Work Hard, Play Hard: The Best of The Week
Leon casino, Photo: Atlantic Records
It’s kind of hard to believe that August is almost over, and that the Paste Untapped festival is just around the corner. This seems like another great week filled with plenty of shows from local and touring acts alongside lots of comedy. Here’s where your free time should go.
You can start your week off with the folky pop of San Francisco’s Thao & The Get Down Stay Down over at Fitzgerald’s. I guess the best way to describe the sound of these guys would actually be more like quirky pop, with folk influence. You might know them from their song, “Holy Roller.” But, once you hear their full album, last year’s “We The Common,” you should get sucked into its infectious pop sound. The indie pop of Houston’s The Wheel Workers will get things started. If you’ve never caught these guys live then you’re definitely missing out. Their new album, “Past To Present” is really great and is filled with enough catchy hooks to make you bop your head for hours. The doors are at 7:00, it’s all ages, and the tickets are between $13.00 and $17.00.
Do you know what’s in Appleton, Wisconsin? Not much but the headquarters for the people who make Kleenex. However, if you look at Wisconsin’s Wartorn, you get why they sound they way they do. They will bring their thrash metal punk over to Walter’s on Wednesday night. They’ll be playing with the hardcore screaming sounds of Italy’s Raw Power. Raw Power has been going strong for over thirty years and they still seem to bring their A game when they play live. They’re basically punk with metal overtones, but definitely someone any fan of bands like DRI should see live. The hardcore punk of Clute’s H.R.A. will get things started with doors at 8:00 and tickets between $10.00 and $12.00 for the all ages show.
On Thursday, you can make it over to House of Blues’ Bronze Peacock room to catch the traditionally old school rock sounds of Nashville’s The Wild Feathers. It may sound dumb, but at one time rock n’ roll was fairly basic without labels as rock was just rock. That’s the era in which The Wild Feathers seem to exist. If I had to pigeonhole them, I’d say they sound like if Superdrag and Tom Petty decided to remake Sgt. Pepper’s with Neil Young. It’s my complicated way of telling you to check them out. In fact, their debut release, last year’s “The Wild Feathers” might be one of the freshest things you’ll hear. The impeccable talent of Houston’s Second Lovers will be getting things started and giving The Wild Feathers a run for their money. Two releases in and this band just gets better with a newer and fuller sound. If you loved their first incarnation, or you loved their simple incarnation; then you’ll really love them now. Second Lovers might be Houston’s best kept secret as their live show has the tendency to garner new fans and win over naysayers. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets are $15.00 for the all ages show.
If you were wondering what a band consisting of Ted Leo and Aimee Mann would sound like, then you can head over to Fitzgerald’s for their new band, The Both. With Mann on bass, and Leo on guitar; both contribute vocals in a way that’s much more rockin’ than you’d expect. Their self titled album, released earlier this year was more than just the sum of it’s parts. There’s some rock, some pop, and some folk that’s only made better by the dual vocals of these two. The indie pop rock of New York’s Lemuria will be getting things started. Honestly, these guys are pretty damn infectious with their Superchunk meets Knapsack sound. Their most recent album, 2013’s “The Distance Is So Big,” follows their tradition of indie pop. If you had planned on going to this show, you should definitely check them out as they might be one of the best bands going as of late. The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are between $23.00 and $26.00.
There’s also the chance to catch some short form improv over at Beta Theater on Thursday night as well. The Rosacea Butts show will feature the talents of a rather boisterous group that will feature the likes of some of our city’s most creative people. The multi-talented Hoja Lopez will lead the group alongside Alice VanDemark, Katie McGee, and Joey Lamb. Like most shows at Beta, it carries the “pay what you can” policy. That means don’t bring quarters unless they’re rolled. The show gets started at 7:00 and it’s BYOB.
Starting Thursday over at IMPROV, you can catch the hilarity of Nebraska’s Godfrey. You might know Godfrey from such films as “Soul Plane,” and “Zoolander,” but his comedy is pretty top notch. His jokes are universal, he has great timing, and he stands the chance to sell out every night in town. There’s only one show on Thursday at 8:00 and one on Sunday at 7:30, but there are two on Friday and Saturday. The Thursday show has tickets falling between $15.00 and $25.00, and there’s a great chance that a couple of Houston comics will open things up.
On Friday night, Stereo Live will play host to Connecticut’s Audien for all who want to get their dance on. Some people say his stuff is ambient trance while others call it progressive house, though to me it has a rehashed nineties vibe. Nonetheless, he’s kind of big in EDM right now, and someone you should check out. Houston’s Surain is on the show as well as London’s DJ Charles. Things get going around 9:00 and the tickets range between $10.00 and $20.00.
At Rudyard’s, they’ll be offering the indie pop electronica from Dallas’ The Ones You Loved. This duo has some insanely poppy tunes that are infectious and endearing, so they should be great to see live. Their 2012 release, “Night Owls” is worth a listen as well. The Buxton/Children of Pop hybrid Guess Genes will be on board to balance the house. The trippy folktronics of Houston’s Black Cove are on the show with Shoe Shine opening things. The doors are at 9:00, there’s NO COVER, and this adults only, so 21 & up.
