Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: The Suspects + The Lotus Effect + Allo Darlin’ + Beartooth + Vanna + Keeton Coffman + Cheetah Chrome + More

10387012_10152836004394052_4384605770764630850_osigh. Alright, folks — first off, profuse apologies for dropping the ball completely last weekend. Got wrapped up just about totally in Family Stuff and, well, sometimes the non-Family Stuff loses out, y’know?

But hey, we’re back again for this weekend, starting with tonight, Friday, October 17th, where there’s a great big pile of excellent things happening. I’ll have to keep it brief, but here goes:

The Suspects/The Bandulus/The High Mile @ Fitzgerald’s
First and foremost, H-town ska kings The Suspects ride again this evening, returning to their long-ago haunt Fitzgerald’s, where Back In The Day I swear to God the sheer number of kids dancing at their shows made it feel like the second floor was moments away from collapsing into the first (and no, we didn’t stop dancing). It’s cool to see ’em revisiting the place; if memory serves, it’s been a while since they’ve played there, and it (along with the long-dead Abyss) is the one place I associate most with the band.

If you missed them back in their ’90s heyday, well, fret not, because they’re still damn good, even now; they remain my personal template for This Is What A Ska Band Should Sound Like, and that’s a pretty high bar to get over. Check out Simpsons-referencing track “Three Eyed Fish,” off 1997’s How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Ska:

The Lotus Effect/Mezzanine @ The 19th Hole (The Woodlands)
Drifting quite a ways out to the Northside, I’ve got to give a virtual thumbs-up to the very, very dudes in The Lotus Effect, who’re playing tonight out at The 19th Hole. I just got a hold of a copy of their forthcoming new album, and it’s exceeded pretty much every expectation I’d built up over the past few years; I’ve only gotten a brief listen so far, it’s true, but dangit, I’m psyched. The band has grown to become one of the best alt-rock/modern rock/prog-rock bands in this city, and more people need to hear ’em — you won’t regret it.

For a quick taste of the album, here’s “Window Panes”:

 
 

82386809eba62c04ac2ceebc5675e8bcAllo Darlin’/The Caldwell @ Rudyard’s
Turning down quite a bit, then, we’ll shift over to Rudyard’s, where London band Allo Darlin’ will be (gently) rocking the hell out of the place. They’re sweet, jangly, shivery indie-pop that makes me think of Belle and Sebastian, Holiday, and Teenage Fanclub, and new album We Come From The Same Place is a gorgeous, bouncy chunk of seriously Brit-sounding pop goodness.

I’ll admit to being a little skeptical at first — I went through an obsessive indie-pop phase years ago, and I’ve heard a ton of bands like this one — but they’ve won me over fully and completely. They’re damned endearing, I have to say, and I’m wanting to hear more and more from ’em. Here’s the video for “My Heart Is A Drummer,” off the band’s self-titled 2010 release:

Beartooth/Vanna/Sirens & Sailors/Sylar/Alive Like Me @ Walter’s
Of course, gentle, jangly guitars aren’t everybody’s cup of tea. For those people, it may be a better bet to hit up Walter’s tonight and catch the ridiculously loud, heavy slate of bands they’ve got playing. I dunno most of ’em, I’m afraid, but I’ve been fairly impressed by screamo/metalcore outfit Vanna, out of Boston — they do some nice transitions between the screamy and melodic vocals, and the songs are surprisingly complex for a band like this that relies on volume most of all.

Headliners Beartooth are totally new to me, but having now heard the band, I wish I’d known ’em before now. They’re less metalcore/screamo/whatever-core and more straight-up hardcore, a seeming rarity these days, and better still, they do it really freaking well. Granted, the fact that they’re on Red Bull Records makes me twitch, but even still, I’m liking the band quite a bit.

Of course, after blathering about how I like their more “straight” hardcore stuff, the coolest video I can find is for a song that’s anything but. No worries, though, because “The Lines” is pretty cool all on its own:

10658602_921781407838633_6486665257385673061_oThe Docs/Nathan Quick/Keeton Coffman @ Dan Electro’s Guitar Bar
No clue about College Station band The Docs, but they’ve got two of my absolute-favorite singer/songwriter types opening for ’em this evening up at Dan Electro’s. I caught Nathan Quick briefly at last spring’s Madness on Main Street and was very impressed; he reminds me of David Ramirez and Robert Ellis at the same time, and those aren’t comparisons I make lightly. Looking back now, I’m kicking myself for not blowing off the next band I had to run and see and staying to see/hear more of Quick’s set.

Beyond that, there’s Keeton Coffman, a guy who’s rapidly risen to the top of my personal musical pile and who pretty much lives permanently on my iPod at this point. He went from a damn promising rock band (The 71’s) to a much lower-key, melancholy folk-pop solo career, and he’s one of the very, very small number of people out there who’ve made that move and done better because of it. His solo songs are some of the best I’ve ever heard, and hearing him play and sing sends chills up my spine. No lie.

Cheetah Chrome/The Drunks/The Guillotines/Born Liars @ Fitzgerald’s
Last but nowhere near least, the “other” floor of Fitz — not sure which The Suspects are on — has some badass sleazy, bluesy punks, topped off by a bona-fide legend, Cheetah Chrome. Chrome has been a mainstay in the U.S. punk scene literally since it started, first playing in Cleveland’s Rocket From The Tombs before moving on to form The Dead Boys, a band that didn’t make it big themselves (unfortunately) but that paved the way for countless bands to follow. These days Chrome’s doing some interesting solo stuff; what I’ve heard is heavy on the organ and comes off like a cross between surf-y spy music and vintage garage-punk, and yeah, it’s pretty cool.

I’d be extremely remiss if I skipped mentioning the other folks playing, mind you. Born Liars are one of my all-time favorite garage-rock outfits, and heck, The Guillotines features a second American punk icon, Bobby Conn/Bill DeGidio, once of The Pagans. Kinda cool to see two Ohio punk progenitors back together again…

Runners-Up:
Quiet Morning and The Calamity @ Notsuoh
Michal Menert/Super Vision/Eliot Lipp @ Warehouse Live (Studio)
Buckcherry/Otherwise/American Fangs/We Were Wolves @ Warehouse Live
Amplified Heat/Sideshow Tragedy/Von Hindenburg @ The Continental Club
Suicide Silence/The Black Dahlia Murder/Chelsea Grin/Alterbeast @ House of Blues
Blaggards @ Ashford Pub
Ex-Voto/Brumes/DJ Hex/DJ Detra Munster @ Mango’s ($5)
Carolyn Wonderland @ Last Concert Cafe
A Fistful of Soul @ The Big Top
Roxy Roca @ Monnalisa Bar (Hotel Sorella; free!)
Adrian & the Sickness/Bloodline 713/G.O.D.S./Funeral Shroud/The Monk Bunkees/The Earth As We Know It @ BFE Rock Club
Houston We Want Next Hip-Hop Concert Vol. 1, featuring Top Fellas, N5 Nomads, Rejekt Mafia, Cyenne Laredo, Donovan Charles, Ted Sshines, Pak Man & Smookie, Shawny Boy, & Starchie Archie @ Warehouse Live (Green Room)
The Rads @ Da Stadium (Pasadena)


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