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2006 Houston Press Music Awards Supplement

This year's Houston Press Music Awards take a less-is-more approach. Yes, we are down a dozen or so bands from our peak year last year, but we have a stronger band-for-band lineup. And better still, this will be our most physically compact showcase since the days when the event was held at Shepherd Plaza. Gone from previous years are the Bayou Place venues, so there will be no more sweltering treks from the Market Square/Main Street area. This year, all the festivities will be held in a few square blocks.

And what festivities there will be. From old classics like the Hollisters and the Hunger to awards newbies like the Riff Tiffs and Whorehound, from rockers like Chango Jackson and Dizzy Pilot to rappers like Gritboys and Cl'che, from DJs like Ceeplus and DJ Sun to folkies like Lee Alexander and Hayes Carll...You get the picture. This is the only event in town where the Houston music scene in all its myriad forms is condensed and concentrated.

It's also a great chance to check out some new venues and scope a few old ones. This year, the Office and Jefe make their debuts as official venues, while past experience should inform you that good times are always to be had at places like St. Pete's Dancing Marlin, the Mercury Room and Boaka Bar. And for the first time in years, we're letting local bands take center stage -- the Hooters Market Square outdoor stage will play host to Bojones, Los Skarnales, Tody Castillo, Million Year Dance, the Hunger and the Hollisters.

All in all, our event is the one day of the year in which Houston at long last has its Sixth Street or Deep Ellum -- a central area with lots and lots of laid-back bars featuring live bands. It's the one day of the year when you can leave your shiny shirt and heavy attitude at home. And for me, it's Christmas in July. Come on down and see for yourself. -- John Nova Lomax

BOAKA BAR

4 p.m.

Name: Tanya Nolan

Nominated in: Best R&B

Web site: www.myspace.com/tanyanolan

Personnel: Tanya Nolan (vocals)

Galveston-bred Houston soul chanteuse Nolan has an interesting A to Z of covers: Everything from Alicia Keys to ZZ Top, with lots of Earth, Wind & Fire and Mary J. Blige in between. But one style of music doesn't fit in her "eclectic, timeless rendition of forgotten soul," and that is "Satan-worshiping music." Right now, she's happiest playing the lower Westheimer night spot Martinis N More, but one day, en route to becoming "a legend in the music industry," she dreams of landing a gig in "Times Square, New York."

5 p.m.

Name: While You Were Gone

Nominated in: Best Emo/Post Hardcore

Web site: www.myspace.com/whileyouweregone

Personnel: Misty Gray (vocals), Antony Moore (vocals, guitar), John Moore (bass), Zach Eichenour (drums), Ryan the Bryan (guitars)

"We play rock n roll" is the motto of this young, female-led screamo band. "Don't hate!" A cut above the pack of aggressive emo bands, the usual screamed vocals are coupled here with Misty Gray's pretty pipes, creating a rough-velvety dynamic most bands of this ilk lack. Also, there's no shortage of humility in the While You Were Gone camp: "We are a band just trying to do something heartfelt and original," they say.

6 p.m.

Name: The Jonx

Nominated in: Best Indie Rock

Personnel: Trey Lavigne (vocals, bass), Daniel Mee (vocals, drums), Stu Smith (vocals, guitar)

Last year the Jonx released The Return of the Death of the Legacy of the Revenge of the Jonx. It's got to be a pretty good CD to deserve such a long, confusing title. The Jonx just may have pulled it off. The trio lists the Clash, the Police and Jimi Hendrix as its main influences, but don't underestimate them. Their listening choices aren't all that narrow. If guitarist Stu Smith could take only one CD on a desert island, he'd take The Far East Suite by Duke Ellington. Given their demonstrated fondness for playing with words (and people's heads), it may or may not be true that the band got its name from the indigenous language Yaghan, where the word means "rock" or "large pebble." There are reportedly only two Yaghan speakers left in the world; we can't check on that. It's also pretty difficult to check on whether or not Eriq Fancypants, of the Squishees, really does attend every Jonx performance. Mr. Fancypants was unavailable for comment at press time.

7 p.m.

Name: The Legendary KO

Nominated in: Song of the Year ("George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People")  

Web site: www.k-otix.com, myspace.com/thelegendarykokotix

Personnel: Damien Randle, Michah Nickerson

You know about regular knockouts...What makes for Legendary KO? "Good, truthful, hard-hitting hip-hop music," says this Houston hip-hop duo, an island of conscience in a sea of bling. Last year, their post-Katrina single "George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People" emerged as one of the most critically acclaimed singles to come from H-town in recent memory, but don't expect that to move them any closer to their stated goal: "To quit the day job once and for all." (The song was strictly a free download -- they made no money from it.) "Laffy Taffy" and "The Engine Room" get the gas face from these loving disciples of A Tribe Called Quest, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. Others they send props to include Warehouse Live and locals like V-Zilla and Hustle Skwad.

8 p.m.

Name: Fondue Monks

Nominated in: Best Bassist (Rozz Zamorano); Best Funk

Web site: www.fonduemonks.com

Personnel: Rozz Zamorano (bass), Ronnie Zamorano (drums), Steve Olson (guitar), Denver Courtney (vocals)

The Fondue Monks, one of the hardest-working bands in Houston's show business, dish out "creative funk/rock rhythms" with "bluesy backbeats." They're also one of the city's best live acts -- when their bio calls their shows "must-see" events, it ain't lyin'. Highlights from their long history include "opening for Jimmy Buffett at The Woodlands," "playing the grand opening of the Theater at Bayou Place with Little Feat" and opening "for Iron Butterfly, Eric Burdon, Yes and the Alan Parsons Project." Zamorano has taken Best Bassist awards before, and he is that rare four-stringer who can pull off a whole album of solo bass.

9 p.m.

Name: D.R.U.M.

Nominated in: Best World Music/Reggae

Web site: homepage.mac.com/kijana/mo/drum.html

Personnel: Alafaia Gaidi (vocals, multiple instruments), Anura Neysadurai (keyboards), Nathan Faulk (vocals), percussion), Jamaaludiyn Ali (guitars, backing vocals), Osakwe Rikondja (vocals, bass, percussion)

Divine Rhythm, United Motion is the full name of this acronymic H-town institution, and they dish out "a unique musical gumbo of continental African and African Diasporic rhythms melded with smooth vocals, colorful staging, pop hooks and melodious sounds and a healthy dose of jazz, funk, R&B and Latin influences." Got all that? Good. But if you want it in shorthand, try this: "original material and cover tunes ranging from Bob Marley to Motown."

THE BREWERY TAP

4 p.m.

Name: Whorehound

Nominated in: Best Metal

Web site: www.myspace.com/whorehound

Personnel: Jon Black (guitar, vocals), Trevi Biles (bass), Cory Jackson (drums)

They've been together for only a year-plus, so they haven't released a CD yet, but it shouldn't be long before they manage to push something out. That is, if they can take time away from their quest to "achieve the rank of deities in the hallowed halls of the Dark Lord." Hey, that's how metalheads talk. With an aversion for Van Hagar, and a liking for Morphine (we think they mean the band, and not the highly addictive, evil and dangerous drug), they count Slayer and Herb Albert as their main influences (don't laugh -- Herb was cool back in the day). The trio hangs mostly at Rudyard's and Walter's on Washington these days. They used to haunt the Summit, but they've recently noticed that a different crowd has been hanging out there. (Okay, maybe they didn't mean the band.)

