By William Michael Smith
By Jef With One F
By Craig Hlavaty
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Sonya Harvey
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Nathan Smith
By Craig Hlavaty
Best World Music
This eclectic ensemble combines serious chops and a taste for soulful, bluesy rock into an act that withstands the test of time. Formed in 1990, they have the musicianship and material to be taken seriously in a concert venue, but they also work with enough sweaty spunk and high energy to be welcome at any party. Where it seems many bands spend more time recording something to sell than playing, Global Village is only now recording its second album, a follow-up to 2000's Sugar What? In its 13th year, Global Village is still all about letting audiences feel the funk. -- G.B.
Mercury Room, 9 p.m.
Best Indie Rock
The Best New Act in 2000, Groceries were pipped at the post last year in the indie rock category by a handful of votes. One year later and the Westbury Squares are as kaput as their namesake shopping plaza, so things are looking up for the Pavement-like band headed by the singer (Matt Brownlie) with the most impressive Afro this side of Moochie Norris. -- J.N.L.
Dean's Credit Clothing, 6 p.m.
Opie Hendrix & The Texas TAllboys
Best Roots Rock/Rockabilly, Song of the Year ("My Favorite Waitress")
In Opie Hendrix's case, the "alt" in alt-country stands for "altered." Even when Hendrix is playing it straight, we keep looking to see if this natural prankster has his tongue is in his cheek or his fingers crossed. Following up Smashed Hits, his collection of altered send-ups, his recently released San Jacinto reveals an artist who has the voice to croon country ballads or pretty pop ditties, but who can just as easily drop it into overdrive for a booming, authentic, substance-fueled, Waylon-style stomp or even a blistering Billy Idol tribute. Yeah, he's a walking contradiction, but he's our by-God contradiction. -- W.M.S.
Live Sports Cafe, 6 p.m.
We're not sure if this metal band from Baytown got its name from trying to describe the effects of living too close to big industry, but the sextet can shred through its tunes faster than carcinogenic petrochemicals zip through your nostrils any day. The group soldiered on eventually after the tragic death in late 2000 of front man Danny (Defleshed) Ramirez, with new vocal ripper Andrew Perez adding more of a black metal influence to HD's death metal underpinnings. You won't be able to catch the band playing out much this summer now that it has turned its attention to production of a third CD, which is expected to carry on the tradition of its melodic/epic decimate-small-mammals-at-100-yards soundscape. -- G.B.
Barcode, 7 p.m.
Brutal lyrics and punishing rhythms imbue the original modern hard rock of these Northside noisemakers with up-and-comer status. New singer Jim Finley spits out brimstone and fire in songs about addiction, wasted relationships, suicide and even autoerotic asphyxiation (masturbation -- it can kill!). But don't get them confused with mope rockers liked Staind -- the Fracus boys also throw a rip-roaring, substance-snorting party more along the lines of Pantera or Stone Temple Pilots. HF appeals to stoners, headbangers, grease monkeys and mulletheads alike. -- B.R.
Barcode, 9 p.m.
Best Blues, Best Guitarist
He's a big draw on European stages, where his original, scorching Texas blues rock and covers of acts such as Albert Collins, Freddie King and Johnny Winter have garnered kudos. However, former teen prodigy Jay Hooks is still a bit underappreciated in his hometown. And though his vocal skills are limited and often unemotive, his six-string shredding has few peers -- Hooks treats the neck of his guitar like an extension of his own body. And like a forked lightning bolt, his solos often veer into interesting tributaries. His recent release, Red Line, has more ringing tones than a phone sex business, with a fine mixture of electric blues and white-boy boogie-rock. -- B.R.
Suede, 9 p.m.
Best Keyboardist (Thomas Wilson)
This has certainly been a year of transition for Houston music-scene vets the Hunger, who have a slew of dusty Press Music Award trophies on display at their studio. The band has some great new material to shop around, but has parted ways with longtime drummer Max Schuldberg. The band's hard-core fans still swear allegiance to the group's distinctive sound, though -- and just when it seemed that keyboards weren't cool anymore, along came a band like Hot Hot Heat to remind us all that the Hunger had already aced that sound before it became a trend. -- G.B.
Verizon Wireless Theater, 9 p.m.
Imagine George Jones harnessed to a country boogie band like Hank Jr.'s and you're in the heart of Davin James country. Not only can James growl and moan like the Possum, he can seriously shred his Les Paul when he feels rowdy. James, whose "Magnolia" was 2002 Song of the Year, swaps songs with the state's top Texicana musical poets at his regular Wednesday-night acoustic gig in Old Town Spring. He has a new album recorded and several Nashville showcases lined up where label execs will have a shot at signing one of Houston's most legit triple-threat country talents. -- W.M.S.
Mercury Room, 8 p.m.
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