The eighth edition of the always free and musically packed For the Community festival runs from Saturday afternoon into early Sunday morning. Once again, promoters Visionary Noise and Houston Free Thinkers have assembled a lineup of artists, poets and musicians representative of our city's diversity.
Last Concert Café and Eastdown Warehouse will host more than three dozen musical acts. It's the second time this year the festival has dropped in the warehouse district and the February edition enjoyed strong attendance. Not to go Frank Billingsley on y'all, but the weather is going to be ridiculously great, so the hope is even more music fans will crowd Nance Street for the day's offerings.
Of those offerings, here are eight promoter Micah Jackson and Rocks Off chose for adventurous listeners or FTC newbs to seek out:
BIZ VICIOUS 5:30 p.m., Eastdown Warehouse
Biz Vicious was introduced to me by way of Unified Underground's 2014 summer compilation. His track, "Sick Cadence Cicadas" was my first taste of the electronic music and electrifying rhymes he serves up.
Biz's altar ego Brian Eley has been a poet, singer-songwriter and rapper, but recently added producer to his resume to bring Biz Vicious into focus. The result is a fun blend of unpredictable beats and winning lyrics. For a sample, head over to the Vicious one's Soundcloud and find "Biz Please (Got Em Like)," where the artist humorously bares his soul with the line "I admit that I'm a narcissist, why else would I produce, rap and listen to this?"
KRISTAL CHERELLE 6:40 p.m., Last Concert Café
Singer-songwriter Kristal Cherelle's debut album released this summer with an appropriate title, Fighter. It's fitting because she's got a knockout voice and she's a scrapper, battling for new listeners by taking shows practically anywhere they'll book her.
The album is heavy on relationship songs, the kinds Taylor Swift could be writing ten years from now, if she ever experiences the joys and struggles of an actual relationship. The best of the bunch are the title track, a mournful "Pain," which showcases her vocal range and "Where We Need to Be," which recalls Norah Jones' "Come Away With Me." Talent and a strong work ethic suggest Cherelle is not just here for the fight; she's in it to win it.
GRAND ANTLER TEETH 8:50 p.m., Eastdown Warehouse
Grand Antler Teeth is a new Houston band that won't seem new at all to some. That's because members of the band -- vocalist John Alton and percussionist Chad Liebold -- are former members of Cosmic Bug Loaf. They've recruited Jeremy Carswell and David Sanmiguel, from Jeremy Carswell & the Nymphs, to form this project. The band played its debut show just last month at Rudyard's.
Jackson is touting this as one act to catch and the best reason -- besides the music -- may be to see how these musicians from other projects meld together for something all-new.
MANINKARI 9:20 p.m., Last Concert Cafe
This quartet celebrates its first year together with an FTC performance at Last Concert, one of its favorite venues. The band's vocalist is Derrick Broze, the Houston Free Thinkers organizer whose interests vary from organic gardening to politics to his day job of activist journalism. His lyrics and presentation should be anything but run of the mill.
He's backed by Ephraim Paz on guitar, bassist Chad Zimmerman and a drummer who simply goes by Kevin. The notion of simplification, a return to the basic spirit found in all things, is at the heart of Maninkari's music. It'll be interesting to see how many revelers take the band's transcendental trip with them.
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WONDERBITCH 9:35 p.m., Eastdown Warehouse
FTC is primarily built with local acts. After all, there's plenty of music here to go around. But, out-of-towners are not only welcomed, they are occasionally some of the most exciting acts to check out. The last Visionary Noise offering, Meltfest 2014, booked Beaumont's Purple. That band is presently touring Europe, where they opened dates there for the Subways and played a Vice Halloween party in London.
Wonderbitch, an Austin-based quartet, has a similar catch-'em-while-you-can upside about them. I had to dust off my Katy Lied and A Trick of the Tail LPs to be sure, but can now verify there's a Steely Dan/early-Genesis vibe to this band, particularly in its guitar work. I checked the credits for Love You, its Bandcamp album, to be sure Steve Hackett and Water Becker didn't sit in on the sessions. It's good stuff that should be fun to hear live.
DAED 9:40 p.m., Eastdown Warehouse
Micah Jackson suggested fans head over to Eastdown for Daed's set.
"It's electronic, but a lot of heavy music people seem to like him, too," Jackson said.
He is Ian Lambert, the mind behind Daed's IDM/breakcore offerings. Checking out what this Katy resident does will get you in on the ground floor of a local with some major upside. Trax magazine, a European publication that's covered electronic music since the late 1990s, celebrated Daed's full-length, Programist. The album has more glitches than the Matrix and more acid blips than your mom's jeans did back in the '80s.
ENLOOM 10:20 p.m., Eastdown Warehouse
If you've turned on, tuned in or dropped out, don't miss Enloom's set Saturday night. Regular members Mason van Kraayenburg and Bobby Levy team with contributing members like Aaron Cormier and Luke Odom to produce quality avant-garde, meditative music. Without apology, the act embraces the hippie-dippie ethic, describing itself as "an ever-evolving entity" of musicians "seeking creative and spiritual fulfillment."
The band's music page features tracks with titles like "Hymn for a New Age" and "Path Predestined," but don't assume every song is a nudge toward some peaceful nirvana. A standout track, "Giraffe Fights," features some guitar fireworks that I'm personally hoping will light up the downtown skies this weekend.
"DOWNER" 11:55 p.m., Last Concert Café
Ronald Reagan, parachute pants and Van Halen's "Jump" are things that never existed, according to "Downer." That's because this rock trio's music bridges two of the best music decades -- the 1970s and 1990s -- and practically skips right over everything that happened in between.
Noe Kimes and James McComb form a nasty rhythm section for guitarist/vocalist Ricky Dee's howling and wailing. Seeing them live is like watching Peter Frampton cover the Melvins. Their Bandcamp page is scant of these trippy offerings, but there's enough there to know you're going to want more come Saturday.
For the Community 8 kicks off Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The event is free.
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