5 p.m.

Name: Vibe Committee

Nominated in: Best Funk

Web site: www.vibecommittee.com

Personnel: Erin Crowe (vocals), Josh Matranga (bass), Jennifer O'Bryant (flute), Mike Whitebread (guitar, vocals), Lantz Stevens (drums, vocals)

This five-piece band calls their sound "original rock, jazz and blues built on a foundation of funk [and] soul." There's also some Latin, reggae and rockabilly thrown in. Mike Whitebread and Josh Matranga, who were both attending the University of St. Thomas a few years ago, started the group. Jennifer O'Bryant, another UST alum, joined up during an early recording session. Lantz Stevens and Erin Crowe got added along the way. Sharing a commitment to "overcome the segregation of sound," the Vibe Committee has accomplished quite a bit in the six years they've been together. They've released two CDs (Vibe Committee in 2004 and Flavor this year), performed with big-time acts like Earth, Wind & Fire, Chicago and the Grateful Dead's Vince Welnick, and donated both time and money to the VH1 Save the Music Foundation. That's a lot for a group that still has to juggle day jobs.

6 p.m.

Name: A Pink Cloud

Nominated in: Best Experimental/Avant-Garde

Web site: www.myspace.com/apinkcloud

Personnel: Domokos and host of others

You think you like it weird? Find out just how weird you are with this project of Rusted Shut's Domokos. Here's how fellow freaks Rotten Piece, probably the second-weirdest band on this bill, put it: "A Pink Cloud is death music for the living (and also, I suppose, life music for the dead). Sometimes they don't suck. You should go see them and buy them drinks. They have more entertainment value than squirting lighter fluid into a raging barbecue pit...or possibly having your party broken up by vampires who shit blood in the punch bowl."  

7 p.m.

Name: Lisa Novak

Nominated in: Best Pop; Best Female Vocalist

(Lisa Novak)

Web site: www.lisanovak.com

Personnel: Lisa Novak

Lisa Novak is currently shopping her "cool melodies, straightforward [alternative] country/pop," trying to get on the radio or picked up as a songwriter by a major recording artist. And she's in the studio now, working on a new release that will be out later this year. But while Novak gets along well with her audience and most of her fellow singer-songwriters, she admits that she sometimes gets dissed. "I feel sometimes like I am apologizing for holding a day job, that somehow, some folks make it seem like I am less of a musician for it. It doesn't mean that I am any less passionate about my music, or that I work any less on it. I just have a lot of interest and feel I need to try them all."

8 p.m.

Name: The Mighty Orq

Nominated in: Best Blues/Zydeco; Best Roots Rock/Rockabilly

Web site: www.myspace.com/themightyorq

Personnel: The Mighty Orq (vocals, guitars), Matt Johnson (drums), Westside Johnny (keyboards, vocals)

After cutting his teeth in Tony Vega's bluesy rock band, Orq has continued to evolve into a melodic, blues-steeped Southern rocker in the Arc Angels mode, or, as they put it, "brilliantly combining elements of Gulf Coast blues, R&B, rock and pop with gospel undertones that are as unique as they are powerful." This is shaping up to be the Year of the Orq -- he's got an upcoming album that is said to be a career-definer, and he's got steady gigs both here and in Austin lined up through the end of the year.

9 p.m.

Name: Fatal Flying Guilloteens

Nominated in: Best Punk

Web site: www.fatalflyingguilloteens.com

Personnel: Roy Guilloteen (rumble, boom), Shawn Guilloteen (yelps, buzz), John Guilloteen (scrapes, explosions), Brian Guilloteen (twang, roar), Mike Guilloteen (howls, crashes)

Controlled chaos is a bit of a clichéd concept but it definitely applies to the Guilloteens. Always seemingly on the brink of a great unraveling, the band is nevertheless tightly wound around guitarist (and former Press Nightfly correspondent) Brian McManus's taut guitar riffs and the thundering rhythm section of Roy Mata and one of the band's two alternating drummers. Another Houston act on a national label (in this case, Frenchkiss Records), the Guilloteens put on shows that are even more ferocious than their recordings. Expect costumes and perhaps even honest-to-God mayhem. Arrests are not unheard of.

GRASSHOPPER

4 p.m.

Name: Plump

Nominated in: Best Funk

Web site: www.plumpsounds.com

Personnel: Doug Payne (drums), Al Bear (guitar), Jason Jackson (saxophone), Josh Matranga (bass), James Yarbrough (vocals, percussion)

This Heights-based band has already produced two studio albums of their "foot-stomping, knee-slapping, head-bobbing, finger-lickin', slap-your-mama-in-the-face funk." That finger-lickin' part might be a little off-base, but then again, this is a band that says what they want most in life is to be Super Bowl MVP. Somebody might want to explain to them that the Super Bowl MVP is one guy who can play football really, really well, and Plump is a bunch of guys who play funk. Admittedly, they play funk really, really well, but that won't help them any when a 300-pound linebacker with no neck and a serious case of 'roid rage is charging at them.

5 p.m.

Name: Kemo for Emo

Nominated in: Best Punk

Web site: www.myspace.com/kemoforemo

Personnel: Larry Sanders (vocals, guitar), Brian Gibbs (bass guitar, backing vocals), Jake (lead guitar), Mix Master Matt Martinez (drums)

Larry Sanders and Brian Gibbs stared Kemo for Emo in 2003. The pair worked on their "catchy, rhythmic and energetic tunes" for a year by playing local venues like Fitzgerald's and Numbers. The next year, they added drummer Matthew Martinez. The new mix of members led to a refined repertoire and a tour of the southern United States. In 2005, they went into the studios and recorded their debut CD, I'd Rather Have a Broken Neck, releasing it in July that year. They signed a deal with indie label Montrose Records and are putting out a new CD this summer.  

6 p.m.

Name: Gritboys

Nominated in: Best Underground Rap/Hip-Hop

Web site: www.myspace.com/gritboys

Personnel: Pretty Todd, Poppy, Scooby, Unique

The G is for ghetto, the R is for reality, the I is for in, and the T is for Texas, just like Jimmie Rodgers said way back when. Southside natives who met at Worthing High, Pretty Todd, Poppy, Scooby and Unique craft tales that aren't quite gangsta but sure ain't soft. While they say that they're "not on some radio shit," they definitely "have the ability to come up with catchy hooks." "We represent the dudes that be at the house," Scooby explains, "that's scrapin' up some change to get a cigar. Going in the penny jar to get a cigar. People that gotta wake up and cut the yard."

7 p.m.

