The Best Concerts in Houston This Weekend: The Blasters, Artopia, Neko Case, etc.
Photo courtesy of Pep Talk Media
Reggie and the Full Effect Warehouse Live, January 24
The side project of Get Up Kids keyboardist James DeWees, Reggie and the Full Effect is an indie band with a sense of humor. Dating back to DeWees' days with Coalesce, when he recorded a joke demo on a cassette tape to hand out at concerts dubbed Under The Tray - aptly named because the CD was hidden under the tray in the case -- he's made a point of never taking himself that seriously.
The Full Effect itself is a revolving group of musicians drawn from DeWees' other projects, so while the touring lineup is a toss-up at any given time, that easygoing mindset has worked out well. Reggie has been playing together off and on since 1998, with a couple of prolonged "breaks" thrown in for good measure. ANGELICA LEICHT
The Blasters Continental Club, January 24
The epitome of an American band, the Blasters applied the lessons of rockabilly, blues and honky-tonk to the L.A. post-punk scene with almost feral intensity. Founded by brothers Dave and Phil Alvin, the Blasters reveled in the basic, visceral pleasures of rock and roll -- electric guitars, steamrolling drums, amplifiers turned up all the way they could go -- and found kindred spirits such as Los Lobos, X and Dwight Yoakam along the way.
The present-day Blasters are Phil's domain after Dave left for a fruitful solo career (though he shuffles back into the ranks every so often), and the prospect of them in a cozy room like the Continental should be enough to make any roots-rock fan's mouth start to water. With Whiskey Shivers; see Rocks Off's interview with the Blasters' "latter-day Dave Alvin," Keith Wyatt, right over here. CHRIS GRAY
Houston Press Artopia Winter Street Studios, January 25
This paper's sixth annual winter carnival is stuffed silly with things that make Houston such a vibrant cultural city -- visual arts including live painting, cutting-edge dance and theater performances, artisanal food, couture by Danny Nguyen and Chloe Dao -- but let's talk about the music for a second. That's kind of our thing.
We've selected three of Houston's most stylish acts for your listening enjoyment: Deep Cuts, the peppy indie-rockers with a light touch and Latin-laced rhythms; Electric Attitude, who in last year's Skintight & Solid Gold wrote the soundtrack for the great lost '70s blaxploitation flick; and Featherface, makers of luxuriant, swooning melodies since 2012 debut Actual Magic. For added value elsewhere around the studios, DJs Dave Wrangler and Ceeplus Bad Knives will dig deep into their enviable record collections to keep the party going. CHRIS GRAY
More shows on the next page.
Photo courtesy of Anti- Records
Neko Case House of Blues, January 26
To say there's a cult surrounding Neko Case is putting it mildly. Or not a cult, exactly, but the ginger alt-country singer inspires a level of devotion among fans that sometimes borders on obsessive. (As such, she studiously safeguards her privacy, but maintains a candid and entertaining Twitter feed.) It starts with her voice, a thing of such elemental pain and rare beauty that anyone who hears it can't help but be moved.
But it's what she sings about that makes her such a fascinating artist: from early albums like Furnace Room Lullaby and Blacklisted through last year's The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You, Case's songs are as complex and illuminating as any Raymond Carver or Tobias Wolff short story. And, lest anyone forget, full of some absolutely gorgeous singing. With Thao & the Get Down Stay Down. CHRIS GRAY
SEVEN OTHER SHOWS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER By Chris Gray
New York City Queens: Rocks Off would just like to go on the record and say that we do not know how the rumor got started, but we do not hate this local alt-pop band. Here they're off on an East Coast tour with Rhode Islanders Roses, plus Beaumont's Purple and our Artopia friends Deep Cuts. (Fitzgerald's, January 24)
Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder: Pricey ticket, but there is no cooler bluegrass cat than than the man behind '80s hits "Don't Cheat In Our Hometown" and "Highway 40 Blues." His band Kentucky Thunder is killer, too. (Dosey Doe, January 24)
Electric Frankenstein: Jersey hard-rock veterans bill themselves as "AC/DC meets the Dead Boys," and they know best. With the Swingin' Dicks and the Bulemics. (Rudyard's, January 24)
Tet FEST: Ring in the Vietnamese Lunar New Year with a preview of Houston Grand Opera's Bound, the musical Dong Mau Lac Hong, a pho-eating contest and lots more. Gates open at 10 a.m. (Discovery Green, January 25)
Gunplay: Brash Maybach/Triple C's MC doesn't mince words on new single featuring Torch and Young Breed, "Fuck Shit," from his mixtape Bogota Rich. (Warehouse Live, January 25)
Fucked Up: Toronto's hardcore misfits probably don't want to hear any Rob Ford jokes. (Fitzgerald's, January 26)
Mason Jennings: This March the Hawaii-born, Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter will be the featured artist at the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Forum. How's that for a cool gig? (House of Blues Bronze Peacock Room, January 26)
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