Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: Steve Earle + Square and Compass + Holder + Young Mammals + Cocker Spaniels + Venomous Maximus + More

10497433_10101536920535813_4172573486803265345_oStarting a bit early this weekend, partly because it’s a holiday tomorrow and partly because there’s actually a ton of stuff happening tonight, Thursday, July 3rd. Seriously, the list is pretty ridiculous for tonight; I’ll hit as much as I can, eh?

Oh, but before I do that, I just want to aim a raised-in-approval thumb over at the Free Press Houston, where writer David Garrick has been doing a stellar (cough-better than me-cough) job recently of running down all the shows going on each week. Check out this week’s list right here.

Alrighty, here we go:

Steve Earle & the Dukes/The Mastersons @ House of Blues
First up, yep, the always-brilliant Steve Earle will be up at the House of Blues tonight. I’ve been remiss in listening to the man’s past couple of releases, but his 2000s albums Jerusalem and The Revolution Starts Now made a massive impression on me; the former is seriously a benchmark for me in terms of roots-rock, and I’m not sure I’ve seen its like since. Earle manages to meld together personal, ground-level storytelling with sincere, no-labels-needed sociopolitical commentary, and he makes it impossible to resist at the same time.

Beyond that, you’ve got to admire the brass balls of a man who’s willing to come to Houston, Energy Town USA, barely two months into the Iraq War, get on stage in the middle of Downtown, and tell the crowd of drunken yuppies standing around in the sun that the war’s a bad idea and we shouldn’t be doing it. This was back in 2003, and it was a different world then; he got booed by a large number of people, but a handful (me included) cheered. Earle is as brave and uncompromising and no-bullshit as they come.

cd02d8b7fbd400068de8f1993a07af12Square and Compass/Holder/Carter/Lovable Old James @ The Alley Kat
Man… This show’s being billed as a reunion show for Square and Compass, which makes me both happy and sad — happy because, well, it’s happening, but sad because, damn, I hadn’t realized their hiatus was more than a temporary thing. I knew they were taking a break, but I’d assumed/hoped/prayed it wouldn’t be a permanent thing; apparently that wasn’t the case. sigh.

But hey, I’m all good with a reunion show! The S&C guys play sharp-edged, twisting, in-your-face emo that’s heavily informed by the old-school, pre-guyliner emo era, especially Braid, and they do it really damn well. Plus, they’re playing with fellow emo-ish dudes Holder, which includes a whole bunch of dudes from the ’90s Houston emo/indie scene, including Steve and Rudy Duarte and SCR bud Dwayne Cathey. Get there early, y’all.

Young Mammals/Far Out/The Cocker Spaniels @ D&W Lounge (911 Milby St.)
On the less-rock-more-pop side of things, then, there’s a cool-sounding show over at the D&W Lounge; no idea what the place is like, but the bands are pretty great. The headliners (I think?) are full-speed, wide-smiling popsters Young Mammals, who play these crazy, cracked pop tunes that are halfway between The Pixies and Guided By Voices, but amped up to 11. This also happens to be the first full-band show for The Cocker Spaniels outside of their native(?) Austin, and one of their few remaining gigs before frontman Sean Padilla moves off to North Carolina to be with family. Can’t fault him there… Get on out & see what it’s like before it’s gone, alright?

Pentagram/Venomous Maximus/Sanctus Bellum @ Fitzgerald’s
Lastly (for now, anyway), there’s a big-ass pile of metal going on up at Fitzgerald’s tonight. I know Pentagram by reputation only — and yes, it’s a good one — but I’m pretty damn familiar with Venomous Maximus, and holy fuck are they good. Thundering, stomping, doom-y metal that’s equal parts Sabbath and Sleep, but with more witch/fantasy/eldritch-themed songs than either band. Finally got to see them at FPSF this year, and they were definitely impressive…

Krum Bums/Ravagers/Some Nerve/The Velostacks @ Mango’s ($10)
Little Ghost/Recovery Room/King Finn/Satellite Brigade @ Fitzgerald’s ($10)
Nick Gaitan & The Umbrella Man @ The Big Top
Space and Time Cat/Poopy Lungstuffing/Mark The Happy Hippy @ Super Happy Fun Land
First Thursday Concert Series, featuring Uncle Lucius & Milkdrive @ Heritage Place (Conroe)

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