Given our lovely foreign policy and the stereotypes about "Ugly American" tourists, life ain't exactly easy for Europe-bound U.S. travelers. "You're hoping people don't pigeonhole you as that," says Rob Suchan, lead singer and guitarist for Koufax. "It's like us saying all Germans love David Hasselhoff." But as Suchan has discovered on tour, German fans have taken to his band almost as fervently as they have to the bronze Baywatch lifeguard. How'd that happen? "I think kids there listen more closely to the lyrics than they do in the States," he says.
Fresh off their month-long German tour, the Midwestern band, whose lineup changes album to album and tour to tour, hits Mary Jane's Fat Cat this week with labelmates Limbeck. They're promoting their new album Hard Times Are in Fashion, which is lots of jolly, piano-tinged pop, clever hooks and sing-a-long lyrics that touch on love. But there ain't a lotta love for our government, especially in politically charged tunes such as "Colour Us Canadian" and "Blind Faith."
"I didn't want to make it brainless political bashing," says Suchan, whose album was inspired by the anti-American sentiment he's encountered abroad. After the U.S. tour, Suchan and company will head back to Germany for yet more live shows. "We're perfectly happy playing there because the treatment is unsurpassed. They have their hearts in the right place." Eat your heart out, Herr Hasselhoff. Spain Colored Orange and Rescue open the show. 8 p.m. Saturday, August 20. 4216 Washington. For tickets, call 713-869-5263 or visit www.superunison.com. $9. -- Travis Ritter
The Next Door's Bloody Mary
I arrive at the Next Door(2020 Waugh, 713-520-1712) already three sheets to the wind and order a Bloody Mary for dinner. As I'm waiting, I realize I haven't eaten all day. Just watching the sexy bartender mix this spicy concoction is captivating, but once I taste it"oh, shit. It's my first Bloody Mary from this establishment and I decide it's the most awesome tomato cocktail in the world. But apparently it's not enough for my evening meal. Pretty soon I'm heading out of the bar, leaving my faithful drinking cohorts behind. I purge the day's drinks and pass out on a bus-stop bench for the rest of the evening. Class, baby. Pure class.
Fill a pint glass full of ice. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the ice. Drizzle the Worcestershire sauce on the cubes. Dash the Tabasco. Pour the vodka, then the Bloody Mary mix. Stir and garnish with an olive and a lime wedge. Enjoy this cocktail at any time of day -- it's always five o'clock somewhere. -- Jason Kerr
Q the DJ
Legendary turntablist DJ QBert has been doing his thing all over the wheels of steel for nigh on 20 years, with and without his fellow Invisibl Skratch Piklz (whose members have included D-Nice and Mix Master Mike). This week, QBert (real name Richard Quitevis, but don't tell anyone) will bring his wave-twisting grooves to the Meridian for a free show. One catch: Be sure to go to www.sciondecoder.com and register or you'll miss out on the show. Oh yeah, and you might also win a car. 9 p.m. Thursday, August 18. Meridian, 1503 Chartres. For information, call 713-225-1717 or visit www.meridianhouston.com. Free with pre-registration at www.sciondecoder.com. -- Scott Faingold
Driven to Stare
If you're into hot cars, hip clothes or sexy models (or, say, sexy models in hip clothes), your head will be on a swivel at Fashionably Loud. At the runway fashion show, you can eye cutting-edge fashions by local designers like Brigget Beatty, Alex Chapman, Kia Gardner, Ruby Marquez, Michelle Ngo and Silvio Ortega. And you can drool over the BMWs on display. Nibble on hors d'oeuvres and sip cocktails (just watch the Beemers' interiors, you tipsy goof) from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, August 18. Momentum BMW, 2101 San Jacinto. For tickets, call 713-658-8938 or visit www.downtownhouston.org. $25 in advance; $30 at door. Proceeds benefit Houston Downtown Alliance Emerging Leaders. -- Steven Devadanam