Live: John Mayer/The Night Game

John Mayer, on tour to promote his new album The Search For Everything, with newest single “Still Feel Like Your Man” on the radio right now, performed this past Sunday in The Woodlands, Texas, out at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. The multifaceted American singer songwriter, who’s best known for his Grammy Award-winning album…

Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked: Surviving FPSF 2017, Day One

It began with a screwup. On my part, mind you, nobody else’s. Before I get to that, though, there’re some things that need to be said about FPSF, aka The Festival Formerly Known As Free Press Summer Festival…

Look Back Into the Sun: One Writer’s Reminiscences from Eight Years of FPSFs Past

With FPSF 2017 less than a week away, it occurred to me that over the eight years this festival’s been alive and kicking, I’ve been fortunate enough to witness some really, truly awesome bands and musicians. So I thought it might be cool to trawl back through memories…

Live: The Pixies/Public Access T.V.

Top-heavy grays find me through a patchwork of dew and concrete, waiting for the bus to school. I didn’t have the language for it at the time, but anxiousness, the feeling that the weight of the world was always coming down to me, was real. Like a lot of kids (maybe?) growing up around my age, I found a special comfort in The PixiesSurfer Rosa

Live: Deerhunter/Aldous Harding/Jock Gang

The Deerhunter concert was one I had been looking forward to since the last time I was able to see them in concert, which, unfortunately, was several years ago at SXSW — far too long. The evening began with Jock Gang, a band from Atlanta that I wasn’t familiar with, but their pounding noise-rock-meets-Velvet Underground sound grew on me as they played…

Live: Ra Ra Riot/Young the Giant

In an effort to get out of my comfort zone and expand my horizons (not to mention an effort to return to going to more shows, after a long break), when I received an email asking to review Syracuse, New York’s Ra Ra Riot

Frog Hair’s “My Best Foot Forward” Wants to Steal Fire from the Gods

From the moment the video for Frog Hair’s “My Best Foot Forward” begins, it is clear both in its immediate inspirations and the longer, deeper history it is part of. A lonely-looking mad scientist puppet weaves his perfect companion together, or attempts to, unaware that he is succeeding beyond his wildest dreams…

Waiting on the Next Storm: (Just Barely) Surviving FPSF 2016, Day One

First Thing #1: Apologies for my slowness in getting this online; as happens with the whole having-kids thing, summertime means not only Free Press Summer Festival, but also Vacation Time…

Free Press Summer Fest 2016: Thoughts and Photos

First off, I’m very saddened to learn of FPSF attendee Megan Tilton‘s death. It makes reviews like this seem very trivial. I am praying for her family and hope they get to the bottom of the story of how she passed on…

Live: Angel Olsen/Lionlimb

The mesmerizing, hypnotizing, beautiful Angel Olsen and her four-piece band came to Houston for a show at Fitzgerald’s a little while back, bringing with them the opening band, Lionlimb, who happened to be Ms. Olsen’s guitarist Stewart Bronaugh and drummer Josh Jaeger‘s band. Lionlimb were an easy-going, light surf-rock-meets-Pink Floyd affair…

SXSW Preview 2015: 15(-ish) New(-ish) Bands We Want to See While in Austin

Hey, folks — I’m headed to SXSW this week, and I wanted to give a quick rundown of the 15 new-by-newish bands I can’t wait to see at SXSW. They’re in alphabetical order, with very short descriptions of each and a video that you should watch to decide for yourself…

Live: Shovels and Rope/Willie Watson

Shovels and Rope have played Houston before, but it must have been a while ago, because it seems like I’ve been waiting forever to see them live since I learned about them, thanks to them winning the Americana Music Award for Emerging Artist of 2013 over my beloved Milk Carton Kids. “Who are these guys that beat my favorite act?,” I thought…