Name: Free Radicals

Nominated in: Best Jazz

Web site: www.freerads.com

Personnel: Theo Bijarro, Pete Sullivan, Jason Jackson, Nick Cooper, Chris

Howard, Steve Balthaswer and others

It's unclear if the Free Radicals' music can actually "stop the war, stop the wall [and] stop the WTO," but they're trying. Their "funk, jazz, ska, reggae, dub" music has a definite Afro-Cuban base. And even if so far ska hasn't done much about the wall along the U.S./Mexico border that political conservatives are promoting, the Free Radicals are giving it a shot. Band member Jason Jackson played "The Star Spangled Banner" for 30 minutes during a recent immigration march. That's as close as the group has come to their dream gig of playing "on a float alongside people pouring into the streets in protest." Coltrane, Mingus and Dizzy, the main influences on the Free Radicals, each of them pretty radical themselves, would be proud.

8 p.m.

Name: Satin Hooks

Nominated in: Best Experimental

Web site: www.myspace.com/satinhooks

Personnel: Kerry Melonson (vocals, guitar, electronics, keys, turntable), Lucas Gorham (bass, vocals, percussion, drum machines, electronics), David Gomez (drums, percussion)

The Second Ward's Satin Hooks have already put out a few releases of their "dance-rock party drum and bass crickly-crackly-harmonizing fun" music. A crickly-crackly-harmonizing-fun music that they hope to hear in video games and Japanese beer commercials. "We are aiming for an international audience. We are not just a local band," they say. If along the way, they could open for Prince, David Bowie or Tom Waits, that would be fine with them. While they're still in town, they don't mind stirring the Houston music muck pot a little: "Hey, all you bands out there that suck! Give us your gear if you're not gonna use it right!"

9 p.m.

Name: Spain Colored Orange

Nominated in: Best Indie Rock; Album of the Year (Hopelessly Incapable of Standing the Way); Best Drummer (Steve Torres); Best Keyboardist (Gilbert Alfaro); Local Musician of the Year

Web site: www.myspace.com/spaincolouredorange

Personnel: Gilbert Alfaro (vocals, piano), Eric Jackson (trumpet, keys), Randy Platt (guitars, Orange feedback), Steve Torres (the beat), Steven Burnett (bass, mouth harp)

Ask Gilbert Alfaro for a list of his influences, and he'll give you a straight answer: "Beatles, ELO, Tom Waits, Pink Floyd, Chicago (era '69 to '77), and the Band." Ask him what his band sounds like, and he won't. "We sound like the Muppets raping Brian McManus in the key of C." (To us, they sound like ELO with a trumpet-led Madrid-bullfight vibe.) In any case, they are one of the most nationally prominent local bands, with their disc Hopelessly Incapable of Standing in the Way drawing raves from coast to coast.

HOOTERS' MARKET SQUARE STAGE

(all ages)

4 p.m.

Name: Bojones

Nominated in: Best Drummer (Louis Messina)

Web site: www.myspace.com/bojones

Personnel: Louis Messina (drums), Christopher Messina (guitars), Nick Greer (lead vocals)

"Beautiful mystery" is Bojones's catchphrase, and here are a few clues to help solve it. Their claim of playing "progressive blues rock" seems designed to throw you off the trail; their new song "Fire in the Sun" sounds like Radiohead with Chopin on keyboards. Fun fact: This is yet another of the coterie of sibling bands playing the showcase. Christopher and Louis Messina are twins (and sons of concert promoting legend Louis Messina Sr.).

5 p.m.

Name: Los Skarnales

Nominated in: Best Rock en Español; Best Bassist (Nick Gaitan); Best Male

Vocalist (Felipe Galvan)

Web site: www.losskarnales.com

Personnel: Felipe Galvan (vocals), Nick Gaitan (bass fiddle), Roberto Rodriguez (accordion), Ryan Scroggins (organ), Patrick Wheeler (drums, percussion), Kenny Dickman (guitar)

Los Skarnales describe their music as sounding "like Tin Tan, Lalo Guerrero, Tom Cat, Jerry Mouse and Had a Meeting With Pachucos and Rude Boys that ended in a recording session. Oh, yeah, with a case or two of beer." But while they're eloquent about how they sound, they go suddenly mealy-mouth when asked what they want to do with their music: "to keep traveling, making our music and letting that music expand into more opportunities for the band as a whole and the members individually." Huh? Then, when they're asked what other Houston band they're most excited about these days, they nut up again, saying, "Not one [in] particular local but more the collective that is coexisting making the Houston scene grow." What the hell? Since when did the baddest 'chucos in town sound like the bullshit people put on job applications? Luckily, the group's music still has some balls. These guys are righteous. Tough, smart, with enough attitude and talent to land a good label deal. But they've got to get another speech writer.  

6 p.m.

Name: Tody Castillo

Nominated in: Best Pop

Web site: www.todycastillo.com, www.myspace.com/todycastillo

Personnel: Tody Castillo (guitar), Paul "Falcon" Valdez (drums), Steven Brown (bass, vocals)

While he's written plenty that are just as good, Tody Castillo wishes he'd written "every song" by Ron Sexsmith, Elliott Smith, Elvis Costello and especially Tom Petty, whose Damn the Torpedoes would be in heavy rotation on that proverbial desert island. The Corpus native and current Montrose denizen calls this stuff and his own music "pretty rock-n-roll," and enough local fans agreed with both halves of that description last year to take his debut full-length to the No. 1 slot at Cactus Music & Video for its last year of existence. Castillo digs the Continental Club and Rudyard's, like-minded musical locals Arthur Yoria and Mando Saenz and dreams of opening up for "Tom Petty at the Woodlands or anywhere." Dislikes include "almost every song being played on today's popular radio" and the feeble showing by this year's "U.S. men's World Cup soccer team."

7 p.m.

Name: Million Year Dance

Nominated in: Best New Act; Best Male Vocalist (Jonathan Welch)

Web site: www.millionyeardance.com

Personnel: Jonathan Welch (vocals, acoustic guitar, djembe), Doyle Odom (electric guitar, percussion), Steven Wetherell (piano, guitar, organ, mandolin), Nic Houston (bass guitar, trumpet), Joel Lewis (drums, percussion, backing vocals)

Million Year Dance is a philosophy, at least that's what they say. And it takes a really long time for them to explain it to you: "In the greatest state of liberation one may witness all the wave energies in the universe connected. This energy is called the Million Year Dance of Waves." Ah, okay. They say they don't take themselves too seriously, and then say they want "to create a slow-moving and positive change in the world. We hope to work within the community to make this world transcend into its natural state and, in the meantime, allow people to feel like they are a part of our music and what we stand for." Guys, that sounds kinda serious. It might be easier to just listen to their debut CD, Liberation. That's not quite as intangible or mystic.

8 p.m.

Name: The Hunger

Nominated in: Best National Rock

Web site: www.thehungeronline.com

Personnel: Thomas Wilson (keyboards, vocals), Jeff Wilson (keyboards, vocals), Darren Nelson (bass), Giovanni Capelo (drums), Tim Huston (guitar)

"A garage" and some heroes -- "Ministry, Front 242 and the Cure" -- were the ingredients that provided the Hunger's first rumblings. While they are one of the few Houston rock bands, with or without such goth influences, with a national sales presence, they say that takes a backseat to live performance. "Not just regular ol' performance mind you," they say, "but fiery, frenzied, passionate and, most of all, intense performance. The kind of performance that comes at you off the stage like of tidal wave of power, knocking you off your feet and leaving you gasping for air."

