Yr. Weekend, Pt. 2: New York City Queens + The Docs + The Rebecca West + Caleb Lovely + French Cultures Fest + The Dead Rabbits + More

frenchfestHeading into the actual weekend now, Friday, March 13th, y’all, and there’s a truly gigantic pile of good stuff happening, so much that there’s no way in hell I’m going to be able to talk about all of it. So here’s us hitting a few highlights; here we go:

New York City Queens/Chrome Pony/Sol Cat/The Docs @ The Alley Kat
First in the pile is a show that very nearly crept past me, in part because I think it’s sort of a last-minute show to begin with. I dearly love those crazy, sweet pop kids in New York City Queens, and I know they’ve had their collective heads down this past 12 months or so, recording their much-anticipated (by us SCR folks, at least) new album, so I’m psyched to see ’em step back onto the stage again recently. Which is a good thing, because the band’s great, this cool, cool melding of New Wave sensibility with more “modern” indie-rock/pop hooks and vibe. Keep an eye out for that new album, alright?

They’re playing with a trio of folks swinging through H-town on their way to the SXSW festivities, including one name that’s familiar to me, Austinites The Docs. The quartet played at Madness on Main Street last spring, and they do an excellently raw-throated, punch-you-in-the-face, blues-influenced rawk that brings to mind early Kings of Leon and fellow Austinites Moonlight Towers. Get there early to check ’em out.

Caleb Lovely/James Coronna/The Rebecca West @ House of Blues (Bronze Peacock Room)
Next up is an even rarer sight: a show by amazingly awesome duo/trio (depending on whether Alex Dezen is in town, I think) The Rebecca West. Cameron Dezen Hammon, Matt Hammon, and Alex Dezen craft gorgeously fragile, warm, jangly-but-not-country indie-folk songs that are serene and sweet, just these perfect little crystalline pieces of sound, with every piece right where it needs to be, and it’s amazing to witness. Of course, Dezen Hammon could sing the phone book, and I’d be happy, most likely, but the combination of her voice and her husband and brother’s voices and guitars is seriously wonderful. They don’t play live much lately, so grab the chance to see ’em while you can.

11044640_810430885659714_7458463346133045511_nAs an added bonus, I’ve listened a bit to headliner Caleb Lovely, and he’s impressive all on his own, playing gentle, friendly roots-folk tunes that amble along in an unforced, breezy, but still seriously thoughtful way. His breathy, close-sung vocals make it all the better.

French Cultures Festival Kick-Off Concert, featuring Air Bag One, The Inspector Cluzo, Deep Cuts, & The Dove & The Wolf @ Discovery Green (6-10PM; free!)
In a slightly different part of Downtown, Discovery Green, where brave souls who don’t mind a little mud will be out celebrating the start of the French Cultures Festival, an annual deal put on by the French Consulate here in Houston to highlight — yes, you guessed it — French and French-influenced cultures the world around.

To kick off the festival-ness, they’ve recruited one band of locals, sharp-and-shiny tropical popsters Deep Cuts, whose debut EP, Love Grows, turned out to be one of the most fun things I listened to all last summer, and then three honest-to-God French bands. Air Bag One are intriguing, kind of an analogue to Houston dudes Catch Fever more than anything else; they’re bright-sounding but moody, with a darkly romantic New Wave bent to ’em. Then there’s The Inspector Cluzo, on the other hand, a two(?)-man band that plays bluesy, American-tinged rock that’s amped up as all hell and incorporates some nice Motown-ish soul elements. Brave the mud, y’all…

Pre Paddy’s Day Party, featuring The Dead Rabbits, The Grizzly Band, & Quiet Morning & the Calamity @ Union Tavern (Webster)
Last on the list is a cool-sounding show waaaaay down in Webster, where the Union Tavern is hosting a special pre-party for St. Patrick’s Day that includes three very good bands: The Dead Rabbits, The Grizzly Band, and Quiet Morning & the Calamity. I’m especially psyched to see The Dead Rabbits on the list, because I can think of few bands from around here better suited to raucous St. Paddy’s celebrations — they’re loud and rough-edged in just the best way, a rollicking good time, like the Dropkick Murphys with more of a folk foundation and a youth spent in the South.

Runners-Up:
Ian Moore & The Lossy Coils/Lux Deluxe/Jammin Jeff Maximum Band @ The Continental Club
B L A C K I E/Collin Hedrick/Ak’chamel @ Big Star Bar
SXSW Overflow Fest, featuring Sleeze, Ry Bradley, & theSHIFT @ Super Happy Fun Land
Ishi/Rose Quartz/BLSHS @ Fitzgerald’s
Carry The Storm (reunion!)/Critical Assembly/Green As Emerald/Carrion Sun @ Acadia Bar & Grill
Joshua Radin/Rachael Yamagata/Cary Brothers @ Fitzgerald’s
MFAH Mixed Media, featuring Nickodemus, DJ Sun, & DJ Little Martin @ Museum of Fine Arts Houston (1001 Bissonnet; 8PM-12AM)
Grand Old Grizzly @ Natachee’s Supper ‘n Punch
Bush/Theory of a Deadman @ Bayou Music Center
Bright Light Social Hour @ Cactus Music (5:30PM)
Poor Dumb Bastards/Hog Leg/We are the Asteroid @ Rudyard’s
Deep Ella/Three 33/The Soapbox Revolution @ Warehouse Live (Green Room)
Texas Salsa Congress, featuring Marlow Rosado & Willy Calderon @ The Westin Oaks Galleria (5011 Westheimer)


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