Live: REI Summer Fest

With the majority of Houston’s social circles out and about, seeing and being seen wearing white at White Linen Night in The Heights, it wasn’t a huge surprise that REI Summer Fest became the ultimate (nearly-) private party of the weekend. For a little background, “REI” stands for “Real Estate Investing.” During the day, the attendees went to what I assume was…

Live: Chicago/REO Speedwagon

Once upon a time, I was not a jaded 44-year-old hipster doofus. I was a 12-year-old kid who loved The Beatles, a band which belonged to the generation before me, and the progressive supergroup Asia, who I thought completely belonged to me…

Live: Temples

Every January, I start the new year by trying to find my new favorite bands that will be playing at South by Southwest. This year brought me several candidates, but in the end a UK band named Temples won the crown. I saw them the first night of SXSW at a free unofficial show, then again at a day party the next day…

Live: Band of Skulls/SACCO

Back in the spring, I was pretty swamped, but I made a concerted effort to get out and see some very good shows, like this one, where Band of Skulls and opener SACCO made a great to of it up at Warehouse Live. I have a good friend named Sacco — Chris Sacco, from the Houston band dUNE.TX, to be specific — so when I first saw the name…

Live: Buxton’s 10-Year Anniversary Show

Ten years is a long time to be in a band. It’s like dog years. I’ve never been in a band for ten years — the band I’m in now has had the name for that long, but only one of the guys has been in the band the whole time… So like I said, ten years is a long time, and that’s something to celebrate…

Lauryn Hill Stole the Show at FPSF 2014

Outside the gates of FPSF 2014 were members of the Communist Party of America passing out one-sheet pamphlets and issuing their warnings. Outside the gates were Wu-Tang Fans, too poor or too smart to enter…

Live: Catch Fever/American Fangs/Featherface/BLSHS

Houston, yes, we’re rocking these days! There must have been four concerts I wanted to attend on this particular night, but I chose the Catch Fever Shiny Eyes CD release party…

Live: Manchester Orchestra/Balance and Composure/Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band

Yes! It was a Monday night at a packed House of Blues with one of my favorite bands of the last five years, Manchester Orchestra. It was a great start to an incredible fortnight of music that would include HAIM and Mogwai later in the week and a long list of bands…

Live: HAIM/Shy Girls

HAIM finally made their first trip to Houston, and after seeing them at Austin City Limits Festival in October, I had the date marked on my calendar months in advance. I’ve been a fan since early 2013 when I heard them by chance on satellite radio and I’ve been kicking myself ever since…

Live: Kings of Leon/Local Natives

Last week at the Woodlands Pavilion was, for me at least, a tale of two bands. It was the best of bands, it was the worst of bands. Well, maybe that’s harsh, but I did come away from the show scratching my head…

Live: Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

This is a tough review to write, because the performance left me absolutely speechless. For the unknowing, Sharon Jones spent most of 2013 fighting cancer. Therefore, I’d expected that her high-energy shows of the past would remain in the past, but this night proved me so wrong…

Live: Paste Untapped Festival Houston

I should know to always leave a little extra time between getting to a show and actually expecting to get in, but as usual, I was running on time instead of early. That nearly made me late — there was quite a line forming at about 4:30…

SXSW 2014 Preview: Thirteen Bands/Musicians We’re Psyched To See This Year

Welcome to my “Baker’s Dozen of Must See (Relatively) New Acts at SXSW 2014” Blog, if you’re heading to Austin this week…and why wouldn’t you be? I mean, we’re all teachers who get Spring Break off, right?…

Live: CHVRCHES/Basecamp

The dreaded common cold. It came out of nowhere, only two weeks after I endured the flu and one day into my Thanksgiving vacation. But it didn’t stop me from heading out to a sold-out House of Blues to see one of 2013’s feverish break-out synthpop bands, CHVRCHES

Live: BuzzFest 2013

My reason for going to Buzzfest, aside from photography, stems from an interesting summer I had this year learning Stone Temple Pilots basslines. I became a Rob DeLeo (bassist of STP) fanatic during this time, getting down about 18 songs of theirs note-by-note. I briefly joined a Stone Temple Pilots tribute band…

