Yr. Weekend, Pt. 2: FPH 8-Year Anniversary + Artopia + A Thousand Cranes + Andy McKee + Miss Leslie + More

Saturday, January 30th is upon us (well, technically, anyway, since midnight just passed), and there’s still a crap-ton of stuff to check out, as before. Here’s where I’d go, if, um, I were you:

Free Press Houston‘s 8 Year Anniversary, featuring Bun B, Robert Ellis, Grandfather Child, Giant Princess, Propain, Fat Tony, Roky Moon & BOLT, Wicked Poseur, B L A C K I E, Simple Success, YNC, & ThunderKunt @ Fitzgerald’s
Wow. It’s hard to believe it’s been 8 years already since the Free Press Houston got its start; I still tend to think of the paper as being this young upstart, when in reality they’re now pretty much one of the longest-lived music publications in town.

My hat’s off to ’em, definitely; in the time they’ve been around, not only have they successfully kept afloat the mag for nearly a decade — which, as somebody who once upon a time attempted to run a print zine himself, I can tell you in all honesty is no mean feat in itself — but in the process they’ve also A) revitalized the dead-and-buried Westheimer Street Festival as the Westheimer Block Party, B) purchased not one but two different clubs, with the reborn Fitzgerald’s being the latest, and C) founded and run what is undoubtedly the coolest, most out-and-out fun music festival I’ve ever seen in this city, complete with mind-blowing headliners.

Most other magazines & papers I’ve seen since I’ve lived here have long since died horrible, tragic deaths, but the FPH just keeps getting bigger & better. Virtual high-five to Omar & his crew for somehow making it all work (and yes, I do suspect there may be voodoo charms involved, although that may be because I’ve watched way too many Supernatural reruns lately).

So hey, get on up to the mag’s very own Party HQ (i.e., Fitz) and help ’em celebrate with a bunch of awesome, awesome bands & musicians, including Grandfather Child, Robert Ellis, Fat Tony, Giant Princess, B L A C K I E, Bun B, & Roky Moon & BOLT. I’ve heard good things about Wicked Poseur & Propain, too, even though I was bummed to find out Propain’s not NY metal band Pro-Pain (note the hyphen), but rather a reportedly pretty talented rapper from right here.

Houston Press Artopia, featuring Grandfather Child, Lee Alexander Band, Peekaboo Theory, DJ Kyle Berg, & more @ Winter Street Studios (2101 Winter St.; 8-11PM)
This is a cool little deal, right here; the idea is to create some kind of confluence between the worlds of dance, fashion, art, & music (and, well, media, considering that this is run by the Houston Press gang), and while I’ve got no idea about the fashion-/art-related stuff, it definitely features a bunch of cool music-makers — in particular, Grandfather Child (who are apparently cloning themselves or driving really fast between Winter Street Studios & Fitz, not sure which) & Peekaboo Theory.

Sadly, if you don’t already have a ticket to this, you’re most likely well & truly screwed, because it’s sold out. Ah, well — still a neat thing to see, if you can somehow swing it. Maybe there’re giveaways still floating around out there or something; I dunno.

A Thousand Cranes/Thou Shall Not Kill…Except/Dead Roses/The Lady Jung/Julia Wallace @ The Mink
Lovers of the strange and intriguing musics, wherever you are tonight, trust me: this is where you actually need to be. I’m oddly fascinated by headliners A Thousand Cranes, even though they’re not really my thing, with the semi-spooky flutes, noises from beyond the void, and odd arrangements — think one of those Andean flute bands on a lot of acid, and you’ll be in the vicinity. Somehow, the seemingly Buddhism-influenced music the band (which is primarily main man Travis Kerschen, I believe) makes is still compelling and mesmerizing.

Oh, and the Press ran a very cool Artist of the Week thing on ATC a couple of weeks back, and it’s really freaking entertaining to read. Check it out over here.

And I shouldn’t leave off the awesomely-named Thou Shalt Not Kill…Except, cool noise-punks Dead Roses, or The Lady Jung, which is the new band of ex-SCR-er Shawn Rameshwar. Very cool…

Guitar Masters, featuring Eric Johnson, Andy McKee, & Peppino D’Agostino @ Warehouse Live
Yes, the Guitar Player-reading nerd of my youth is drooling at the thought of this show, I’ll admit it. I mean, c’mon — Eric Johnson! “Cliffs of Dover” used to practically be guitar-nerd required listening, back in the day. I remember attempting to play it myself and pathetically failing to even come close.

There’s also Andy McKee, this insanely talented acoustic player who I’d never heard of ’til this week, when a friend introduced me to the guy. Take a look at what he can do — largely without even bothering to strum the damn guitar — below:

If that doesn’t make your jaw drop at least a little, well, you’ve apparently slashed-and-burned all the childish wonder out of your soul. (Congratulations!)

Miss Leslie & Her Juke-Jointers @ Goode’s Armadillo Palace
Miss Leslie/Wayne Turner @ Natachee’s Supper ‘n Punch (1-5PM)

Day #2 of Miss Leslie being everywhere ’round town, and you’ve got your pick this time: you can see her solo acoustic with Wayne Turner in the afternoon over at Natachee’s in Midtown, or you can catch the whole band at the Armadillo Palace in the evening, whichever. Personally, I’d go for the evening show, because not only is Leslie herself a hell of a singer & guitarist, but her band’s pretty flawless themselves…

Runners-Up:
Nameless Sound, featuring Dennis Gonzalez Yells at Eels @ Barnevelder Movement/Arts Complex (6PM)
Jesse Dayton @ Cypress Saloon (Cypress)
Free Press Anniversary Afterparty, featuring Legsweeper & Muhammad Ali @ Ponde Rosa (1503 Nance; 3AM)
Carolyn Wonderland/Super Pancho Combo @ Dan Electro’s Guitar Bar
Night of the Living Videos, featuring Jonathan Ross @ Last Concert Cafe
Gatlin Elms/Language Room/Courrier/Quiet Company @ Fitzgerald’s


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