By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
By Jeff Balke
As if last year's 50 bands weren't enough, this year's installation of the Houston Press Music Awards offers up 60 bands for the same price: five bones. That's all it takes to show up on Sunday, July 16, trot from venue to venue down around Bayou Place and see some great live, original, homegrown music. And no, not every band will be some variation on white-boy blues-rock.
There're lots of new faces. Some have been around for years and have never gotten any recognition; some are brand-new to the scene and are carrying on as if they helped usher in the processed-cheese era. Original cowpoke Doug Supernaw brings his 19 years of gigging to the Hard Rock Cafe at 9 p.m. And original gangsta South Park Mexican, who has been a force of one these past seven years, is getting a chance to get jiggy at the Aerial Theater during that same time slot. In the still-wet-behind-the-ears class, everybody's favorite full-bodied entertainment act, Bo Patt, gets gonzo at Rehab at 6 p.m., while one-man-techno-band Population Zero will be making feet move at Spy an hour later. Every performer, from Jimmy T-99 Nelson (who in 1999 was nominated for two W.C. Handy Awards, the Grammy of the blues industry) to Jesse Dayton to 30footFALL to the Mark Dini Group to the Hollisters to Mi Rumba, is a pro. These are acts people normally pay two or three times as much to see -- and we're essentially giving 'em away. At the end of the evening, major-label studs and honorary Houstonians-for-a-day 8STOPS7 will perform at the Aerial Theater at 10:15 p.m.
An important aspect about attending this festival is the voting process. Inside each venue, Music Awards patrons will find writing implements, ballot boxes and ballots, on which are listed the names of each showcase performer and others who, for whatever reason, couldn't play. All it takes is two minutes to fill out one of the forms and drop it in a nearby ballot box. Winners will be announced in the second issue after the awards showcase. These lucky folk will receive Pressys (the Houston Press's answer to the Grammys) and something nice to put on their résumés. If a band's music moves you, then move to a ballot box and show your gratitude.
Allen Oldies Band
Nomination: Best Cover Band
Sound: Sweatin' to the oldies
Time logged: Four years
Etc.: Front man Allen Hill must've been one of those antsy, hammy kids in school. Watching him jump from one end of the crowded stage to the other, bumping over mike stands as he goes, is like watching someone's inner child blare as loud as bandmate Joe Earthman's sax. But just like the well-worn tunes the band plays, there's something sort of comforting about the whole shtick, something warm and fuzzy about the steady, predictable beats of guys like former Banana Blender Surprise front man David Beebe, who plays drums for the group. The Allen Oldies band recently joined Mojo Nixon in christening Houston's own installment of the Austin-famed Continental Club. -- J.F.
The Allen Oldies Band performs at 4 p.m. at the Hard Rock Cafe.
Nomination: Best DJ/Dance
Sound: Drum 'n' bass, dammit
Time logged: 15 years
Etc.: Audio 3 is pissed. An ardent supporter of drum 'n' bass, the turntable veteran (né Lionel Gonzalez) is rallying for more d-n-b to be played in Houston raves and nightclubs. The sight of seeing a d-n-b DJ being forced to play the second room of a party or having to deal with shitty lights and a bad sound system is the kind of stuff that really makes Audio 3 clench his jaws. This may be why he's planning to produce some original beats and release an album with his occasional partner in crime MC Swift. D-n-b supporters can find Audio 3 Wednesday nights at Club Waxx, where he plays jungle, reggae and, of course, drum 'n' bass. -- C.D.L.
Audio 3 performs at 8 p.m. at Spy (upstairs).
Nomination: Best Industrial/Noise
Sound: What Big Brother composes when he's not watching you pee
Time logged: 14 years
Etc.: Self-described purveyors of "electronic body music," this quartet has seen the new world order. And it ain't pretty -- although there are apparently endless stocks of lipstick and eyeliner implements. Listening to its most recent CD, Konspirosphere(ToneZone Records), one can almost feel the dry ice rising from the stage and see the strobe lights twirling around. But this band, with its Armageddon-in-a-bottle exhortations, has an equal grasp of robotics and rhythms, which can command your attention -- if not a urine sample. -- B.R.
Bamboo Crisis performs at 8 p.m. at No tsu oH.
Nomination: Best Folk/Acoustic
Sound: Sunshine on your shoulder
Time logged: Six years
Etc.: Big Holiday has racked up its share of honors for its sugary folk made edgy by bits of rock, but it has yet to win a Pressy. Perhaps this year the band will triumph. Influenced by the Indigo Girls and Fleetwood Mac as well as Queen, this six-member band offers accessible melodies, catchy hooks and the sweet voice of its lead vocalist, Lisa Novak. The band's noticeable progression toward a more rock sound has been a welcome change. -- S.C.