Like many in the Houston area, DJ- promoter-club owner Sean Carnahan was personally affected by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina: His New Orleans club Ampersand was a casualty of the raging waters. Now determined to help others, Carnahan is welcoming UK-based drum 'n' bass DJ and producer Roni Size for a benefit show at the Meridian this week. Once part of the hot underground collective the Full Cycle crew, Size has enjoyed international prominence as a performer and producer since his album New Forms won the prestigious Mercury Award (Britain's album of the year) in 1997. He's produced tracks for acts like Redman, Sonique and Cypress Hill and has remixed for the likes of U2 and Basement Jaxx. "I'm ecstatic. He's one of my favorite DJs," says Carnahan. "This is the first time he's been here, that I'm aware of." Most of the hard-hitting breakbeats and jazzy organic tones in Size's mixes have barely scratched the surface of America's mainstream. The Meridian show is an opportunity to catch a dnb mainstay -- for a good cause.
As for Carnahan, he's hoping Houstonians will help out and shake their asses at his Tastylick residency at the Davenport every Wednesday (2117 Richmond, 713-520-1140). A portion of the bar sales goes to hurricane relief, plus all Louisiana residents are welcomed with a complimentary drink and good tunes. This week, though, you can Size up the party at 9 p.m. Saturday, September 17. 1503 Chartres. For tickets, call 713-225-1717 or visit www.77002.com. $10 (a portion benefits Katrina relief efforts also). -- Travis Ritter
The Rainforest Cafe's Tropical Toucan
It's the middle of a perfectly good Saturday afternoon when I let my out-of-town guests talk me into taking them to Katy Mills Mall. I comprehend what I've gotten myself into only after we arrive at mall hell. I quickly detach myself from my shopaholic friends, telling them I'll meet them at the bar at the Rainforest Cafe(5000 Katy Mills Circle in Katy, 281-644-6200). Whoever came up with the idea of putting a full bar in the middle of a mall is a genius. The only catch is Landry's parent-trap rain-forest theme reminds me of Red Lobster on acid. As the waiter/tour guide brings me Tropical Toucans, I take in the nature show. Four cocktails later, my friends meet up with me and we get a table. The youngest of our group is scared to death of the life-size animal costumes, so we have to leave abruptly -- but not before I scare one of the fake gorillas by screaming at him like a drunken Tarzan.
With her boho-pixie looks and effervescent vocals, Inara George could be tossed in the "looks cute, sounds cute" pile of today's tepid female pop acts. But that would be wrong: George is a genuine, pedigreed talent. Her father was legendary Little Feat slide guitarist and songwriter Lowell George, and growing up, she'd regularly hang with folks like the Violent Femmes. The exposure paid off. George's debut album, All Rise, is fluid, pensive and more substantial than the bubblegum on the airwaves. Speaking of airwaves, George will perform on an episode of the WB drama Everwood on October 13, but you can catch her live at 9 p.m. Friday, September 16. Mary Jane's Fat Cat, 4216 Washington Avenue. For tickets, call 713-869-5263 or visit www.clubfatcat.com. $8. -- Steven Devadanam
Eazy Does It
Ten years ago, Eric "Eazy-E" Wright -- the notorious gangster rapper who'd been a strong proponent of getting ladies in the sack and smoking eight-balls of crack -- lost his battle to AIDS. To mark this revered gangster's passing and the rerelease of his greatest hits album, Eternal E, Rockbox -- a weekly show at the Proletariat -- is bringing Compton to Houston for Eazy-E Tribute Night. Along with residents DJ Witnes, 7000 Ft. Tall and Stiletto, DJ Caps One will be bumpin' N.W.A and Eazy-E tracks, and AirLust713 will be raffling off two airbrushed T-shirts that feature the vertically challenged rapper. 9 p.m. Thursday, September 15. 903 Richmond. For tickets, call 713-523-1199 or visit www.theproletariathouston.com. Free. -- Travis Ritter