Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: Knights of the Fire Kingdom + Co-Pilot + Bright Light Social Hour + Rammstein + Fox & Cats + More

Hey, folks — on to the Memorial Day weekend, and there’s plenty happening for those of us not heading out on beach trips or campouts or visits to relatives or wherever the hell else people go when it’s a holiday. The fun starts tonight, Friday, May 25th.

Before I get to the list, though, I just want to mention a show that I’d thought was happening tonight up at the House of Blues. I don’t know whether it was misprinted somewhere or I just misread it, but for some reason I had it on the list that British ska/Oi! legends Bad Manners were playing at the HoB this evening…except that they’re not, Lady Gaga tribute act Bad Romance is. sigh. Sorry about that, y’all — I hope this doesn’t crush the soul of any Oi! fans out there in the H-town area…

Okay, with the apology out of the way, here’s what I’m liking for tonight:

Poor Pilate/Knights Of The Fire Kingdom/We Were Wolves/Co-Pilot @ Fitzgerald’s
I’ll admit that I’m bummed to see that raw-throated punks American Sharks are off the bill (just mentally cross ’em off that flyer over on the right, or take a big permanent marker and write “POOR PILATE” over it on your screen, whichever feels right to you), but honestly, it really doesn’t slow this show down one bit.

There’s still excellent, excellent newcomers Knights of the Fire Kingdom, about whom I’ve enthused recently in this space, epic, crushing spacerock instrumentalists Co-Pilot (who I think anyone into the whole instro-metal thing needs to see, too), indie-folksters Poor Pilate, and Beaumont band We Were Wolves, who I’ve heard are pretty dang good themselves. All together, that’s a mighty fine combination, and all for free, if memory serves; hopefully they won’t burn Fitzgerald’s to the ground.

The Bright Light Social Hour/The 71’s/Electric Attitude @ Warehouse Live (Studio)
Nice. I totally, totally slept on The Bright Light Social Hour‘s self-titled album when it came out back in 2010, only stumbling across it in the spring of last year, and I was kicking myself once I had. The band is bluesy and raw and soulful all at once, pounding through songs that sound like both you and your parents could rock out to ’em; think The Lonely H or Primal Scream’s Give Out But Don’t Give Up, and you’ll be in the ballpark. “Bare Hands Bare Feet,” in particular, has hooks as big as your freaking head.

Plus, they’ve got neat, neat locals The 71’s and Electric Attitude opening, both of which are a great fit for TBLSH’s meaty, fist-pumping ’70s funk-rock. I haven’t seen either band in a few years, sadly, but trust me, they’re great live.

Rammstein @ Toyota Center
I’m not going to claim to be a Rammstein fan, myself, but I do have a lot of respect for the band for just holding tight to what they’re doing for a couple of decades now; Jesus, has it been that long? They’re definitely not a gimmick; this is really what they do. And hey, as a bonus, we discovered on our recent Grand Canyon trip that threatening to play Rammstein is a great way to get my Dad to quit backseat-driving, so there’s that.

March To The Sea/Grey Hours/Fox and Cats/The Boulevard Nights/excuseMesir @ Mango’s ($7)
Believe it or not, this one show has a whole bunch of bands I’ve been meaning to check out lately, from March to the Sea to excuseMesir to Fox & Cats to The Boulevard Nights.

I’ve been hearing good stuff about all those bands (although Grey Hours was completely to me), so they’ve been on my list, so I took the plunge and gave each of ’em a quick listen. And holy crap, am I glad I did. Guitar-and-drums duo Fox & Cats is probably my favorite of the bunch, with earnest, sweet-voiced, poppy songs that come off a little like Dashboard Confessional doing Mates of State covers, but the one track I’ve heard so far from March to the Sea is very cool, too, all low-down rumble and menace. Check it out right here:

Then there’s ultra-newbies excuseMesir, who are intriguingly math-y and low-key, with guitar lines that make me think of a toned-down Scale The Summit, Grey Hours, who threw me off totally (but in a good way) with their jangly, countrified, rambling alt-rock and high-pitched vocals, and The Boulevard Nights, who are appropriately dark and urban-sounding, with fuzzed-out keys, funky-ass guitars and drums, and an overall murky vibe. Keep an eye on these folks, y’all.

Shotgun Funeral/Man Meets Fate/Nine Minutes/The Lotus Effect/Abinader @ Walter’s
Dunno most of these, sorry, but I’m a big, big fan of prog-ish, emo-tinged rockers The Lotus Effect (and not just because they’re all genuinely nice guys, mind you), and I’m seriously needing to finally get to see ’em live. They’re calling this one a “Punk Memorial Day Show,” but eh, TLE are a lot smarter and more tuneful than most punk bands you’re likely to find, even if they do know how to punch you in the head repeatedly when it’s necessary. Get there early…

Runners-Up:
David Ramirez/Matthew Mayfield/Tyagaraja @ Warehouse Live (Green Room)
Chase Hamblin/The Roosevelt House Band/Shotgun Funeral/The Trimms/Sweet Brother Moonshine @ Avant Garden
Los Nahuatlatos/Nick Gaitan & The Umbrella Man (CD release)/Little Joe Washington @ The Continental Club
Valise/The Blackout Heist/El Centro/The Big Reveal @ The Mink
Vertigo Blue/Morgue City @ Dean’s Credit Clothing


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