Yr. Weekend, Pt. 3: Houston Roxx Fest + the last place you look + The Devil Makes Three + El Desmadre + More

564517_614726631890190_1421118802_nHey, all — moving slow today, after a long, long, looooong day spent solo with our youngest, taking him to see snakes at the Zoo, taking him on the METRORail for the first time, up into downtown, wandering around inside the Exxopolis “luminarium” with him, letting him jump around in the water park at Discovery Green, introducing him to the joys of comic book stores at Third Planet (for Free Comic Book Day), and then eating pizza & watching Wall-E with him back at the house. phew. I think I need a weekend from my weekend…

Anyway, it’s now Sunday, May 5th, and while things have slowed down a bit, there’s still some cool stuff going on; here we go:

2013 Houston Roxx Street Festival, featuring Grupo Fantasma, Los Skarnales, Luther and the Healers, Step Rideau & the Zydeco Outlaws, Phranchyze, Dustin Prestige, & Shotgun Funeral @ 1906 Washington (12-9PM)
Alright, so I hadn’t heard of the Houston Roxx festival ’til a couple of weeks ago; I dunno if it’s a recently-devised deal or it’s just been flying under my radar before now, but either way, it’s all new to me. That said, hey, I’m always good with a cool block party with lots of music, and this promises to be exactly that (FYI, today’s the second day of the festival; sorry, got wrapped up posting about other stuff on Friday). Good bands, art, stuff to buy, and people roaming all around the Lower Washington area near Washington Ave. & Silver St.

Old-school Latino ska/surf/rockabilly/whatever band Los Skarnales are playing, so that’s always good to see, as is local blues mainstays Luther & The Healers, who’ve been playing places like The Big Easy since I first moved to this city. Beyond that, I’ve heard good stuff about thinking-man’s rapper Dustin Prestige, and have wanted to check him out. Get on up to the Washington ‘hood…

Viva Tequila!: Cinco De Mayo at Hard Rock, featuring Fighting Gemini, Jesse Roach, Black Queen Speaks, the last place you look, & Lost Element @ Hard Rock Cafe (3PM)
I’ll admit that I haven’t been to the Hard Rock Cafe in years, at this point — I think I went once not long after they moved to Bayou Place from their old location — so I was surprised to notice recently that yes, they do still have bands play there from time to time. Most of ’em I’m “meh” on, frankly, but this is a nice, nice showcase in quasi-honor of Cinco De Mayo.

d41e2ba5a3ce5278b15e145c13871e04First and foremost, I freaking love the last place you look, and probably will until I die. They’re flat-out awesome live, rocking the hell out like a band that should rightly be playing stages far, far bigger than the ones they generally see (although they have played Buzzfest, which is nothing to sneeze at), and the energy they put out up there is ridiculous. Their 2011 Christmas show (which is now an annual thing, apparently) is one of my all-time-favorite shows ever. Seriously.

Plus, they’ve got Black Queen Speaks playing with ’em, too, and they’re a band I’ve been needing to hear more of for a little while now. I know from the bits & pieces I’ve listened to so far that they’re kind of a straight-up “rock” band with a serious classic hard-rock bent to ’em, but beyond that all I can say is that I’m liking ’em so far.

The Devil Makes Three/Jonny Fritz @ Fitzgerald’s
I still have a little bit of cognitive dissonance when it comes to the idea of Canadian bluegrass/folk music; it’s not fair, obviously, to claim that Canadians can’t play rootsy music, since there’s backwoods up there just like there is down here, but hey, I grew up on Bob & Doug MacKenzie and Molson and hockey and Bryan Adams as my main image of Canada as a whole.

Happily, The Devil Makes Three lights a fuse under my preconceptions and blows them sky-high. They’re as friendly and warm as you’d expect a band of Canucks to be, yes, but they’re playing music that sounds like it could’ve come off the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack more than anything else; it’s jangly and backwoodsy and gentle and old-timey-sounding, like a friendly stranger welcoming you into a hoedown somewhere just off the beaten path where everybody’s dancing and grinning even if they’ve never met one another before. And hey, that works for me.

Cinco de Mayo Battle, featuring Gutter Rats, El Desmadre, Moral Distrust, Warhounds, Recreat, Metalloyd, Conflikto, Brain Wash, KTCM, Garbage Dump, Toxic Steel, Viruland, & Hail – Beast @ Mango’s (3PM-1AM; $5)
Finally, Mango’s has a jam-packed lineup of loud, raw, noisy punk/metal/garage bands (some of the listings for it I’ve seen have called it the “No Ska Fest,” so draw your own conclusions from that). I can’t claim to be familiar with most of ’em, honestly, but I’ve heard good things about El Desmadre, in particular…

Runners-Up:
Music for Michelle, featuring Josh Ward, Jody Booth, John Slaughter, Presley Lewis, Mandi Powell, Susan Hickman, Justin Fulcher, Wayne Hubbard, Stephen Marshall, Tim Nichols, & Bart Woytek @ Cypress Saloon (Cypress; 1-8PM)
45th Annual Blessing of the Fleet, featuring Hourglass, Myrna Sanders with Slide Effect, David Schwope, Robin Kirby & Friends, & Wood N Wind @ Kemah Boardwalk (Kemah; 12-9PM)
Jake Orvis and The Broken Band/Joseph Huber/The Westerners/The Pub Affair/Ranson Bandits @ Fitzgerald’s
Henry “Bulletproof” Jones/Jose Francois/Wild Rabbit Salad/John Egan/Better Halves @ The Concert Pub Galleria (5636 Richmond)


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