Young Man Blues: The Best Of The Week
Leon casino, Photo: Retna
We’ve been pretty spoiled for the last month or so with a massive amount of entertainment options. Well this week won’t get any easier, when a whole bunch of legends will make their way into town. Even artists who inspired me to pick up a guitar like The Who pictured above will be here. Here’s where your extra money can go this week.
Wednesday I would hope that many of you make it over to Toyota Center to catch the iconic sounds of The Who. True story, I’ve idolized Pete Townshend my entire life, and at 12 I had a poster of him on my wall. I bought my first Les Paul, my first Marshall half stack, and in the last five years, a HiWatt head all because of him. And that’s before we get into the fact that I hired a luthier to recreate one of his guitars, specifically #6 from the seventies tours. It’s just Pete & Roger, but it should still be amazing. I actually cried when they played The Concert For New York City, and I’ve seen them at least six times, as well as seeing Townshend solo twice; even meeting him and acting like a total spaz when I did. All of that aside, the hits make this a no brainer. “Substitute,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Baba O’Riley,” and well…that’s just the tip of the iceberg of hits that these guys have. Those three songs still give me chills when I listen to them, and remind me of why my parents gave me headphones at 15 to plug into my amplifier. My poor parents, I was so bad. Anyway, they’ll be here in support of last year’s epic collection, “The Who Hits 50.” Scientifically speaking, this might be one of your last chances to see them rock in full energy. I mean, Townshend’ windmill, jumping, and gyrating alone makes this a must see show. The Who, would definitely be more than enough to attend. But, they went and grabbed the nicest and most sincere rocker I’ve ever met; Joan Jett. She’ll be there as direct support under Joan Jett & The Blackhearts; meaning that you’re going to get a great set from her. Their latest is pretty awesome as well, the 2013 album “Unvarnished;” where she sounds as fresh as ever. Jett is the only person to cover ZZ Top’s “Tush” and do it in a new yet old school way. The all ages show gets going at 7:30, and the tickets are between $49.50 & $149.50.
You could make your way over to Warehouse Live for the vocal swagger of Scott Weiland. Though this guy has burned more musical bridges than pretty much anyone who isn’t named Axl Rose, he still has an amazing set of pipes. Sure, this won’t be either of his bigger musical projects that you truly want to see, but his Mick Jagger type of moves and intense vocal range should still count for something, right? He’ll be here with his latest solo effort, Scott Weiland and The Wildabouts. They’ll be here supporting their recently released album, “Blaster,” which is much better than I thought it would be. What makes this all ages show cool, is that the team at Blackhorse Limo will be giving away the tickets FREE. You can grab a VIP upgrade here if you wish, but either way, the doors are at 7:00 and things start at 8:00. The FREE tickets are available here while they last.
In the green room at Warehouse Live, you can catch Austin duo Armstrong Leigh. I caught these two last week, and I have to say that I was impressed with their soulful sound and intriguing performance. The duo is here as a part of a three week residency that ends tonight. The synth meets guitar sounds of Casual Strangers, also from Austin will be there as well as the high octane rock sounds of Not In The Face. These guys have the ability to get a room moving with their loud and energetic show. It should definitely be a good time had by all ages with doors at 7:00 and tickets for $7.00 to $10.00.
Over at Barbarella, you can get your dance on when they have some live music from MNYNMS. The electro synth duo has been feverishly working on their debut, and they’ve done a great amount of remixes as well. They’ll be joined by the electro pop three piece of Houston’s Sand Dunes. They just dropped a new single with, “Whatever” which should give you an idea what you’re in for. The 18 & up show is a paltry $2.00, and things get started at 9:00.
Thursday could force some hard choices that all starts off at Mucky Duck, with a very intimate performance from well tested and proven sounds of Bob Schneider. So, this guy can kind of do it all. He echoes the sounds of the past and present as he drops albums that contain hints of pop, rock, blues, and even country. His latest, 2013’s “Burden Of Proof” saw the singer/songwriter change things up again. The 21 & up show has doors at 7:00, as well as a 2nd show at 9:30; but both have tickets between $28.00 and $30.00.
Guess what? Walter’s will be around for years to come because you, Houston; helped save it. In a “hey thanks” from the venue, they’ll be hosting a show to be headlined by the indie rock sounds of Houston’s Young Mammals. If you didn’t know, these guys released the gorgeous album “Alto Secco” last year, and they always put on a great live show. They’ll have the indie pop rock of The Factory Party on the bill with them, to add to the fun. Thunderously opening the show, will be the powerful rock trio, Giant Kitty. While we all wait for their new album to come out, we’ll all just have to hope that they don’t mow us over with their high energy live set. The doors are at 8:00, and the show is 100% FREE for 21 & up,
Over at Fitzgerald’s, they’ll have a true legend upstairs when HR of Bad Brains fame brings his reggae heavy solo act to town. So, I think we all love Bad Brains if we’re punk fans, and since HR seems more straight than he was in the past, this could be a really great show. His 2008 album, “Hey Wella” was a mix of many genres, so this will be interesting in the least. The hardcore punk of Houston’s Black Coffee, not to be confused with the Nu-Jazz artist from Africa, will be there as direct support. Last year they dropped a two song release called “Livefast” that’s worth giving a listen to. The death rock goth punk of Houston’s fast and furious sounding Forced Fem will open the all ages show up with doors at 8:00 and a $15.00 cover.
Improv will have the funny antics and room filling comedy of Bill Bellamy. Bellamy has toured the world, he’s gotten into acting, but he still slays on a mic when he performs stand up. His latest album, 2012’s “Crazy Sexy Dirty” still holds up, and proves that the stand up show is where he belongs. Like with all of the shows at Improv, two of Houston’s better comics will serve as both the feature act and the host. There’s one show Thursday at 8:00, two on Friday at 8:00 and 10:30, and two on Saturday at 7:00 and 9:30. All have tickets between $25.00 and $35.00, and all stand the chance of selling out.
Primus Photo: Rick Levinson
If you ever wondered what would happen if a guy like Les Claypool was allowed to make & tour a “Charlie & The Chocolate Factory” themed show, then you can find out Friday when Primus plays Bayou Music Center. The show, affectionately titled “Primus & The Chocolate Factory with The Fungi Ensemble,” is a direct representation of the album under the same name. From what I’ve seen, this is a feast for the eyes and a feast for the ears as well. I mean, Primus always puts on a great live show, and maybe they’ll add hits like “Jerry Was A Race Car Driver” and “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver” if you’re lucky. There doesn’t appear to be an opener on the show that gets going around 8:00 with tickets between $35.00 and $42.50.
Over at Avant Garden they’ll be having what they’re calling Electro Punk/Riot Grrrl Dance Party. It’ll be daredevil/writer/documentary filmmaker Jacob Calle at the decks, spinning all kinds of music with ZERO cover, and doors at 11:00.
Starting a weekend run, North Dakota turned LA comic, Amber Preston will be out at Joke Joint Comedy Showcase. Preston has been getting bigger and bigger since being named a “comic to watch.” She’s toured all over, she’s been on Sketchfest and an episode of WTF with Marc Maron. She has a charismatic and well timed craft to her jokes, and she’s known to be a seriously funny comic. Like all of their shows, two of Houston’s better comics will serve as host and feature acts. There’s one show Thursday at 8:00, two on Friday at 8:00 and 10:30, and two on Saturday at 8:00 and 10:30 as well, all with a $16.00 cover.
Friday you could make your way over to House of Blues to catch the last live show from Second Lovers before they grace the stage at this year’s Free Press Summer Fest. So, I’ve actually heard the album they’re working on and all I can say is that it’s a doozy. Where the band had more of an Americana feel with previous releases, this new music is more streamlined and rockin’. Of course, what’s been added to the mix and kept thing closer to their original sound, are the dual vocals both male and female, that add a whole new depth since Chelsea joined the band. This band has changed so much, that I hesitate linking you to their 2013 release, “New Mexico.” That being said, they’re one of Houston’s best kept secrets, and one that I’m sure you’ll love even more after catching them live. College Station’s The Docs will be there as well for their album release show. So, to me, The Docs sound like Kings Of Leon mixed with hints of White Denim and Pujol. They’ve already dropped two singles from this new release, my favorite of the two being “Ball and Chain.” The all ages show takes place in the Bronze Peacock Room, the doors are at 7:00, and the cover is a measly $7.00.
