By Chris Gray
By Corey Deiterman
By Jef With One F
By Chris Gray
By Rocks Off
By Rocks Off
Jimmy's Pawn Shop
Best Drummer (Leesa Harrington-Squyres)
There's kind of a shortage of plain ol' ass-kicking rock bands. The kind that might be more than a little offended by the term "garage." The kind whose expertise and style fall more in line with the Faces' and the Stones'. Jimmy's Pawn Shop fits that description. The band plays straightforward guitar-rock and is known for venturing into long jams through which bassist-keyboardist Jimmy Dundon, guitarist Eric Dane and drummer Leesa Harrington-Squyres execute textbook blues-infused rock and roll. Dane (who also doubles as a guitarist for Greg Wood) still sports his trademark shag haircut with qualified pride. He had one way before those guys in the John Sparrow. -- T.S.
M Bar, 7 p.m.
The John Sparrow
Best Indie Rock
They may describe their sound as "Southern soul meets AC/DC," but that could be just another way to say "maximum R&B." At any rate, the John Sparrow is Houston's prime purveyor of Who-infused, Paul Weller-style mod rock. Guitarist Trey Barnette and singer-guitarist Kevin Richardson front the bass of Steve Longoria and Michael DeLeon's Keith Moon-style drums in this fairly new Houston quartet. The band recently signed with L.A. label Bomp!, with whom they will soon release an album produced by the Brian Jonestown Massacre's Anton Alfred Newcombe. Johnny-come-latelies to their shag haircuts or no (see above), the John Sparrow has just about as good a chance as any local band to break out in 2004. -- J.N.L.
St. Pete's Dancing Marlin, 7 p.m.
Best Lounge DJ
Ethan Klein may have a surprise for those who check out his late-afternoon set at the showcase this Sunday. The first spinner out of the performing gate, he wants to show off his skills to folks who think he's the lounge DJ those who nominated him believe him to be. "I hate being categorized," he once exclaimed, and rightfully so. The best spinners are the ones who can weave together different styles of music into one eclectic, energetic flow, and Klein is a cat who takes exceptional pride in that. He's a decknician-for-hire, but a decknician-for-hire who plays by his own rules. He's kinda like Toshiro Mifune in those Kurosawa samurai movies, bouncing from party to party, scratching his goatee, surveying the scene and, eventually, just ripping shit up. -- C.D.L.
Boaka Bar, 5 p.m.
Best Roots Rock/Rockabilly
These rockabilly cats are another band that goes back to the once thriving scene at the Blue Iguana. Their look and music is '50s hepcat, and the cuffs-rolled-up, pompadours-piled-high swagger comes with the requisite tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. Titles like "Pomade and Hand Grenades," "Hot Rod Nissan" and "Cattiwampus" make their three albums worth returning to and their gigs more fun than boppin' at the high school hop. Dry-clean the hoop skirts, iron the bowling shirts, and don't forget to put on your best rockin' shoes, 'cause wherever the Luxurious Panthers are, there's a party goin' on. -- W.M.S.
Lady D & The Zydeco Tornadoes
Female bandleaders in zydeco are rare. Louisiana's Rosie Ledet is one prominent exception, as is Houston's own Lady D, the "Diva of Zydeco." As befits a zydeco diva, leopard-skin-print coats and cowboy hats are de rigueur, as they say in St. Martinville, as is the good-timin' button accordion. The Diva's excellent band is more complex than most -- male choruses back her, as do organ and sax in addition to the usual squeezebox/frottoir/rhythm section mix. Like Ledet, who once promised listeners "You Can Eat My Poussière," Lady D doesn't shy from the spicy double entendre, as evidenced by her "Squeeze My Box." -- J.N.L.
Dean's Credit Clothing, 5 p.m.
Best New Act
Droningly hypnotic post-punk/power pop is this new quartet's stock-in-trade, a sound that can remind you of the Foo Fighters at times and Hüsker Dü at others. Lest you think them a gloomy lot, let it be known that some of the band members also perform as KISS tribute band Rip and Destroy. Stickman-singer Frank Bullington has another interesting part-time job: He's one of the drummers at the Rockets home games. But in this band he shares vocals with the freewheelin' Lani Ordone. -- J.N.L.
Live Sports Cafe, 5 p.m.
Best Rock en Español
Recently these rockeros bested several other locals in a battle of the bands and won a deal with BMG records. Not as rootsy as Los Skarnales, nor as experimental as Chango Jackson, Libby's Dream is the most straight-ahead rock of the rock en español bunch. -- J.N.L.
St. Pete's Dancing Marlin, 5 p.m.
Forget about bright, upbeat, see-only-the-good ditties or terminally banal odes to saving the environment. While Lise Liddell's vibe is airily New Age, literate and even demure, lyrics like "you've seen what meets the eye, but there's a lot more lying there / and when you see me naked, you may not wish to stare" can be as unblinkingly black-heart-dark as Leonard Cohen's. And what's a nice Houston girl doing singing about being thrown on a funeral pyre, anyway? -- W.M.S.
Suede, 6 p.m.