Live: The Manichean at The Alley

Sometimes a show is just a show. That sounds sad, but it’s the truth; not every show is mindblowingly awesome, and even the good ones are just “hey, that was cool”-level good, most of the time. Call me a cynic if you want, but I’ve been to a ton of shows…

Think Like A Photographer: FPSF 2013, Looking Through the Viewfinder

I’m supposed to be on vacation! And here it is July, and I’m finally finding time to write about my Free Press Summer Festival experience. Right after FPSF I headed out on an incredible California and Oregon trip to surprise my sister for her birthday, as well as see…

Let The Bass Drop: Surviving FPSF 2013, Day One

If there’s anything I’ve learned in all the years I’ve spent doing critical writing, both in college and after, it’s that you can make anything have a theme. Not that everything actually has a theme, mind you, but rather that if you read…

Live: Deafheaven/Marriages

What was I, a person who considers Jeff Buckley’s Grace to be the pinnacle of modern musicianship, doing at a black metal concert? A person whose only real venture into harder music consists of ownership of The Dillinger Escape Plan’s…

Live: Gary P. Nunn (Playing Wednesday at Main Street Crossing)

When Gary P. Nunn began to play “What I Like About Texas,” I said to Dosey Doe Music Cafe house photographer Dave Clements, “It reminds me of when Ray Wylie plays ‘Redneck Mother’.” “Ray Wylie hates playing ‘Redneck Mother’,” Dave said…

Live: Flying Lotus/Thundercat

Fresh off an appearance on the slightly insane but brilliant cartoon Adventure Time, LA’s experimental producer Steven Ellison, aka Flying Lotus, recently graced Houston with his presence at Warehouse Live

SXSW Report 2013: Young Dreams, The Tontons, Family of the Year, J. Thoven, The Livids, Featherface, & More

As it does every year I’ve gone (six times since 2004), SXSW overwhelms me, exhausts me, and most of all makes me glad to be a musician and music fanatic. Anyone who throws the one-liner out there, “there’s no good music anymore!” is just…

Preview Time: The March Divide at Super Happy Fun Land, This Friday

Odds are if you’ve only ever heard one song by The March Divide, that song would be “Still Analog.” In that catchy pop song, Jared Putnam (formerly of The Conversation) mostly spends the chorus begging someone named Shannon to come see him…

Live: The Wheel Workers/The Wandering Bufaleros/Jealous Creatures/Second Lovers

When you have been in bands for 25 years, you can tell when a band has put everything they’ve got into a performance. This kind of effort was on display at Fitzgerald’s last night. With the release of their new album, Past to Present, The Wheel Workers

SXSW 2013 Countdown: SXSW Preview Time Is Upon Us

I had a late start, but at this point I am absolutely drowning in the music of the acts heading to Austin to promote their wares at 2013’s incarnation of South by Southwest. I’ve been jigsaw-puzzling my schedule together for the last few days…

The City Has Become Too Safe: Remembering The Axiom in Verse

Recently, while waiting around at Fitzgerald’s for sound check before the Axiom reunion, I had an unearthly feeling. As I wandered around the old club, I felt like a ghost and I could see the shadows of crowds and bands who I had seen there before. I saw familiar, unforgotten faces, old friends…

Live: The Bright Light Social Hour/Ishi

I have Houston promoter Hector Del Valle to thank for my first exposure to The Bright Light Social Hour; he brought them from Austin to Houston for the Daniel Johnston 50th birthday party concert. I was actually there to see my friends…

Live: Rush

As a precursor to this review… I was completely unfamiliar with the term “steampunk,” and only just read about it when researching Rush. Now that I know what it is, I can see how they would be interested in such fantastic designs. In a nutshell, steampunk deals with a futuristic vision using only items of the distant past…


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