HPMA 2016 Spotlight: Best Band for Drinking

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Drinking goes well with any number of things. Water-based activities like skiing and river floating. Sports viewing and — in the case of bowling, softball and golf – sports playing. However, drinking is perhaps most synonymous with music. After all, music has a way of bringing back memories, often amplified when mixed with a few pints or spirits. It's also a damn good time to rock out with a few drinks in you. Fortunately, for the first time ever, the Houston Press is giving you a chance to select which local band or musician goes best with a few cold ones.

A full list of Houston Press Music Awards nominees can be found here; voting is open now. Here are the nominees for Best Band for Drinking.

BVB vocalist Allison Gibson describes this local supergroup as “dirty Houston party rock.” Isn’t that a title that lends itself to downing shots while the music blasts from nearby amps at your local rock shop? BVB is composed of members from a number of famed local acts, bands like Manhole, Deadhorse, 30FootFALL, Pasadena Napalm Division, Dollyrockers and Middlefinger. The side project is built solely upon the notion of rocking out and partying. If you don’t think that type of approach goes well with drinking, you’re doing it wrong.

These veterans of the local scene have been together more than a decade and are still active as hell on the local bar scene — seven Houston-area dates in the next month alone. Blaggards bill themselves as “stout Irish rock,” essentially rock infused with traditional Irish music (the band has toured in Ireland annually since 2010, including last week). If you’re familiar with the likes of Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly, then you gain a quick sense of what Blaggards are all about. Simply put, this Texas-Irish threesome shows up and rocks out; it’s a show best enjoyed with a nice Guinness or Smithwick’s, or perhaps a few servings of Irish whiskey.

Another Irish-themed band, Dead Rabbits – like their contemporaries, Blaggards – are all about rocking out and having a good time. In fact, the band bills itself as “fueled by cheap whiskey and Lone Star beer.” What’s more Texas than that?! Dead Rabbits blend traditional punk rock with “songs of Irish rebellion,” but other genres – including bluegrass and folk – are in play as well. But it’s the live show where Dead Rabbits really amp it up. It goes well with the aforementioned cheap whiskey and Texas beer.

Any band that can survive for more than 25 years can’t be all that dumb, and if they play their cards right, not that poor either. The Press once described PDB as “unabashedly rude local rockers (that) gleefully explore the depths of vulgarity and depravity like crazed manchildren set loose in the Bayou City’s most perverted porn shop.” That about sums it up. With song titles like “Browneye” and “My Dad, Two Whores and a Crack Pipe,” this is not a band for families. It is, however, one of the most fun bands in Houston, one tailor-made for a night of raucous revelry out on the town.

Stinson has a little California country-rock thing going on, à la Dwight Yoakam, who cut Stinson's "The Late Great Golden State" in 2003. So the music is solid as can be. But what distinguishes Stinson from his contemporaries is his ability to go light or dark in his songwriting. Other times, he gets downright weird, kinda like a localized version of Sturgill Simpson. But that’s what makes Stinson and his bandmates so damn appealing. Whether you’re up, down or somewhere in between, there’s something for everyone in Stinson’s catalog. So whether you’re drinking to remember, drinking to forget or simply throwing ’em back because it’s Saturday night and what the hell, a night with Stinson is a night made for knocking a few down.

What is blackgrass, exactly? Well, think of it as sort of an outlaw bluegrass genre. As bassist Chris Barnes recently told the Press : “[Outlaw bluegrass is] exactly what it implies: a bunch of vagrants, vagabonds, punks, metalheads and outlaws playing the shit you heard on Mawmaw and Papaw’s FM radio on Sundays.” Turns out most members of Blackgrass Gospel grew up in religious households. Having pretty much all turned against organized religion, the band now rails against the church and those who run it. Needless to say, they won’t mind if you’re pounding Jäger shots and screaming obscenities at any number of their local shows.

Sancho Saucy and Sauce Walka certainly do it their own way. Saucy is more laid-back and observant, while Walka is more the spokesperson for the Houston rap duo. Not that you should call them rappers. “We don't rap, we preach. We have a word to serve, and we feel that preaching is the best way to do it,” Walka told the Press last year. Their live show is frenetic, energetic and unpredictable, so pop a bottle and enjoy the ride with one of Houston’s most unique hip-hop acts.

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