By Chris Gray
By Corey Deiterman
By Jef With One F
By Chris Gray
By Rocks Off
By Rocks Off
Best Guitarist (Chris Sacco)
Most bands sound better recorded, where sound effects and computer tricks can gussy up even the most horrendous musician. But garage band Dune*TX sounds best live and close up. Okay, maybe not too close up, as the Dune*TX amps have only one setting: deafening. Last year's Goldenarmwas their best album to date and promises even better things yet to come. -- O.F.A.
Barcode, 8 p.m.
The El Orbits
Best Cover Band
They're loungey. They're groovy. They're just a little loony. But the El Orbits have cornered the niche on bingo games bands with a wide variety of covers. Pop standards, Tin Pan Alley, jazz, blues, even '70s soft rock are all in their repertoire, as documented on last year's Live in Houston, Texas. Drummer-singer David Beebe, bassist Paul Beebe, keyboardist the Dazzling Pete Gray and guitarist Jim Henkel show sincere reverence for the material rather than jokey, Gen-X irony. But they don't take themselves too seriously, despite a stolid fashion sense on par with Agent Smith from The Matrix. When they sing the theme from The Love Boat, you'll wish that Isaac was pouring you a tall cool one and giving moustache-grooming tips. -- B.R.
Hard Rock Cafe, 5 p.m.
John Evans Band
Best C&W, Best Roots Rock/Rockabilly, Best Male Vocalist, Local Musician of the Year
Last year's top winner in this contest, Evans is a Buddy Holly-looking tall drink of water with a lean and mean sound. His band plays the sort of honky-tonk your mama warned you about -- rocking and razor-sharp, thumping and rough-and-tumble -- and Evans's commanding stage presence and sturdy baritone are the perfect accompaniment. Off stage, Evans is producing a soon-to-be-released tribute to Willie Nelson that will come out on Best Local Label nominee Compadre Records in September. -- J.N.L.
St. Pete's Dancing Marlin, 9 p.m.
Best Metal/Industrial, Best Bassist (Marc Armaos)
Faceplant is becoming a Houston band in name only, and that's a good thing. With Jägermeister-sponsored club/arena gigs locked in for half the year, it now has headlining status guaranteed for its welcome-back-the-homeboys shows at Fitzgerald's. Having fattened up its rap-metal sound with the arrival of ex-Simpleton bassist Marc Armaos, and broadened its stylistic horizons on its most recent disc, Get Some, Faceplant has pretty much stated its case to its publishing company and fans that an even bigger breakout is in order. -- G.B.
Verizon Wireless Theater, 8 p.m.
Filthy McNasty & The Rhinestone Life
He wears a leather jacket. He cusses up a hurricane, tosses back strangers' drinks and has been known to perform with a thong on his head. He has a crew of groupies. He's an audience favorite yet a thorn in the side of every band he has shared a bill with. And that, above all else, is probably why he got a nod for Best Funk/R&B/Soul -- apart from the whole white-guy-singing-R&B angle. What was once the experimental side project of Fatal Flying Guilloteens guitarist Brian McManus has escalated into a blisteringly funny cult spectacle. -- C.D.L.
TOC Bar, 6 p.m.
The Fondue Monks
Best Bassist (Rozz Zamorano)
They haven't released a record since 1998's Baila Toca, but these men of the cloth have been anything but stagnant, constantly hitting stages in a flurry of gigs both here and around the country. Their à la carte musical menu of rock, blues, jazz and heavy funk have proved popular enough to make them unofficial musical ambassadors of the Bayou City. While many bands consist of players each pursuing their own agenda and musical direction (often at odds with each other), FM are a leading example of how bands should play together for their own boogie-down production. -- B.R.
Suede, 8 p.m.
Free Radicals with Harry Sheppard
Jazz is only the lettuce in the Free Radicals' salad bowl of sound. They also chop up and throw in a few slivers of old-school ska, shake out some fresh-ground hard funk and pour some extra-virgin hip-hop over the top. And depending on the night, they toss in a few croutons of African or Indian or Yiddish music as well. Vibist and heavy jazz cat Harry Sheppard brings a steadying influence to the musical anarchy, and a third Free Radicals record is due out soon. -- J.N.L.
Slainte Irish Pub, 8 p.m.
Grady Gaines & The Texas Upsetters
Best Horn/Horn Section, Album of the Year (Jumpstart)
Saxman Gaines trails only Texas Johnny Brown in the years-logged category -- he got his start in the 1950s as the leader of Little Richard's legendary Upsetters, and later played with Little Willie John, Gatemouth Brown, Big Walter the Thunderbird and Sam Cooke. Gaines is versatile, and the Upsetters can swing anything from gutbucket blues to trip-the-light fantastic disco, but the blues is his pleasure, if not always his business. Expect Gaines's warm tone and honking deluxe to be accompanied by Big Robert Smith, Patrick Harris and Paul David Roberts, three of the best blues singers in town. -- J.N.L.
Slainte Irish Pub, 6 p.m.