Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: Rudyard’s 36th Anniversary + BLSHS + Children of Pop + Roger Sellers + MFAH Mixed Media + I Declare War + Oceano + More

996142_10152586624638911_6358993091637339611_nIt’s kind of an odd Friday, at least for me — we’re moving offices at The Day Job, so I’m at home today while stuff gets transported and rewired and all that. So it feels weirdly like Saturday, especially with the kids not yet back in school. But even still, there’ll be a great big pile of cool shows happening tonight, August 22nd, all over our fair city. Here goes:

Rudyard’s 36th Anniversary Show, featuring PuraPharm, The Ex-Optimists, the last place you look, & Dead Mineral @ Rudyard’s (free!)
First up on the list is the first night of the two-night 36th Anniversary Show up at Rudyard’s, which is still one of my absolute-favorite places in Houston even after all these damn years. It’s actually kind of surprising to me that Rudz is only 36 years old, by this point — it feels like the bar’s always been there, y’know? It’s been around as long as I’ve lived here, and that’s been more than 20 years so far…

Of course, being one of the granddaddies of the Houston music scene, it’s no surprise that the venue’s pulled in some awesome, awesome folks to play their birthday party. Tonight includes badass College Station band The Ex-Optimists, who play the kind of ’90s-throwback indie-/alt-rock I love — think equal parts Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. — and heavy-yet-melodic post-emo/alternarock guys the last place you look, who I’ve seen several times over the years and have always been blown away by (and their new EP, Rip It Out, is stellar; I’m wondering how TLPYL’s usual-sized crowd will fit inside of Rudz, though, I’ll admit).

There’s also PuraPharm, who are headlining the night, I believe — I’ve seen ’em once so far, at last year’s Yes, Indeed! Fest, and was pleasantly surprised by their murky, spacey, but still solid-sounding psych-rock sound. The band uses a fair amount of electronics, but they also throw in a sax, which makes things pretty dang unique, at least in this city… And there’s Dead Mineral, who I’ve been meaning to see for years now; they’re kind of an atmospheric-rock outfit, with lots of twin guitar bits and complex instrumentals. Oh, and the whole thing is free, which makes it even cooler to celebrate the aging of your favorite Montrose ‘hood bar…

8bca055f7f320a52f7a234f35d369310BLSHS/Roger Sellers/children of pop/Toast/Guess Genes @ Fitzgerald’s
Much as I love Rudz, I have to admit that this lineup over at Fitzgerald’s was a close, close second. It’s a big, shiny chunk of electro-pop goodness that kind of winks and pretends the ’90s never happened and we went straight from ’80s dance-pop into the modern world of now. The big draw is BLSHS, who came out of nowhere a couple of years ago to lunge right to the top of Houston’s indietronic-pop pile (and yeah, that’s a bigger pile than you’d think, these days). They’re warm and inviting yet still sleek, with a heavily ’80s synth-pop sheen slathered over all of it, and singer/keyboardist Michelle Miears‘ glacially flawless voice helps push ’em even further upwards.

By way of proof, here’s the cute, autobiographical (I’m assuming?) video for “Another Tuesday”; enjoy:

Also playing are fellow pop wunderkinds Children of Pop, which is basically the one-man-band of Chase from Deep Cuts and is alluring as all hell, drifting through the cosmos on layers of sharp-edged guitars swiped from Bowie and haze lifted equally from Secret Machines and the less-electronicized moments of the Chemical Brothers. Seriously, if you haven’t heard this band yet, you really, really should. Check out Fiesta/Drift, the “group”‘s first full-length:

Moving along, there’s also Austinite Roger Sellers, who does some similarly electronified pop, albeit in a different direction — where the former two bands bounce through a New Wave daydream, Sellers floats serenely above it all in a narcotic haze, all gentle ambience and somnolent vocals. And as an added bonus, the opening band is Guess Genes, which pairs Children of Pop’s electro-pop mastery with Sergio Trevino of Buxton‘s down-to-earth, scuffed-up roots-folk vocals and lyricism to make something totally different and awesome. Like I said, it was a close second.

10583867_10152665939289432_7670974749192675984_nMFAH Mixed Media, featuring Quantic, DJ Sun, DJ Little Martin, & DJ Gracie Chavez @ MFAH (1001 Bissonnet; 8PM-12AM)
There’s another cool, cool installment of MFAH Mixed Media this evening, too, over at the (derr) Museum of Fine Arts Houston. I really like the fact that the MFAH does these events, bringing together Houston’s more mainstream art scene with some of the stellar music-based artists in this city, and besides, the idea of hanging out in a museum (well, okay, Cullen Sculpture Garden, but still) after hours is always cool. (And yes, I say that partly because part of me firmly believes that the paintings and sculptures will come to life when the lights go down. I’ve apparently seen Night at the Museum too many times.)

Tonight they’re focusing on some great DJ-type people, including local stars DJ Sun, Gracie Chavez, and Little Martin, and headliner Quantic. Despite the fact that Quantic hails from Worcestershire, the music he makes is seriously Latin-influenced, which makes it a pretty good fit with the local folks tonight and was presumably tailored for the soon-to-be-ending Jesús Rafael Soto installation, seeing as Soto himself was Venezuelan…

10446718_687279868019698_2179366889489056272_nGet on out, enjoy some art, enjoy some music, and definitely try the #SotoSummer ice cream from the very cool Cloud 10 Creamery — I finally got to try the place recently, and they make some awesome, if a bit strange/unusual flavors of ice cream. Well worth checking out, on all counts.

I Declare War/Oceano/The Last Ten Seconds of Life/Barrier/Invent/Animate/Unity @ Walter’s
Finally, fans of all things heavy as fuck should head for Walter’s tonight, where Seattle deathcore band I Declare War comes crashing into town, along with fellow loud, raw, growly people Oceano and The Last Ten Seconds of Life. I’m pretty new to the first of those three, having only heard ’em in the past few weeks, but as deathcore goes, they’re pretty damn good, full of fist-throwing, floor-stomping goodness.

Oceano I’m a bit more familiar with, and I like ’em quite a bit, which is a little surprising for me — I tend to not like the Cookie-Monstering, in general, with only a small, small handful of exceptions. These guys manage to mix things up enough, though, that it sounds pretty distinct from a lot of their fellow loud-and-growly pals, and that’s no bad thing. 2013’s Incisions is a good example of how to do deathcore well, and I don’t say that lightly.

Runners-Up:
The Aftervibe/Distant Lights/J. Greene & The Steady/The Journey Agents/King Finn @ Fitzgerald’s
Four Hour Letter/Letters to Voltron/Color Chemistry @ Dan Electro’s Guitar Bar
Bottle Rockets/Marshall Crenshaw @ The Continental Club
Terri Hendrix/Lloyd Maines @ Anderson Fair
L.A. Guns @ The Concert Pub North
Hip-Hop Anonymous, featuring Mike Skee, MGD, Raj The Rapper, Eternal Presence, Jed the Fameless, Guilla, & Leckie @ Warehouse Live
Dailey & Vincent/Volume Five @ Miller Outdoor Theatre
Classic Numbers Salute to 1988, featuring DJ Wes Wallace @ Numbers
OneRepublic/Jamie Scott/Christina Perri @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Electric Fridays, featuring EnTrace feat. John 00 Flemging, Matthew Dunn, Neer Music, DJ Tito, Bizz, Mitch Fu, Jacob Gonzales, Crico, Ryan Reeves, JKB B2B Chreeno, Gingervytus, & Jamsheddy @ Limelight (2401 San Jacinto)


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