4
Swimwear Department got wild at Mongoose Versus Cobra.
Swimwear Department got wild at Mongoose Versus Cobra.
Photo by Jesse Sendejas Jr.

30 Songs By 30 Acts From 30 Days of Music in Houston, Second Set

As we said Tuesday in our first installment, we took in 30 songs by 30 acts seen in Houston over the last 30 days (give or take a day). Presented in three parts, this is one person’s musical trek across Greater Houston and just a glimpse of where music is happening in the city.

Presented in no particular order, here is the second set of songs that left an impression:

Los Skarnales returned to Houston from a triumphant Vegas showcase
Los Skarnales returned to Houston from a triumphant Vegas showcase
Photo by Jesse Sendejas Jr.

“Borracho,” Los Skarnales, Avant Garden, May 31, 2019

Resale Concert Tickets

Powered By
powered by Seats For Everyone SEE MORE

  • Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019 / 6:30pm @ White Oak Music Hall - Downstairs 2915 N. Main Houston TX 77009
    2915 N. Main, Houston TX 77009

  • Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019 / 7:00pm @ House Of Blues - Houston 1204 Caroline St Houston TX 77002
    1204 Caroline St, Houston TX 77002

  • Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019 / 7:00pm @ Bronze Peacock At The House Of Blues - Houston 1204 Caroline Street Houston TX 77002
    1204 Caroline Street, Houston TX 77002

Twenty-five years on, Houston’s own "Vatos Rudos" are as popular and busy as ever. The band recently hit Avant Garden on the heels of a triumphant turn at Las Vegas’ Punk Rock Bowling, where they represented      H-town with a sold-out show and rubbed elbows with groups like Rancid and The Specials. Back at home, front man Felipe Galvan told a packed room it was the first time in years they’d played Avant Garden, then launched into a “Borracho,” a crowd-pleasing staple in Los Skarnales’ set and an anthem for Houston’s booze hounds.

30 Songs By 30 Acts From 30 Days of Music in Houston, Second Set
Photo by Jesse Sendejas Jr.

“What I Like About You/R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.,” 80-HD, Pimlico Irish Pub, June 29, 2019

Only the worst of insufferable music snobs would look down upon Houston’s working cover bands. There are plenty out there, playing all the hits you know and love, and they’re vital to the city’s bar and brewery industries. 80-HD is a three-piece that moved us from the back of the bar to front row seating with this mashup of The Romantics’ head-bobber and John Cougar Mellencamp’s ode to his own music heroes. The songs morphed into each other effortlessly and got some of Pimlico’s patrons dancing in broad daylight, the benchmark for whether a cover band has the goods.

SonReal visited The Secret Group last month
SonReal visited The Secret Group last month
Photo by Jesse Sendejas Jr.

“My Friend,” SonReal, The Secret Group, June 8, 2019

Canadian hip-hop artist SonReal is still developing a Houston following, but those already in the know were treated to a set heavy on songs from his new, stellar album, The Aaron LP, when he stopped at The Secret Group last month. “My Friend” is a bit older, but it helped set the blueprint for the new album, which is awash with deeply personal songs. SonReal wrote “My Friend” for his late father, so singing the song’s chorus alongside my own son, who introduced me to the rapper’s work, was a high point of the show.

Flash Gordon Parks on the wheels at Cactus
Flash Gordon Parks on the wheels at Cactus
Photo by Jesse Sendejas Jr.

“Expression,” Flash Gordon Parks, Cactus Music, June 29, 2019

The perfect song for the moment: it’s something a true music fan is listening for in any deejay set and it’s always there when Flash Gordon Parks is behind the turntables. Houston’s self-described “Ethnomusicologist, Collector, Documentarian” got the crowd hype for visiting act Mexstep (more on him and his brilliant new album in the next installment) and then kept the party going post-set with hip-hop classics that sent Cactus shoppers to the racks in search of old favorites. Salt-N-Pepa’s “Expression” isn’t just a body mover, it’s a salute to personal creative expression and it’s “you gotta be you and only you, babe” message tied neatly into the sentiments of Mexstep’s live set.

Just Hangin' Out made Houston a stop on her summer tour
Just Hangin' Out made Houston a stop on her summer tour
Photo by Jesse Sendejas Jr.