9 p.m.

Name: The Hollisters

Nominated in: Best Roots Rock/Rockabilly

Web site: www.hollisters.com

Personnel: Mike Barfield (vocals), Eric Danheim (guitar), Kevin Fitzpatrick (drums), Denny Blakely (bass)

Words like "local legends" are often used too freely, but with the Hollisters they definitely apply. After forming in 1995, they became institutions at the late, lamented Fabulous Satellite Lounge with their patented mix of Johnny Cash-like boom-chicka-boom coupled with a Gulf Coast swing feel. Two full-lengths with Hightone Records, multiple Press awards and a couple of national tours ensued before the band parted ways six years ago. Now, with guitarist Eric Danheim back home from a sojourn in Seattle, the band has reunited for some special shows, and we are lucky enough to be deemed special enough to host one.  

JEFE

4 p.m.

Name: Amanda Robinson

Nominated in: Best DJ

Web site: www.myspace.com/amanda_robinson

Personnel: Amanda Robinson

This DJ says she lives a "double life": "carrying a briefcase by day and a record bag by night." What's in that bag? House music, baby: "deep, soulful, funky, rockin' and sometimes even hard" house music. Robinson cites Prince, the Police and Jamiroquai among her influences, as well as acts like Daft Punk, Kid Crème and Junior Jack. You can hear her spinning at local places ranging from the Flat to Last Concert Cafe. That is, if she's in town -- the travel-loving lady "sneaks off to London" whenever she can.

5 p.m.

Name: DJ Red

Nominated in: Best DJ

Web site: www.myspace.com/djreadyred

Personnel: DJ Red

"Pimp Slap Thursdays" at Bond Lounge is where DJ Red gets wicked with it -- he "spins the best of everything." Which, in his view, would include a lot of his own scratchin' -- Red's a turntablist rather than a mere spinner. A veteran of the "competitive" NYC and Philly scenes, the DJ, whose mama calls him Ryan McKay, has had residencies at Joia, Helios, Club So? and The Lounge here in town, as well as at a few clubs in Dallas. He also has four CDs to his credit -- the latest, Joia Sessions, came out last June.

6 p.m.

Name: DJ Ceeplus and the House of Bad Knives

Nominated in: Best DJ

Personnel: DJ Ceeplus

Electro experimenter DJ Ceeplus has been on the scene "for well over a decade now," spinning his patented, one-of-a-kind mix of Italo disco, hip-hop, funk, no-wave and just about any other genre you care to name. Fast approaching legendary status, DJ Z-Trip calls Ceeplus "Texas fam" and DJ Jester says he's "so gravy." You can catch his sets everywhere from the Proletariat to the grand hall of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where he promoted this year's monster Beats of Basquiat party series. If Ceep ain't the hippest dude in H-town, he's damn close.

7 p.m.

Name: Little Martin

Nominated in: Best DJ

Web site: www.myspace.com/little_martin

Personnel: Little Martin

A native of Manchester, England, Little Martin has a bio states he's "ridden many waves and trends and created a few." Namely, acid house, a genre he helped to create while a resident at Manchester's legendary Hacienda club. There are many rooms to his house -- you're just as likely to hear "not just of house and dance but disco, pop, punk, R&B and Latin" beats as well. You can hear those beats at M Bar, Belvedere and Berryhill Montrose, or at the "Rent" party he co-founded. (That last was awarded as our Best Recurring Club Night in 2004.) Martin is fresh off the "24 Hour Party People" tour with fellow Mancunian Peter Hook of New Order.

8 p.m.

Name: Sean Carnahan

Nominated in: Best DJ

Web site: www.thedjlist.com/djs/sean_carnahan

Personnel: Sean Carnahan

Long a fixture on the city's dance scene, Sean Carnahan is fast becoming a curmudgeonly elder statesman, always ready to pimp-slap the wack amid his ranks. But he also recognizes and rewards talent when he sees it -- his old protégé Champa Moore blossomed into a true star under his guidance. His "decade-plus" on the decks has found him residing at "well over 20 different clubs all over Houston." Carnahan is also a well-known figure on the international house scene, and his booking company has brought Mark Farina, Paul Van Dyk, the Crystal Method and even the English Beat to town, all this summer.

9 p.m.

Name: DJ Sun

Nominated in: Best DJ

Web site: www.soulargrooves.com

Personnel: DJ Sun

A decade-plus institution on the Houston scene, both in the clubs and on the box, Sun spins "down-tempo, soul, nü-jazz, glitch, broken beat and beyond," and the people love him for it. He has racked up about as many Music Awards as local legends as Norma Zenteno, the Zydeco Dots and Carolyn Wonderland. The Suriname-born DJ also has been known to lug his crates to that country, as well as its former colonizer, the Netherlands. If there's a chill-out room in heaven, chances are DJ Sun will be behind the decks.

LIVE

4 p.m.

Name: Allen Oldies Band

Nominated in: Best Cover Band

Web site: www.allenoldiesband.com

Personnel: Allen Hill (vocals), David Beebe (drums), David Schoenbaum (organ, guitar), Charlie Earthman (sax), Jim Henkel (guitar), Mikey Trafton (bass)

Allen Hill lives fully up to his name as "The High Priest of the Oldies." He might not be able to sing too well in the strictest sense of the word, but his manic energy and feel-good vibe more than make up for that shortcoming. The tuxedo-clad banshee is, as he puts it, completely and utterly "dedicated to living and playing the dance wonders of the '60s hit parade," songs like "Green Tambourine," "That's Cool, That's Trash" and "She's About a Mover." "Everyone loves the oldies," they say, "and no one does the oldies better than the Allen Oldies Band."  

5 p.m.

Name: JW Americana

Nominated in: Best Punk

Web site: www.myspace.com/jwamericana

Personnel: Doug Kosmo a.k.a. C.C. Dupree (bass guitar, vocals), Shane Lauder a.k.a L.C. Dupree (drums, vocals), Arthur Moreno (saxophone, vocals), Rodney Elliot a.k.a. J.W. Dupree (guitar, vocals), Geoffrey Muller (banjo), Scott (mandolin, vocals), Tony Barilla (accordion), Mike Switzer (trombone), Chris Kemmerer (trumpet)

Believe it or not, some bands can claim both Navasota songster Mance Lipscomb and new-wave freaks Devo as influences and can carry it off. JW Americana is one such band. Be warned -- their live shows tend to be spectacles and occasionally involve bloodshed. Little-known JW Americana trivia: According to published reports, singer-bassist Doug Kosmo "easily has the presence of a prominent cult leader as he has a huge fan base in Houston, Thailand, and five Eastern Bloc countries."

6 p.m.

