Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: Dollie Barnes + Devendra Banhart + We Were Wolves + Datsik + Distant Worker + I Love Freestyle Fest II + The Piping Rock Singers + More

So, um…hi! I know, it’s been a while, and I feel like an ass about that — many times I had fully planned on posting about one show or another, but something would intervene (multiple illnesses, multiple birthdays, family emergencies, injured children), and said show would fall by the wayside. Hell, I didn’t even get to post anything about the Super Bowl madness that engulfed the city for the better part of three weeks…

But hey, that’s how it goes sometimes — it can’t be helped, I’m sad to say. So my profuse apologies to anybody I missed during my absence, and stick with us as we attempt to make up for lost time and cover some upcoming cool stuff.

Speaking of cool stuff, there’s a ton of excellent shows happening this weekend, starting tonight, Friday, February 17th; here’s what we (well, I) think looks good:

Dollie Barnes (record release)/Young Mammals/El Lago @ Rockefellers (3620 Washington)
First up, I’m psyched as hell to see Dollie Barnes playing her/their official record release show up at Rockefellers tonight, not only because, hey, Rockefellers is back, and that’s awesome — I saw a ton of shows there way, way, waaaay back in the day, and was very sad when they closed down as an actual venue in 1997 — but also because I love Dollie Barnes more and more with each song I’ve heard, and I’m excited to check out the band’s debut album, Caught in a Phase.

I’ll grant that Barnes’ voice isn’t for everybody — it’s fragile and delicate and altogether different, kind of like if Dolly Parton decided to release an indie-folk album with the members of Fleet Foxes or something. For me, though, the band’s overall sound, and the vocals along with it, is alluring and brave and gorgeous, and I can’t get enough.

As an added bonus, too, there’s the ever-awesome Young Mammals, who also have a relatively-new album, Jaguar, released back in November, and hazy, woozy Houston/Galveston dreampop crew El Lago, who I’ve only recently gotten to check out but who are damn promising. Get there early for this one; trust me.

Devendra Banhart @ White Oak Music Hall
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to Devendra Banhart. I know the outlines — raised in Venezuela (although he was born right here in Houston, apparently), moved to California, started making music, and waves, in the realm of low-key indie-pop — but I hadn’t actually heard much of his music ’til recently.

Now that I have, I’m pretty well sold. It’s not what I was expecting, frankly, but is far more gentle and sultry than I thought while showing a serious intelligence and some amazing songwriting; if I had to compare it to anything, it’d be a polished, genteel, less-drunk Father John Misty, maybe, or possibly H-town’s own Arthur Yoria, whom Banhart resembles somewhat in feel. Or, hell, maybe Harry Nilsson, especially on tracks like “Fancy Man” or “Saturday Night.”

And hey, while we’re talking about “Saturday Night,” here you go:

We Were Wolves/Dead to the World @ The Nightingale Room (free!)
Changing things up a bit, we head on over to The Nightingale Room for some straight-up rawk, courtesy of hometown boys We Were Wolves, who are one of the absolute best rock bands playing in this city right now — seriously, if you think I’m kidding, just take a listen to the band’s most recent EP, Ruin Your Weekend, and then get back to me (and hey, you can do it below, because I’m nice like that). They’re heavy and raw but smart and tuneful as fuck, and you can’t help but yell along; check ’em out. Oh, and this show’s free, which is always the best price…

Datsik/Crizzly/Virtual Riot @ Stereo Live
Weirdly, I’ve been listening to a lot more EDM than I used to, of all varieties; it’s largely because of my teenage daughter, who is into electronic music of all stripes in a big way, from dubstep to big, bright poptronica to wall-rattling trap to scattershot experimentalism. She listens to it all the damn time, and I can’t help but absorb some of it, y’know? It’s funny that the musical cross-pollination can work that way, from kid to parent. I’d always assumed it would be kind of a one-way street, where I’d be the one introducing the munchkins to the music I like, and they’d discover their own tastes from there.

And so yes, I’ve discovered that I actually freaking like dubstep. Some dubstep artists more than others, it’s true, but still, I like it quite a bit in general. So I was happy to see Datsik on the bill tonight up at Stereo Live — he may not have the over-the-top rock aesthetic as, say, Skrillex, but his vision of dubstep is almost more pure, closer to the original style than to brostep or whatever sub-category’s popular right now. If you like crunching/chopping beats, robot-sex noises, reggae-tinged rhythms, occasional hip-hop lyrics, and generally menacing vibes, well, this one’s for you.

Zoning Out Over a Bowl of Ice Cream Benefit Show #1, featuring Distant Worker, Dull, notLando, Murderboss Death King, Worst Nightmare, Twelf Place, Jeremiah Carroll, Chase Mozingo, (ya), Elijah Kelley’s Box of Noise, Sonic Rabbit Hole, & BasiLaRey @ Avant Garden
An oddball of a show, I’ll admit, but one that I think looks pretty neat even still — those Distant Worker folks make some intriguing, challenging music that sucks me in despite its general weirdness, and this time they’ve brought along a disparate cast of characters, from rappers to noisemakers to performance artists, all under one roof at the Avant Garden. Think Montrose isn’t weird anymore? For one night, at least, it sure as hell is.

(Also, just FYI, I’m not real sure what the hell this is a benefit show for. That part could be a joke.)

I Love Freestyle Fest II, featuring Taylor Dayne, The Original Cover Girls, TKA, Trinere, Rob Base, Timmy T, 2 In A Room, Stephanie, Rodney I, GMan, Cartoon Capers, DJ Cubanito, & DJ Xray @ Arena Theater
Okay, so yes, this is cheesy as hell. But come on — you know there’s a little part of you that is actually kinda-sorta psyched about the possibility of seeing Rob Base (Rob Base! “It Takes Two”!) and Taylor Dayne. And hey, maybe The Original Cover Girls! Or Timmy T! Okay, probably not Timmy T, but you get the idea. This is like somebody recorded top-40 radio for a half-hour back in 1988 and decided to jump forward to the future to set up a show with everybody they heard, for maximum nostalgic impact.

Madrigals, Motets, and Merryment, featuring The Piping Rock Singers @ Christ The King Lutheran Church (7PM)
And last but not least, there’s this show, which is apparently part of the Houston Early Music Festival, although I’m not clear whether that’s a once-a-year thing or an ongoing series of concerts. Whichever it is, this is your chance to listen to some real-live Renaissance music — and that’s actual music from the Renaissance, not music from the Renaissance Festival — inside a beautiful old(?) church.

I’ve heard good things about The Piping Rock Singers in general, as well, which makes this even better. Want something truly different to listen to tonight? Well, here you go…

Runners-Up:
Tyvek/Fred Thomas/Rose Ette @ Walter’s
Rex Hudson/Whale Bones/St. Evie/Passerbye @ Satellite Bar
John Doe @ McGonigel’s Mucky Duck
Free Radicals/Metanoia/Bourgeois Mystics/texture: Yellow @ Notsuoh
Red Currant @ Byzantine Fresco Chapel (4011 Yupon; 7-8PM)
Kiki Maroon’s Burly Q Lounge, featuring Vaudevillian Variety Show & Burly Quties @ Warehouse Live (Studio)


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