However, bluesy rock might be more where you heart lies, and if so you can head over to Fitzgerald’s for The Beans. The Beans have such an electric energy that has the vibe of Cream meets Buffalo Springfield. I mean, if you like the band you watch to have so much soul that you can feel their anguish in their lyrics, then The Beans are your band. The trippy and almost hippie pop of Austin’s Holiday Mountain will also be on the show. Holiday Mountain is a bizarre act who is a little all over the place, yet is still entertaining with their sometimes strange sound that feels like an acid trip. The garage psych of Austin’s Tele Novella will get the show going with doors at 8:00, and tickets between $8.00 and $10.00 for the all ages show.
You could however, make it over to Avant Garden when hosts Prints NotPrince bring to town the Belgium DJ Dave Luxe. Luxe has sick producing skills alongside crazy remixes. As a DJ, he knocks it out of the park and he’s coming to Houston for the first time ever. There promises to be plenty of glitch visuals happening alongside some great music. The trip hop madness of Houston’s Android Genius will be in the mix as well as the esoteric sounds of Yung Slutty. The chill wave goods of LA’s Eroda One will get things started upstairs with doors at 10:00 and a $5.00 cover for the 21 & up show.
If you like dark music, then the ambient noise of Astrogenic Hallucinating will be over at Mango’s for your enjoyment. There are moments where you feel like you’re dreaming, moments where you feel scared, but it’s just music….really dark and trippy music. Houston’s free form groove noise sounds of Pleasure 2 will be on board to make things a little stranger while the genius of B L A C K I E will open things up. If you’re a fan of his, then this is your show as I’m pretty sure that he’ll have his new album “Imagine Yourself In A Free And Natural World” on hand. This release is more free form jazz than previous B L A C K I E efforts from what I’ve heard, but this guy has always reinvented himself by the second. The show is all ages, it’s in the Mango’s parking lot, and it starts at 9:00. There isn’t a cover listed, but I doubt it’s much more than $5.00.
You could also make it to Phoenicia MKT Bar on Friday night to help pick a winner, literally. The Beta Bracket Comedy Competition will be going on to find a comic in hopes of snagging two grand and a live recording at Heights Vinyl. You may have already been asked by a comic to attend as it’s an audience vote that decides who does and who doesn’t advance to the next round. This week brings more of Houston’s best up and coming comics like Zach Dickson and Ty Mahany to name a few. I’ve caught most of these comics in the wild, and MKT Bar is such a great room for this event, that you’ll quickly forget it’s attached to a grocery store. Things get started promptly at 9:00, so you have to get there a little early to help your friend advance. It’s an event that’s 100% FREE.
Over at the Continental Club, you can catch the eclectic pop rock sounds of Houston’s Poor Pilate. What can you say about how loose and rhythm driven these guys are that hasn’t been said before? The melodic nature of their sound is a little too hard to ignore, and since they seem to play less and less; this is a great way to catch them. The blues based rock of Houston’s Fire Moth will be on as well. These guys have that awesome mix of early Kings Of Leon if they were fronted by Billy Gibbons. The soulful and acid dipped garage rock sounds of Darwin’s Finches will start things off with doors around 9:00 and a $5.00 cover for the 21 and up show.
Even though their website says otherwise, I assure you that Houston’s Quiet Morning & The Calamity will be playing in Warehouse Live’s Green Room on Friday night. The alt-country meets new world americana sound that these guys have is pretty great from the first listen. They sound like a cross between early Tom Petty and early Wilco before they stopped playing alt country. They’ll have their work cut out for them, as Grand Old Grizzly will be doing their country twang before them Grand Old Grizzly seems to mix the Jeff tweedy of Uncle Tupelo with the new americana joy of Mount Moriah, while still keeping ties to country music’s golden era. The soulful country sounds of Matt Harlan will be on board as well. Harlan’s latest release, this year’s “Raven Hotel” keeps with his tradition of well crafted songs that have traditional country hooks. Ruckus will get things started with a little tonk to match their honk. The doors for this stacked show are at 8:00, the cover is a paltry $10.00, and the show is all ages.
Normally I don’t always recommend a long drive, but on Friday night you could venture out to the Woodlands for legend John Mayall at Dosey Doe’s Big Barn. This guy is a blues rock legend that is getting older by the second, which is a nice way of saying catch him before the reaper does. Mayall now fronts his own band, so I can’t vouch for how he sounds now. But he did also have a hand in The Bluesbreakers Featuring Eric Clapton. If you like Cream, early Fleetwood Mac, and even the Rolling Stones, then Mayall is who you should thank. The show which includes dinner, gets rolling at 8:30, though dinner is served between 6:00 and 7:30 and the tickets aren’t cheap ranging between $88.00 and $128.00.
