Discovery Green's Fall Shows Even Better Than the Spring

Late Monday evening, Discovery Green announced the lineup of its increasingly popular Thursday-evening free concert series, which will resume Sept. 13 with the patchouli-scented Austin group Mingo Fishtrap and Houston rocksteady revivalists the Suffers, who were all over this year's Houston Press Music Award nominations.

Oh yeah, the ceremony is tomorrow night at Warehouse Live. Doors open at 8.

Anyway, another huge show hits the Green the very next week, when Grandfather Child returns from the tour they just left on last week to play their first Houston show since the release of their long-percolating eponymous New West album, scheduled for release August 28. Co-headlining is another local group that seems destined for a New West-like label soon, Folk Family Revival.

Most recently presented by UH-Downtown, whose frolicking gator mascot became a popular sight during the previous couple of seasons, the series is between sponsors right now and is known for the moment as simply, well, the Thursday Concerts at Discovery Green. No matter; as popular as they've become, some other local company -- or a company looking to bolster its local credibility -- will no doubt come along soon enough.

The biannual series began in 2008, and enters its eighth season next month. The concerts usually fill up the Green or come close -- the Gourds show in June, the last one Rocks Off attended personally, was almost overflowing -- and have approached the same level of popularity as another free concert series, the old Party on the Plaza on Jones Plaza during the '80s and '90s, which booked a similar caliber of local and regional talent and was sometimes notorious for rowdy, intoxicated crowds.

The Discovery Green shows are decidedly more genteel. Houston musician and "King of the Oldies" Allen Hill, who has booked the Thursday concerts since the beginning, prefers the word "gracious." He almost doesn't need to add that these are a sight more family-friendly, but does it anyway.

"I love seeing kids interact with the music and environment, which didn't happen at Party on the Plaza," says Hill. "The setting and the artists attract a more diverse audience, which puts the only-in-Houston stamp on the series. Plus, the park pours cold Saint Arnold beer."

So there you go. After Grandfather Child and Folk Family Revival, rising Austin Americana stars the Wheeler Brothers and HPMA-nominated local troubador Matt Harlan have Sept. 27, and Ian Moore and his power-pop band the Lossy Coils split a date with young Cajuns the Lost Bayou Ramblers on Oct. 4.

Dale Watson returns Oct. 11 with Austin acoustic-swing ladies the Carper Family the next Thursday, and the season winds down with a couple of encore performances by Thursday alumni Brave Combo/Flying Fish Sailors Oct. 18 and the Iguanas/Nick Gaitan & the Umbrella Man Oct. 25.

"I love seeing more and more Houstonians every season come out to enjoy fantastic music in such a beautiful park," says Hill. "I am definitely looking forward to another season of fun."

Shows start at 6:30 p.m.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray