Oh, yes. While culling through the bazillion or so shows coming up in the not-far-distant future this past week, I happened to notice newly-booked shows by a couple of really, really cool out-of-towners:
Sun., May 6 - Son Volt @ The Continental Club
Holy...um...wow. How is it that I haven't heard people screaming to the skies about this show? I honestly couldn't tell you the last time Son Volt (ex-Uncle Tupelo, godfathers of "alt-country" movement, the sadder cousin to Wilco, etc.) played H-town, which may well mean that they haven't in about a decade now. I haven't heard the new album yet, but their last one, Okemah and the Melody of Riot, is a fine, fine disc, so I've got high hopes. No idea who's playing with 'em, sadly -- Bright Men of Learning would be a damn cool fit, though.
Wed., May 16 - The Rapture/Shiny Toy Guns @ Warehouse Live
Props to David over at Houston Calling for catching this one first; just goes to show what happens when I don't check my e-mail for a few days. sigh... Anyway, I haven't ever seen the Rapture live, but last year's Pieces of the People We Love swung in out of left field and slapped me across the face hard enough to earn it a spot in my top-ten list for the year. Funky electronics with soul and genuinely ass-shaking beats; awful hard to top...
Thurs., June 7 - The Hold Steady @ Walter's on Washington
Sit back for a sec and let me relate a brief anecdote from last fall's The Hold Steady show up at Walter's. Went up there to meet Doug D. (in briefly from NZ), somewhat excited about seeing the band (having fallen head-over-heels in a big way for Separation Sunday) but wary of getting my hopes too high. From the beginning, the crowd was an odd mix -- middle-aged biker-looking guys with beer bellies standing around next to bored-looking hipsters with wallet chains.
Bright Men of Learning rocked (damn, they're everywhere!), and then Sean Na Na got up and were, uh, more entertaining than I'd expected (it was a really odd moment when it clicked that the guitarist was actually Denver Dalley, ex-Statistics). Then the Hold Steady came on, and over the span of an hour or so, won over even the most jaded of the cool kids and the most Zep-loving of the old dudes. They were freakin' amazing, like Hüsker Dü in their prime channeling The Boss. Seriously, by the end things were less like a band playing a show and more like a tent revival. Lots of sweat, full-on rock solos, beer, and big mustaches (mostly courtesy of keyboardist/organist Franz Nicolay, also of World/Inferno Friendship Society); it was nuts. I couldn't keep from grinning.
The best part of the night, though, was near to the end of the set, when one of the three Big Old Dudes standing near me leaned over, smiling ear-to-ear, and punched his buddy in the arm and yelled:
"Man, don't it feel good to go to a fuckin' rock show?"
(Oh, and by the by, the reason the HS are swinging through town again is 'cause they've got a new limited-limited-limited release live EP, Live At Fingerprints, coming out on April 17th. If you spot a copy, grab it, 'cause there ain't many of 'em -- check where you can find the EP here. Looks like Vinal Edge is the only H-town store that'll be stocking it.)
Thurs., June 7 - Sage Francis/Buck 65/Alias/Buddy Wakefield @ Warehouse Live
Man, the 7th is gonna be rough. Not only are the Hold Steady playing, but over on the edge of downtown, so is Sage Francis, who is hands-down one of the most interesting, angriest, weirdest rappers out there today. The embarrassing part of this, though, is that I didn't even know he has a new album coming out May 8th (Human the Death Dance), despite me having followed the guy fairly obsessively for a while...damn.
At any rate, this will be yet another good show, one so good I dunno what the hell I'm gonna do with myself on this one random Thursday in June. Hrm. Not only is Sage the shit, but Buck 65 is entertaining (and strange), and what I've heard from Alias has been pretty cool, too. What to do, what to do...
Sat., June 16 - Unsane @ The Proletariat
Commence drooling. I'm nowhere near a big Unsane fan, honestly, but without the band, fully half of the post-hardcore bands currently growling and slashing away these days wouldn't even exist. Expect this show to be packed, esp. since it's at the not-so-big Prolo.
Fri., July 13 - The Fray/Gomez/Eisley @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
I don't really care for The Fray all the much and don't know a thing about Gomez, but openers Eisley are worth the price of admission all by themselves. Fey, beautiful rock songs about robots and monsters and whatnot, all sung/played by a crew of interrelated kids who are way too pretty to be as odd as they apparently are. Haven't heard their full-length, 2005's Room Noises, but both their previous EPs, Laughing City and Marvelous Things, are excellent.
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