Thursday, January 15, 2009

Southern Angels - The Airon Paul Dugas Benefit

By now we all know the story of December the 14th. The day that our beloved ice cream troubadour was sunk into a world of pain that only two tons of steel and fiberglass can deliver.

Here's the story of December the 27th, the night that Houston proved that Airon wasn't the only Southern Angel in town. Folks turned out en masse to check out the stellar line up, win big in the awesome raffles and to give, give, give and give some more.


Ain't no one that don't know Butch. As front man for Houston instituion, nay, tradition, 30footFALL, Butch has been making a mark on young show goers for 2 decades. Recently, Butch has been making the rounds as a singer-songwriter of the country-folk variety. Mixing covers and originals, his performances are compelling and heartfelt. He opened the show up with a perfect tribute to the Man of the Hour.

Guitars - picture by Megan Fraser of Boston, MA

I would be a special kind of asshole to comment on the performance of my own band, so I'll leave it at this: It was an honor and a privilege to be a part of this benefit.

Wild Moccasins

Houston's own sugarcoated sons (and daughter) of indie rock, Wild Moccasins proved once again that they embody the big changes this city is facing in 2009. Real musicians playing real music injected with so much love that it's contagious. KEEP. IT. UP.

John Baldwin of Teenage Kicks

It seems like Teenage Kicks play every show that I ended up reviewing. How lucky am I? These guys are a treat for the eyes and ears and are also surfing that big ol' wave of new blood that's crashing on the shores of our city's stages. By all means, be good to yourself, be into this band.

Ted Conway of Friendship (big "F") awash in a sea of friendship (little "f")

The main attraction of the night was far and away the reunion set of Friendship (unfortunately, sans Garrett Arnold). Bodies thrashing, clothes flying, sweat spraying, we were all friends for this moment in time.

Surprise! You're amazing! Ray Brown of Paris Falls

Perhaps closest to Airon's heart are his would-be backing band and force in their own right, Paris Falls. The trio were a soothing interlude between the frenzied riot of Friendship and the impending aural bloodbath of Dannzig.

Our scene's perennial emcee, JD Tucker

Benefit organizer JD Tucker took the time before Dannzig's set to announce the winners of the raffle prizes. Long story short: I really wanted the $200 gift certificate for tattoo work by Gregg Higgins, I spent a respectable sum on raffle tickets and suffice it to say, I did in fact win said prize. I also won a $200 gift certificate the Apollo, which I gave back to be re-raffled seeing as I don't own a scooter, I also won a Sound Exchange gift certificate, which I kept, and two Amy's Ice Cream gift certificates which I also forfeited to those more needy. Other prizes included a $200 gift certificate to iheartu, an accoustic guitar, gift certificates to Mission Burrito, and I believe Rockin' Robin and Musicwise (I apologize for not remembering exactly). On top of all of this was a badass silent auction featuring among other entertainment artifacts, signed photos of Eddie Murphy, Hulk Hogan, Bob Dylan, and Mick Jagger.

Some Kinda Hate - Dann Miller of Dannzig

Ending the night was the second appearance of good time cover band Dannzig. Dann Miller's Glenn Danzig is insanely spot-on, and have quiet possibly earned the crown as the best Misfits/Samhain/Danzig/any combination thereof cover band this town has seen, and we have seen alot.

This benefit was a massive success, bringing in quite a chunk of change for our indisposed friend. And was a giant I love you to a guy to whom we wish the speediest of recoveries.

The rest of the photos can be found HERE.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Noise & Smoke 2 - Less Smoke, More Noise

Festival promoter Liz Molina returns to Houston with a scaled back version of last year’s successful Noise & Smoke festival, this time around joining forces with local magic makers Rosa Guerrero and Anna Garza. Paring down to one evening at two adjoining spaces the efficiency of pure face-rockage has been brought to levels unseen in the slowly-awakening giant that is Houston’s music scene.

not pictured Liz Molina, pictured Chris Ryan

So, to start things off, let’s meet our DJ’s. On deck at Dean’s we’ve got local standby CeePlus and self-proclaimed catlover PRKL8R spinning dance jams. Over at Notsuoh Coach Springer is showing good hustle with his solid line-up of rock & roll crushers.

