Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: The Wild Reeds + Dollie Barnes + Only Beast + MFAH Mixed Media + Bring Me the Horizon + Beartooth + French Cultures Festival + Alicia Keys + More

Alright, y’all. We’re at the start of what promises to be a very busy not just weekend but full week (hell, almost two weeks), and yours truly is going to do his best to keep up with it, beginning with tonight, Friday, March 10th. And away we go…

The Wild Reeds/Blank Range/Dollie Barnes @ White Oak Music Hall
First up, White Oak Music Hall has a full slate of warm-hearted, pleasantly rough-edged, folky, rootsy (but not country) pop-rock. Los Angeles-bred headliners The Wild Reeds are utterfly flawless, a trio that sounds like Neko Case cloned twice over and playing gorgeous, stately songs that are like studies in how to write a roots-pop tune.

Then there’s Nashville’s Blank Range, who are on the more “rock” side of things, playing rootsy music that’s equal parts Americana, woozy psych, and throwback ’60s pop; I’ve only heard a taste so far, but I’m liking it. And starting things off is Houston’s own Dollie Barnes, fronted by the inestimably fragile, beautiful voice of Haley “Dollie” Barnes; their music is pitch-perfect, like the sound of a countrified angel drifting out over the windswept West Texas landscape.

8 Track Sessions, featuring Only Beast & Devil Killing Moth @ 8th Wonder Brewery (2202 Dallas; 7-10PM, free!)
I’m not a beer drinker, it’s true, but I’m fascinated by breweries themselves; I’m psyched as hell to see the rise this past decade or so of a whole slew of local craft breweries, and 8th Wonder is up there at the top of the heap, in my non-drinker estimation. Which, I’ll admit, doesn’t mean as much as the estimation of the folks who do actually drink their beer, but hey: the 8th Wonder crew does some cool, cool stuff.

They’re tightly linked with the music scene here, constantly putting on shows at the brewery and sponsoring others elsewhere, and I love ’em for that. Because it gives us shows like tonight’s, where both Only Beast and Devil Killing Moth happen to be playing. The latter I’ve yet to see live, sadly, but they’re interesting as hell in recorded form, all funky grooves and acoustic guitars and jazzy bits. The former, though, I finally got to witness in person last fall, and holy shit were they impressive.

Frontwoman Danielle Renee prowls the stage like a leashed tiger, lunging and snarling along with a vocal delivery that comes off like the rawest edges of Sleater-Kinney’s catalog, while drummer John Salinas stomps and thunders along and guitarist/bassist Peter Bernick play not only with his fingers but with his freaking feet. It’s an awesome spectacle, and one well worth checking out.

MFAH Mixed Media, featuring Machinedrum, DJ Sun, & DJ Amanda Robinson @ Museum of Fine Arts Houston (1001 Bissonnet; 8PM-12AM)
I’ve always wanted to go to one of these Mixed Media shows up at the MFAH, because it seems — to me, anyway — like a very neat thing to have a full-on dance party amidst all the paintings and sculptures and whatnot. I did get to go to one after-hours thing at the MFAH once, courtesy of a docent friend, and it was a heck of a lot of fun, even without badass DJs and electronic artists doing their thing.

Obviously, that latter part helps, too. H-town icon DJ Sun is spinning, as always — and if you haven’t watched/heard him work, you really should — as is DJ Amanda Robinson and Berlin-based guest Machinedrum, who reminds me in a very cool way of Rhythm and Stealth-era Leftfield, of whom I’ve long been a big fan. It’s got an old-school Euro tinge to it, which I haven’t heard a lot of lately, but with the warmth of more contemporary stuff. Throw in a live light show from Strangeloop, plus all the artwork, and this promises to be a pretty unique experience.

Bring Me the Horizon/Underoath/Beartooth @ Revention Music Center
Now for a bit of the heavy, over at Revention Music Center. I’ll confess that what I’d heard previously of Bring Me the Horizon left me kind of cold, just Yet Another Metalcore Band, y’know? Listening again, though, the band’s newer stuff feels a whole lot more mature, more fleshed-out and melodic; these days they’re a band that’s less about sounding like a genre and more about using said genre to do whatever they want. And that’s always a cool thing to hear. At points I’m reminded of the last place you look, even, which is a resemblance I’m totally down with.

I’m digging Beartooth quite a bit, as well — they meld hardcore heaviness and sing-along choruses beautifully, with a wall of freaking guitars that’s like a giant mass of sound. Gonna have to keep those guys in mind…

5th Annual French Cultures Festival Kick-Off Concert, featuring Laure Briard, The Bluebonnets, & They Call Me Rico @ Discovery Green (6-10PM; free!)
My mother-in-law comes from France, so the annual French Cultures Festival is somewhat near & dear to my family’s collective heart; it’s that time of year when Grandma gets to go see a whole bunch of French plays and musicians and movies and whatever else, kind of a little annual connection to where she was raised.

This year’s festival starts with an official kick-off concert over at Discovery Green, and it sounds very promising. Laure Briard, from Toulouse, will be performing, as will Austin blues-rockers The Bluebonnets and Lyon/Quebec one-man-band They Call Me Rico, all outside on the lawn. Plus, there’ll be food trucks serving food from various parts of the French-speaking world, and other fun stuff to enjoy; cross your fingers that the sky doesn’t open up, alright?

Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, featuring Alicia Keys @ NRG Stadium
Yeah, yeah — if you want to go see Alicia Keys at the Rodeo, well, you’re probably already going. Still, though, I was happy to see her on the lineup this year; she’s a rare bright spot, for me, in a big pile of “meh.

Runners-Up:
Downtown Boys/Sneaks/Giant Kitty @ Walter’s ($8/$10)
Flynt Flossy & Turquoise Jeep/Yip Deceiver/iLL Faded/Hiram @ White Oak Music Hall
Electric Foam Season Opening Party, featuring Liquid Todd vs. Surain, Vance Lawrence, Albert Fix, & SJPJ @ Stereo Live
Backdrop Violet/Soapbox Revolution/Hello Planet @ Rudyard’s
SXSW Overflow Fest, featuring Shadow 13, Kloanoa, The Above Average Joe, & 54 Reasons @ Super Happy Fun Land
South Austin Moonlighters/Jimmie Dale Gilmore & Colin Gilmore @ McGonigel’s Mucky Duck
The Nightowls/Band On The Run @ The Continental Club
Blaggards @ T-Bone Tom’s (Kemah)
Rekliner 10 Year Anniversary, featuring Truncate, Henry Chow, Sasha Braverman, & Noey Lopez @ The Secret Group
A Night of Jazz in New Orleans, featuring the Stephen Richard Quartet @ Leon’s Lounge (1006 McGowen)


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