“Layin’ Down,” Just Hangin’ Out, House of J, May 29, 2019

Just Hangin’ Out is the moniker under which singer-songwriter Cat Darshad performs. The Austinite by way of Houston returned home to play a house show as part of her summer tour, which sent her east and Midwest to Louisiana, Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri. She captured moments along her tour for a new video of this song, a favorite which borrows from Gym Class Heroes’ “Taxi Driver” by naming bands and friends in the song’s lyrics about roaming the globe.

The Royal Sounds delivered Fort Bend Country Club's swan songs
The Royal Sounds delivered Fort Bend Country Club's swan songs
Photo by Jesse Sendejas Jr.

“Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” The Royal Sounds, Fort Bend Country Club, June 30, 2019

Houston music veteran Kelly Dean has played gigs all over this city in all sorts of settings, with students, fellow music veterans and music superstars. He said this gig was the first time he’d ever played a shuttering golf course. Dean was on sax and vocals for The Royal Sounds, a band of well-regarded Houston music vets like drummer Ronnie Hall and bandleader Kit Reid, who pieced the group together just for this gig. The moment was notable: it was the swan song for Fort Bend Country Club. The golf course closed after 69 years of operations and The Royal Sounds ushered it into oblivion on its last evening of operations with the Chicago classic about time. It was an especially poignant selection for long time members of the golf club who were celebrating and lamenting the closing of their home course.

This is Houston's hottest party band, y'all
This is Houston's hottest party band, y'all
Photo by Jesse Sendejas Jr.

“Seventeen Swimsuits,” Swimwear Department, Mongoose Versus Cobra, May 26, 2019

If most of the songs in a band’s repertoire concern swimming pools or shopping malls, it’s almost a given they’ll zoom to the top of anyone’s list of favorite party bands. That’s the model for Houston’s Swimwear Department, which isn’t just a one-note surf rock novelty, but an act built on solid musicianship, manic showmanship and all-around fun. “Seventeen Swimsuits” is a song which brings both swimming and shopping together for the ultimate SWD tune. Midtown’s craft beer haven Mongoose Versus Cobra was marking its seventh anniversary and the celebratory mood was perfectly captured by the song’s line, “You got that feeling that you’re feeling when you get a good deal on seventeen swimsuits!”

Saint Arnold's legions were shook by Houston's A S S
Saint Arnold's legions were shook by Houston's A S S
Photo by Jesse Sendejas Jr.

“Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” Houston’s A S S, Saint Arnold Brewing Company, June 8, 2019

Houston’s only accordion cover trio took the stage for an afternoon set at Saint Arnold’s 25th anniversary celebration and got things started correctly by positing that sweet dreams are made of beer, sun, friends and music. Band member Erin Rodgers took the lead vocals for this Eurythmics hit and sounded fantastic, but the stars of Houston’s A S S (the acronym stands for “Accordion Super Stars” or “Accordion Squeezy Squad,” depending on who you ask) are the instruments. Hearing them in unison on old classics like “Hotel California” and new classics like “Old Town Road” got the crowd ready for an anything-goes day of fun.

Ak'chamel spurred a "brain orgasm" at Big Top
Ak'chamel spurred a "brain orgasm" at Big Top
Photo by Jesse Sendejas Jr.

Untitled, Ak’chamel, Shoeshine Charley’s Big Top Lounge, June 22, 2019

An Ak’chamel set is something you can’t prepare for, you just dive in and see where the sounds of the experimental/noise act take you. Also, as we learned by chatting with the band after its set (they’re super nice, despite the daunting costumes they perform in), most Ak’chamel gigs don’t feature a lot of the band’s pre-recorded music. Ergo, no title for the show-closer which mesmerized us at a recent Big Top show. The low hum of the tune caused an ASMR reaction for this listener, who dopily enjoyed the scalp-tingling pyrotechnics Ak’chamel set off.

A.J. Santana (L) and Charlie Perez kick things off at Social Beer Garden HTX
A.J. Santana (L) and Charlie Perez kick things off at Social Beer Garden HTX
Photo by Jesse Sendejas Jr.

“I Will Survive,” A.J. Santana and Charlie Perez, Social Beer Garden HTX, May 26, 2019

Any new business venture comes with a little anxiety, but the right song can calm even the shakiest of nerves. The folks at the new midtown spot Social Beer Garden HTX seem pretty confident in their brand, which includes a spacious beer garden setting with food trucks and hammocks and ample indoor digs for beating the Houston heat. Still, they’ve only been operating since May 7, so hearing local music veteran A.J. Santana (Beggars Inc., Murder of Crows booking) singing about surviving probably was reassuring in the venue’s earliest days.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >