Tonight & This Weekend: White Oak Music Hall Opens Its Doors, At Long Last

womh-grand-opening-flyerI’ve gotta be honest: I was skeptical that White Oak Music Hall, the new purpose-built venue for local music-promotion icons Pegstar, was ever going to really materialize. Ever since the new venue was announced a little over a year ago, in fact, I was pretty worried that it wouldn’t ever come to be; something would surely come up, some massive hurdle or flaw, and it’d evaporate into the ether.

And yet, here we are. I should’ve known to not doubt the people who made FPSF a real-live thing…

So, starting tonight, Thursday, August 18th, the WOMH will officially be open to the public, and naturally, the Pegstar crew is celebrating with a big-ass, full-on pile of music. This whole weekend will be the venue’s Grand Opening Weekend, and they’re bringing along some big, excellent names — both local and not — to keep the party rolling.

Tonight they’ve got cool, funky/anthemic rockers Another Run headlining the bill, alongside Austinites Mobley, an electro-pop-ish guy/band (I think it’s mostly one guy, if I remember correctly) who I’ve heard a few things by online but who I’ve never seen live, an L.A. I’m not familiar with called Peach Kings, and local Kay Weathers, who you might know better as Jennifer O’Brien, once of We Scare Coyotes and Beach Bones; I have yet to hear her music under the new name, but her past solo stuff has been seriously good.

Things truly kick into high gear tomorrow night, Friday, August 19th, with a double-shot of awesome loudness throughout WOMH. Downstairs will be psych-rock heroes The Black Angels, along with neat local openers Telephantom, which is basically a rebooted version of long-overlooked band The Watermarks, with Cesar, Jason, and Nick, plus new bassist(?) Patricia Lynn, and Rose Ette, which is the new indie-rock-ish band from Daniela of New York City Queens and John of Teenage Kicks. The headliners are great, obviously, but dangit, so are the opening acts; don’t miss ’em.

At the same time upstairs, it’s full-on metal/rock mayhem, with retooled melodic metal crew Oceans of Slumber — which, if you saw them in the old days, before singer Cammie Gilbert came on board, is now a completely different, and way, way, way better band, one you seriously need to hear right damn now — old-school, fantasy-/Lovecraft-fueled metal dudes Venomous Maximus, who are excellent, and expat Houstonians American Sharks (who I tend to think of as “Roky Moon’s Other Band,” if I’m being honest), a band that’s all about hard partying, wizards, and ’70s rawk guitar.

They’re playing with a band from here that I’ve yet to see, The Satanic Overlords of Rock N Roll, but which includes Bill Fool from Born Liars/Hell City Kings, and that’s a pretty good recommendation right there. Again: don’t miss the opening bands, alright?

On Saturday, August 20th, I’m more psyched about the upstairs crowd than the down, I’ll admit; I’m afraid I just don’t know much at all about Cody Jinks, Whitey Morgan, or the Quaker City Night Hawks (although I am fond of the latter band’s name).

Plus, how can I resist one-two-three punch of Young Girls (the band, dangit; don’t be creepy), Bang Bangz, and Night Drive? That’s pretty much my trifecta of favorite dark, moody, eletronics-tinged Houston pop bands, right there. I caught Night Drive at FPSF last year, and they were good; my one complaint was that it felt weird watching ’em in daylight, y’know? Problem solved this time around — they’re playing last on Saturday night.

WOMH Opening Weekend closes out big on Sunday (August 21st), with the ever-incredible Explosions in the Sky playing outside on the lawn (cross fingers it doesn’t keep raining). I saw them do something very similar at the first-ever Free Press Summer Fest, and it remains one of my all-time favorite concert memories to this day; there’s just something about sitting back on the grass and feeling “Your Hand in Mine” unfold into the very center of your being. (Well, my being, anyway; your mileage may vary.) It promises to be incredible.

They’re playing with Preoccupations, who you may know better under their old name, Viet Cong. I haven’t heard ’em in their latest incarnation, but Viet Cong’s old stuff was always pretty interesting in a post-punk sort of way, so I’ve got high hopes.

Now, let’s say you’re more down for dancing than for blissing out to skyward-soaring guitar melodies; you’re in luck, because you just head inside to catch Ghostland Observatory, who are playing with local pop genius Children of Pop (albeit a DJ set). I can’t claim to be a big GO fan, myself, but I’m told their live shows can be pretty damn impressive.

So, all of that sounds pretty great, and there’s an extra-special add-on to make it better: if you’re of legal drinking age, it’s free tonight, Friday, and Saturday (not Sunday, sorry). Minors get in for $5, which still ain’t bad. Of course, despite the size of the venue, it’s not infinite — if you get up there late, you may not be getting in. Once they reach their limit, you’re out of luck.

This is gonna be badass, folks. You really need to get your ass up to the WOMH, right now.


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