Warehouse Live will be bringing underground hip hop to life when they host Fatz Domino over in the green room. The Houston rapper is two albums in, and his latest “My Thoughtz Out Loud II: Long Story Short” is pretty great. He’s known to have a great live show and I’m sure they’ll have openers before he hits the stage. The all ages show has doors at 6:30 with a $10.00 cover.
If you’d rather wax nostalgic, then you could head out to the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion for Elton John. That’s right, the “bitch is back” for what will probably be a sold out show. If you’ve never seen Elton perform, I’d say this is a good chance to see him before it gets unbearable outside, or before he gets to where he isn’t as great live. He’s supporting his most recent album, 2013’s “The Diving Board;” but he is also guaranteed to drop hits like, “Tiny Dancer,” “Rocket Man,” and of course, “Your Song.” He’s a legend no matter how you look at it, and he always puts on a good show. Things get going around 8:00 with tickets between $49.00 and $149.00.
Fitzgerald’s will be bringing the indie pop six piece known as Royal Teeth to town. So, this band seems to just keep getting bigger & bigger with songs like the big hit “Wild.” Their most recent album was in 2013 with “Glow,” and they’re known for a fun and energy fueled live set. The well crafted pop rock of Houston’s A Thousand Colours will be on the bill as direct support. These guys have dropped two EP’s, the most recent being “The River” from 2013. They have catchy songs and are worth getting out and seeing. The bluesy rock of Austin’s Berkshire Hounds will also be there, and will play from their latest, “Rock Bottom” from last year. The singer/songwriter sounds of Houston’s Paul Pelc will open things up. His four song release “Burdens” is soulful enough to get there early and see. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $10.00 and $13.00.
Football, etc. Photo: Courtesy of Artist
The Summit will host Houston three piece and jet setting globetrotters, Football, etc. So, I would hope that after I called their latest EP, “Disappear” amazing, as did NPR; that you would have at least heard of this band. But, if you haven’t then know that they just returned from a tour in Japan, they’re on the Count Your Lucky Stars label, and they’re big all over the world. If that doesn’t sell them enough how about this, I think they’re the first band in this third wave of emo music who actually gets what the first wave was all about. Austin experimental rockers my education will be there and will more than likely blow minds. So this coupling has been around 16 years, they play crazy live sets, and their latest release, “5 Popes” is pretty awesome. They’ll have to bring their “a game” though, as Houston’s indie rock troubadours, The Wheel Workers will go on prior. Hot on the heels of dropping a new album, their “Past To Present” album from last year was a tour de force of eclectic pop rock goodness. The ambient shoegaze of Golden Cities will open the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and a TBA cover.
At Alley Kat you can help Erica celebrate her birthday, when a slew of local DJ’s drop back to back sets. The varying styles and guaranteed four decks will include sets from DJ Nando 1 & Big Reeks, 8 Byt & Flash Gordon Parks, and Jae & Andy V. Things get going at 9:00 on the FREE 21 & up show.
Saturday you have lots of choices that get going at the Cinco De Mayo Street Festival over at El Big Bad. This year they’ve blocked off a street to accommodate all of the guests and they’ve added an outdoor stage. The musical guests include Def Perception, Sideshow Tramps. birdmagic, Enrique Infante Band, and Knights of The Fire Kingdom. Of course DJ Baby Roo & Gracie Chavez will spin between acts, and there’s all sorts of things like face painting, and fire breathers to add to the mix. The all ages show is 100% FREE, but you can also purchase VIP options at the bar inside the restaurant for $25.00 or $30.00 that include comped appetizers and private viewing areas air conditioned rooms. Things start at 11:00 am, and run until later in the evening.
