Eminent Hipsters By Donald Fagen Viking Adult, 176 pp., $26.95 Fans of Steely Dan know that singer/keyboardist Donald Fagen usually dips a wry, sardonic, sarcastic, and sometimes poison pen into the pitch-black inkwell with his lyrics. And they cherish it. Many of his songs have become singalong ... More >>
What happens when a hotly anticipated new release comes out by an artist... and the artist encourages you not to buy it? On the rare occurrence this happens, it's usually because the artist feels the material is either inferior, not in final form, bootlegged, or somehow fallen into the orbit of an ... More >>
Zac Brown Band Reliant Stadium February 28, 2013 I knew I was going to be a fan of the Zac Brown Band back in May 2012, when just hours after the Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch succumbed to cancer, the group came onstage at New Orleans' Jazz Fest to the strains of a Beasties song. It was that simple to ... More >>
Barenaked Ladies, Blues Traveler, Big Head Todd & The Monsters, and Cracker are heading to the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion on July 20. The "Last Summer on Earth" will take the crew on over 30 stops through the United States, celebrating the last summer on Earth with some of the best bands who pu ... More >>
Photos by Jason WolterT-Bird & the Breaks Continental Club February 23, 2012 It may be an optical illusion, but some kinds of music just sound better when the band looks nice. Sharp suits and simple choreography, like the way guitarists or horn players sometimes rock back and forth to the be ... More >>
Just another brick in the wallFifty years ago today, East German construction crews were in the last stages of preparation for building the Berlin Wall. On August 13, they began, instantly giving an incredible propaganda tool to the free world. The Wall has been down for 22 years and will so ... More >>
'Tis the summer season for tying the knot. But curse the occasion for creating the ultimate breeding ground for bad music - wedding receptions. It's one thing to unplug the jukebox in an act of defiance or flee a venue playing bad songs (I've done all of the above), but one doesn't exactly h ... More >>
What is classic rock in 2010? 15 years ago, it was was the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, anything Eric Clapton touched and every band your dad played in his car while he was making out with the girls he met before your mom. That's how we know classic rock: Big riffs, big voices, in ... More >>
itscactus.comRocks Off doesn't mean to be morbid, but today is the Day of the Dead, the Mexican holiday and festival honoring those who have gone before. So instead of waiting until the end of the year, the more traditional time for such things, we wanted to compile a list of the notable name ... More >>
Photos by Groovehouse/ Click link for a slideshowRush's Geddy Lee: "Hmmm... looks like a sellout to me."Rush's "Time Machine" tour was well-named in more ways than one. Not only did the Canadian trio perform 1981's Moving Pictures in its entirety, but the tour transported the concert industry ... More >>
Well, it's Friday afternoon, and at this point Rocks Off is basically just counting down to 5 p.m. and whatever concert announcement for Dave Matthews, John Mayer or someone else we only marginally care about (and occasionally someone we actually do, like Van Morrison) inevitably shows ... More >>
By this time Tuesday, we will all know who is playing the Austin City Limits Music Festival in October. Damn, it seems like we have speculating about the line-up since, well, we got the last of the "Dillo Dirt" out the middle of our toes after last year's muddy and rainy ACL weekend. Tuesday brig ... More >>
Chris GrayWilco's Jeff Tweedy in a much better mood, March 2008There may be a very good reason Van Morrison said practically nothing from the stage Saturday night at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. Judging from the plentiful comments here, here and over at the Chronicle's review, it would have ... More >>
Photos by Groovehouse For more photos from the concert, see our slideshow here. Sometimes bands come along that burn so hot and bright that words fail you. And sometimes all you can do at their shows is stand there with your hands at your side in utter shock at what you are seeing. If you were at ... More >>
No photography, no problem.Before we went to Van Morrison Saturday night - yep, we managed to score tickets, basically through dumb luck (thanks, Stuart!) and not Morrison's sudden benevolence toward the media - Aftermath and our dad were talking at dinner about how tedious it must be for veteran ... More >>
Brittanie SheyBlack Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, Walter's on Washington, April 2 The following scenario has happened to Rocks Off three times in the past two months: There we are, waiting patiently in line to get into a crowded general-admission concert. When we finally get in, we make our way ... More >>
Rocks Off was really, really, really looking forward to seeing Van Morrison at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Saturday night. We read the new book by Greil Marcus, perhaps the most erudite rock critic of all time, When That Rough God Goes Riding: Listening to Van Morrison, cover to cover in ... More >>
We're not saying Soundgarden is playing ACL, but you never know...That's right. Now why would Rocks Off make something like that up? Hope you have $180 lying around and don't have any meetings or classes or anything like that tomorrow morning, because they're going to go quick. Better go ahead an ... More >>
Spearhead leader Michael Franti's Middle Eastern trip inspires an unlikely Top 40 hit.
The Blasters: Sat., May 8. Fitzgerald's. Alexisonfire, Trash Talk, La Dispute, Therefore I Am: Mon., May 3. Warehouse Live. Billy Joe Shaver: Fri., April 9. The Firehouse Saloon. Bobby Bare Jr., David Vanderveld: Tue., March 16. Rudyard's. BT, Glint: Wed., March 17. House of Blues. Chaka Khan: F ... More >>
This weekend word came from Live Nation that legendary Irish crooner and songwriter Van Morrison will be open the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion's 2010 season Thursday, May 1, Van the Man's first Houston appearance in more than 30 years. According to songkick.com, Morrison first hit Houston in J ... More >>
Johnny Depp is the "sexiest man alive." I know this because it's what I've been told by People magazine, my wife, all my wife's friends, my sister, and that girl I dated in college who used to make me watch 21 Jump Street before she'd allow me to get her clothes off.He's also the star of Public Ene ... More >>
Obviously with U2 and the Pogues alone, the Irish scene has had a huge effect on the pop music of the past half century. But no list of Irish influences on 20th century rock and roll can be complete without Van Morrison. In 1968, LOM's senior year in high school, Them played the Ector County Col ... More >>
Print publications focusing on music continue to fall like pine trees in a hurricane. The latest to close its doors is 16-year-old Performing Songwriter. Editor/publisher Lydia Hutchison announced Wednesday that the June issue would be the last. The magazine joins No Depression, Blender and Count ... More >>
Houston's genre-hopping indie darling eyes SXSW
It's always nice to see a band that respects its elders, and Denver's DeVotchKa has taken Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic" promise "I wanna rock your gypsy soul" to heart. Finding the seam between Old World traveler tunes and contemporary indie-rock, the quartet (and a few friends) matched the ... More >>
Those who know me know I hate high fructose syrup sweeteners and avoid products that contain them whenever possible. Lately I've been having a lot of fun trying different honeys from around the world. There was the delicious Tej (Ethiopian honey wine) that I enjoyed at the Blue Nile, for example. ... More >>
Another overnight success 20 years in the making
Halfway through Sundance, and still whistling a happy tune.
Halfway through Sundance, and still whistling a happy tune.
C.J. Chenier appears as part of the Accordion Music Festival on Saturday, June 3, at Miller Outdoor Theatre, 100 Concert Drive, 713-284-8350
Sure, Fiona Apple is crazy...like a fox!
The Wrens survived a near-decade of depression, debacle and disaster
Tranquil Isolation (Overcoat Recordings)
Thursday, September 11
Soul Rush (Lakeshore)
The Band dances The Last Waltz, but can time heal old wounds?
In Ulee's Gold, Victor Nunez's sticky-sweet direction lacks sting
Van Morrison's getting older, grouchier and, with his latest CD, better again
Plus: Less Donna McK., archiving Texas folk music, and Iggy's eats Jelly