Bayou City

Shows of the Week: Rick Astley Is Much More Than a Meme

Why hello, Rick.
Why hello, Rick. Photo by PIP/Courtesy of Shore Fire Media
Warehouse Live, January 31
It happened in 2007. Thanks to the prevalent bait-and-switch technique of "Rickrolling," an English singer-songwriter's career was revived. Message-board contributors would click a hyperlink to something purportedly relevant to the conversation only to have a YouTube window open and Rick Astley's 1988 No. 1 hit ”Never Gonna' Give You Up" blare through their speakers. The practice is still popular. Astley, who had retired nearly two decades prior, was able to reemerge as an Internet phenomenon, nearly 20 years removed from the song's original release. True, his scheduled performance at Warehouse Live later this month could be a hustle — if you hear Astley's signature tune playing overhead as you wait for the lights to dim, go ahead and leave because you'll have been conned. But maybe he'll show up. MATTHEW KEEVER

Stereo Live, February 2
Disco Donnie Presents and Nightculture take the cake in giving Houston's electronic music fans another massive show. Famed DJ and producer, Steve Aoki is bringing his high energy dance set to Stereo Live for the first of their Big Game Weekend events. The Founder of Dim Mak Records is riding high after performing his chart topping single, “Just Hold On” with Louis Tomlinson of One Direction on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and NBC’s Today. A very limited amount of tickets remain. JACK GORMAN

Spire Houston, February 2
The TAO Houston Takeover offers up Carnage to start off Spire's massive parties over Super Bowl weekend. The huge trap/hip-hop DJ will take control of the decks high above the pulpit in the former church that has been transformed into Houston’s newest upscale club. Expect to see trendsetters, celebrities and athletes as part of the congregation as they await the leader of the Chipotle Gang to drop his hits packed with collabs featuring A$AP Ferg, Migos and LOVEMAKONNEN. So if you “like tuh make money and get turnt,” put your sights on dabbing downtown with “Papi Gordo” at Spire.

Walters Downtown, February 2
Ween fans everywhere rejoiced when, after a nearly five-year break, the duo known for their potpourri musical aesthetic and sophomoric humor reunited for several shows in 2016. More are reportedly on the horizon, but at the moment the "Dean" half (a.k.a. Mickey Melchiondo) is going the extracurricular route in support of his eponymous group’s recent album, The Deaner Album. Stylistically somewhat narrower than a typical Ween release, the tuneful and guitar-heavy Deaner nevertheless covers a sizable swath of territory within ‘70s-indebted classic rock: freewheeling Southern-style jams, languid instrumentals, WAR-esque low-rider funk, bong-friendly proto-metal. Make no mistake, though — the entire album is steeped in the kind of whimsy and questionable taste, such as odes to chewing gum and the leering stereotypical creep known as “Nightcrawler,” that could have sprung from few other rock family trees.

Satellite Bar, February 2
This darkly cinematic synthpop duo arrives in the Bayou City by way of the quaint village of Northampton, Massachusetts. Gus Muller (synths, electronics) and Jae Matthews (vocals) are the DIY masters behind the duo's eerie sounds of synth-driven dance, pounding rhythms and ominous vocals. Released last year by Atlanta’s DKA Records, their successful debut LP, Yr Body Is Nothing, is a gritty but highly danceable depiction of post-industrial sound; coupled with Matthew’s cryptic crooning lyrics on introspective discomfort, pained longing and pure unbridled lust. A follow-up to their 2014 tape Lesser Man recorded at Dollhouse studios and recorded by Peter Mavrogeorgis the album proved to be an underground favorite. Boy Harsher have been known to transform an aloof, intimate crowd into a mass of undulating limbs, so put on your best black outfit and choke collar and expect to sweat. Locals Tearful Moon, Ak’Chamel and Andrew Lee open. VERONICA SALINAS

McGonigel’s Mucky Duck, February 3
Although he appeared on David Letterman once, Fred Eaglesmith is a guy who has spent his long career off the music-biz radar except for the flock of “Fred Heads” who reliably turn up at his gigs from coast to coast, or the scattering of critics who recognize him as one of today’s most perceptive, incisive and versatile songwriters working within the loosely defined confines of alt-country. Now 59, the native of rural Ontario has lived the kind of life normally reserved for musical mythology — hopping freight trains and record labels; winning a Juno, his country’s equivalent of a Grammy — and poured it right back into album after album, a count that as of this month has stretched past 20 with the arrival of Standard, which is populated by characters Eaglesmith says are “fairly optimistic that they can get things working again.”

Continental Club, February 3
Famously remembered by Don McLean as the “Day the Music Died,” the February 1959 plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa that claimed the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson has also been called rock’s first great tragedy. The crash reverberated all over the world, but Southeast Texas felt the loss deeper than most places; Beaumont native Richardson had just recorded his megahit “Chantilly Lace” at Houston’s Gold Star Studios (now SugarHill) the previous summer. Even nearly 60 years later, the three men’s music survives through a remarkable number of songs familiar to this day — “That’ll Be the Day,” “It’s So Easy,” “La Bamba,” “Come On Let’s Go” and even “White Lightnin’,” which the Big Bopper wrote and George Jones made into a hillbilly-music standard. In celebration of that fateful tour, performers scheduled to appear Friday include Adam Bricks, Nick Gaitan, members of Mikey and the Drags and Son of Bitch, plus DJ Big E spinning '50s tunes all night, making this one party worth RSVPing “yes” — and we don’t mean maybe, baby.
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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