There’s also the 4th Annual Star Wars Art Festival happening at 2500 Summer Street & hosted by War’House. Like every year, this now 2 day event is full of Star Wars art. However this year they added a bunch of local bands like Hiram & DJ Act Badd. There’s a ton of artists, a ton of food, and the event that runs from Noon to 6:00 on Saturday & Sunday, is just $5.00 for both days. All of the details are provided here.
Of course, most of you will probably be on the block where Continental Club, Big Top, and Alley Kat all call home, when the Madness On Main Street Festival takes shape. Because they are various stages, we’re going to drop the details by the stage, because that’s what’s easier to read and what’s easier for me. Starting on the Southside Espresso Stage at the Pachinko Hut (3700 Main backyard patio), Children of Pop will do a DJ set while spinning between all the acts at that stage. So, I guess you might know that Chase will be getting back from his tour with Kult Dizney for this show, and he’s like a superman of live performances. His DJ sets aren’t far off from all he does with his various acts either. He’ll have the singer/songwriter sounds of Stevie Menjivar following him at 5:40. The Americana meets swamp sounds of Robert Kuhn will follow him, at 6:40. Bringing his new rock sound to life, Houston’s Nathan Quick will perform as well at 7:40. Quick just dropped a new EP with this year’s “City Lights” that showcases a more rock vibe to what you might know about his music; but he’s always worth seeing live no matter what he’s performing. The soulful and sultry sounds of Moji will perform after Quick at 8:40, and bring their jazzy vibes to everyone there. If you haven’t seen this three piece live, then you’ve missed so much that includes the best set of pipes I’ve heard in a very long time. The indie pop of Chase Hamblin will close out that stage at 9:40. Chase always feels like Houston’s best kept secret with his sixties inspired sounds and well crafted songs. If you missed this year’s single, “Way Back;” then you missed what he has in store for everyone in the future.
On the A Really Kool Party Stage at Alley Kat, things kick off with psych heavy sounds of Mantra Love at 5:30. The three piece released a two song demo in March of this year that makes you want to lose yourself in their trippy songs. They’ll be followed by the chillwave sounds of George West at 6:30, while he leaves everyone to want to make out during his slow jamz. West just dropped a four song EP, “George West” that’s like listening to the world pass and falling in love with all of it, and his live sets are always full of surprises and fun. -Us. will go on after at 7:30, and bring his ultra poppy sound to life, only to be followed by the interesting indie pop of Houston’s Glass The Sky at 8:30. Austin’s A.J. Vincent will bring his synth heavy and melodic organ sounds to all when he performs at 9:30. The hip hop of The Hue will be on full display when they go on at 10:30. The Hue is what happens when you mix two great hip hop acts. A mixture of HISD and Radio Galaxy, this should be a soul and funk explosion with hip hop vocals that will dazzle your senses and make your ears very happy. The funky soul of Houston’s Electric Attitude will go on at 11:30, and will more than likely blow everyone away. One of Houston’s tightest bands, their 2013 album, “Skintight & Solid Gold” is like a rebirth of the genre like you’ve never heard before. The always fun and synthy sounds of BLSHS will hit the stage at 12:30, and delight everyone with their heavy vocals and indie pop sound. If you were a fan of their “Abstract Desires” EP, then you should check out their latest single, “In And Out.” Hiram will close out the stage at 1:15, and drop his soundscaped jams on all in attendance. Hiram will also spin records between acts at this stage.
Over on the Heights Vinyl Stage at the Big Top, things start off with the blues rock psych of Houston’s Ganesha at 5:45. This will be followed by the straight ahead rock of Houston’s Thrill at 6:45, and then the experimental rock of Houston duo Black Lodge at 7:45. These two are psych heavy, they’re rumored to play off the cuff and improvisationally, so they should be a trip to see. This will of course be followed by one of my favorite new bands, black kite. at 8:45 Two years ago these two dropped the intense and dark sounding “Bird” and they’ve been blowing everyone away since. Their live sets are a mix of Vicki’s brooding and haunting vocals atop the electronica and live drum wizardry of LIMB’s James Templeton. This is their last show as a duo, as they’ve added the enigmatic producer birdmagic to the mix. I’ve heard what they recorded in NYC and what they have in store for the future, so watch out. No matter what, I feel like they’re the “must see” act on this bill. The indie rock of Deer Park three piece The Gold Sounds will follow at 9:45, and then Houston three piece blues rock outfit Hotmagandhi at 10:45. At 11:45, two of the three founders of San Antonio band, Girl In A coma will be performing as FEA. FEA is a heavy energy Chicana punk rock band that’s seriously worth checking out. You can grab a song for FREE from there here. The indie pop rock of Houston’s Race To The Moon will close out the stage at 12:45. These guys sound like a mix of Interpol and Vitreous Humor, and their “Burned Out” EP from last year is catchy and entertaining.
