Last Night: The Handshake, Caddywhompus and Sideshow Tramps at Fitzgerald's

Thanksgiving ended up being kind of boring. Besides eating too many plates of knockoff Luby's mac and cheese, we were inundated with hours worth of "I'm thankful for..." Facebook statuses and Twitter feeds. Yes, we do spend entire days on the innerwebs.

Anyway, by the time the sun went down, we were just thankful for somewhere to go after our 4-hour long tryptopham trip. Lucky for us music-loving Houstonians, there were a handful of free Thanksgiving shows around town. One of these shows was The Handshake, Caddywhompus, and The Sideshow Tramps at Fitzgerald's.

Houston Press Best New Act The Handshake opened for the Whomp and the Tramps. The 3-part Southern Rock group is guitarist David Elkin, bassist Aidan Kennedy, and Lucas Eason, who plays the drums and sings. We have alot of respect for drummer/singers. During one of the last songs, "What It Is What It Ain't," Eason managed to play the last half without a kick pedal. We couldn't even tell. After all, years of choir and theatre taught us that great musicianship is when you can keep playing after something goes wrong.

The highlight of our night was the noise-pop band Caddywhompus, who we haven't been able to see live for about a year. Since purchasing 2009's EPs, we've listened to the New Orleans-based duo grow as musicians and master their distinctive sound.

Their set sounded like a post-rock/noise pop fusion: Not ever really ending, just experimenting with volume and tempo for smooth transitions.

Watching drummer Sean Hart was like watching art; grimy back alley street art, to be more specific. For a minute he looked as though he was violently attacking his set and the next minute he was calmly tapping the rim of his snare. Hart and singer/guitarist Chris Rehm compliment eachother quite well and prove that being "noisy" doesn't need any additional accompaniment.

After Caddywhompus was Sideshow Tramps, who recently won Best Americana Act from the Houston Press Music Awards. They started their set by making the audience join them in the Pledge of Allegiance, telling us that "nothing turns a girl on like the Pledge of Allegiance." We understood what we've been missing out on.

Very rarely do we ever take photographs at shows because we're simply not good at it. But we discovered that The Sideshow Tramps are a concert photographer's dream.

The Americana gypsy troupe used an array of instruments during their hour and a half long set, including a washboard and a makeshift "washtub bass" with a bass drum instead of a washtub.

Sideshow Tramps performed songs like "New Train," "Funeral Song," "Lady Vodka" and "Texas Girls," to which the audience members sang every word. One young lady even got on the stage, grabbed the tambourine and did a stagedive. During their encore, Kam Franklin made an obligatory appearance.

Personal Bias: Couldn't have spent my Thanksgiving night any better.

The Crowd: Equal parts dedicated fans of both Caddywhompus and Sideshow Tramps.

Overheard In The Crowd: We were at the front of the stage, so we didn't overhear much.

Random Notebook Dump: Sideshow Tramps are on a Tramp hunt, apparently.

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