Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: The Tontons Makeup Show + The Suspects + Ume + The Courtneys + Houston Hardcore Cover Show + Winger + More

5b7cd801f1d789be4a377c8a798304d6Man. I honestly feel like I’ve spent most of this week recuperating from FPSF 2014 — when I wasn’t at the Day Job or doing jury duty, at least — just trying to regain my sanity and reconnect with the world beyond mud, music, and masses of sweaty, stoned/drunk people. Expect writeups of the craziness to begin very soon (this weekend, hopefully), but right now, hey, it’s Friday, June 6th, and since life does continue on after FPSF, and that life includes cool shows to go to, well, there’s some excellent stuff going on.

Here we go:

Thank You Houston!: Official FPSF Make Up Show, featuring The Tontons, Fat Tony, Wrestlers, & BLSHS @ Fitzgerald’s (free!)
Speaking of FPSF… Those in attendance may recall the insane, massive, thoroughly confusing/schedule-screwing evacuation that occurred this past Saturday — again, more will be forthcoming on that, but one of the end results was that several bands weren’t able to play when they were supposed to. Some got bumped to slightly later timeslots, but others, like unfortunate Swedes First Aid Kit and H-town’s own The Tontons, just plain didn’t get to play at all.

For me, at least, the latter truly stung — I dearly love our psych-soul-pop heroes, and I’d been seriously looking forward to catching Asli Omar, Tom Nguyen, Adam Martinez, and Justin Martinez in their first shot at the big FPSF stage (they’d played side stages previously). But it was not to be, and I feel truly, truly bad for the folks in the band. It would’ve been a sight to see.

The Free Press Houston gang pay their debts, though, and while they couldn’t keep First Aid Kit in town long enough for a makeup show, they did give The Tontons a show to make up for not being able to play the Fest. And that, my friends, is awesome.

10314534_10152472638709052_763230566862740003_nNot just for the band, mind you, but for the fans, too, because now we all get a free show up at Fitz with the aforementioned excellent band — who are truly badass, seriously — as well as hip-hop wunderkind Fat Tony, stellar shoegaze-y popsters BLSHS, and chillwave-pop-dance duo Wrestlers (formerly known as Bagheera; kinda glad they changed their name, by the by, because I know of at least three other bands called “Bagheera,” and one also lives here).

According to the event invite, you have to RSVP to get in — email “rsvp” at “theconvoygroup dot com” to do just that, and then cross fingers that you’re in time, right? The show’s going to be insane in the best possible way.

The Suspects @ The Big Top
Also awesome, but most likely a teensy bit less crowded — in part because, well, The Big Top is a much smaller stage — ’90s ska heroes The Suspects are once again rocking out in Midtown, playing excellent, damn-near perfect Third Wave ska. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: to me, at least, The Suspects are the archetype of what ska should sound like, right up there with legends like The Special, The English Beat, Madness, and The Skatalites.

Even now, two decades on from when that fateful night at The Abyss when I first heard ’em and felt compelled to dance like mad — long ponytail, shorts, sandals and all (getting my feet stomped on by a skinhead girl in the process) — their songs still freaking work, bumping and skanking along just like they did that very first time. They may not be well-known to ska fans outside of Texas, it’s true, but dammit, they should be.

The Courtneys/Ume @ Fitzgerald’s
There’s a pretty great show on the other floor of Fitz tonight, too, with Houston-bred, Austin-dwelling rockers Ume, who are jaw-droppingly good, playing with Canadians The Courtneys, who are also ridiculously good themselves.

The two bands are a little different, it’s true; the Vancouverites are surprisingly sunny and peppy for being from The Great White North, bouncing along down a track previously paved by The Clean, Sebadoh, and The Talk, among others. Their music’s ’90s-ish and droney and shiny and sweet, but still sharp-edged and sarcastic, naturally, and I’m liking it quite a lot.

8ffb88ff1c17e0ca7930435e8782ae97Then there’s Ume, on the other hand, who definitely love a good drone but who thunder and explode like an arena-sized band three times their age — they’ve got a new album out, apparently, entitled Monuments, and I haven’t yet heard it, sadly, but I can tell you without hyperbole that 2012’s Phantoms freaking floored me. They’re this amalgam of metal and rock and shoegazer haze and psych-rock that all comes together to form a titanic wall of sound, and it’s awesome.

Houston Hardcore Cover Show, featuring United Races (covering Outburst), Black Coffee (covering Last Rights), Primal League (covering Brotherhood), Gain (covering SSD), & Dress Code (covering Straight Ahead/The Abused) @ Mango’s ($2)
GRAAAAAWWRRR. Hardcore fiends, this one’s for you; hell, I’ve never even heard of some of the bands being covered tonight, believe it or not, but I do know a few of the folks doing the covering, and they’re damn, damn, damn good, especially Black Coffee and Gain. If you don’t know all the word, I don’t think it’ll matter too much; just get in the pit and mosh anyway, alright?

Winger @ The Concert Pub North
No, seriously. Winger. WINGER. As in, “She’s only seventeeeeen…” And yeah, yeah, it could very well be terrible, but I can’t help it; I’ve still got a special place in my soul for Kip Winger and his not-quite-as-longhaired-these-days band.

Runners-Up:
Soul Track Mind/Roxy Roca/Picture Book @ The Continental Club
The Return of Real Hip-Hop Houston, featuring Gio Chamba, Jade the Creator, Free Radicals, 80s Babies, Calamity, DJ 2-PAT, DJ Kool Emdee, Rain Flowa, & AntLive @ Taqueria La Macro (1822 N. Main)
Series Six (reunion show)/Dellacoma/Black Kennedy @ BFE Rock Club


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