On the Zapboombang stage at Continental, things kick off with the organ heavy indie pop of The Brunson Theater at 6:00. I still contend that they dropped a pretty awesome album last year with “We Land Soon;” and their live sets are pretty fun and full of energy. They’ll be followed by the high energy and live instruments of Def Perception at 7:00. These guys mix live instruments and a DJ to create their own hip hop sound that’s insane to catch live. Last year they dropped the Next Level album, “Def Perception” that mixed old and new school in a great way. At 8:00, the soulful rock of The Willy Collins Band will drop their Americana meets soul rock sound. If you missed their recently released “Departures” album, you’re missing on a grand release full of heart and true rock roots. Denton’s dark rock act, Birds of Night will be there as well at 9:00. These guys just dropped an album called “Birds of Night” that sounds like a mix of Kings of Leon and Bright Light Social Hour. The spaced out and Brit rock sounds of Houston’s Purapharm will follow at 10:00. I feel like if you haven’t seen this band then you haven’t been doing Houston correctly. They have a very intriguing sound that’s like a mix of Siouxsie, Lush, and Cocteau Twins. Their recently released EP, “Purapharm” is a real trip that doesn’t capture the energy they bring to a live show. The Beans will follow at 11:00 and will more than likely turn on pretty much every woman who hears their bluesy jams. I always say that they make the kind of music that makes women want to take their clothes off, and their 2013 album, “The Beans” proves it. Closing out the night, Craig Kinsey will finish things off at midnight. Last year Kinsey released the instrument heavy “American Roots and Machines” that mixed rock, glam, and blues in a new way, and his crazy live sets are always entertaining. This whole things gets started at 5:00, it’s 21 & up, and the tickets are between $12.00 and $27.00, the latter including a shirt.
ZZ Top Photo: Courtesy of Artist
Of course, there might be some of you who want to catch the legendary sounds of Houston’s ZZ Top, which you can do out at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion. The ‘Little Ol’ Band From Texas’ returns to town after rescheduling the originally planned show. I’ve seen these legends at least five times and they’re always amazing. You’re sure to get hits like “Tush,” “La Grange,” and “Jesus Just Left Chicago,” as well as tunes from their latest, 2012’s amazing “La Futura.” They’ll be bringing another legend with them when Jeff Beck plays. What can you say about Beck that hasn’t been said before? He’s a damn legend, he was in The Yardbirds, and his guitar work is amazing. His latest album, “Emotion & Commotion” from 5 years ago still stands up. The gates open at 6:00 and tickets are between $25.00 and $99.50.
Upstairs at Fitzgerald’s, the mystifying sounds of Saul Williams will be on full display. Williams….look, this guy is just really cool. His MC work is unforgettable, he’s dropped collabs with KRS One, and his 2004 album, “Saul Williams” is amazing to say the least. His 2011 album “Volcanic Sunlight” was his most recent, and was just as great. He’s here in support of his latest collaboration, Martyr Loser Kingdom; which in the least sounds interesting. He’ll have the the soulful sounds of New York’s Sons of an Illustrious Father. If you remember the chills Chan Marshall gave you the first time you heard Cat Power; then you’ll truly love this band, as their singer sounds quite similar. Their recently released “Sons” is a mix of all things beautiful completed with dual vocals. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets for $18.00.
