Yr. Weekend, Pt. 2: The Wheel Workers + Glass the Sky + Ruiners (last show!) + Mikey & The Drags + Hell City Kings + Quiet Morning & the Calamity + More

69724470893bf02d64ee3840233bdc75Hey, there — there’s a lot of stuff going on this weekend, starting tonight, Friday, August 23rd, so I may have to be a little bit brief when talking about it… Here’s what looks/sounds good to me for this evening:

The Wheel Workers/The Asteroid Shop/Glass the Sky @ Fitzgerald’s ($5)
While there’s plenty of goodness happening tonight, the one that wins for me, at least, is this show up at Fitzgerald’s. I finally got to see The Wheel Workers live a few months back, and holy crap, they didn’t disappoint, even with the high expectations I’d had for the band. They’re a genuinely smart band that manages to be ridiculously catchy fun and deep-thinking, subversively political at the same time, and that’s no mean feat. Both live and on recent album Past to Present, the Workers’ songs bump and bounce along, making you grin like an idiot until you realize that they’re actually singing about how polluted the environment is, or how everybody deserves equal rights, or how nobody should get to tell you who you can or can’t love. (And then, naturally, your brain explodes with a gentle “pop,” but you still like it.)

To make things even better, they’re playing with fellow local popsters Glass the Sky, who make music that’s similarly intelligent and thoughtful while also being serenely gorgeous and addictive. I’ve yet to see the band in person, sadly, but their self-titled EP has been living in my iPod (well, until last night, when it died at long last…sigh) for nearly a year now. And even after repeated listens, I still can’t stop myself from smiling when “Koi Pawned” comes on, or howling along to “Holiday” — which, appropriately, came over my headphones at one point while riding the Tube in London a couple of weeks ago. Get on up to Fitz, folks, seriously.

Ruiners (final show!)/Starfighter Speedship/Mannequin Mishap @ 809 E Burress St. (8:30PM)
Okay, okay, so maybe it is a tougher call than I made it sound up above, because dammit, there’s this show. sigh. I both like this and hate this, because Ruiners are one of the best freaking bands I’ve heard this year, and I had high, high hopes that they would continue onwards & upwards & all that, blasting their throwback indie-rock awesomeness to the skies. I could (and have, actually) listen to “One” over and over and over and over again, reveling in those fuzzed-out, subversively melodic guitars and yell-along, kinda-sorta-tuneless vocals every damn time.

533952_4873684453599_758330786_nBut things change; it’s one of the few truths of life. And apparently Ruiners frontman Shan is moving off to London, of all places, which is going to make further Ruiners releases beyond the band’s one EP somewhat problematic, to say the least. To make things even more painful, I’m on Midget Duty tonight at the house, so the band’s going to ride off into the sunset without me being there to sob uncontrollably. Damn.

Final note: this is a house show, as in “at somebody’s house.” So don’t be a dickhead and break/puke on/steal stuff, okay? Just don’t.

Mikey & The Drags/The Wild Ones/Bummer City/Psychedelic Sex Panther/Here Come The Girls @ Big Star Bar (free!)
On down at the Big Star Bar, there’s a full lineup of straight-ahead ’60s-style rock going on, with headlining band Mikey & The Drags burning the freaking place down with their seriously out-of-time-sounding garage-rock. If you haven’t yet heard the band, they sound like they’ve picked up where ? and the Mysterians, in particular, left off and are blazing a whole new path down some grimy, gritty alleyway somewhere.

Hell City Kings/Mothership/The American Heist/Born Again Virgins/This Year’s Tiger @ Fitzgerald’s
While I know most of my little rundown tonight is fairly laid-back and not real metal, fans of louder, heavier things, don’t despair; all is not lost. After all, on the other floor of Fitz tonight, there’s the loud-as-fuck “deathpunk” noise of Hell City Kings, a band who eschews all that fancy-ass crap in favor just playing heavy, raw, fuck-your-shit-up rock that’ll beat you down and steal your wallet but leave you happy anyway. They’re playing with some other cool folks, too, like metal-edged rock crew Born Again Virgins — who I’ve got to see live at some point, honest — and rough-voiced, rootsy-sounding punk rockers This Year’s Tiger, who are thankfully back from their long hiatus. Go, drink, yell, grin, stagger home.

1079113_310778339068240_1757860976_oQuiet Morning & the Calamity/Satellite Brigade/Frants @ Mango’s ($8)
Lastly, there’s a cool little surprise over at Mango’s tonight, in the form of Quiet Morning & the Calamity, who play rootsy pop that drags in alt-country, folk, indie-rock, and even garage-rock influences (love that organ sound) to make something that’s countryish at points but not yet another indie-folk band. And hey, they’re also really damn good, as is Frants, a quasi-supergroup that brings together members of The Western Civilization, listenlisten, & Hollywood Black; I haven’t heard the newest incarnation of the band, but I’ve liked what I’ve heard previously, and frontwoman Gretchen Schmaltz is one hell of a singer and guitarist.

Runners-Up:
The Hickoids/The Beaumonts/Poor Dumb Bastards @ Rudyard’s
Cloud Vijon The Documentary, featuring Twenty Eleven, Dewayne Jackson, Bennie Dub, Jay Kell, & Dustin Prestige @ Warehouse Live (Green Room)
Sundance Head/Lightnin’ Malcolm/Little Joe Washington @ The Continental Club
Art Life Festival, featuring The Widdler, Banxx, Slick Kid, Mr. Peabody, DatGirl, Feature Cuts, Lost Prophet, Ju$t-Rich, D.A.B., Poe Junior, Vandal Heart, Lettus Prey, Atom West, Vortex, Mark-Ez, The Analog People, & more @ House of Dereon (2204 Crawford; 4PM-3AM)
The Orientation, featuring Young Von, Undergravity, Tha Phoundation, Express, AC Gutta, Cooley Kimble, & more @ Warehouse Live
Blaggards @ Ashford Arms Pub (13308 Westheimer)
Justin Bradley @ Krypto (709 Franklin)


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