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2011 Music Awards Showcase

Your guide to the bands and venues.

thelastplaceyoulook (9 p.m.)
Nominated In: Best Rock, Best Male Vocals (Justin Nava), Best Songwriter (Justin Nava), Best Drummer (Mikey Garcia), Best Song ("Band to Save Me")
Modern-rock radio fans already know thelastplaceyoulook from their catchy-as-sin radio single "Band to Save Me" and lead singer Justin Nava's husky vocals. The band has been a mainstay on the rock circuit here in Houston for years, playing packed gigs at Warehouse Live at least every other month without oversaturating their fan base. Back in October they played the main stage at 94.5 The Buzz's biannual Buzzfest in The Woodlands and turned plenty of heads, even when playing at half past 1 p.m. Craig Hlavaty

The Tontons (10 p.m.)
Nominated In: Best Female Vocals (Asli Omar), Best Indie / Alternative
The Tontons may have left their record label and struck off on their own, but this young band bears watching closely. They've built a loyal following with loud, over-the-top performances that highlight magnetic singer Asli Omar's killer vocals. Their EP "Golden" is making nice waves and helping them widen their touring range. And they represented H-Town well in the first annual Houston Press BestFest, where they were paired up with national touring acts and seemed to easily hold their own. They have as good a chance as any band on the indie scene right now to break out with their next release. William Michael Smith

JET LOUNGE
1515 Pease Street

DJ Mr. Rogers (10 p.m.)
Nominated In: Best Rap DJ
Like bass players, there is a big, thick line between acceptable DJs and exceptional DJs. Mr. Rogers falls firmly in the latter category. He is a true mix master, not just a human jukebox. His ability to find the perfect buttery pat within a song and siphon off its energy into the whole of the set while leaving behind the filler is legendary, as is his ability to size up a crowd and tailor his choices. When he's not spinning, Rogers spends his time working with the Pink Ribbons Project, organizing local rap appearances, or personally mentoring young DJs by aiding them in purchasing equipment. The man is a true star on the rise, literally one good MC away from buying the world like the rest of us buy Baconators. You'd better catch him before he's gone. Jef With One F

DJ Bizonee (10:30 p.m.)
Nominated In: Best Club DJ/DJ Night
Despite being a young thirtysomething, DJ Bizonee is already a veteran of the record-wreckin' game, having gotten his start as a 12-year-old tyke behind the decks at University of Houston frat parties. By 16 he was spinning for corporate shindigs and over the airwaves of KRBE, where he hosted a Friday-night mix show and appeared on Atom Smasher's show as "Wilbur the Intern." Since then, he's been holding it down at the Bronx Bar in the Village, whipping up "Sunday Fundae" at Midtown's Escobar, and moving the masses at Sawyer Park, the grandaddy of all Washington Avenue's fabled bro-hallas. Bizonee stakes his success on his wide and deep playlists – he's equally adept an energizing a '90s tribute night and thrilling the up-to-the-minute hard house cognoscenti. John Nova Lomax

GRRRL Parts (11 p.m.)
Nominated In: Best Club DJ / DJ Night
GRRRL Parts snagged the win in this category last year, and we'll see if Gab-E and Natasha Ninjason do it again in 2011. Since 2008, the duo has remained one of the hardest working DJ acts in the city, and they continue to make the every-other-Thursday Haters Make Us Famous night at Boondocks one of the best events in town. There are some people who think a DJ needs testosterone to get people up and dancing, but we imagine that those people just have too much meat in their heads to hear the awesomeness laid down by GRRRL Parts. Want to argue: Take it up with Deadmau5, who deemed GRRRL Parts worthy to share a stage. Jef With One F

DJ Sun (11:30 p.m.)
Nominated In: Best Club DJ/DJ Night
Talk about an appropriate handle: If there's any one word to describe DJ Sun's jazz-inflected downtempo "soular grooves" music it is, without a doubt, very simply "warm." And just as the sun rises every day in the east and settles sleepily into the west, so too does this DJ grace pretty much each and every HPMA ballot with his life-giving presence. What's more, it seems like the Suriname-born DJ has been around ever since the Big Bang, giving life to Houston audiences by radiating beams of funky old soul and rickety old reggae. Overall, a DJ Sun set goes down like a shot of the very best tequila chased by a fresh juicy lime. John Nova Lomax

Gritsy (midnight)
Nominated In: Best Club DJ/DJ Night
Combining reggae/dub's throbbing low-end, facets of garage and two-step, and a veneer of Dizzee Rascal-type grime, Gritsy's dubstep music has been slowly carving out a niche for itself in Houston nightlife since the collective, headed by longtime club fixture Suraj K – first brought the sound here from South London in 2006. Expect an aural assault of seismographic proportions, especially if Gritsy releases the Kraken that is their "Aura Systems Wall of Bass." John Nova Lomax

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