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2011 HPMA Showcase: What's Up, Dad Rock?

Checkout the slideshows of the bands and the crowd at the Houston Press Music Awards Showcase.

Josh Wolf, lead singer of rock and rollers Hell City Kings, is fantastic. And mesmerizing. And pasty.

During his set at the HPMAs (Warehouse Live, 6 p.m.), he stalked around the rostrum, teal light from the overhead stage lights glowing on his white, semi-doughy torso, "Rock and Roll Nightmare" written across his sternum. At several points during the show he paused the ruckus, only to stand there in a Christ-like pose, microphone dangling, soaking in the adulation offered by the then-sparse crowd.

HCK was blinding and visceral and my twin sons, age 4, in attendance at the HPMAs for the first time, were entirely enthralled.

We'd actually arrived in the middle of the previous set (The Niceguys), during which the boys spent most of the time displaying the frosty shyness that comes with being In A New Place With A Lot Of People.

A pleasant woman in a questionable blouse approached and wordlessly attempted to engage them in dance. She was stonewalled, ignored completely. They were like Brittany Murphy at the beginning of that shitty Don't Say a Word movie.

After six minutes, though, they were everywhere; sprinting and rolling on the floor and dancing and snatching snacks from the V.I.P. room like it was constructed solely for them (Brittany Murphy after she'd gotten a little famous, I guess).

There are lots of reasons to like the HPMAs -- $10 for 50 bands is pretty impossible to beat; the way the schedule is set up, you're certain to be exposed to a few acts you weren't intending on seeing; there will always be at least one thing that you walk away from saying, "Holy Christ, that was extraordinary." (Best Unexpected Moment of 2011's Showcase: watching Robert Rodriquez, performing with Umbrella Man, and his gorgeously artistic cumbia set.)

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But for me, this year it was watching two tiny versions of myself watching the malfeasant anarchy of Josh Wolf and the Hell City Kings and trying to figure out why his daddy wasn't telling him to be quiet or stop jumping around or put his shirt back on.

This is far more interesting than practicing writing my name or listening to Mama explain the difference between "evince" and "evoke," their big brown eyes seemed to say. After the show, they ate a Spiderman ice cream and a Ninja Turtle ice cream.

Then they went home to sleep.

Music dads need music sons.

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