Name: Clouseaux

Nominated in: Best Jazz; Best Keyboardist (David Cummings); Best Guitarist (Kelly Doyle)

Web site: www.clouseaux.com

Personnel: Jay Brooks (bass), Kelly Doyle (guitar), David Cummings (piano), Aaron Koerner (trumpet), Tomas Escalante (vocals), Steve Ruth (trumpet, percussion), Alfred Tam (trombone, conch), David Taschery (drums), Andy Salmon (percussion), John Best (vibes), Claudio Depujadas (percussion) and John Daniels (percussion/fire breathing)

What do you get when you mix Les Baxter, Combustible Edison, Martin Denny, Esquivel and Henry Mancini? Well, Clouseaux got "dark instrumental exotica with a twist of lounge and surf" music. All that "exotica" has filled up four releases, Clouseaux in 2002, the Destination Oasis EP in 2003, Lagoon in 2004 and Beyond Good and Evil this year. Guitarist Kelly Doyle has won Best Guitarist honors before, and the group is a repeat nominee in the Best Jazz category. There were rumors that band member John Daniels was planning a protest over the lack of a Best Fire Breathing category, but that's been settled.

7 p.m.

Name: Mark Towns

Nominated in: Best Salsa/Reggaetón/Latin Pop

Web site: www.marktowns.com

Personnel: Mark Towns (band members vary)

Guitarist Mark Towns says he started asking for a guitar to play as soon as he could talk. Since he was too small for even a student guitar, his parents would give him a ukulele. But Towns knew better and he'd toss it aside, saying, "This is not a guitar!" That was many years ago. Now, even though he's not Latino, he's considered one of the leaders in Houston's minuscule Latin jazz scene (it's about the music, not his skin color, stupid!), and it's well known that he has one of the best books in town (his collection of sheet music). His first CD, the self-released Flamenco Jazz Latino (out in 2000), featured fellow Houstonians saxophonist Kirk Whalum and flutist Hubert Laws. Last year, his second release, Passion, again featured Laws (hey, wouldn't you, if you could?), as well as percussionist Jorge Orta and pianist Rainel Pino. Fans will see Towns performing solo, as the leader of a duo, trio, quartet, quintet or all-star show band. And in none of those groups does he play a ukulele.

8 p.m.

Name: Hayes Carll

Nominated in: Best C&W; Best Folk/Acoustic

Web site: www.hayescarll.com

Personnel: Hayes Carll (vocals, guitar), Lance Smith (guitar), Brad Fordham (bass), Lisa Pankratz (drums)

A laconic and dry-witted former Bolivar beach bum, Carll is a bona fide local success story. This year he signed with Nashville major label Lost Highway Records, and of course, he now plans to move to Austin. Carll counts among his fans Ray Wylie Hubbard, who has this to say about him: "He walks on that stage, and he just owns it -- like it's his time, his stage, and he has total control and keeps your attention his whole set. And I admire that."

9 p.m.

Name: Miss Leslie & Her Juke-Jointers

Nominated in: Best C&W; Local Musician of the Year; Best LP (Honky Tonk Revival); Best Female Vocalist (Miss Leslie); Best Guitar Player (Randy Lindley)

Web site: www.missleslie.com

Personnel: Leslie Lindley (lead vocals, fiddle), Randy Lindley (electric guitar), Ricky Davis (pedal steel guitar), Ben Collis (bass guitar), Damian O'Grady (piano), Country Jim Sloan (acoustic guitar)

Miss Leslie & Her Juke-Jointers are having a good summer. First a slew of Music Awards nominations and then their new LP, Honky Tonk Happy Hour, Live from the Continental Club in Houston, is ready to drop in August. But it isn't always easy for Miss Leslie or Her Juke-Jointers. Houston might seem like a cowboy town to the rest of the world, but that doesn't always mean that country music is appreciated here with the same enthusiasm that Nashville provides. So, while the group continues its quest to infiltrate country roots music as much as possible, Miss Leslie is still looking for a label that gets their music. But even if they lack an understanding label, they don't lack for generosity. "Sean Reefer and Resin Valley Boys are awesome," they gush. "If you don't vote for us for C&W band, vote for them. If you haven't heard their show, you have missed great music and a great time." Wow, since when did Houston bands pat each other on the back?  

M BAR

4 p.m.

Name: Casino

Nominated in: Best Traditional Rock

Web site: www.casino-official.com

Personnel: Ron Rushing (drums), Mike Gogola (bass), Damon Murrah (vocals, guitar)

"Sparkling rumblings and jumping jacks" is how Casino identifies itself; if that's a little vague, their list of influences should help clarify things: It includes the Stones, the Kinks, the Faces, Humble Pie and T-Rex. If you're thinking maybe these guys are Anglophiles, you've got your head on straight. But that doesn't mean they don't rock.

5 p.m.

Name: Zipperneck

Nominated in: Best Female Vocalist (Mel Hell)

Web site: www.myspace.com/zipperneck

Personnel: Josh (drums), JD (guitar), Mel Hell (vocals, bass)

Old-school punk meets older-school country in this Frankenstein's monster of a band led by ferocious redhead Mel Hell. Or, as they put it, "a trainwreck between the Clash and Loretta Lynn." These Texas punks are equally at home on punk bills, rockabilly hootenannies or roller derby shindigs -- or anywhere you might otherwise get a bruise.

6 p.m.

Name: Drop Trio

Nominated in: Best Jazz

Web site: www.droptrio.com

Personnel: Nuje (drums), Patrick Flanagan (bass), Ian Varley (keys)

Two-thirds of the Drop Trio used to call Montrose home, but now Ian Varley lives in Austin and Patrick Flanagan is in Fort Worth. A big change geographically, but not musically. Admittedly, the group's focus has changed some (no one moves to Austin without being changed by it, and Fort Worth does have its own, uh, sound), but Houston remains the group's home base and best audience. They've released three CDs of their self-named "spaceship jazz," the latest one was the 2005 Cezanne (Live), but the quality is a little uneven --even they admit they never want to listen to their first album again. While the group wouldn't mind making it to the big time and opening for bands like Rush, they steadfastly refuse to get a singer. Of course, this are a group of guys who wish they had written "The Super Mario Bros. Theme Song" and don't mind starting fights ("Those jerks at Humidity. You guys wanna step?"), so that might not be the best thought-out decision.

7 p.m.

Name: Dune*TX

Nominated in: Best Male Vocalist (Chris Sacco)

Web site: www.dunetx.com

Personnel: Sacco (guitar, vocals, theremin), K-Rus (bass, vocals), J. (drums, vocals)

It's hard to be humble when you've been called both "the best band you've never heard" and "Houston's most overlooked band." But they might just have a point. Their mildly psychedelic garage power pop recalls both the Stone Roses and Fountains of Wayne. Their problem is they don't really belong to any one scene locally. Their sound is indie rock, but their onstage vibe is good ol' boy. That shouldn't matter -- and it won't when you go raise some sand with the Dunesters.

8 p.m.

