HPMA 2012 Showcase

One night. 11 venues. 55 minutes.

Nominated In: Best Soul/Funk/R&B

Hardworking six-piece the Journey Agents glide with a Primus shimmy and a funk inflection, making their shows prime chillout spots no matter where they are. You may even feel like taking your shirt off. Last year's All Up in It! was forged in pure boogie, a rarity inside the Loop. CRAIG HLAVATY

Maximus (6 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Cover/Tribute Act

Unlike some other Houston cover acts, the kids of Maximus aren't stuck on one particular artist; they just want to rock all the rock there is to rock and have been doing it since before they could shave. Catch their version of "Welcome to the Jungle" at Lucky's some night, and you'll count yourself just that. JEF WITH ONE F

Chango Man (7 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Latin Artist

These vatos locos have been one of the most interesting rock...errr...Latin bands in the Houston scene for a long time. Super-gluing the Beatles' jangle onto high-energy Latino grooves, Chango Man's wall of rhythm creates a party atmosphere within minutes. If you can't shake your booty to "Devil's Cumbia," you might want to see a doctor. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH

Leah White & the Magic Mirrors (8 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Song, Local Music Video, Best Songwriter, Best Female Vocals

Houston's most successful children's-music purveyor, Leah White has a backing band that could play with any grown-ups in town. She's a mom who teaches elementary starter-music classes in her off time, and won a 2009 Nickelodeon Parents Choice Award. White's 2011 Houston-centric album Our Roots Are Strong is still leaping off the shelves at local record stores. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH

Bang Bangz (9 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best CD/LP/EP, Best Electronic Act

Bang Bangz features Tax the Wolf's Mario Alberto Rodriguez and Elizabeth Salazar trading breathy, bitter nothings over heavy synths and dreamy guitars informed by Moby's ambient pop and French darlings M83. Live, the group is a trio with Vik Montemayor on drums, with backlighting and atmosphere for days. CRAIG ­HLAVATY

1209 Caroline

Skeleton Dick (5 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Garage/Punk/Hardcore

Seeking their third consecutive HPMA, five-piece Skeleton Dick has given many a punk-loving Houstonian plenty of reason to pogo, mosh and gruffly chant along to their infectious tunes while bobbing their heads up and down at 70 miles an hour. They also happen to be one of the most fun live acts in town. MATTHEW KEEVER

Female Demand (6 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Experimental/Noise

Bradley Muñoz and Jonathan Perez are masters of all that is loud and strange, with songs that combine all the ingredients of heavy metal in a world where down is up and dogs are cats. New Outside the Universe is easily the most daring Houston album this year, snorting the line between Black Sabbath and a Tchaikovsky ballet. JEF WITH ONE F

The Abyss (7 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Modern Rock

If you think the Cure's Bloodflowers is as good as it gets, then Sean Ozz's dark rockers are definitely the band for you. This is The Abyss's second attempt to claim an HPMA trophy, and the increasing crowds at their shows may help them snatch the brass ring with black leather gloves. JEF WITH ONE F

Floorbound (8 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Rock

Even though they're more than capable of power-blasting your mind out the back of your skull with amperage alone, there is real depth and introspection to Floorbound's songs. The foursome's "Only the Lonely," for instance, makes an unbeatable anthem to bleak heartbreak. JEF WITH ONE F

Beetle (9 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Cover/Tribute Act

Every Thursday, Houstonians of all drinking ages twist and shout through Beetle's three-hour magical mystery happy-hour set. Covering every single stop along the Fab Four's pop odyssey, the weekly event has a devoted following, which means the Continental Club's dance floor can get crowded. Get there early if you want right up front. CRAIG HLAVATY

813 St. Emanuel

Thurogood Wordsmith (5 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Solo Rapper

More than several times, the #Thurogod has delivered. The rolling frolic of "All Cried" submitted tricky, horn-heavy production punches with his slyly aggressive rasp, while "A.M." meta-boasted, "Damn it feels good to be a man that can do things." Point being, he's been a talent, and now he finally gets to reap a modicum of the praise he's deserved. SHEA SERRANO

Little Joe Washington (6 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Blues

A perennial odds-on Best Blues HPMA favorite, 73-year-old Little Joe Washington still has a fire in his belly and showmanship that's made him a favorite with Houston's hipster set. The diminutive bluesman now fronts a smack-your-face backing band and horn section led by local trombone hotshot Billy Cohn, ratcheting his shows even higher up the frenetic scale. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH

Venomous Maximus (7 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Metal

Black-clad, über-inked Venomous Maximus is one of the most successful metal bands to come out of Houston in years. Beloved of headbangers and headbanging blogs all over the States and from points beyond (and freshly returned from a short U.S. tour), the four-piece evokes Black Sabbath and Mountain in evil dirges that also pull in older metalheads. CRAIG HLAVATY

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Nine Minutes won't be playing the HPA showcase (we still hope to win in the category of Best Punk/Hardcore/Garage category--you can vote for us here: but you can see us play the day before, August 4th as part of the Houston SunBurn! We play the main Engine Room stage at 9:30 p.m. Maybe other hardcore bands will have you banging your heads at 70 mph; Nine Minutes tops out the speedometer!


HoB? Highway robbery - no thank you...

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