Yr. Weekend, Pt. 3: Aimee Mann + Ted Leo + Peelander-Z + The Escatones + Holy Grail + Gypsyhawk + Orange Goblin + More

69cb32410cda5d0f84311c038d615e34Damn. Sorry, y’all — family-related things had me tied up all day yesterday, and I’m afraid I blew it on the Saturday installment of this weekend’s shows-and-such rundown. sigh. Apologies to all…

But hey, it’s now Sunday (September 29th, and the last day before freaking October, somehow), and guess what? There’s some cool-looking/-sounding stuff going on. Here we go:

Aimee Mann/Ted Leo & the Pharmacists @ House of Blues
I can’t speak for everybody, it’s true, but the winner out of tonight’s pile of shows for me, at least, is hands-down the one going on up at the House of Blues. This evening indie-alternative songstress Aimee Mann will be rolling through town, accompanied by Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, and holy crap, I love both Mann and Leo to death.

For the former, it’s Marc‘s fault, really — without him attempting to indoctrinate me into Aimee Mann’s solo career waaaaay back in college, I’d have probably shrugged off anything she did after Til Tuesday’s star flared bright and faded back in the ’80s. But indoctrinate me he did, and Mann’s 1993 debut, Whatever, remains one of my favorite albums of all time to this day. She’s drifted around a bit since, but every time she pops up again, I find myself liking it, even stepping in to turn the already-good Magnolia into something sublime with her on-the-edge-of-shattering voice and lyrical touch.

As for Ted Leo, the guy practically embodies the whole idea of indie-rock, to me: smart, literate, fast, intricate, guitar-heavy, and insanely catchy songs that grab you by the head and refuse to let you, grinning manically at you the whole time. I’m probably most partial to 2007’s Living With The Living, but 2004’s Shake The Sheets is damn cool, too, particularly “Me and Mia,” which I always think is what Elvis Costello might’ve sounded like if he’d been born a decade or two later than he was.

Oh, and despite the billing above, it’s actually looking like tonight’s show may have Mann playing with The Pharmacists as the backing band and both Mann & Leo on vocals (it’s apparently a thing they do called The Both). To which I have to say: um, holy fucking shit, y’all.

Now, before we move on, here’s a new-ish video for Mann, for “Charmer,” which also features Laura Linney(!) and the ever-entertaining John Hodgman (aka “PC” from those Mac-vs-PC commercials):

Peelander-Z/The Escatones/Demonic Hen @ Super Happy Fun Land
Alright, so if you don’t know who/what Peelander-Z is, well, they’re kind of like the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers if they played musical instruments. Or maybe like The Aquabats if they were Japanese and didn’t half self-esteem issues. They claim to be aliens, dress like they stepped out of Japanese comic books, and bounce around the stage like they’re contestants on one of those game shows where people get the crap beaten out of them, all while playing music that’s something like a cross between KISS and The Ramones.

Now, I’ll freely admit that the one time I’ve seen ’em live, at FPSF 2011, I was a bit underwhelmed. Looking back, though, I can’t help but think it was the venue that made it not work, and this time, they’re playing at what is probably the most appropriate place in town for their particular schtick, Super Happy Fun Land. I think it’ll be a far cry from the soul-melting heat and unforgiving sunlight of FPSF, and I’m betting the whole thing comes off a lot better.

Plus, this time they’ve got sludgy, half-crazy Gulf Coast surf-rock stompers The Escatones opening, and while I know the two may not sound like they’d mesh very easily at all, I can’t help but see The Escatones guys as the embodiment of the swampy, mucky, slimy man-beast that crushes and smashes its way out of those brown, brown waters, only to be stopped by the power of the Peelanders. C’mon, you can’t tell me a concert as a massive kaiju fight doesn’t sound awesome.

Scorpion Child/Kadavar/Gypsyhawk/Wilson/Mothership @ Fitzgerald’s
Orange Goblin/Holy Grail/Lazerwulf/DJ Boozwa @ Fitzgerald’s
I’m not entirely sure how/when it happened, but these were two separate shows up at Fitzgerald’s, and now they’re one gigantic, eardrum-shredding mess of old-school metallic noise. And y’know, I’m good with that. I’m not super familiar with most of the bands playing, sadly, but the ones I do know, I like — Holy Grail, for one, with the Pasadena (CA, not TX) band’s seriously Metallica-esque thrash sound of Dio-meets-Hetfield vocals. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the band’s latest yet, but 2010’s Crisis In Utopia was pretty damn good.

Then there’s Gypsyhawk, a band of fellow Pasadenans who play boozy, get-down metal that’s got twinned(!) Maiden/Priest-style guitars and lots of songs about adventures and swords and whatnot. Here’s one of their tracks, “Hedgeking,” in all it’s D&D-fueled glory:

Up at the top of the bill, there’s relative old-timers Orange Goblin, from London, who’ve been releasing albums since 1996 and who also do the fantasy-themed-metal thing — it kills me, by the by, that none of these bands were around back when I played role-playing games; you young’uns have it so good, dammit. They’re much heavier and stoner-rock-ish and doom-ier than the previous two bands, but it works just as well, and fans of metal will have a hard time not banging their heads along. I think I need to do some shopping for a few new metal albums, now…

Runners-Up:
Blaggards/Little Outfit @ Dan Electro’s Guitar Bar
Vanilla Sugar’s Tour Fundraiser, featuring The Scars Heal In Time, Small Dog Syndrome, Hollows Eve, Vanilla Sugar, Jessica Walker, & The MadMen Crew @ Paul’s Ice House (10000 Telephone Rd.)
The Texas Buzz, featuring Downfall 2012, Black Queen Speaks, & Three33 @ The Scout Bar (Clear Lake)


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