If you are willing to see Mayall, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the hip hop genius of Wiz Khalifa will be at the Woodlands Pavillion. Wiz is seriously a force to be reckoned with, and continuous drops that turn to hits just prove why he’s so requested today. There’s a heavy list of openers that include Atlanta’s Young Jeezy who will definitely get everyone in attendance in a frenzy. LA’s Ty Dolla $ign will be on board which is a real treat for everyone, while Atlanta’s Rich Homie Quan should be a real crowd pleaser as well. In fact, once you add New York’s Mack Wilds, Atlanta’s DJ Drama, and California’s Sage The Gemini; you have a serious mix of top hip hop talent. Things will get started by California’s IAM$U with doors at 5:30 and tickets ranging between $27.50 and $73.00.
Speaking of the Woodlands Pavillion, they’ll also be hosting Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden on Saturday night. I really hate to say this, but Soundgarden, is terribly boring live. I’m not saying that they can’t rock a smaller venue, but I saw Soundgarden three times in their heyday, and they were boring as hell all three times. I still love their music, but I’m just warning you. However, you’ll be shocked at how amazingly entertaining Nine Inch Nails is live. Trent has the ability to whip the crowd into chaos while still delivering the group’s hard nosed sound in a creative and energetic way. Both bands have great new albums out there with Soundgarden’s “King Animal,” and Nine Inch Nails’ “Hesitation Marks.” The chaotic scream fueled sounds of The Dillinger Escape Plan will get things going with doors at 5:30 and tickets ranging between $34.50 and $99.50 for the all ages show.
You could make it over to Bayou Music Center to watch some roller derby action, as Houston Roller Derby has their August bout. If you’ve never had the chance to catch these women in action, I’ll just say that it’s a lot tougher than the glitzy and glam fueled roller derby you might be thinking of. You can help support roller derby in this town while watching some serious athletic prowess from women on skates. Things get going at 7:00 and tickets are between $15.00 and $25.00 for the all ages event that allows kids aged 5 and under in for FREE.
Upstairs at Fitzgerald’s, you can catch the latest installment of the ongoing series of You Ain’t Punk shows. This version, will feature Houston’s hard hitting and furious punk of Bury The Crown as Operation Ivy, Hell City Kings as Turbonegro, and Dead To The World as Ramones; just to name a few. The show has many other bands that include Donkey Punch and The Swamps playing as some of your favorite punk bands. The show is all ages, it’s FREE for 21 & up, and it’s $10.00 for under 21.
Over at the black box theater also known as Beta Theater, they’ll be doing their last Triple Header shows at their original location. The monthly show has become a staple for anyone who likes comedy. The three comedian format will feature the talents of Dusti Rhodes, the hilarious Barry Laminack, and the irreverent Chris Oddo, each performing a twenty minute set. As always, the funny comedic timing of Bob Morrissey will host the event that is different this month. This month, because Beta is looking for new digs, there will be three shows instead of the usual two. As FPH reported, rather than pay what you can, it would be stellar if you could pay what you should to help the theater out. There are shows at 7:00, 9:00, and 11:00; and hopefully, the comics will forego payment and let Beta keep all the money to insure that they’ll be around for future shows.
If you’re a fan of the Small Faces, Humble Pie, and Joe Cocker; then you should make it over to the Continental Club for Ian McLagan & The Bump Band. McLagan played with all of the previous mentioned acts, and his solo performances are that of legend. He has played with more names than I can mention, and his “Bump Band” puts on a pretty epic performance. Their recently released album, “United States” keeps in line with the tradition of great tunes. He’ll have the garage rock of Mikey and The Drags opening things up with all of their sixties era swagger doors at 9:00 and a cover that isn’t mentioned, but shouldn’t be more than $25.00.
You might remember that song “Wicked Game” all over MTV when they still lived off of music, and all over radio back in the nineties. Well, the guy who performed that song, Chris Isaak will be in town on Saturday night at Arena Theater. I’ve actually caught Isaak live before, and I’ll admit that he’s pretty entertaining to catch perform. Touring in support of his latest release, “Mr. Lucky,” Isaak will more than likely be great to see in the round. There doesn’t appear to be an opener, but there should be with tickets ranging between $32.50 and $62.50.
On Sunday night, over at Dean’s there will be a special songwriters in the round show that features Chase Hamblin, Justin Nava, and Matt Mejia. Of course you know Chase from pretty much everything he does, and Justin from his band TheLastPlaceYouLook, as well as Matt from Come See My Dead Person. But, seeing them in this capacity feeding off one another while attempting to either one up one another or just jam together is a pretty cool thing to see in person. It’s an ages show that gets going around 9:00, and it’s 100% FREE.
You could also venture over to Last Concert Cafe for their Attack of The Comedy Show. This installment will feature the likes of one of Houston’s funniest comics, Reed Becker. The rapid fire jokes of Christopher Riddle, and the funny Rachel Streitmann. The show will also feature English Matt and Kazeem Rahman. As always, Al Bahmani will perform as quick witted host to all who attend. the show is 100% FREE and the doors are at 8:00.
It’s nice that most of these things happen inside and at night, since I think I lost ten pounds at last week’s Houston Whatever Fest. Whatever you end up doing please remember to use your better judgement, be kind, and enjoy every great thing that this week has to offer.