The 10 Best Concerts in Houston This Weekend: Roxy Roca, Idina Menzel, Social Distortion, Razormaid DJs, etc.
Photo by Jeanne Valois
Continental Club, July 31
Touring in support of new album Ain’t Nothin’ Fancy, Austin eight-piece Roxy Roca has earned a reputation for hot live shows based on booty-shaker funk anthems guaranteed to fill a dance floor. Singer Taye Cannon fronts three horns and a jivin’ keyboard that lay on the funk thick and greasy, and the tunes are all aimed at getting everyone laid by the end of the evening. Have they reinvented the wheel? No, but Roxy sure knows how to make the old one roll. Are they a perfect band for a wedding or a sorority mixer. Oh hell yes. Roxy Roca will also play a 5:30 p.m. in-store at Cactus Music. (WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH)
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, July 31
It's safe to say that things were just fine for Idina Menzel before November 2013. After all, by that time she had won a Tony for Best Actress in a Musical for her work in Wicked, had sung for President Obama and been in one of the few musicals that even people who don't really like musicals like (Rent). And then a little film called Frozen hit theaters, and for the first time in a long time Disney didn't just have a movie that made money, it had a (non-kid friendly word) phenomenon. "Let It Go" became one of the biggest songs in pop culture, and Menzel became a legit crossover star. Her summer amphitheater tour sees her doing songs from all parts of her career plus a cover of Radiohead's "Creep," because when you have a voice and career like hers, you can sing whatever you want and people will listen. (CORY GARCIA)
Photo by Freddy Hinojosa
thelastplaceyoulook, American Fangs
Fitzgerald’s, July 31
Friday’s show marks the end of an era for thelastplaceyoulook with the departure of Mikey Garcia, the force behind the popular Houston rockers’ hard-hitting drum attack since the See the Light Inside You touring cycle about five years ago. Garcia is relocating to San Antonio to raise a family, and his bandmates — who have every intention of continuing, they’ve said — are planning to wring every last ounce of energy from Garcia’s powerful arms before letting him go. Joining them is American Fangs, locals who can also put some real crunch into melodic rock; the title of their brand-new album, Dirty Leg, is only a hint of the raunch that lies within the glam/punk/boogie hybrid of tunes like “Death of Me,” “Say What!” and “Brazilian Axe.” Openers From Guts to Glory, Fire Moth and Only Beast should make this one of the most exhausting but satisfying local rock shows of the summer.
That Thing We Do: Houston's DJ Culture Revealed (film screening, 7 p.m.)
Cactus Music, August 1
We've written about him before, but anyone who's listened to DJ Flash Gordon Parks spin at Ladybird's, the Alley Kat or on one of the Waxaholics nights knows that Flash has more grooves stored in one of his record crates than most people can shake their rump to in a year. A true scholar of the turntables, Flash started asking some of his fellow Houston DJs — folks like Chicken George, Gracie Chavez, Little Martin, DJ Sun, KCOH's Don Sam, DJ Melodic, Chuck Roast (KPFT's Funhouse), DJ Good Grief and more — about their own ways on the ones and twos, and turned the answers into his documentary, That Thing We Do. Aiming to “shine a light on the facet of Houston music that may be the most important and is definitely the least discussed: the DJs,” what Parks has really done is sketch a revealing musical portrait of Houston itself according to the men and women who supply its soundtrack.
Photo courtesy of Epitaph Records
House of Blues, August 1
Mike Ness and his Social Distortion henchmen have been mixing in Al Capone chic and rockabilly sneer into hardscrabble SoCal punk rock for more than 30 years, really arriving on the scene with 1983’s wasted-youth landmark Mommy’s Little Monster. The band’s current tour celebrates the 25th anniversary of Social Distortion, the album where — through songs like “Story of My Life,” “Sick Boys” and “Ball and Chain” — Ness found the nobility in ex-cons, future cons, winos and other all-around losers better than anyone this side of his hero Johnny Cash. Subsequent Social D albums have their fair share of champions, particularly 1992’s arguably better Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell, but the self-titled job is where Ness and company perfected the style that has since made them icons. With Nikki Lane and Drag the River.
Joseph Watt (Razormaid)
Numbers, August 1
Joseph Watt is better known as the DJ behind the multitude of Razormaid! remixes, a technique that has streamlined, re-arranged and otherwise rhythmically enhanced hundreds of the top alternative and dance-music hits of the past three decades. Watt started out at San Francisco’s Trocadero Transfer nightclub, where he won a wide following by altering the composition of certain tracks, usually by adding tension-building intros and drums that refused to let up. When coupled with his immersion in cutting-edge European electronic music, Watt’s skills easily set Razormaid apart from the other remix-subscription services used by the dance-music labels of the time; his first widespread success, a remix of Bronski Beat’s “Smalltown Boy” set the tone for the treasure trove that would follow Today a simple search of “Razormaid” on YouTube yields page after page of results, from longtime Classic Numbers favorites like New Order’s “Blue Monday,” the Cure’s “The Walk” and Peter Godwin’s “Images of Heaven” to the infinitely more obscure. Saturday, Watt and to spin entire sets and his guests will spin several sets of exclusive Razormaid remixes, accompanied by music videos likewise tailored for the occasion. With DJ G3N3S1S, DJ Tiger Jones, DJ Brad Freels and vj tech.sys. 9 p.m.
FOUR MORE SHOWS WORTH CONSIDERING
311: With openers The Green. Fitting. (Bayou Music Center, July 31)
Ginuwine, Avant: “Pony” meets “Separated”; ladies win. (Arena Theatre, July 31)
Rockstar Mayhem Festival: Featuring Slayer(!), King Diamond, The Devil Wears Prada, HELLYEAH, Whitechapel and many more. (Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, August 1)
Girls Rock Camp Houston Showcase: The popular teen camp's Class of 2015 plugs in. (Walters Downtown, August 2)
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