Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: Red Fang + The Dead Milkmen + The Octopus Project (MP3!) + Mid Main First Thursday + More

08419305b446933dfc48aa9f2291ac13Whoa. It is one heck of a busy Thursday tonight, December 5th, especially for a post-holiday week like this one. But hey, I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth; here’s what looks cool to me:

Red Fang/The Shrine/Indian Handicrafts @ Fitzgerald’s
Yes, yes, yes. This, friends & neighbors, is where yours truly will be tonight, so if you see a forty-ish-looking guy in a baseball cap and “England” sweatshirt, that may well be me; say “hi,” and I’ll try very hard not to be a weirdo, I swear…

Anyway, I’m psyched to get to see Portland-dwelling, hard-drinking stoner-metal (beer-metal?) dudes Red Fang play once again, and in the same damn venue as last time, no less. When I saw them last, they were even heavier and louder than I’d expected the band to be, honestly, with less of the classic-rock vibe of their self-titled debut and more of Murder the Mountains‘ Mastodon-/Priestess-like alt-metal tendencies. And yeah, I’m good with that, especially since they played to the small-ish downstairs area at Fitzgerald’s like they were playing to an arena 3000 times the size.

If you’re especially lucky, btw, maybe the dedicated fan who wore his own homemade beer can suit of armor will show up — that was some hilariously badass shit. If you can’t make it out, on the other hand, well, you can play the band’s own online beer-drinking game. Nope, not even kidding.

Oh, and while there are no videos up yet for the band’s new album, Whales and Leeches, which builds nicely on Murder the Mountains stomping, growling heavy-rock sound, here’s the frugal-to-a-fault video for “Wires,” off MTM (and yes, it rules):

1456781_10152071290242697_1964934930_nThe Dead Milkmen/Radioactivity/Muhammad Ali/Skeleton Dick @ Walter’s
Walter’s has a damn good show going tonight, too, with the flat-out legendary Dead Milkmen, a band that drags me right back to middle school(!) as soon as I hear/read their name. Holy shit, people. My friend Matt was a far, far bigger fan than I ever was, I’ll admit — if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t know the band beyond “Punk Rock Girl,” but he had the Milkmen’s first two full-length albums, so we spent many, many summer afternoons stomping around the front yard (we didn’t really have a back yard, just a hill that merged into everybody else’s back yard) and yelling along to “Bitchin’ Camaro” and “Beach Party Vietnam” (which my college band also ended up playing, years later). And oh, yes, it was glorious.

More than any other, The Dead Milkmen were the band that introduced me to the idea that music could be fun and silly and still loud and raw; I loved Weird Al around the same time, it’s true, but the Milkmen always seemed to take things one step further, cranking up their guitars and yelling louder than Al ever could/would. They gave/give a big, sarcastic (yet still friendly, somehow) middle finger to the idea that comedy and punk couldn’t mix, and I’m still in awe, even nearly 30 years on.

The Octopus Project/Tele Novella/Chin Xaou Ti Won @ Fitzgerald’s
And then, on the other floor of Fitz, there’s the ridiculously catchy electronic awesomeness that is The Octopus Project. The Austin quartet’s latest, Fever Forms, lives up to its name almost immediately, layering sound upon sound upon sound ’til you feel woozy and shaky…at least ’til Yvonne Lambert‘s crystalline-pure, gorgeously detached, Goldfrapp-esque vocals come in, and then you just want to sit and smile an idiot for a while.

Now, this is going to sound weird, but stay with me for a second, okay? When I listen to Fever Forms, I imagine them not as people, strictly speaking, but rather as brightly-colored digital avatars of some kind, rocking out and having fun in their own little virtual realm, which kinda-sorta looks like Super Mario Galaxy. They ricochet off walls and ceilings and zoom around sentient, smiling stars, all the while playing this music that’s beautiful and shiny like the best sci-fi dream you’ve ever had. But um, that may just be me.

b7c9ee929cae42358a34ef903981f57cIf you want a little (free!) taste of Fever Forms, check out the link below for a download of “Perhap”:

Mid Main First Thursday: Benefit for The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, featuring Holiday Gong Show, Nick Gaitan & The Umbrella Man, Elephant Yard, Beetle, DJ Flash Gordon Parks, & more @ Mid Main Houston (The Continental Club, The Big Top, The Alley Kat, Sig’s Lagoon, & Natachee’s; 5PM)
I’ve been meaning to check out these First Thursday things for a while now, and I’m a bit bummed to be missing it yet again (but dammit, Red Fang is worth it, as is my pal Brian, who I’m dragging along with me tonight). It sounds like a hell of a lot of fun, with tons of great music from folks like Nick Gaitan & The Umbrella Man and this gong show thing that’ll be going on over at The Continental Club, and hey, it’s a fundraiser for The Orange Show, so that’s no bad thing.

Beyond that, I really, truly love going down to the whole Mid Main area these days; I’ve dragged out-of-town visitors there a few times now, and they’re always surprised to discover that ugly, boring, sprawling old Houston has such a neat little pocket of cool stuff, all in one place. High-five from over here, y’all.

Runners-Up:
Texas Ladies Of Rock, featuring Huntress, The Scars Heal In Time, Overload Houston, & The Psionics @ Numbers ($10/$12)
Nikkhoo/B L A C K I E/Chris Starz/Billy Black/Grammer/Worst Nightmare @ Notsuoh (free!)
Vanilla Sugar @ Pearl Lounge Houston (4216 Washington)
Circa Paleo @ McGonigel’s Mucky Duck
Justin Timberlake @ Toyota Center (sold out!)
Texas Johnny Boy/Christian Dozzler @ ReHAB Bar on the Bayou (1658 Enid)


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