Kicking off the night? Appropriately, it’s Teenage Kicks on stage at Dean’s. These sharp dressed young men have been delivering their tight power-pop/punk tunes to Houston audiences over the past year. With an obvious nod to power-pop godfathers The Undertones, these boys lead the charge locally (along side fellow popsters Something Fierce) in the return to the pop-punk heyday of the Houston scene, albeit in a more sophisticated and stylish manner than their predecessors of a decade prior. Drummer, John Baldwin expressed his gratitude to the early crowd whose number was merely an indication of the frenzied mass that would be swarming these two venues by night’s end.

Heading next door to the Notsuoh stage we find the battle of the century, the rumble in the former department store! It’s U.S. Grime pioneer B L A C K I E taking on Chemical City pot-stirrers Cop Warmth in a full-on aural assault. These fellas have been having a knock-down, drag-out all over town recently and deliver a KO by decision to any audience that happens upon their path of destruction, and tonight was no different. Cop Warmth vocalist Bryan Jackson swapped the mic with B L A C K I E over the course of their physically provoking set, though it wouldn’t be his only work out of the night…

It’s been a little over a year since The Takes took to Houston clubs, injecting their hardcore-tinged pop-punk into the simmering garage rock scene, opening for much-hyped touring acts like Jay Reatard and The Points. Many a local band has been stoked to share the stage with these up-and-comers, just as many an audience has been equally as stoked to see them. Delivering an explosive set of their quick-hitting jams, The Takes melted faces all over Dean’s in one of the most rocking sets of the night, even being joined by the drummer from Cop Warmth who dealt out some shouts of his own.

San Antonio’s proudly lo-fi, low-life experimental trash punks Patsy take the stage next at Notsuoh, and their parents are out of town and they have cigarettes. Going into this set all I knew was that they had gotten kicked off the stage in Austin of all places for keeping it a little too weird. I also gleaned from their myspace that they are fiercely DIY, which may be a result of no one else wanting to lend these ear-splitters a hand. But hey, no one liked Sonic Youth in the beginning, either, right? I might claim this set to be the most thoroughly enjoyable surprise of the night. You never know what you’re going to get when it comes to experimental noise rock, and Jake and Matt went above and beyond my expectations. They even threw in a cover of “Where Eagles Dare”, which caused me to wonder for the rest of the night if it was an homage to Liz’s stints in Lizifuge and Lizfits.

Removing your ears soundly from the vice-like grip of the preceding noise, Vincent Trails lulls the crowd into a false sense of security with his profane brand of country-folk. His songs go down like a sugar-coated razorblade, sweet to the taste yet filled with barbs sure to upset your tummy…if your brain is the digestive system of the ear, that is. Keeping with Patsy’s thing, Trails also gave a musical shout out to a certain Mr. Danzig. I also learned that is very hard to take pictures of a band when you are standing directly behind them.

After a short break due to a timeslot swap, Gulfcoast Hardcore stalwarts El Desmadre brought their down-home thrash to Dean’s, pledging to “rip [the] face off” of the tough guys with their jock bullshit and “throw it in the middle of the circle pit”. And rip off faces, they did. Their set was cut short when a cop got HOT and as a result the final Dean’s set of the night, Homopolice, was moved over to Notsuoh. EL DESMADRE! H-TOWN POR VIDA!

Marking a legendary moment in recent Houston music history, the reunited Mydolls take the stage at Notsuoh. Formed in 1978, Mydolls are the quintessential Houston indie band. Nevermind The Judy’s whose hype overshadows their collective catalog, and nevermind The Hates, whose longevity has carved their niche as a local institution. Mydolls blazed the trail that many a Houston band has tread. Prolific in their recording and ambitious in their touring, even appearing in the Wim Wenders film Paris, Texas, Mydolls could not avoid the all too familiar fate of sinking into the Houston swamps of musical obscurity, disappearing from the radar of even the most knowing of indie music enthusiasts. The recent release of the career retrospective A World Of Her Own has found Mydolls back in the local spotlight for a new generation of initiates to dive head first into their still-relevant political post-punk. And if anything, their set reinforced that relevance. The band absolutely beaming, gave it their all as they were showered with enthusiastic love from the adoring crowd. At one point the band was joined by the wife of the bassist, Dianna, who has been recently rehearsing with the reformed band, and singer, Trish, gave a quick call to action on the reversal of everyone’s least favorite ballot item Prop 8. All four members brought it hard and kept bringing it as the audience pleaded for multiple encores. I can only hope that this marks just the beginning of the Mydolls return to the live music limelight.