The ballroom at Warehouse Live will play host to the crazy energy of Leeds’ Kaiser Chiefs. These guys are one of those bands that I feel like you should check out if you haven’t before. They have an insanely energetic live show, the echo the sounds of The Jam, and they seem to just get better as the years go by. Mixing Britpop with indie rock, they could easily sell the show out. Their latest, this year’s “Falling Awake” single mixes electro pop for a whole new sound. Their most recent album was 2013’s “Education, Education, Education & War;” where they further expanded their sound. The ever popular Portland duo, Priory will be there to drop their infectious pop electronica. If you didn’t know, these two dropped the huge hit “Weekend” this year from their new album “Need To Know.” The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets between $22.00 and $25.00.
Dallas’ Trevor Douglas will bring his very young indie folk sound to Walter’s. The seventeen year old was on this year’s “American Idol,” but don’t hold that against him as his stuff is actually pretty good. His single, “On my Mind” will make you forget that he was on that terrible show. The pop rock of Houston’s My Only Escape will be there to open the show. So, the tickets are between $10.00 and $13.00, or $20.00 for a VIP meet & greet option. The details are here, the meet & greet is at 6:00, and the doors are at 7:00.
Over at 6922 Harrisburg, the guys from Deep Cuts will bring their gulf coast pop rock to all in attendance. If you’re like me, you’re still jamming last year’s EP, “Love Grows,” and they’re always full of life when they perform. The surf rock of San Antonio’s King Pelican will be there as well, and will bring the sounds of their 2012 album “The Good, the Bad and the Reverb” to life. Forcing Zach from Deep Cuts to perform double duties on the skins, the garage rock goodness of Houston’s Mikey & The Drags will open things up. I feel like if you don’t see these guys then you must not like a good time; because their live shows always turn into a fun dance party. Their album “On The Loose!” is still one of my favorites. The doors are at 9:00 and the ages & cover are TBA.
Sunday, you can get your dance on when Reptar performs at Fitzgerald’s. The Georgia dance rock quartet has been making fans fast since they began in 2008. Since then they’ve released plenty, but their newest “Lurid Glow” from this year is their best. There doesn’t appear to be an opener, but that could easily change. The all ages show has doors at 7:00 and tickets between $13.00 and $17.00.
I didn’t realize, but it looks like Bill Maher still does stand up. He’s appearing at Bayou Music Center, but since he hasn’t put out an album; I have no idea what you’re going to get. I’m guessing something politically based. The doors are at 8:00 and tickets are between $37.50 and $97.50.
On Monday you could catch California’s IamSu over at Warehouse Live. The rapper has been making waves since he dropped mixtapes about five years ago. He’s collaborated with Sage The Gemini, 50 Cent, and 2 Chainz. His latest album, last year’s “Sincerely Yours 1.5” keeps in line with his poetic flow and sick beats. Atlanta’s Rome Fortune will go on prior, and drop his slow jam sounds. He just released a new track with OG Maco, “Suit Case.” Berkley’s Dave Steezy will open the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and tickets for $15.00.
Tuesday is Cinco de Mayo, and you can celebrate it over at the Street Taco & Tequila Fest happening at The El Cantina Superior. Street tacos, tequila, and craft beer wouldn’t be as great without live music, which will be provided in the parking lot. Tunes from We were Wolves, The Flamin’ Hellcats, dune Tx, and Catch Fever will all be on hand. The admission price is FREE, and things start at 3:00 in the afternoon.
Bob Dylan Photo: Kevin Winter
Over at Bayou Music Center, one of the last great artists, Bob Dylan will be in town. We all know the icon from hits like “Like A Rolling Stone,” “Tombstone Blues,” and “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” but you might not know that he’s always touring. That being said, he’s not here very often, and scientifically speaking; this could be your last chance to see him live. I’ve seen him before and he still performs pretty great. I sincerely adore his albums, especially some of the more recent ones like 2012’s “Tempest” and 2006’s “Modern Times.” I mean, there’s no opener though I doubt anyone can open for the man. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets are between $59.50 & $89.50.
That’s about it for this week, just a ton of legends and great times this week. No matter what you do, please be mindful of us all and act like an adult. Remember that the taxi fare is always cheaper than the alternative.