Name: Opie Hendrix & the Texas Tallboys

Nominated in: Best Roots/Rockabilly

Web site: www.opiehendrix.com

Personnel: Opie Hendrix, Warren Martens, Matt Meeks, "Sugar" Don Chachere

Opie Hendrix & the Texas Tallboys say they're "too wild to tame, too stubborn to stop." How does that translate musically? Well, it's fun, funny and very danceable Texas rockabilly. The group has been a repeat winner in the Best Roots/Rockabilly category, taking home the prize in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Will they make it four in a row? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, Opie and the boys are going to keep raising hell and making music. The newest Opie CD is Chupacabra. And we think any CD named after a wild cow-eating, baby-snatching, Mexican monster deserves a listen.

9 p.m.

Name: Chango Jackson  

Nominated in: Best Rock en Español

Web site: www.myspace.com/changojackson

Personnel: The Hermanos Jackson (Chango Van, guitar; Pancho, bass; Bud, drums; Mo, guitar)

This year is shaping up to be, as these bilingual rockeros insist, "The Year of the Monkey." Their long-awaited CD is finally on shelves and getting a good push on local Spanish-language TV; they're taking their ironic "Speak English" campaign to Dallas, Austin, Monterrey and Brownsville; and they're moonlighting as the Beatles at the Continental Club. They're one of the city's finest live acts -- expect their show to feature ferocious rock, costumes, wrestling and flying tamales.

MERCURY ROOM

4 p.m.

Name: Lee Alexander

Nominated in: Best New Act; Best Folk/Acoustic; Song of the Year ("Venus Rising"); Album of the Year (Out of Place); Songwriter of the Year

Web site: www.alexandersongs.com

Personnel: Lee Alexander (vocals), Steve Gibbs (lead guitar), Julian Samuels (guitar, vocals), Troy Griffin (bass), Mando Perez (drums)

Lee Alexander is one of those rare singers who can have a cry in his voice one minute and a laugh the next while somehow managing to make them both sound honest and heartfelt. His debut album, Out of Place, features smooth jazz ("My Sweet Addiction"), rock ("Fallen"), ballads ("Maggie") and something akin to coffeehouse pop. His singing is so smooth, he can get away with lyrics like "I told you, it's not you, it's me / but that's not true / it's not me, it's you," from "The Downside." That takes talent -- to tell a woman it's her fault but make her enjoy the telling. But as pretty as his singing is, it isn't without a political undercurrent. Even when his lyrics don't have any deeper message than "I love you / I don't love you," each performance has a political impact. A part of every show's profits go to Amnesty International, the Adopt-A-Minefield program and Pacifica Radio.

5 p.m.

Name: Lanky

Nominated in: Best Pop

Web site: www.myspace.com/lanky

Personnel: Lanky

Originally from Wayne, New Jersey, Lanky started a love affair with music while still just a child via John Denver and Kenny Rogers songs. Wanting to bring others similar joy (okay, let's remember Lanky was a child at the time, John Denver's and pervert Kenny's songs may have been joyful to an eight-year-old mind), Lanky spent hours on the guitar. Lanky bounced from band to band, even recording a CD with Darby Jones. But after a while, Lanky went solo and went on a cross-country promo tour for the self-released Inner Onwriter. These days, Lanky lives in Houston and tours the state with his acoustic solo act, although a band is in the works.

6 p.m.

Name: Arthur Yoria

Nominated in: Best Pop

Web site: www.arthuryoria.com

Personnel: Arthur Yoria (vocals, guitar, sampler), Matt Taylor (drums, percussion), Mike Poulos (bass), Ron Segura (guitar, keys)

Arthur Yoria is a man with simple wants. He wants to make soft rock that you, your children and your parents can all buy and enjoy. If he can also be worshiped and adored by citizens of various countries and make shitty songwriters want to retire, that would be good, too. But Yoria is a realist, and at this point he'd settle for a gig where there isn't a blender making a smoothie in the background. Originally from Chicago, Yoria is serious about his work but manages to keep it all in perspective. "This is pop music, not cancer research." Yoria's latest CD is called Something Must Be Wrong, and that very well might be true, but it ain't with his music.

7 p.m.

Name: Blaggards

Nominated in: Best World Music/Reggae

Web site: blaggards.com

Personnel: Patrick Devlin (vocals, guitar), Turi Hoiseth (fiddle), Chad Smalley (bass), Brian Vogel (drums)

"Stout Irish rock" sums up the Blaggards, who are fronted by a real-live Dubliner in singer-guitarist Patrick Devlin. Devlin, a veteran of one eponymous band and another called On the Dole, is a coffee fanatic who lists his hobby as "making hats out of roadkill" -- that is, when he's not on stage "making Flogging Molly look like nancy boys."

8 p.m.

Name: Southern Backtones

Nominated in: Best Traditional Rock

Web site: www.southernbacktones.com

Personnel: Hank Schyma (guitar, lead vocals), John Griffin (guitar, backing vocals), Dylan Bryson (bass, backing vocals), Todd Sommer (drums)

"Music-noir" with a spooky old-school Southern vibe is one way to describe the Backtones; "a psychedelic hybrid of retro and modern rock" is another. Or you could just think what would happen if Dick Dale joined the Cult. The band is currently making headway on the other side of the pond, in a most futuristic way; this year saw them ink a deal with British digital music label Daddy Fresh Records.  

9 p.m.

Name: The Handsomes

Nominated in: Best Pop

Web site: www.thehandsomes.com

Personnel: Jordon Blackwell (vocals), David Nachtigall (guitar), Ben Stark (bass), Patrick Kelly (drums)

After meeting at Lanier Middle School, Jordan Blackwell and David Nachtigall started fronting local ska groups, including the Mod Squad and Half Loaded. They left the music scene for a little while to concentrate on college, and both ended up headed to law school. But the pair missed making music, so they decided to give it another try. They picked up bassist Ben Stark and drummer Patrick Kelly, made it a foursome and released a self-titled EP in 2003. After that, they took a detour from the legal thing. You don't have to ask where they got their name, do you?

THE OFFICE

4 p.m.

Name: Gods Temple of Family Deliverance

Nominated in: Best Metal

Web site: www.myspace.com/godstemple

Personnel: Eric Faucette (guitar, vocals), Roy Mata (bass), Joey O'Mahoney (guitar) Chris Ryan (drums)

For guys who claim their main influences are "really fucked-up headaches," God's Temple have big ambitions: They want to open for U2. Or just be a huge commercial success, either one. If U2 ever needs an opening act that plays "really heavy, really slow, kinda loud, wait, really loud" music, God's Temple might have a shot. In the meantime, they'll stick around Montrose and put out independent releases.

5 p.m.

Name: Dizzy Pilot

Nominated In: Best New Act

Web site: www.myspace.com/dizzypilot

Personnel: The White bros. (Josh: guitar, vocals; Jason: drums), Kody (bass), Bill (guitar)

Here, in its entirety, is how Dizzy Pilot describes itself on its MySpace page: "A Hell spawned mixture of the bowels of fornicators and the sinew of thieves and gluttons! If the Butthole Surfers, The Rolling Stones and The Flaming Lips were to catch a cat, put it in a bag, set it on fire and beat it with socks stuffed with bar soaps, all while singing nursery rhymes on a burning airplane that is plummeting to its death...it would sound like us." Sounds good to us.