As we leave the midnight hour behind us, the slinking and sensuous Balaclavas mount the stage at Notsuoh, filling the air with anticipation and dread. Inflicting the crowd with their vicious death-dirge of post-punk nihilism, the band is perfect for this witching hour set. Unfortunately, my camera was not doing me much good from my outside vantage point as the audience overflowed onto the sidewalk, but rest assured it was nauseatingly beautiful.

Not Balaclavas.

Winding down (up?) the evening are the new Beau Beasley/Josh Wolf/Chris Ryan/Tom of Montrose sensory-rape-team, Homopolice steaming hot out of a backalley Lola’s hatefuck. I’m almost thankful that this set was moved to Notsuoh, as I don’t know that Dean’s would have survived the assault. I first noticed that Beau had traded his bass for a trash can and a stick and then just as the set was about to being, traded spit with frontman Josh Wolf. Sex and violence hung (heh heh) heavy in the air. In a second physically involved set of the fest, Homopolice literally assaulted the audience with dives and kicks and punches and the oft-hurled metal trash can. From my vantage in the DJ booth the boys looked and sounded FANTASTIC. I am always thrilled by the officers performances and I can’t get enough. However, my husband told me that the scene was very different for those actually in the audience, most people were terrified for their lives and simply wanted to survive. Um…sounds like a good show to me.

Closing out the second annual Noise & Smoke Fest are the best looking band to come off the streets of Montorse, Born Liars. The Liars are the sure thing. If you are ever in doubt about the funness-factor of any given bill, the presence of this down and dirty foursome is the satisfaction guarantee. The addition of the busiest man in Houston this side of Beau Beasley, Josh Vaughn (aka The Wolf) on drums only cranks the good times meter to astronomical heights. With a threat (or a promise) to do all of your coke, and to rock straight to the top of the Houston music scene, the Liars ignited the crowd into a rock & roll orgy that’s seen more often upstairs at Notsuoh than on the actual stage. It was at this point in the night that things became a blur. Now I was safely in the DJ booth trading flasks with a faceless stranger (how did I not see his face?), I looked out upon the ocean of bodies as the waves of sweat crushed the shores of the stage. I saw a camera being held aloft as a certain little lady struggled not to be sacrificed to this Noise & Smoke Carousel (bonus Logan’s Run reference). Tonight wasn’t a good night. It was a legendary night, one that few in attendance will ever forget, certainly not me. As the Liars wound down their set, I saw Coach who was now at the bar he gave me a nod and I knew what I had to do. I followed the cables from the back of the decks, not finding the right knobs to crank “White Light/White Heat”, I relented, hoping for the best and pushed play on the CD player and said goodnight.

A thank you to Ramon for asking me to cover this (and for the beer), Meg for letting me borrow your camera when mine was being a jerk, Pope Jon for bringing me my camera charger, and an extra special thanks to Liz, Anna, and Rosa who made this all happen.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Blog You Like a Hurricane


We stocked up on water, food, alcohol, toilet paper and batteries for our cigarette amps. When the power went out we recorded songs with a laptop for The Hurricane Sessions. Once the songs are mixed we'll let you know. For now, we have the pictures...

While others were "hunkering down" we were eating Mexican food at Kuko's.

There were last minute security measures.

We were all set.

Macks was all set, too.

We were holding out for the power to stay on so we set the amps up.

We hope you had plenty of water to flush the toilet.

Here is our very wet friend who stayed behind.

There's a river on our street.

Guitars getting ready to rock.

Maybe we use the keytar?

The Snake don't need no power.

Pope Jon has a seat.

The Avenue of the Oaks.

This treehouse didn't make it.

Folks couldn't wait to clean up.

This house-house didn't make it.

Things are ruff all over.

My circuit board! Oh no!

You'll probably need to turn around.

All the little guys were totally fine.

Totally essential needs.

Totally essential sandwich.

Shepherd Park Plaza got hit fairly bad.

My mom lost her back fence.

And her side fence.

But at least this didn't happen.

My grandmother's house seemed alright.

The side of the house was a different story.

You said it!

Please do!

And back to the guitars.

Red sky at night, etc.


Monday, September 15th was Pope Jon PPPP's birthday.

He got his birthday wish that we recorded with electricity.

Electricity and dogs...

On September 16th we met up with a friend who had a ginormous tree in his street.

The sidewalk was totalled.

Erik Mabbun skated that shit.

I giffed it.

Steven and Pope Jon talked about a fight at the Austin Power Pop Fest.

Snake, Chris and Mabbun chillaxed.

The rest of the pictures are here, here, and here.