Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: Young the Giant + Ra Ra Riot (Rev’d!) + Trivium + Sabaton + Hearts of Animals + Fiddle Witch + Tommy Stinson + Only Beast + More

828c04391c2b615875c27f761c62e139So, if you fall off the horse, you’re supposed to pick yourself up and get back on it again, right? That’s what I’ve always heard, and it kinda-sorta feels like it applies to yours truly right now. I’d planned on doing all the weekend-rundown stuff last weekend…and then other things intervened, like me getting sick, and one of the kids getting sick. It happens; sorry about that.

Anyway, it is one hell of a busy-packed weekend, so here we are, back again, for tonight, Friday, October 7th, and what I happen to think looks/sounds cool:

Young the Giant/Ra Ra Riot @ Revention Music Center
The biggie of the night for me, at least relatively speaking. Before I ever saw Young the Giant, I have to admit that I’d kind of made up my mind to not like them, mostly because they seemed to be Yet Another Band in that whole bouncy, Afrobeat-tinged, electronicized pop trend that was happening (and is still happening, truth be told). Then I caught their set at FPSF back in 2012, and they won me over with their melding of romantic-ish ’80s pop and big arena-rock choruses, and yeah, I’ve been a fan ever since. Granted, they don’t sound quite like they did back then, having shifted more to an almost Talking Heads-esque sound for recent album Home of the Strange (a title that seems to capture our current political world, for sure), but I’m still liking it.

And hey, here’s a video, for “Something To Believe In,” off the new album:

Then there’s Ra Ra Riot, a band I’ve liked for longer but who I’m really liking nowadays. I finally got off my ass and checked out new album Need Your Light, and now I’m slapping myself for not hearing it months ago, because it would’ve been the perfect soundtrack to my summer. It’s bright and upbeat and full of hope and promise, and yeah, it’s great. Check out the full review over here.

13709877_1359242457423497_3525273752098611998_nTrivium/Sabaton/Huntress @ The Scout Bar (Clear Lake)
And now, we head on down to Clear Lake, where The Scout Bar is playing host to Trivium, Sabaton, and Huntress…all three of whom I like a fair bit. Headliners Trivium have changed quite a bit since I heard ’em last, making a welcome move away from the screaming to craft a sound that straddles the line between Killswitch Engage and Metallica, and it’s a shift that works like crazy, at least for me.

Swedes Sabaton, for their part, are fun despite their bleak subject matter, singing fervently about the Spartans fighting and dying at Thermopylae and Scots fighting at the Battle of Bannockburn — seriously, every track is about one historical battle or another, so it’s tailor-made for a history geek like me. Then there’s Huntress, whose frontwoman, Jill Janus, I could listen to for days; very, very glad the band’s supposed breakup didn’t actually happen…

Hearts of Animals/Merel & Tony with The Woe Woe Woes/The Mustn’ts @ Rudyard’s
Cool, cool, cool. It feels like Mlee Marie‘s Hearts of Animals plays very infrequently today, which is a damn shame, because she’s one of this city’s strangest, most interesting songwriters, crafting these quirky, halfway-cracked pop songs that owe less to traditional pop songwriting and more to psychedelia. The music is melodic but damaged, like Sonic Youth if they ingested a whole ton of bubblegum pop and tried their hand at something kinda like Joanna Newsom.

Not that Mlee can’t write a straight-up pop song, mind you, and “Money For That,” off last year’s Another Mutation, is proof:

Fiddle Witch and the Demons of Doom @ House of Blues (Foundation Room)
I was both surprised and psyched to see Fiddle Witch and the Demons of Doom — aka Jo Bird of Two Star Symphony, Spike the Percussionist, and Geoffrey Muller, of both The Sideshow Tramps and Trio Musette — on the bill for tonight up at the House of Blues, because the band’s not standard fare for the HoB, barring an opening slot for somebody similarly creepy/strange (apparently this is part of their Elevate series, which is meant to showcase local acts, a move I wholeheartedly applaud), but also because they’re excellent. Imagine dirge-y rock instrumentals created for a horror-flick soundtrack, and then throw a sharp-as-a-knife violin on the top, and you’ll get the idea. Think, well, Lindsey Stirling gone Goth, maybe, and you’ll be in the ballpark…

14444854_10155338859248378_3736251785304585608_oTommy Stinson @ Cactus Music (8PM)
Holy shit. Yes, you’re reading that right: Tommy Freaking Stinson is playing up at Cactus Music tonight. I can’t claim to have heard his recent stuff, but I’m told he’s doing kind of a roots-rock/country thing these days (which makes sense, him having recorded with the Old 97’s a few years back), so that should be interesting to hear, at the very least. Oh, and this is just now starting, so, um, you’d better get moving.

Only Beast/The Schisms/Scubadiver @ Fitzgerald’s
Last but not least, there’s this show up at Fitzgerald’s tonight, with headliners Only Beast, who I’m happy to report I’ve now finally gotten to see, at this year’s Yes, Indeed! Fest. A full writeup is still forthcoming (no, really, it is; quit laughing, dammit), but I’ll step in here to say that the band absolutely lived up to the good things I’d heard about ’em beforehand. They were loud, and heavy, and theatrical, and all those things in the best way possible. Playing on an outdoor stage seemed a little bit not-right for the band, so tonight at Fitz is bound to be even better.

c30c1cc44c9ac0009ac52e344c477f81Runners-Up:
Russian Circles/Helms Alee @ Warehouse Live (Studio)
The Fiddle Festival at Discovery Green, featuring Daniel Bernard Roumain, Villalobos Brothers, Divisi Strings, Two Star Symphony, Lost & Nameless, & more @ Discovery Green
Lazybit Monthly II, featuring Heavy the Bluebird, Whale Bones, The March and The Hare, Ten Pixels Tall, & Float @ Notsuoh
Butch Hancock & Jimmie Dale Gilmore @ McGonigel’s Mucky Duck
Screech of Death/Zeroheros/The Cops/DaggerHead/Talk Sick Brats @ The White Swan
Smokey Robinson @ Jones Hall
Reflections, featuring FLCON FCKER & Bang Bangz @ Axelrad (1517 Alabama; 8-11PM)
Battle for So What?! Music Festival: Fall Edition Day 1, featuring Prophets Bane, An Author, A Poet, Aphelion, Green As Emerald, Sagedowne, Frame The Artist, & more @ The Clinic (7444 Harrisburg) (5-11PM)
Hocus Pocus Pops, featuring The Houston Symphony @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
The Bluebonnets/Jane Lee Hooker/Picture Book @ The Continental Club
Vinyl Ranch Country Club @ Ladybird’s
El Lago @ Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe (Galveston)


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