Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: Mates of State + OK Go + Young Fathers + George West + Bella Gaia + Some Sad Cancellations + More

d925527fdd614e8edfd056c1a07fec8bAlright, y’all — I know it’s late, and I know I’ve been freaking godawful at doing these lately; apologies on both fronts. Trying to do better, honest.

First off for tonight (Friday, April 17th, for those not bothering to keep track), The Tontons‘ scheduled show over at Market Square Park was cancelled due to the nasty-ass weather happening all over this city at the moment — it’s been rescheduled for May 1st, I’m told, which is good to hear — and the equally cool-sounding Chipotle Music & Movie Series that’s supposed to be happening over at Discovery Green, with Grand Old Grizzly and a screening of the movie Fed Up, is cancelled, too (for the second time, no less). Dang.

That said, there is still some great stuff happening tonight around town, so man/woman up and get the hell out there, alright? We’re Houstonians, goddammit, we handle hurricanes and flash floods — a little rain shouldn’t bother anybody. Stay safe, to be sure, but here’s a few shows you should still check out:

Mates of State/Good Graeff @ Fitzgerald’s
Yes, yes, yes, yes. It’s been far, far too long since I last checked in with Mates of State, and I’m slapping myself in the face for that right now. Looking back, it’s pretty obvious that duo Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel paved the way for a whole generation (generations?) of indie-pop electronicists to follow, eschewing guitars in favor of old-school synths and organ and weaving their sing-song-y vocals into these awesome almost-duets and gorgeous melodies, the latter of which probably sound awful familiar to fans of folks like Freelance Whales and Owl City.

I’ve unfortunately not heard their most recent couple of releases (Mountaintops, the latest, is from 2011, apparently), but damn, both 2002’s Our Constant Concern and 2000’s My Solo Project sound even better now than they did a decade ago, somehow. And the newer stuff’s pretty great, too, as evidenced by “Palomino,” for one, off Mountaintops:

OK Go/White Arrows @ Warehouse Live
And speaking of bright, shiny, gorgeous pop melodies, if you’re not a fan of OK Go, well, you should be. More than just about any other band out there right now, Damian Kulash and his gang of merry pranksters are doing the most to meld together the cheery, bright-eyed sounds of the ’70s with ’60s soul and ’80s romanticism. And they do it with this astounding sense of pure, unadulterated fun, the kind of playfulness few bands can ever muster even when they try.

If you don’t think that’s the case, watch the video for “The Writing’s On the Wall,” which has the band basically screwing around with some freaking amazing visual effects in what looks like a gigantic warehouse:

Of course, that wouldn’t matter if the songs weren’t great, but 2014’s Hungry Ghosts is pretty excellent. I’m still kind of at a loss to explain why this band isn’t bigger than they are; they really should be, dammit.

Young Fathers/Mas Ysa/George West @ Fitzgerald’s
I’ve only been recently introduced to Edinburgh band Young Fathers — which is kinda surprising these days, because I’ve been loving myself a shitload of Scottish-bred music these past couple of years — but I’m already well and truly sold. They’re informed by hip-hop and soul but also draw a lot from murky post-punk and straight-up pop, and the end result brings to mind Bloc Party, Athlete, and (probably most of all) TV On The Radio. It’s glitchy and bouncy and warm while staying sharp as a piece of broken glass, and yeah, it’s pretty awesome, at least what I’ve heard so far.

Since I’m throwing videos in here, by the by, here’s a quirky, foreboding-yet-joyful video for “Shame”:

Added bonus: Vik Montemayor‘s alter ego George West will be opening (pretty soon now, actually), and he’s well, well worth checking out. A far cry from his more band-related stuff, George West is all about delicate, fragile, skittering ambience that’s chilled-out to the point of embedding you in the couch under a darklight but moves enough to keep things interesting, as well.

988953_795825700504703_3024534682643002290_nBella Gaia: A Poetic Vision of Earth from Space @ Miller Outdoor Theatre
Now, if you are truly hardcore and just plain do not give a single fuck about this weird wetness falling from the sky, well, this one’s for you. Tonight’s Bella Gaia: A Poetic Vision of Earth from Space show over at the Miller Outdoor Theatre will reportedly go on, rain or shine, despite the venue being pretty much outdoors. But hey, when you’re celebrating nature, what’s a little rain?

Granted, this isn’t exactly a “concert” — it’s being billed as an “audiovisual experience,” instead, one that uses NASA satellite imagery, nature footage, music by composer Kenji Williams, and a spoken-word performance by Dr. Mae Jemison, an astronaut and the first woman of color to ever go to space, to make something that’s reportedly spectacular. I know the rain’ll deter most people, probably, but if you can make it out, this sounds pretty neat to experience.

Runners-Up:
Bane/Backtrack/Malfunction/Drown/Blunt @ Walter’s
Crashing Colors/American Martens @ Notsuoh
4th Annual Blazed! Zine 420 Cover Fest, featuring Creatures (as The Adolescents), Mosh Rotten (as Aus-Rotten), Quarantines (as Bad Brains), Landfill (as The Exploited), Bobtallica (as Metallica & more), Roadies for Slayer, & Falter @ The White Swan
A Fistful of Soul/Von Hindenburg @ The Continental Club
Umphrey’s McGee/Soul Rebels Brass Band @ House of Blues
Record Store Day, featuring The Legacy Group & Clint Broussard (DJ session) @ Cactus Music (11AM-9PM)
Orgy/9 Electric/Death Valley High/Vanilla Sugar @ The Scout Bar (Clear Lake)
Toni Braxton @ Arena Theater
Texas Johnny Boy & Milton Hopkins @ Re:HAB Bar on the Bayou (1658 Enid)


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