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
Little Brother Project
Best Guitarist (Marc Reczek)
Recent lineup shuffles have made it difficult to predict how the current incarnation of Little Brother Project will sound. When we caught up with them in January, though, their narcotic jazz-funk jam music had us pretty hypnotized at their still-running residency at Dean's Credit Clothing. -- J.N.L.
M Bar, 4 p.m.
Lonestar Bluegrass Band
Around in one form or another since 1982, the Lonestar Bluegrass Band is full of top-rung pickers. Leader Chris Hirsch is three-time (and current) Texas State Banjo Champion, and fiddler Adam Cutts won his first fiddle contest in Crockett, Texas, at the age of ten. With a lineup rounded out by guitarist/harmonica blower and high tenor Don Hayes and well-traveled bassist James Hicks, these winners of the 2002 Best Bluegrass award have spent more than 100 years cumulatively playing bluegrass, and their latest album, The Best of Times, covers everything from Bill Monroe to Lynyrd Skynyrd to "Route 66." -- W.M.S.
Brewery Tap, 7 p.m.
Songwriter of the Year
Another band from the dreaded "we kind of sound like Radiohead/Jeff Buckley" vein, Michael separates from the pack by being better at it than most and occasionally doing it in Spanish. The band's namesake is Michael Flores, a former member of Christian band Three Crosses, who has that high tenor so much in vogue and a band that provides him with hooks o' plenty. -- J.N.L.
BAR Houston, 5 p.m.
Best Dance DJ
This year, hard house-head Mister Spacely learned an important thing about being a DJ: You don't have to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Last year on his Web site he posted a bunch of nasty-ass Webcam shots of ladies posing rather uninhibitedly while clasping his mix CDs. They were some jaw-dropping shots, but ultimately, it didn't win him any big votes for Best Dance/DJ. His site has now been sanitized, with more emphasis placed on the music he plays. Besides, why do you have to go all sleazy when you already have a hook: You're the dude who spins with a friggin' gas mask on, man! -- C.D.L.
Boaka Bar, 8 p.m.
Molly & The Ringwalds
Best Cover Band
Considering the deluge of retro nights dotting the club calendar, it's obvious that Houston refuses to forget (or outgrow) the music of the '80s. While not overtly profound, its ditsy charm still makes an ideal soundtrack to booze-fueled weekend escapism. Surely the Continental Club had this in mind when it recently offered its Friday happy-hour residency to these Reagan-era preservationists. "Jessie's Girl" and "Jane Says" are replicated with equal reverence, if not concise faithfulness, and the fun can't help but spill from the stage onto the dance floor. -- J.T.
Dean's Credit Clothing, 8 p.m.
Taking their name from a catchphrase from the Adam Sandler flick Billy Madison, this self-described "happy dork band" has had to slow the touring a little bit as one of its founding members was recently on a Mormon mission. (Quick -- name another band with Mormons in it. If you said Bachman Turner Overdrive, give yourself a gold star.) O'Doyle's brand of punk is melodic and toe-tapping, its lyrics not altogether serious, or at least they aren't on the band's ode to a much-loved wino "My Favorite Bum." -- J.N.L.
TOC Bar, 7 p.m.
Best Drummer (Mike Potter)
Bolstered by a hard-core following of fans -- many of whom grew up with the band and have seen it dozens of times -- Paris Green is a rock-n-scratch quintet whose intense live shows feature vocalist Matt Pattin's eyes-rolling-in-the-back-of-the-head exorcisms and mane-flipping madness. Paris Green brings to mind the bombast of Creed and the multilayered textures of Incubus. A self-titled EP by the group (all in their very early twenties) places them squarely between the stage of the Warped Tour and Ozzfest. -- B.R.
Verizon Wireless Theater, 5 p.m.
Best Drummer (Austen Hook)
Another member of the Solar Flare Records stable, Pilot Radio has been honing its touchy-feely pop rock sound on the road of late, sculpting a harder edge to the material on its 2002 CD, Antiques. The well-orchestrated hooks in the band's Oasis-like "World Without You" and the nod to Coldplay "Good Thing You're Young" make vocalist Ricky Young's yearnings seem downright authentic compared to straight-up emo rockers we know. Now back home, the Katy quartet is preparing a follow-up disc. -- G.B.
BAR Houston, 8 p.m.
Signed to Houstonian Frank Liddell's Nashville publishing house Carnival Music as a songwriter a few months back, Mando Saenz has taken that giant first step toward a viable music career: kissing his day job good-bye. Whether rocking with his twangy band at Rudz or swapping songs solo with high-profile artists at the Mucky Duck, Saenz seems to earn soft-spoken respect, with his intelligent lyrics and pitch-perfect vocals, from audiences and other performers alike. With his debut album, Watertown, set for release and Nashville pros in his corner, Saenz could be on the verge of getting some deserved recognition. -- W.M.S.
Suede, 7 p.m.
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