Free Press Houston’s Block Party goes off this weekend – if you haven’t heard by now, how’s the weather under that rock? With so many bands playing the free indoor/outdoor showcase, we thought we’d help clear the air with suggestions.
Not included are the bands playing in the post-Block Party show at Numbers, because you should pay the $12 and go see all of them. Austin’s Voxtrot headlines over locals Something Fierce, Bring Back the Guns, Blackie, The JonBenet, Satin Hooks and Lisa’s Sons. Get on this; you can nap all day Sunday (and you'll need to).
Rocks Off's recommendations, and those of a few guests, after the jump.
The Gold Sounds (above)
12:45 p.m., Avant Garden upstairs We first saw this Deer Park psych-rock trio lay down it’s Who/Zeppelin style jams at the Secret Saturday Showcase. We admit there was some guitar-smashing we weren’t really into, but the tunes were as solid as, you guessed it, gold.
1:30 p.m. Mangos Outside Stage If you haven’t seen these kids yet then you haven’t been to a local show or bar in, like, forever. These Blondie/Cure-esque jangley folk rockers have received mixed reviews from Rocks Off, but they pay attention to critics and improve with every show. (Even though some of us here think they can do no wrong.)
1:30 p.m. Mango's Outside Stage Influences of They Might Be Giants, The Violent Femmes, Talking Heads and The Flaming Lips are hinted in equal measure in Joe Mathlete’s ever-rotating cast (which he says is close to nailing down a regular lineup). Mlee Marie, aka Hearts of Animals, will be filling the standard “different-girl-almost-every-time” position for this round.
News on the March
3 p.m. Austin Layne Hotel – Secret Saturday Show Stage This fivesome has had a rocky month thanks to Ike. A roof smashed into their headquarters, which stopped them from releasing their album, and forced them to cancel a few shows. This one – they promised – will happen. So, let’s cover the bases once again: pristine barbershop harmonies, twangy guitar workings, solid country rock. We gave them Best Unsigned Band for a reason. Find out why.
3:45 p.m. Numbers Outside Stage Get drunk. Get rocked. Get rolled. Get rowdy. And you might still be able to keep up with these dudes.
5:15 p.m. Numbers Inside Stage A newly formed math rock/post punk trio with only one show under its belt and loads more practices. Their first showing was rather impressive for a debut and we’ve been looking forward to see how the second go-round would be.
Piano Vines (above)
6 p.m., Avant Garden Outside Stage We haven’t said much about this guy-gal duo in a while – our bad. Pam Cantu and David Howard recall the likes of Eisley and Elizabeth Elmore with lullaby-like jams that include just enough rock to keep your head bobbing. They’re tunes would go perfectly with a light breeze that we’re hoping will pay a visit throughout the day’s festivities.
6:45 p.m. Austin Layne Hotel We’re excited to see a full set from this trio of post-punk rockers. Balaclavas’ performance at its own album release show was cut short thanks to some band scheduling conflicts. Four songs was simply not enough. The group’s latest release, Inferno is trance-inducing ride through the Beelzebub’s homeland that could easily be a contender for Houston’s album of the year.
7:20 p.m., Mango's Inside Stage Tambersauro has gotten used to people describing their band with the phrases “crazy time signatures,” “odd beats,” “orange jumpsuits” and “experimental.” So we don’t feel bad about it. Seriously, Houston’s most promising experimental rockers.
And now the others weigh in …
David A. Cobb, Houston Calling
12-12:30: Swans Will Attack (Mango's outside)
12:45-1:15: Karina Nistal (Numbers outside)
1:30-2: Wild Moccasins (Mango's outside)
2:15-2:45: D.R.U.M. (Austin Layne Hotel)
3-3:30: Hell City Kings (Numbers outside)
3:45-4:15: Copilot (Numbers inside)
4:30-5: Tha Fucking Transmissions (Avant Garden outside)
5:15-5:45: Basses Loaded (Avant Garden outside)
6-6:30: Come See My Dead Person (Numbers outside)
6:45-7:15: The Ton Tons (Avant Garden outside)
7:20-7:50: Tambersauro (Mango's inside)
8:15-8:45: Buxton (Austin Layne Hotel)
ADR, The Skyline Network
I would say that, in addition to the entire "after show" at Numbers, see the following 10 bands (though some are playing at the same time):
The Gold Sounds
Two Star Symphony
News on the March
I could easily put down 10 more bands.
