By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
It's time for another round of Houston Press Music Awards jinxes. Considering that last year's big winners were Japanic (who broke up six months later) and South Park Mexican (who's now looking at 45 years in the pen), some acts might be a little leery about taking home a trophy this year. John Evans, who leads the candidates with four nominations, should be especially nervous, as should other multiple nominees like the El Orbits, Texas Johnny Brown, Los Skarnales and Arthur Yoria. Since the Suspects have already announced that their breakup will follow the showcase almost immediately, you have to think their victory is all but certain. Perhaps they trumpeted the news of their demise just so they would win....
But for you, gentle readers (and even you brutal ones), life is good. More than 65 bands will provide eight hours of entertainment for a grand total of seven bucks. There's nothing like it in Houston -- for value, quality and sheer oddity. Where else are you going to see Grady Gaines packing up his sax while Pet Rooster tunes its banjos? Or Kalor's Tejano followed by Anguish in Exile's death metal? Or Jiggernaut's Celtic rock sandwiched between Simpleton's Chili Pepperesque sound and the syrup-saturated hip-hop of the Swishahouse All-Stars? Nowhere else but in a dream, and it would have to be a pretty weird dream at that.
Think about it: For less than the price of a beer at Minute Maid Park, you can get down for a whole evening to the sounds of three score and seven bands. Make a battle plan -- figure out the logistics of who you want to see each hour. Check out a few new bands (and venues), as well as your old favorites. And don't forget to vote for the best of the best.
As usual, we've tweaked the ballot a little. In the wake of the O Brother Where Art Thou? phenomenon, we added a bluegrass category and stumbled upon a thriving local community. We've also separated Tejano from Latin and divided the blues category into Contemporary and Traditional strains. Because of the decline in the number of ska acts and the continued scarcity of reggae bands, not to mention the relative strength of Houston's punk scene, we've moved ska out of punk's field and merged it with its latter-day Jamaican cousin. As always, we're open to suggestions about new categories and/or those that should be discontinued. We tried to add a mariachi section this year but couldn't find five bands in town. If anyone out there can nominate that number or more, we'll get it going on Sonora-style next year.
But hey, this little spiel has gone on long enough. As the great rockumentary filmmaker Marty DiBergi once said, "Enough o' my yakkin'. Let's boogie!" -- J.N.L.
It doesn't take Trik Turner long to address the big issues on the group's self-titled RCA debut album.
Consider the title of the album's first track: "Existence." It doesn't get any bigger than that, right? And the very first line uttered by singers/MCs David Bowers and Doug Rid Moore on this hard-rock anthem is "All my life I've searched for answers."
This early declaration of intent is worth noting because Trik Turner's blustery fusion of hard rock and hip-hop is undeniably trendy. The group has already gotten comparisons to Limp Bizkit, and more are certainly coming. But beneath the surface similarities, there really is a difference. Despite Fred Durst's post-9/11 attempt to transform himself into Gandhi with a backward cap, Limp Bizkit is -- and will always be -- lug-headed frat-boy fodder, lowest-common-denominator dung for people who consider "I did it all for the nookie" and "keep rollin', rollin', rollin'" to be cathartic pearls of wisdom.
With Trik Turner, on the other hand, you actually get the sense that the songs were written as a means of working out some internal angst or confusion, not merely as a way to meet porn stars.
A veteran of Phoenix's hip-hop scene, Trik Turner is also an anomaly because it comes off as a hip-hop group that added rock to the mix, rather than the other way around. In the context of the historic 1991 Public Enemy/Anthrax collaboration "Bring the Noise," it would be closer to Public Enemy (albeit with a live band to augment the DJ), whereas most of the groups in this idiom reek of Anthrax.
But whether you call the band rock-rap or rap-rock, Trik Turner always brings the noise. -- G.G.
10:15 p.m. Verizon Wireless Theater
The Allen Oldies Band
Best Cover Band
Helmed by the frenetic Allen Hill, High Priest of the Oldies, AOB plays danceable golden platters from the first decade of rock and roll, with particular affection for one-hit wonders from the glory days of AM radio. The group also includes David Schoenbaum (organ, guitar), David Beebe (drums), Jim Henkel (guitar), Joe Earthman (sax) and Mikey Trafton (bass). Hill's nutty unpredictability is the band's secret X-factor. His legendary antics include playing on the back of a flatbed truck cruising through downtown at lunchtime, running a 5K race in full tuxedo before mounting a stage at the finish line, and doing a 45-minute version of "Land of 1,000 Dances" during which he pulled the entire club audience up on stage. -- B.R.
5 p.m. Harlon's Bayou Blues