series of shows. Hoodboi has been called one of the most innovative DJ/Producers going in LA right now, and his live sets are rumored to be intense and a little insane. Last year he dropped the EP Palm Reader, and his remixes of this year’s single “Closer,” are pretty amazeballs. Promnite is no slouch either, being a part of the Athletixx crew alongside Hoodboi and others, he dropped a new collection called Tracks about a month ago that’s pretty legit. The show is 18 & up, the doors are at 9 pm and tickets are between $10 and $20.
At Arlo’s Ballroom you can catch DJ sets from both iLL Faded and Fat Tony. While Tony’s set will close out the night, a DJ set from each of these two is always a guaranteed party. The 21 & up event gets going with doors at 10 pm and it’s 100% FREE.
You could close out Saturday at The Sanctuary for the Josiah Gabriel EP release party. I think most people who’ve seen this guy drop a set would agree that he’s a pretty strong performer, and this set will more than likely be on point as usual. The show will also feature a set from Michigan’s Pascaal, while FLCON FCKER, and Division will get things started, as well as some sort of slip and slide and an appearance from the Tripatorium. There’s no word on what the ages for attendance are, but the doors are at 11 pm with tickets for $20, and more information is available here.
Leon Bridges. Photo: Adam Kissick
Sunday you can head back to NRG Park (Yellow Lot, 1 NRG Park) for day two of Free Press Summer Fest. Day two will see things headlined and closed off by the mythos that is EDM producer/DJ, Deadmau5. This guy has become known for intense and lit live sets, he’s been performing with and without the mask for a while now, and his new single Snowcone just proves he’s still got plenty of jams to drop. The indie rock sounds of Brooklyn’s The National will also be on hand, and should be impressive seeing as how they rarely come to Houston anymore. A set from the massively popular electro pop duo The Chainsmokers will also be on hand, while a performance from Dallas’ Leon Bridges will occur as well. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t excited to see this guy, as his album Coming Home echoes the likes of legends like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. New Wave folk legends Violent Femmes will also swing by to perform, while the popular jam band sounds of Mac DeMarco will also be on the fest. The electro pop goodness of Michigan’s BORNS will also be there, and I feel like you’re foolish if you miss him perform. His hit song Electric Love should be enough reason for you to check him out, plus he’s rumored to be amazing in a live setting. The same could be said about punk group Against Me! Who is intense and energetic when they perform, not to mention that their last album Transgender Dysphoria Blues is their best to date. Make sure to catch a set from Houston’s Trae Tha Truth, as his recent live sets have proved he still has plenty of hip hop steam left in him. Make sure to get there early to catch a set from Houston’s iLL Faded, as his new album No Big Deal is actually quite the big deal, and his live shows are like a giant party. The same can be said about the high energy of Houston’s Another Run who’ll be playing songs from last year’s amazing EP, Be Honest alongside new tracks like this year’s 700 Days. The bluesy jams of Houston’s Nathan Quick is also not to be missed, as his gravelly voiced EP City Lights and his energy heavy live show are both really amazing. You should also check out the electronic sounds of Private Excitement, who’s become known for a crazy live show. The all ages event has gates at 11 am and the music starts at 11:10 am. The single day tickets run between $92.50 and $119.50, while two day passes run between $157.50 and $999, depending on how fancy you want to make your experience.
If you can’t make the fest, you can get your hip hop on over at Warehouse Live in the studio for bay area rapper Berner. The weed based tunes of this guy are still pretty prolific and he’s been dropping plenty of tunes as of late. His latest single Gunplay feat. Wiz Khalifa & Hollywood is almost as lit as his last album, this year’s Hempire. The hip hop of Anonymous That Dude will provide direct support while Kool John will open the all ages show with doors at 7 pm and tickets between $15 and $20.
At Satellite Bar you could catch the strange yet interesting sounds of Austin’s BOYFRNDZ. This band mixes prog and indie alt sounds to make something completely different and kind of amazing. Their new album Impulse is a trip, and they’re really good live. The folky math rock of San Antonio’s Hikes will be on as direct support while the show gaze space rock of San Antonio’s Bright Like The Sun plays beforehand. Houston’s prog rockers, Sunrise and Ammunition will bring their intensity to the bill, and Houston’s Disfrutalo! Will perform their crazed psych sounds as openers. The all ages show has doors at 7:30 pm and tickets between $10 and $12.
Vallient Thorr. Photo: Roxanne Luther
If you were unaware that Valient Thorr will be in town, well you should know that they’ll be over at Rudyard’s. The North Carolina based metal five piece is like watching a punch to the face when they perform, and their latest album Old Salt promises to be as great as their previous ones. You can still jam out 2013’s Our Own Masters if you haven’t heard them before. New Jersey’s Hammer Fight will have their work cut out for them as direct support because the intense and high energy of Houston’s The Satanic Overlords of Rock N’ Roll will go on beforehand. Seriously, these guys are like watching an insane version of what you’ve wanted every punk meets rock act to be when they play live. The all ages show has doors at 8 pm and tickets between $10 and $13.
Continental Club will host the intriguing Americana roots sounds of North Carolina’s The Hackensaw Boys. Touring in support of their new album Charismo, this three piece has quite the storied history of known amazing live shows. Everyone I know who’s caught them perform their blend of bluegrass and salt of the earth mountain sounds said that it was intense and beautiful at the same time. The 21 & up show doesn’t list direct support or an opener, but that might change. The doors are at 9 pm and tickets are $10.
Justin Nava. Photo: Courtesy of Artist/Facebook
Tuesday you can catch the lead singer of thelastplaceyoulook, Justin Nava over at Nightingale Room. Nava is a fixture at a ton of other artist’s shows, he has one of the most unmistakable voices you’ll ever hear, and his solo shows are always entertaining and amazing at the same time. Houston’s Kevin Ziervogel will open things up with a solo set as well on the 21 & up show with doors at 7 pm and it’s 100% FREE.
You can swing by Mucky Duck to catch the alt country Americana of Austin’s Carson McHone. Widely praised the bulk of Texas music journalists, McHone has fans like Ray WYlie Hubbard and Gary Clark Jr to name a few. Her album, last year’s Goodluck Man is like a breath of fresh air in today’s country music scene. The 21 & up show has doors at 7:30 pm and tickets between $20 and $22.
Raven Tower will have the indie pop of Lafayette’s Givers over to perform. This highly energetic five piece makes the kind of music that can lift you up when you’re having a bad day, and their live shows are just as engaging as their music. Their latest, last year’s New Kingdom showcased how far they’ve come as a group since they began less than ten years ago. The indie power pop trio, Brass Bed will be on hand as direct support and opener and should engage audiences when they play tunes from their latest, this year’s In The Yellow Leaf. The all ages show has doors at 7 pm and tickets between $13 and $17.
That’s about it for this week as far as what’s going on around town. Now that it’s heating up, remember to stay hydrated and if you’re drinking, make sure to do it responsibly for everyone’s sake.