6 p.m.

Name: Rotten Piece

Nominated in: Best Experimental/Avant-Garde

Web site: www.geocities.com/lazysquidrekkids

Personnel: Carol Sandin Kelly and Shaun Kelly

Rotten Piece hopes to see you in the dark sometime soon. No, they aren't perverts (okay, they might be perverts). It's just that they want to score films for a living. But until that happens, they'll stick to their "monster movie" music act on stage. Rotten Piece does mostly originals. Not originals as in songs they wrote, but originals as in "What the hell is this?" The few times they do covers, it's the Butthole Surfers, thrown in with Stickmen with Rayguns and a little Dwarves. Despite their high standards (anyone who covers Butthole Surfers has really high, high standards), the duo does sell out every once in a while, like the time they wrote some music for the opening of a Star Wars exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The score was built from samples from the first Star Wars film, but Luke Skywalker and Co. are on Rotten Piece's "Hate It With a Passion" list. If the pair doesn't get asked back to the museum, they won't mind. They like it better at Super Happy Fun Land anyway.

7 p.m.

Name: Sky Blue 72

Nominated in: Best Female Vocalist (Jessica Zweback)

Web site: www.skyblue72.com

Personnel: Jessica Zweback (drums, vocals), Frank Zweback (bass), Davis Jumper (guitar, vocals)

Brother and sister team Frank and Jessica Zweback claim bandmate Davis Jumper as an honorary brother, and he's along for the ride as they travel "fearlessly along an uncharted road of rock, soul and emotional fortitude. The gravelly road ahead reveals ever-evolving musical exploration. Strap yer boots on." Jessica and Frank have both won Music Awards before -- Jessica for Best Female Vocalist in 2003 and Frank's band zwee for Best Funk Band. Sky Blue 72 was born later that year, when Davis started writing songs with Jessica, and Frank gave up front-man duties for a regular stay on the bass.

8 p.m.

Name: Davin James

Nominated in: Best C&W

Web site: www.davinjames.com

Personnel: Denny Dale "Cletus" Blakely (bass), Drew Balog (keys), Michael "the General" Patton (skins)

Kingwood-based James, who took Best Song honors in '01 for "Magnolia," dishes out "honest, real-life, Southern music with a general feel-good attitude groove."

9 p.m.  

Name: Deep Ella

Nominated in: Best Alternative Rock

Web site: www.deepella.com

Personnel: Jeff Crowder (vocals, guitar), Carlos Fumero (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Jason Light (bass, Jäger shots), David Garcia (drums)

Deep Ella got its name when the girlfriend of one of the band members got lost on Ella Boulevard. Meaning to say she was looking for a shop that was on the other end of Ella, she said the store was in "deep Ella." Thankfully, the band has a better musical direction, and they found their groove lots easier than the girlfriend found the shop. (Oh, yeah, the band wanted to say, "Hi, Mom!")

RED CAT JAZZ CAFÉ

4 p.m.

Name: Bright Men of Learning

Nominated in: Best Traditional Rock

Web site: www.myspace.com/brightmen

Personnel: Marshall Preddy (lead vocals, guitar), Chris Kahlich (guitar, keyboards), Jeff Senske (drums), Johnathan Sage (bass, vocals), Benjamin Davis Murphy (guitar, keyboards, vocals, percussion)

"Dark, sad-bastard character studies" framed within songs with "memorable, shiny pop hooks, woo-hoo choruses, and lots and lots of guitar solos" are the current stock-in-trade of the Bright Men of Learning, the latest band name longtime Houston scene vet Marshall Preddy has engaged. "A kind of sonic mid-life crisis" is another way the band explains themselves; "a muscular hybrid of classic rock and beloved mid-'90s indie heroes like Pavement, Yo La Tengo and the Lemonheads" is a third.

5 p.m.

Name: Cl'che

Nominated in: Best Underground Rap/Hip-Hop

Web site: www.myspace.com/clche

Personnel: Cl'che

Some call her "The First Lady of the Screwed Up Click"; others call her "Houston's hottest female rapper." Here's how she describes herself: "I got a Souf Side feel with a lil' bit everything in it on a national level. I twist the R&B in with the rap in my own profound way and create new shit, all-original baby!" She promises to rip shit up at this showcase gig: "It's going down, I got a 45-minute set, only true performers could hold dat down, and I'ma show you how..."

6 p.m.

Name: El Orbits

Nominated in: Best Cover Band

Web site: www.myspace.com/elorbit

Personnel: David Beebe (drums, vocals, bass guitar), Jim Henkel (guitar, vocals, keyboards), Steven Begnoche (drums, vocals), Thomas Escalante (vocals, percussion), Landis Armstrong (guitar, vocals), Chris Johnson (bass, vocals), Eric C. Hughes (drums), the Dazzling Pete Gray (piano, vocals), Eddie Akhmetchine (saxophone), Paul Beebe (bass, vocals)

"Gulf Coast R&B and swing -- originals and covers" emanate from the stage when these supremely retro-cool cats are in the house. Singer/drummer/bassist David Beebe looks like Buddy Holly and sings like Doug Sahm, and you'll hear echoes of both of those Texas gods, as well as those of Sunny Ozuna, Big Robert Smith, Grady Gaines and Roy Head.

7 p.m.

Name: Medicine Show

Nominated in: Best Folk/Acoustic

Web site: www.myspace.com/rxmedicineshow

Personnel: "The Reverend" (guitar, harmonica, vocals, fiddle, tambourine, faith healing, medicine stick), "Uncle Tick" (banjo, saw, guitar, vocals, bass, tambourine, kazoo, slide whistle, poison, and snakes), "Rag Tag Mac" (mandolin, guitar, vocals, steel chairs, upright bass, hand whistle), "Coach" (washtub bass, washboards, spoons, bones, vocals, drums, ashtrays)

If Deadwood had a ghetto, that's where you would find the Medicine Show, pickin' and grinnin' at the gates of hell. (Hell, the preacher on season one of the show is a dead ringer for the Medicine Show's own Reverend.) A punk-tinged amalgam of classic American fiddle tunes, flatboat anthems, laudanum laments and whiskey reels, these young Montrosians have turned Monday nights at Helios into must-see events. They also play the last Saturday of every month at the West Alabama Ice House, and while all are invited, they do have a caveat: "No hand drums, hippies! We are not a hippy jam band, and for crying out loud, do not ask us to play 'Man of Constant Sorrow'!"

8 p.m.

Name: Luther & the Healers

Nominated in: Best Blues/Zydeco

Web site: www.lutherandthehealers.com

Personnel: Luther (guitar, vocals), Magic (bass, vocals), Michael Aguilar (drums, vocals), Barry (keyboards)

Who knew four old guys playing R&B would be one of the busiest bands in town? Okay, they're not all that old, but they are really busy. Fifteen gigs in July, 22 in August. Those are numbers young bands would give up eyeballs for. So, how do they stay so popular? By playing old-school, down-home rhythm and blues. Honest, straight-up-from-the-bones funky blues. They've been together since 1991, and with a dozen or more shows every month, they've become ordinary and familiar, a consequence of overexposure. They're often underrated by the critics (yes, that means us), but fans know Luther & the Healers always deliver a gut-busting performance.  