Beau Beasley, Insect Warfare/No Talk/Sound Exchange
Here are the bands I’d actually like to see if I had the day off:
Rusted Shut: Gods. No explanation necessary
Balaclavas:Yeah, you already know them. Probably the only other band besides Rusted Shut I’d actually be interested in seeing
The Hates: Surprisingly, have been playing lots of material from their late-‘70s singles these days and actually pulling it off. Amazing KBD punk.
Wild Moccasins: Have no idea what they sound like but their singer looks amazing. Sold.
Hell City Kings: Another Bill Fool Band. Kind of like Turbonegro. Ripping guitar leads; do a great KISS "Strutter" cover. Singer looks good when he takes his shirt off.
Muzak John: Dude’s a fucking weirdo. Probably way more interesting than what other crap indie rock is going on at some other stage at the same time.
Spain Colored Orange: They suck. I would see them just to remind myself why I haven’t seen this shit band in about five years.
Dirty N Nasty: Sounds like something I’d be into.
Lola’s: At some point I’d stumble down there to get away from the shit ‘til Rusted Shut went on.
Bear Claw: I hope this is buff guys with nice facial hair rubbing on each other and not a shit indie-rock band. Please let me know.
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Niki.7, Something Fierce/Miranda Rites
The Ton Tons: Aww man, this band is awesome. Totally sweet songs you can swoon too. Hasn't it been too long since your last swoon anyway?
Guitars: Um .. if nothing else, this band is just cooler than everyone else. Period. Featuring J.D. and Stacey from Lenny Briscoe, Pope Jon PPP and Snakey from the Monocles and April 5k from Alarma! They're way cooler than you and the sooner you accept it, the sooner we can all move on with our lives. Also, they were gracious enough to play the inaugural Marshall Law House show so they will always have a special place in my heart
The Hangouts: Pop-punk from College Station so cute you'll feel like you're 16 and sitting in the car with your first boyfriend again listening to the mix he gave you. Seriously, it's that awesome. They make us awesome tacos and I'm not ashamed to admit, I once sat on their couch watching endless Futurama episodes with Atari Matt and Niki's son. Also, they do the best Go-Gos cover.
News on the March: I once described this band as a great big indie rock hoe-down and I would like to stand by that statement. It's good ole-fashioned heel-stompin’, do-si-do-inducing, yee-hawing, good-time-havin' fun. Break out the jug and the overalls – don't pretend you don't own any.
The Takes: I swear I wear their button on my Starbucks apron nearly every day. It's been awhile since I saw them. Last time was at a Crocker house party in April and I got elbowed in the face. If that's not punk rock, I really don't know what is.
Giant Princess: So April 5k (Guitars, Alarma!) kept telling me how great this band was but I never got a chance to see them until Secret Saturday Fest. Maybe it was just the high from a seriously too good to be true veggie burger, but I liked what I saw. This is the band you wish you knew every line to every song so you could sing along. You want to compare them to Nirvana but you don't because maybe they would be mad about that. So you don't, but you think it a lot.
Lenny Briscoe: Now new and improved with bassist Neil (Lazy Horse). They're good and they do more for the scene than you and your cool friends ever will.
The Mathletes: They top the "Niki.7's list of cutest bands in Houston," and until someone puts together a band of kittens or three-legged puppies, they're going to stay there. They write songs about hornless unicorns (not horses), Pinocchio robots and some strange place I've never been to called grown-up land (Joe, if you see this, I think you really need to start playing "Grown-up Land" again). My mom rocked out to “Harry the Hornless Unicorn” and it was awesome. Seriously, my mom never rocks out.
O'Doyle Rules: You loved these guys when you were in high school. Don't even deny it. If it's cool with Adam Sandler, it's cool with me.
The Quietist: I have missed every show they've played so far and I feel really bad about that. I keep hearing how great they are and how I need to see them. I'm going to make it happen Saturday. Let's just hope it doesn't turn in to another Phantom Menace incident.
Block Party starts at 11 a.m. with the "Wake and Bake Blues Jam" hosted by Guy Schwarz on the Numbers outside stage, and the weather is looking great. Ride your bike!