Christmas in July

Six dozen of Houston's finest bands for a mere $7

Hard Rock Cafe
(all ages)
502 Texas, 713-520-1134

4 p.m. The Delayed
5 p.m. Savvi
6 p.m. Satin Hooks
7 p.m. Drop Trio
8 p.m. Tony Vega Band
9 p.m. Carolyn Wonderland

The Delayed
Best Punk

"Grab your guns," warn the Delayed, who, despite their nomination and the fact that they've opened for "bands like the Cramps and the Dwarves," say they are not a punk band. Their new EP, Losing My Mind, and "Los Skarnales, Hell City Kings, Pride Kills and LDV" are a few of the Delayed's favorite things, as is the Meridian, where "the sound is amazing, especially compared to other clubs in town." What bugs them about Houston? "Not enough kids come out to support. Everyone stays out in the suburbs." -- JNL

Savvi, the New Speaker of the South
Best Indie Hip-hop,

Rapper Savvi regards this nomination as "an honor and a feat," as is his upcoming feature in "Mugshot magazine alongside some well-known national acts from Hueston." Note that spelling: Savvi says it is his goal to make that the official spelling of our city's name and also that he wants to "redefine and expand the perceptions of what hip-hop music coming out of Hueston is and sounds like, one listener at a time." His tune "On the Humble" was recently released on the Norwegian compo Dypt Nede I Kjellern ("Deep in the Basement"), "which featured artists from all over the globe." "Reputable sound systems" make his day just as surely as the opposite gets him down. "Antone's in Beaumont is consistently hot," he says, as are "Thursday evenings at Project Row Houses." And then he gets all mathematical on us: "Savvi = Shrewd + Vivid," he states. And adds that "Equality + Savvi = Blac Embassy (Coming Soon)." (He's referring to a mixtape.) "Good music is good for the soul, powerful and can be used to make a difference," he says, adding, "I thoroughly enjoy doing it." Life without it would "suck," he says. -- JNL

Satin Hooks
Best Indie Rock

"We're from an alternate future most people would like to see," claim indie rockers Satin Hooks, a future in which "official Web sites" and "record labels" are unnecessary. After all, Satin Hooks has built an "international audience" with just a Myspace site, "a few good friends and a lot of determination," a self-released EP and cuts on three compilations. They dig the variety here, especially "the local living blues, jazz and zydeco legends amongst us" and think it's a tragedy that "people are letting these legends go to waste." But don't expect to find them in a Midtown dance palace. "There are too many DJs getting attention. Come on, we too have record collections that will make you dance; why not do something new from scratch?" Meanwhile, they're "waiting on Mike Jones, Big Pokey and Lil' Flip for the collaboration," "someone to help [them] do a European tour" and "a good lawyer." "Let's burn this bitch down!" they add. "Come see us, dammit!" -- JNL

Drop Trio
Best Keyboardist (Ian Varley); Best Jazz; Best Funk/R&B/Reggae

Among instrumental "improv spaceship prog rock" band Drop Trio's recent feats -- South By Southwest gigs the last two years, landing a cut on The Johnson Family Vacation soundtrack, opening for a who's who of nationally prominent groove/jam bands -- keyboardist Ian Varley seems proudest of surviving riding in a van together to such exotic locales as Tulsa, New Orleans and Abilene with the other members of his trio. He's also pleased with the telepathy he says his band has developed: "We love playing together, communicating on stage. We've been doing it long enough now to where we can really read each other's minds sometimes, go in crazy wild directions that we've never been in before." Muzak John and Two Star Symphony get cheery shout-outs, but Houston's sprawl factor gets the gas face: "Maybe it's because Houston is such a vast sprawl, but it takes a lot of effort to get something to build and roll on its own," Varley says. -- JNL

Tony Vega Band
Best Blues

A fifth European tour and upcoming piece about his band in Guitar Player magazine are recent highlights for this cowboy hat-clad blues-rockin' guitarist. All that and his band is "still 100 percent DIY." Though he gets plenty of props from the locals -- he's won several of these awards -- it's nothing like the love he gets overseas. "Four thousand people in Skopje, Macedonia" went out to see the band, and Germany and Switzerland are also hot spots. Vega chose music because he "suck[s] at everything else," and allows that "I'm sure there are a few people that'll tell you I suck at music too!" Vega believes that Houston would be improved by "some sort of strip, like Beale Street" in Memphis, and that his life would be much easier if people would stop mistaking him for "Tony Vega -- the salsa king of Puerto Rico. We've actually had a few people show up thinking they were going to see the salsa Tony Vega. That guy is huge in that genre...he's like the Sinatra of salsa." -- JNL

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