Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: Animals As Leaders + O’Brother + Holder + AThousandColours + East Cameron Folkcore + More

And yes, we’re back. Okay, I am, at any rate — sorry there weren’t any of these “Yr. Weekend” things for the past couple of weeks, but I’ve been way, way out of town, hiking the Grand Canyon with my dad & little brothers. We survived, happily, and had a pretty great time; if you’re curious, you can check out the bazillion photos I took over here. Good times…

Anyway, back on now, or getting there, and there’s a bunch of good stuff going on tonight, Friday, May 11th, for music-loving-types to check out. Here goes:

Thrice/Animals As Leaders/O’Brother @ Warehouse Live
Honestly, I’m not entirely sold on Thrice — while I do like what I’ve heard, it’s just never blown me away, y’know? On the other hand, I’ve been increasingly impressed with über-guitarist Tosin Abasi and his Animals As Leaders prog-metal project. Abasi does things with his guitar that I honestly didn’t think were possible, pulling sounds of it like nobody since Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello (for my money, at least). The music is dense and complex and doesn’t give me a freaking headache, surprisingly; it’s like the best late-’90s instro-guitar stuff if it were updated to some sci-fi future we can’t yet conceive of.

Then there’s O’Brother, who from their name sound like they should be a bunch of fast-picking hillbillies on bad meth but who are actually snarling, slow-moving, thundering, vaguely sinister post-hardcore that brings to mind a more melodic Barkmarket and Unsane at various points. Garden Window is pretty badass, so far; hopefully I’ll get it reviewed sometime soon.

Holder (ex-The Tie That Binds)/Gentlemen Rogues/Chemistry/Skyscratchers (ex-Dig Dug) @ Mango’s ($6)
Okay, so this one’s got me fairly excited, possibly moreso than the “big-name” show above, although it’s mostly because of the pedigrees involved. See, relatively new band Holder is the latest project of Steve and Rudy Duarte, who’ve been making awesome music since I’ve lived in this city, both with ’90s proto-emo icons The Tie That Binds and later band Radio Pioneer. They’re good dudes, and they seem to have an unshakeable talent for making rough-edged-yet-melodic guitar rock that hits all the right touchstones.

They’re playing with fellow newcomers Chemistry, about whom I’ve also heard damn good things, and another promising sound crew called Midnight Norma Lane — unfortunately, it looks like Austin-dwelling band Skyscratchers have dropped off the bill, which bums me out a bit, since the band includes John Christoffel, once of the much-revered band Dig Dug. I’d wondered what happened to the guy since the last time I heard from him, and I’m very glad to see he’s still rolling along…

Murder the Stout/Test Flight Fire/AThousandColours/The Coat Hanger Halo @ The Mink
This one’s kind of a quirky bill, frankly; first you’ve got Murder the Stout, who are a flat-out Irish/Scottish folk band with little bits of punk rawk peeking ’round the edges — I saw them a couple of years ago and was extremely impressed. Then there’s {AThousandColours}, the sweet-voiced, anthemic, post-emo rock outfit that I’ve really, really liked when I’ve heard ’em in the past. And then there’s Test Flight Fire, which I think is just straight-up rock (and whom I’ve heard are good), and The Coat Hanger Halo, about whom I have no clue. Well worth checking out, odd lineup aside.

East Cameron Folkcore/Possessed by Paul James/Ben Godfrey @ Fitzgerald’s
This one should be interesting; I’m not real familiar with East Cameron Folkcore, but I’m liking their rollicking, politically-minded folk-punk so far. Think the Dropkick Murphys with less beer and Bahston accents and more of an Eastern European/klezmer sound, and you’ll get close. Take a listen to track “Sheep Staring at a Gun” — it’s partly live footage of the dozen(?)-strong band and partly horrific (and occasionally well-known) photos of various protests and police assaults and carnage, and it’s pretty damn affecting:

Plus, along with those guys, there’s Ben Godfrey, better known (’round here, at least) as the frontman for the awesome, awesome listenlisten. I’ve never seen him solo, unfortunately, but I have to imagine he’s pretty badass.

Runners-Up:
Dykes on Bykes/Jealous Creatures/The 4 Barrel Ramblers @ Union Tavern (Webster)
2012 Art Car Parade Sneak Peek, featuring Peewee Stephens, Pops Stewart, Don Kesse, Chris Perry, Paul David Roberts, Lady D, Don Lee, Jewel Dixon, Golden Boy, Gloria Edwards, Trudy Lynn, & Rockin’ D @ Discovery Green
Slag @ Big Star Bar
Gnar World Order/A Spanish Disposition/Darwin’s Finches @ Notsuoh
Skyrocket!/Little Joe Washington @ The Continental Club
ASYLUM, featuring Ceeplus Bad Knives, Mr. Castillo, Robert Disaro, & Smith & Murland @ The Big Top


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