(The Rest of) Yr. Weekend: Black Congress + Omotai + Talib Kweli + Hollywood Black (MP3!) + Binarium + More

When I first tried to type this, I found myself trapped in the sixth circle of Hell, otherwise known as the DMV office, having already waited in two lines to get a number to wait to get into a third line. Ah, the joys of adulthood.

And then, when I finally got time to work on it some more, the freaking server went down, for reasons the ISP’s been unwilling to explain (so far, anyway). Love that.

At any rate, sorry I didn’t get my little writeups of the cool stuff going on on Friday up in time for, well, Friday, but here’s what looks good to me for the rest of the weekend. And yeah, it’s a pretty busy time:

Sat., September 4:
Black Congress/Side Arms/Omotai/The Formations @ Walter’s (8PM; $8)
My favorite of all the shows going on this Saturday, by a pretty wide margin. Not only do I dig Black Congress‘s heavy-ass Jesus Lizard-esque thunder more & more each time I hear ’em — and yes, live the antics of frontman Brian Jackson are something to see, for sure — but the show also features Side Arms and Omotai, both pseudo-side projects of the legendary Sharks and Sailors. Haven’t gotten to see either of ’em in person yet, but I like what I’ve heard of Side Arms, and Omotai’s Peace Through Fear EP was pretty epic, like all of the coolest, heaviest elements of the S&S sound condensed down to a solid metal core.

As an added bonus, the show also features The Formation, which I’d heard of previously as Attack Formation; not sure what’s behind the name change, but I’ve heard good things about the band in its previously-named incarnation.

Talib Kweli @ House of Blues
Anybody who thinks hip-hop sucks deserves to get smacked upside the head by Black Star‘s eponymous, one-and-only full-length, repeatedly, until they recant. It’s a classic. And much as I love Mos Def, Talib Kweli is probably the biggest part of that appeal, at least for me. The man makes smart, passionate, intensely forward-thinking hip-hop that turns the whole gunz-money-hoes thing on its head, and that’s pretty great, in my book.

Hollywood Black @ Cactus Music (3PM)
I missed Hollywood Black‘s recent record release for the band’s newest, Devils That We Are (sorry, guys; I was out of town…), but I’ve heard a teeny bit of the band’s newest stuff, and it’s pretty awesome, a snarling, venom-filled, old school-sounding chunk of pop-punk/rock that comes off a little like early Green Day (in a good way). Check it out for yourself right here:

Hollywood Black – “Wine Skins”

Oh, and then go see the band at Cactus; it’s free, it’s during the day, so what’s to lose?

Fireworks/The Swellers/Transit/Man Overboard/Fingers Crossed @ Shadowplay Lounge (The Woodlands)
I wanted to mention this one not because I dearly love the bands playing (although what I’ve heard of The Swellers has been decent), but because the venue’s changed at least once — when I left town, I could’ve sworn the show was supposed to be at The Junction, and now when I come back all the Junction shows have moved elsewhere (I think). This one’s now at a place I’d never heard of up in The Woodlands…

Night Ranger/Great White @ Moody Gardens (Galveston)
Cheeseball though it is, this one still sounds somewhat enticing. I’ve never been a big Night Ranger fan, I’m afraid, but in my metalhead youth, I was a *big* Great White fan; their cover of “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” makes me grin, even now.

I have to say, also, that I’m glad the band’s come back somewhat after that horrific onstage fire at that club up in Rhode Island; I doubt that’s something you can easily get past, esp. if you feel like you were at least partly responsible (even though from what I’ve read/heard, the bulk of the blame should fall on the venue, not the performers).

The American Heist (LP release)/Hell City Kings/Blackmarket Syndicate/All At Sea @ Rudyard’s
Another Run (CD release)/Floorbound/Walking With Enemies/Female Demand @ Numbers
The Umbrella Man/Ginger Leigh @ The Continental Club
The Ataris/Gasoline Heart/Don’t Panic @ The Scout Bar (Clear Lake)

Sun., September 5:
Binarium Sound Series, featuring Enki Enlil, Thomas Helton, & Robert Pearson @ The Mekong Underground (2808 Milam; 8-10PM)
Haven’t been to see the new {Binarium Sound Series} thing yet, in spite of it being the successor to Lance Higdon‘s now-departed Resonant Interval Sound Series. New ringleader Jonathan Jindra‘s really jumped in with both feet, kicking shows off literally the week after Lance left town — it’s like there’s barely been a pause, which is pretty impressive.

Anyway, Sunday’s show sounds cool, particularly because I was recently blown away by pianist Robert Pearson; I sat in front of the guy at “Lanceapalooza,” and watching him play made my jaw drop, completely. I can’t even really describe the music he was playing — I just don’t have the vocabulary for it, not being real familiar with improv stuff — but it was mesmerizing. If this show’s anything like it, it’s well worth checking out.

Tone Loc @ Numbers
Now that’s kinda cool. The last time Tone Loc came through town, he played someplace small & out-of-the-way, and it was pretty sad, frankly. I can’t claim to be the biggest Loc fan around, but hell, I’m always glad to see somebody from my youth still playing & making music, even if it doesn’t hit it big like it used to.

Amandla @ Rudyard’s
Dunno a lot about this show, but apparently Amandla is the new project of Claude Coleman, the drummer from legendary weirdo-rockers Ween, so that makes it pretty promising, right there.

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