9 p.m.

Name: John Evans Band

Nominated in: Best Traditional Rock; Album of the Year (Ramblin' Boy); Songwriter of the Year (John Evans); Best Male Vocalist (John Evans)

Web site: www.johnevansband.net

Personnel: John Evans (guitar), Jake Thompson (guitar), Mike Lewis (drums), Mike Ferrara II (bass)

Come on, how many guys known for songs like "Pasa-Get-Down-Dena" can call River Oaks home? Only singer-songwriter John Evans. But living in a ritzy part of town hasn't done much for Evans's manners; he rails and rants just as easily as he sings and picks. "We've got millions of people in this town," he says, "yet, there's not enough people to support three or four showcase venues here. That's bullshit. I mean, come on, people. Everybody bitches about how bands move to Austin or L.A. or wherever. Can you blame them? I've stayed here in Houston because that's how I roll. You've got to be hard-core to be a musician in this town. When my band tours the country, people always ask, 'Why do you live in Houston?' My reply is always the same, 'Because that's where all the good shit's from.' There are tons of great musicians here, busting their asses and going to bat for Houston. Screw saving a cat. Get out of your fucking house and pay ten bucks to save the life of a musician. And buy a CD, too. You'll feel better the next morning, and the CD won't shit on your floor. Problem solved." But if Evans is provoking, he comes by it naturally. His idols are Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Elvis and the Beatles. None of them were known for conforming or brown-nosing. And like them, Evans is making his own brand of music.

ST. PETE'S DANCING MARLIN

4 p.m.

Name: Riff Tiffs

Nominated in: Best New Act

Web site: www.myspace.com/rifftiffs

Personnel: Sean (drums), Chris (guitar, vocals), Curran (mad skillz), Althea (professional speaker thumper)

We recently editorialized that too few young people were psychedelic. That comment definitely does not apply to the Riff Tiffs, a young four-piece that gets freaky and droney with admirable aplomb. "Radiohead, Sonic Youth, Bright Eyes and a slew of classic rock" are cited as influences, while the band describes the resultant music as "emotionally charged songs that mix relaxed, ambient sounds with fast, aggressive rock n' roll."

5 p.m.

Name: Flying Fish Sailors

Nominated In: Best Folk

Web site: www.flyingfishsailors.com

Personnel: Greg Henkel, Joseph Linbeck, Jay Lee, Jim Henkel and Mitch Lawyer

"Traditional folk music for the 21st century" is the stock-in-trade of these sea salts and Zappa- and Devo-loving buccaneers. Regular denizens of the Continental Club complex, these fish can also be found flying in allied bands such as Beetle and Light Rock Express. Their stated goal: "To find a way to keep enjoying the music business"; their dream is an "animated appearance on The Simpsons." (We can see it now: They're playing on the docks, and the Sea Captain introduces them thusly: "Arrr, this be the yarrest band thar be...") Feel free to request "pop songs from the '60s and '70s" at their shows, but don't holler for "Danny Boy" -- you might get a harpoon through your midships.

6 p.m.

Name: Snit's Dog & Pony Show

Nominated in: Best Roots Rock/Rockabilly

Web site: www.snitshow.com

Personnel: Kevin "Snit" Fitzpatrick (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Sam Dunlap (lead guitar, vocals), JD DiTullio (drums), Little Screamin' Kenny (bass, vocals)

Kevin "Snit" Fitzpatrick, the leader of Snit's Dog & Pony Show, calls their music "roots rock with a bit of twang and the blooz." You gotta figure anybody that spells "blues" that way either a rapper or a honky-tonk veteran. Snit doesn't look much like a rapper, so his being a honky-tonk vet is the safer bet. But since the Verizon Wireless Theater is his favorite local stage, those must have been some swanky honky-tonks. The title of the group's latest release is No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, and Snit says he's eager to get to Europe and start promoting it. Maybe while they're on their Euro-tour, Snit could work in his dream gig: opening for Status Quo in the UK.

7 p.m.

Name: David Brake and That Damn Band

Nominated in: Best C&W

Web site: www.davidbrake.com, www.thatdamnband.com

Personnel: David Brake (lead vocals, piano, bass), Jeff Duncan (fiddle, vocals), Ronnie Dobbs (lead guitar, vocals), Chuck Payne (drums)

"Freeform Americana singer/songwriter rock country & blues" multi-instrumentalist Brake gave his group their peculiar moniker after "a disgruntled neighbor" grumbled that "somebody needs to tell that damn band to be quiet." Brake has quite an array of quality originals -- check the 2003 disc Lean Mean Texas Machine for details -- but these folks are definitely not cover-averse: "We become a jam band with anything we can put our own stamp on -- popular or obscure," Brake notes, so long as you don't expect him to sing "chick vocal songs." "Elton and Joel" are two of Brake's favorite ivory-ticklers, and he also admires the Beatles, early Springsteen, Steve Earle, the Replacements, "Clark and Van Zandt," Johnny Cash and Jack Ingram.  

8 p.m.

Name: Molly & the Ringwalds

Nominated In: Best Cover Band

Web site: www.theringwalds.com

Personnel: Carrie Ringwald (keyboards, vocals), Jennifer Ringwald (vocals, bass), Sam Ringwald (guitar, vocals, bass), Gene Ringwald (drums), Dekan Ringwald (guitar, bass, vocals)

Three-time winners of this category, the Ringwalds revel in all things Reagan-era -- everything from the Violent Femmes to Young MC to Tears for Fears. A while back they started encouraging their fans to join them on stage for a little live karaoke action. "Come on," they invite, "be a hero, impress your friends and family, experience what it's like to be a rock star, win the guy or girl of your dreams!"

9 p.m.

Name: Lonestar Pornstar

Nominated in: Best Alternative Rock

Web site: www.lonestarpornstar.com

Personnel: Greg David Stegman (vocals), Dallas (guitar), Phil Lock (bass), Adam Bomb (guitar), Manny Perez (drums)

Yes, panties and assorted other items of clothing with a decidedly female smell to them get thrown up on stage during every show. And yes, front man Gregg Stegman likes to close each show with "Thank you for getting naked!" But, no, they're not porn stars. They're just some regular-looking guys. Well, some regular-looking guys who happen to play some of the best Texas rock around. The group is as popular in Austin as they are here, in part because they're as smart as they are talented. They're in all the right musicians' organizations, like the Austin Indie Alliance and the Houston Band Coalition. They have a sense of humor ("Our dream gig is to have Paris Hilton open for us") and the common sense not to start any band rivalries ("That's how Biggie and Tupac got shot!"), but they lack the PR savvy to know better than to tell reporters, "This is a stupid question." Oh, well, the music is still really good.


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