Yr. Weekend, Pt. 2: The Hold Steady + Polvo (MP3!) + Muhammad Ali + Loretta Lynn + Mathletes + Salt N Pepa + More

Um. Wow. That’s really the only thing that comes to mind when I just sit here & stare at the list of all the ridiculously cool shows going on tonight (Sat., November 6th, that is). It’s like somebody up there decided to torment me personally (real likely, I know…) by seeing just how many badass shows I’d really like to see they could cram into one measly night.

But hey, while I can only be one place at a time, maybe you’re luckier than me, eh? Here’s what sounds cool:

The Hold Steady/Company of Thieves/The American Heist @ Warehouse Live
First things first, tonight… This show right here is where I will be, barring any horrific, crazy downturn in the currrent shared family illness, and yeah, that’s even with all the other excellent stuff going on. Why? Well, ’cause the last time I saw The Hold Steady, back 2007 at Walter’s, they put on one of the best shows I’ve ever witnessed, of any kind, in any venue, hands down. Seriously, they were amazing live, no lie.

True story from that show… Midway through the opening band (which I’m blanking on right now, actually), three beefy, middle-aged dudes in flannel meandered in, glared around at all the wallet-chain-wearing hipsters, and stood at the back with their arms crossed and sneers on their faces. I ended up standing near ’em after a while, mostly ’cause there was nowhere else to go, and half-listened to ’em snickering about the usual crowd of Walter’s kids.

Then the Hold Steady came on and proceeded to blaze through their nerd-cool brand of Springsteen-kicking-heroin rootsy indie-rock. And as I watched, sidelong, all three of the big guys (who looked, incidentally, like they’d accidentally wandered in from some bar across Washington) slowly let huge grins creep across their faces. Then one guy leaned over and punched another, hard, in the shoulder, and yelled in his ear: “Don’t it feel good to see a fucking rock show?” Hell, yes.

Polvo/Muhammad Ali/Rivers @ Fitzgerald’s
Ouch. This one stings, seriously. I mean, Polvo is honestly one of those bands I’ve wanted to see reunite for, well, about a decade now (damn, has it been that long?). They were the first band I’d ever heard that took pieces of “traditional” rock music, even of the college-rock or indie-rock variety, carved it into sharp little shards of intense, noisy, rawness, and melody and welded them back into a brand-new noise-making machine. And yeah, that was a pretty jaw-dropping revelation to a metalhead like me.

For a bit of proof, check out a classic track from 1996’s Exploded Drawing, below:

Polvo – “Feathers of Forgiveness”

Plus, there’s also awesome openers Muhammad Ali, who do an excellently sloppy, noisy, yet still ridiculously tuneful old-school indie-punk roar that points backwards to Mudhoney while punching pretty much every modern “punk” band played on the radio in the face. And hey, I hear frontman/singer/guitarist John Zambrano will soon be a dad; congrats, y’all!

Loretta Lynn @ Arena Theater
And how can I argue with a classic like Loretta Lynn? Fifty years on, she’s still the Queen of Country, in my book. Looking forward to hearing the followup to Van Lear Rose sometime this year…

The Mathletes @ Cactus Music (3PM)
Woo! The Mathletes! Dunno if this’ll be the “real” band, just Joe Mathlete all on his lonesome, or somewhere in-between, but whatever it is, I promise it’ll be great. (No pressure, Joe…) Mathlete writes the coolest, quirkiest, bitterest little chunks of indie-pop goodness and plays them with carefree, shameless joy showing through right on his face. 2008’s woefully-under-distributed (due to the label crashing & burning before the album even dropped) #$@% You and Your Cool was one of the best things I heard that year, and every other thing I’ve heard from ’em’s been equally great.

Fastball @ Badfish Bar (Pearland)
Yeah, I’ve gotta be honest, here — I’ve got no clue if this show is happening or not. It’s not listed on the Badfish Website or the Fastball Myspace, so…eh. You takes your chances, pally.

Fresh Fest, featuring Salt N Pepa @ Reliant Arena
Okay, that’s weird. This was called “Legends of Hip-Hop,” but then a different show a few weeks back was entitled “Legends of Hip-Hop,” and now this one’s “Fresh Fest,” instead. Okey-doke… Either way, it gives me a weird little thrill to see Salt N Pepa are still together & making music; I never thought I’d be glad to see it, but there it is…

Runners-Up:
DJ Shadow/Pigeon John @ House of Blues
Wols/Benoit Pioulard/Cinema Verite @ The Joanna (1401 Branard)
Pasadena Napalm Divison (CD release)/Burn The Boats/Blasted!/Automatic Thrill/Owl Witch @ Numbers
Best Coast/Sonny and the Sunsets @ Fitzgerald’s
Big Sam’s Funky Nation @ Dan Electro’s Guitar Bar
Los Skarnales/Brent Amaker @ The Continental Club
Inner Lights/Thunderbolt Suit @ Rudyard’s
Sonny & The Sunsets @ Cactus Music (5PM)
Mystic Roots/Shark Attack @ The Meridian
Blaggards @ Molly Malone’s (Spring)


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