Yes, it's that heady time of year, when local musicians, fans, and media types alike all swoon and pant in eager anticipation of the year's Houston Press Music Awards -- who will win the coveted "Best Experimental" award? Who will get snubbed, both by the voters and the indie-hipster elite? Who will be left crying on the red carpet with shiraz stains on their dress?
Okay, maybe it's not quite like that, and maybe the awards themselves don't mean a hell of lot to all who (or don't; us H-town types love the taste of sour grapes, don't we?) receive them, but the fact remains that the HPMA showcase is the coolest, most diverse, most entertaining festival-type thing we Houstonians currently have (sorry, Free Press/Westheimer Block Party folks; you'll get there, though, so keep it up!). I love wandering downtown on foot, bopping from bar to bar and band to band, hearing bands I've been meaning to check out for God knows how long, stumbling across amazing music I'd never heard of before, and mingling with spiky-haired punks and Downtown Pretty People alike -- and if I squint hard enough, H-town's downtown area almost starts to look like the downtown area of a "real" city, a place where people other than the homeless congregate and enjoy themselves. It's like our very own South by Southwest, minus the gotta-impress-the-label pressure, artiness (well, some of it, at least), and unwarranted hype.
To make things even sweeter, the HPMA showcase also happens to be a hell of a lot cheaper than SxSW -- 10 measly freakin' dollars. Yep, $10. On Sunday, July 29th, you can check out 50 or so of this city's best bands, singers, whatever, for a third of what it costs to fill up my damn car these days. Wristbands are on sale now, actually; normally you'd just buy 'em the day of, but apparently you can get now "advance" wristbands at Cat Walk (1431 Westheimer), $10 for one or $15 for two. If you're into getting things done early, you can also cast your vote now if you don't feel like filling in the ballot on the back of that big, sweaty guy who's got you mashed between a pole and the bar while an actual band's playing.
Now, for the lineup. Here's who's currently playing, as of the listing on the Houston Press site; my own personal picks are in bold (and man, is the 8PM slot gonna be rough...):
|St. Pete's Dancing Marlin|
|6PM||Sky Blue 72|
|7PM||Molly & the Ringwalds|
|9PM||Sharks & Sailors|
|4PM||Lee Alexander Band|
|5PM||Sean Reefer & the Resin Valley Boys|
|6PM||Snit's Dog and Pony Show|
|7PM||The Grit Boys|
|8PM||The Scattered Pages|
|9PM||Spain Colored Orange|
|Verizon Wireless Theater|
|7PM||The Mighty Orq|
|6PM||Black Math Experiment|
|4PM||Poor Dumb Bastards|
|5PM||Kemo for Emo|
|7PM||The Aqua Velva|
|9PM||Bring Back the Guns|
|Hard Rock Café|
|6PM||Katie Stuckey and the Swagger|
|7PM||Miss Leslie & Her Juke Jointers|
|9PM||Sideshow Tramps (form. Medicine Show)|
|6PM||The Flaming Hellcats|
|4PM||Allen Oldies Band|
|6PM||Opie Hendrix & the Texas Tall Boys|
|9PM||Million Year Dance|
|Red Cat Jazz Café
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