Rock You like a Hurricane

The Press Music Awards Showcase brings a category-five storm of tunes

Arthur Yoria
Local Musician of the Year, Best Male Vocalist, Songwriter of the Year

"If you stay with me / I'll make it poetry," vows Yoria in the title opener to his third release. Another hungry promise to a potential lover? Or a plea to puzzled fans to allow his evolution? For I'll Be Here Awake (eligible for Album of the Year contention in 2004), Houston's alterna-pop laureate overhauled his backing band and launched a new imprint, 12 Records (with former Rocket/longtime music enthusiast Matt Maloney). Yoria's renewed edginess may startle longtime listeners at first, but that delicious vocal ache and those signature velvet-knuckle lyrics anchor the program as always. Long live the poetry. -- J.T.
Live Sports Cafe, 9 p.m.

Norma Zenteno Band
Best Latin

Could this be the year that Zenteno is deposed from her decade-plus reign as Houston's Queen of Salsa? After all, she did make those Casa Olé commercials, and we all know what happened next to José Lima, that restaurante's previous, ahem, "pitch"- man. So will Zenteno succumb to the Casa Olé jinx? Don't bet on it. We'd just as soon let Nolan Ryan get away from us as not vote Zenteno tops in town. Oh, wait, we did that, too... -- J.N.L.
M Bar, 9 p.m.

Mark Zeus/Thunderboltz
Best Folk/Acoustic

Just call Mark Zeus Mister Everywhere. Besides fronting his revolving-cast band Thunderboltz, the Chicago transplant tirelessly runs open-mike nights, works as a harmonizing mandolin slinger sideman with Melinda Mones and Lisa Novak on their acoustic gigs, collaborates with country-billy chanteuse Kim Carson, takes on studio work, and writes letters to the editor of the Press in his spare time. While most of Zeus's live work these days is in the alt-country and folk genres, his Thunderboltz albums are filled with an eclectic mix of edgy rock, jazzy blues and even some swampy bayou funk he's picked up in H-town. -- W.M.S.
St. Pete's Dancing Marlin, 6 p.m.

Blue October: Best Rock/Pop, Album of the Year 
(History For Sale)
Blue October: Best Rock/Pop, Album of the Year (History For Sale)

Best Funk/Soul/R&B, Best Female Vocals (Jessica Zweback)

It's not often that you find the Bulgarian Women's Chorus, Donny Hathaway and Daryl Hall in one band's list of influences, but Zwee is that band. While it's difficult to isolate a Balkan feel in their soul-funk jam band stew, the band members -- which include brother and sister Frank and Jessica Zweback -- do know a thing or two about a groove. Their name might remind you of crackers, but their sound doesn't. -- J.N.L.
Hard Rock Cafe, 8 p.m.

Zydeco Dots
Best Zydeco

Another year, another nomination for this Creole music combo that defines "mainstay." The Dots have won every year that there has been a zydeco category in the Press Music Awards. In a town full of touring zydeco acts such as Step Rideau, Lil' Brian & the Zydeco Travelers and J. Paul Jr., it seems a little odd that these mostly homebound guys should win every year, but if you think about it, that's the very reason for their success. They're at every festival, every wedding, every corporate shindig in town -- in fact, they're downright godlike in their H-town zydeco omnipresence. -- J.N.L.
Slainte Irish Pub, 9 p.m.

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