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Your Guide to the Houston Press Music Awards Showcase

Great local bands, one awesome evening.

8 p.m.: JUSTIN VAN SANT

Nominated in: Best Country

Justin Van Sant has a personality as big as that twangy voice of his and charisma that makes him hard to ignore. Between his twinkling baritone and the savory steel guitar behind him, a Justin Van Sant concert is a good ol' Texas-country good time. ­ANGELICA LEICHT

9 p.m.: MIKE STINSON

Nominated in: Best Songwriter, Best Country

A craftsman of a songwriter capable of both great wit and poignancy, Mike Stinson has raised the bar for local troubadors since moving here in 2009. His brand-new album, Hell and Half of Georgia, puts a rockin', ­radio-friendly sheen on some damn fine turns of phrase. CHRIS GRAY

HOUSE OF BLUES — MUSIC HALL

1204 Caroline, hob.com/houston

5 p.m.: FEATHERFACE

Nominated in: Best Local Music Video ("I Saw You Dancing")

Featherface's "I Saw You Dancing" video was a home-shot masterpiece, directed by Randall Hopkins, which follows a ballet dancer left stranded in a zombie apocalypse. Accosted by a lone ghoul, the girl tries to calm his rage by dancing, only to break down crying at the futility of reaching something beautiful inside her attacker. It's an unforgettable and daring piece of ­cinemaudio. JEF WITH ONE F

6 p.m.: THE SUFFERS

Nominated in: Best Reggae/Ska/Dub, Best ­Keyboards (Patrick Kelly)

With their soulful yet upbeat amalgam of jazz, reggae and ska, The Suffers are a force to be reckoned with. An all-star Houston band of sorts, they were born with some bragging rights but live up to the hype thanks to lead singer Kam Franklin's mesmerizing vocals and a ­massive-sounding mix of horns, guitars and percussion. ­ANGELICA LEICHT

7 p.m.: WILD MOCCASINS

Nominated in: Best Local Song ("Gag Reflections"), Best Pop Act

Wild Moccasins know a thing or two about how to wow a crowd with indie-pop cuteness. An abundance of synthesizer dances along with co-­leaders Zahaira Gutierrez and Cody Swann giving their his-and-hers vibe an '80s-pop twist and a cheery enthusiasm. ­ANGELICA LEICHT

8 p.m.: THE TONTONS

Nominated in: Best Pop Act

Last year MTV deemed the Tontons buzzworthy around the time they played the POP Montréal festival, confirming what local fans of their excellent psychedelic jazz-pop have long known: Asli Omar and her guys could finally be the band that makes the world listen to Houston's uniquely weird brand of indie brilliance. JEF WITH ONE F

9 p.m.: BUXTON

Nominated in: Best Folk/Americana

Lately Buxton has been in Athens, Georgia, demoing tracks for the followup to 2012's local hit Nothing Here Seems Strange. Whatever new black magic they're bringing back to town, Buxton's folk-rock with garage-band balls makes them more and more interesting as they ­mature. JEF WITH ONE F

10:15 p.m.: GIRL IN A COMA

Nominated in: Special Guest

San Antonio's Girl In a Coma have already cultivated a devoted Houston fanbase with a potent blend of '90s riot-grrrl punk and jangly '80s alt-pop, seasoning it to taste with their ­Alamo City Latina roots. They've also picked up a pretty badass patron in one Joan Jett, who signed the trio to her Blackheart Records in 2007; last year's Exits & All the Rest is their latest acclaimed album. CHRIS GRAY

MKT BAR

1001 Austin, mktbar.com

5 p.m.: QANDA

Nominated in: Best Male Vocals (Jordi Baizan), Best Traditional Rock

Qanda comes in both equally talented and interesting forms, the acoustic duo of Jordi Baizan and Andy Zipper and the full band also featuring Mark Dulworth and Dustin Wolfe. Either way, and with just two albums, Qanda has found a way to prove that not all rock is wasted on the young. ­ALYSSA ­DUPREE

6 p.m.: BANG BANGZ

Nominated in: Best Electronic Act

Bang Bangz are on the vanguard of Houston's latest electronica comeback. Channeling Portis­head and Massive Attack, the group's debut self-titled EP was a mysterious siren song, but this year's LP Red City is full-on ambient ­nirvana. JEF WITH ONE F

7 p.m.: FREE RADICALS

Nominated in: Best Jazz

It's hard to believe, but Free Radicals have been together in Houston for almost two decades. They remain the city's most consistently reliable act, always able to deliver their blend of Latin, jazz, ska and even rap twice a week all over town. To call them the hardest-working act in Houston wouldn't be a stretch. A sprawling 23-song ode to the power of borders and walls that required almost 50 guest musicians to accomplish, last year's Freedom Fence deservedly walked away with the HPMAs' Best Album. JEF WITH ONE F

8 p.m.: MIKEY & THE DRAGZ

Nominated in: Best Garage/Punk/Hardcore

Luckily, Mikey and The Dragz seem to know that organ solos are rad. Their grungy garage-rock is not only organ-heavy, but gritty where it needs to be. The throaty vocals and fuzzy guitars channel the raw sound of '60s rock but with a uniquely modern edge. ­ANGELICA LEICHT

9 p.m.: DJ SUN & RESOLUTION

Nominated in: Best Club DJ/DJ Night

If nothing else, this was the year DJ Sun — constantly busy but never terribly prolific — finally gave Houston his first album-length release, One Hundred. The longtime host of KPFT's Soular Grooves keeps things low-key, eschewing harsh sounds for music suited to relaxing in the poshest of places. "Ten," featuring Skyblue72's Jessica Zweback, is brilliant aural story­telling that stretches to epic length as it creates a Zen-like trance state. JEF WITH ONE F

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2 comments
R.T.  Castleberry
R.T. Castleberry

Is this the Music Awards or Stripper Awards? Because it if it's music, this is a really stupid, sexist magazine cover.

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jonacmckee

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