Bayou City

10 Acts That Would *Really* Piss Off White Oak Music Hall's Neighbors

The Lawn at White Oak Music Hall is pretty much the hottest music venue in town right now — and not just because oh dear God, it’s summer again. Temporary stage or not, it’s the only place around to catch the Lumineers on Saturday, and even if you don’t have tickets for that sold-out attraction, you’ve probably been eyeing those Explosions in the Sky and Flaming Lips concerts following right behind it. Remember to wear sunblock.

Not everybody loves the place, of course. The residents of the Near Northside neighborhood surrounding White Oak Music Hall have been pretty cool about a major new music venue moving in, on the whole. But they can’t be thrilled about their streets becoming a scene out of Heavy Metal Parking Lot every other weekend as thousands of fans stream in. Some have already spoken out loudly about parking, traffic and sound in the area, and they probably aren’t giving up anytime soon. The folks at White Oak have been pretty cool on the whole, too, managing satellite parking lots and hiring HPD to keep traffic moving. Let’s be real: They’ve got the hottest spot in town right now. They could get away with much worse. Like booking bands that were born to drive down property values.

We’ve got some ideas on what that might look like. If you ever see any of these ten bands booked on the Lawn, you'll know the venue's battle with its neighbors has gotten really ugly.

It’s not always easy to identify what you’re seeing and hearing at a Death Grips concert, but it’s typically pretty hard to forget it. The group already left a small-but-permanent psychic scar on the city late last year at Day for Night, inspiring both awe and revulsion in large doses with its retina-straining lighting effects and cochlea-crushing drums. Death Grips’ music has been called all sorts of things, from violent and throbbing to dumb and derivative. Most people either love it or hate it. But nearly every mention of their music indicates that it is noisy, because believe me, that’s the first and lasting impression you’ll experience at a Death Grips gig. The Near Northside probably isn’t totally unaccustomed to wild-eyed, shirtless men screaming outside in the neighborhood, but until recently, they haven’t been handed microphones. Book Death Grips and watch the “For Sale” signs start popping up.

How Al Jourgensen can hear anything at all anymore is one of rock and roll’s most closely guarded secrets. For more than 30 years now, the drug-enhanced savant has dutifully produced the harshest, most aggressive electronic rock he can think up, and his band’s live sound is simply deafening. Ministry’s long sets can wear out even hardened fans with their clicking pummel — part-timers barely stand a chance. After again swearing to lay the project to rest in recent years, Jourgensen has once again resurrected a new version of his most famous band, ready to torture P.A. systems across North America and Europe this summer. If they’re ever booked at the Lawn at White Oak, neighbors would do well to start nailing up plywood before the band touches down.

Before you ask: Yes, Mindless Self Indulgence is still around. It’s been almost 20 years now since Jimmy Urine and the gang got together and decided to smash together the most insipid elements of punk, metal, rap and techno like so many Tonka trucks until all the wheels fell off. Somehow, they’re still truckin,’ in defiance of all sanity and decency in rock and roll. Even their fans would probably have to describe them as willfully annoying, and they’re highly apt to piss off your friends, let alone the neighbors. If the MSI music wafting through the streets managed to convert any Near Northside children into fans, it’d be a matter of hours before their parents broke the torches out.

It’s hard to think of a bigger, dumber artist to put onstage at the Lawn at White Oak than Kid Rock. His musical asswipe bona fides are strong, from the on-the-nose classic rock samples of his nu-metal period to his excruciatingly try-hard stabs at the country music charts. The man has never met a common denominator that he couldn’t lower. Tell me you wouldn’t love to see White Oak’s neighbors’ reaction when they realize that that snazzy little piano intro isn’t actually proof that Warren Zevon is alive and touring. It’s the sound of Kid Rock sampling motherfucking “Sweet Home Alabama” and spitting the kind of flow that makes people look down on white rappers — hell, white people in general. The only thing worse he could do to the neighborhood would be moving in.

Oh, you thought Kid Rock was Detroit’s biggest joke of a white rapper? Must have been nice growing up in that bunker, huh, sealed safely away from the music of Insane Clown Posse? ICP’s music is so aggressively unlistenable that their long, DIY career should not have been possible. The merch sales don’t lie, though: People simply can’t get enough of rapping, homicidal clowns spraying them down with carbonated corn syrup. The duo’s dedicated fans roll deep, and turning the Near Northside into Juggalo Central would almost be too cruel. Imagine waking up to discover that THAT circus had come to town. Wicked.

There are a lot of shock-rock bands out there that would do a fine job of horrifying the neighbors over at White Oak Music Hall, but none of them are as much fun as GWAR. Something about being soaked in the group’s proprietary blend of blood, semen and bloody semen has kept fans coming back for more again and again over the years, even after beloved front-thing/cuttlefish tamer Oderus Urungus bought the farm a couple of years back. The immortal band’s shuddering thrash attack can sometimes feel beside the point next to the nonstop stream of gore and wisecracks, but it’s plenty loud and rude enough to render the Near Northside’s sliding screen doors unusable.

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Nathan Smith
Contact: Nathan Smith