Musical purity ain't what it used to be. In today's genre marketplace, combo platters like rap-metal, pop-funk and electro-salsa have become more the rule than the exception. Enter Grimy Styles, a five-piece band from Austin who'll be playing at Super Happy Fun Land this week. These guys use such a wide-ranging set of influences that they've chucked the hyphenating process altogether and labeled themselves global dub. "This dude was trying to pick up some of the band members' girlfriends at the merch table one night," says bass player Chris Nerren, "and while he was trying to hit on 'em he described us as 'reggae meets Inspector Gadget meets the Addams Family,' which I personally thought captured it pretty well."
Indeed, elements as disparate as free jazz and polka are ground together with compositional influences such as Brahms and Chopin in the Grimy Styles Cuisinart. Still, the band's overriding fealty to the throb and sway of old-school roots-dub reggae rings loud and clear, threading even the most restless stylistic cross-stitches together. The time may come when a musical jihad is called, and rhythmic cleansing makes the world safe once again for single-word musical categories. But while we can, we may as well skank to the global dub, mon. 8 p.m. Thursday, August 12. 2610 Ashland. For information, call 713-880-2100 or visit www.superhappyfunland.com. $6. -- Scott Faingold
Stop the Violence
Improvaoke helps us all just get along
If your honey loves karaoke, but the idea of listening to Ray Romano-types sing Celine Dion makes you want to stick your head in an oven, then Improvaoke might be an ideal compromise. At this event, hosted by the Young Urban Comedians' Club, you play improvisation games instead of singing songs. Players can choose from 60 games, including the alphabet game, the question game and freeze tag (and no, this is not an event for children). Besides helping wannabe Wayne Bradys get that much closer to hanging with Drew Carey, Improvaoke also helps foster a sense of community among improv groups, which group founder Clifton Christian says can be very territorial. You can do your part to end the gang warfare at 8 p.m. on Fridays. Ziggy's Healthy Grill, 2202 West Alabama. For information, call 832-630-5828 or visit www.texasimprov.com. $5. -- Julia Ramey
Cue the Ominous Music
Blogger vs. journalist, low fat vs. low carb, rich Yalie vs. rich Yalie -- the world today is full of fuzzy distinctions. So it's refreshing to see that the folks of ACE Theatre are putting on a good old-fashioned melodrama, complete with a snarly villain in black and a goody-two-shoes hero in white. Written by Douglas Kotwica, The Great Denver Railroad Scam is the tale of Horace Horsefat's dastardly plan to defraud the ladies of Mary's House of Widows. Expect to see over-acting, popcorn throwing and, of course, a daring rescue at a saw mill. The show opens at 8 p.m. on Friday, August 13. Plays Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through August 22. Puffabelly's, 100 Main, Spring. For information, call 877-768-3675 or visit www.acetheatre.org. $10 to $20. -- Keith Plocek
We're not saying barbershop quartets are the original rock stars, but consider this: In 1938, police in Tulsa were called out to curtail a traffic jam caused by an impromptu rooftop barbershop performance. (Suddenly, the Beatles' "Get Back" gig doesn't seem so revolutionary, does it?) Trace the origins of rock at the Houston Tidelanders Barbershop Chorus Annual Show at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, August 14, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, August 15. Wortham Center, 550 Prairie. For information, call 713-223-8433 or visit www.houstontidelanders.org. $7.50 to $30. -- Steven Devadanam
Get the Things to Do Newsletter
Sign up for our weekly guide to events in Houston, and never be bored again. With suggestions for every day of the week, our recommendations will keep you busy on any budget.