Houston Music's Best "Marquee Match-Ups"

The Suspects circa 2015
The Suspects circa 2015 Photo by Jesse Sendejas Jr.

This Saturday, Continental Club hosts the unhinged energy of The COPS and their criminally-good gig mates, The Suspects. That’s right, Houston. In one bill, you’re getting the live music equivalent of a Law & Order episode.

The show works for lots of reasons, most notably because both bands are pretty great and also because their respective audiences crossover quite well. If you actually have been stuck and home watching L&O: SVU instead of seeing our town’s best live acts, The COPS are a punk act made up of veteran musicians with a new album, First Offense, out on Artificial Head Records. The Suspects have been playing their H-town brand of ska and reggae since 1993. If you’ve somehow missed them over the years, put down the remote and slowly step away from the TV until you’re headed in the direction of Continental Club.

Best of all, having The COPS chase The Suspects on a single bill is a stroke of marketing genius. And, just in case you weren’t entirely enticed by that marquee match-up, the night also features Houston rockers Thrill just to make the whole episode, well, more thrilling.  The show got us wondering what other area acts might team up to create an eye-catching marquee and interesting night of music. Here are a few more we’d like to see:

Insolvent and Z-Ro

Admittedly, we included this dream team just because of the play on words. But, in reality, a bill touting so much “nothing” would be abundant in riches for adventurous music fans. The Mo City Don and friends just packed White Oak Music Hall last week. With peers like Slim Thug and Paul Wall on hand, he was in his element. But what might his set look like were he to follow the screaming banshee that is Alice Lima, front woman for death metalists, Insolvent? The night might be an exercise in fury, with Insolvent’s rage gushing openly while Z-Ro’s would be tuned to the seething intensity of being “one deep.” Then, for the show closer, the band returns to back ‘Ro on an extra-brutal version of his recent blast, “Kneel Down.”  Z-Ro next performs in San Antonio on June 9. No word on the next Insolvent show, but members of the band have lately been playing lots of shows with their alternate band, Alone on the Moon.

Bernie Pink and Genesis Blu

Our kind of gender reveal party teams Bernie Pink with Genesis Blu. On the Pink end of the spectrum, you get garage/indie/psych punk that is captivating on record and particularly live. On the Blu side of the rainbow, you get woke rap delivered by Houston’s preeminent “raptivist.” If you think the musical styles might not mesh that well, consider the unifying factor both acts’ ability to attract high-minded thinkers. Their respective offerings draw listeners who like being challenged by what the artists have to offer. Bernie Pink is about to debut its latest video (read more about it here soon) and is slated for the fifth installment of the Madness on Main Music Festival, June 9. Genesis Blu just released a new track, “G.O.M.W.B.,” featuring Infamous Ches.

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Dead To The World
Photo by Jesse Sendejas Jr

All Gonna Die and Dead To The World

Possibly, this pairing has already occurred – we’d have to look back at the plethora of shows both punk acts have played recently to check. But, if it hasn’t it should since the bands share a fan base and because the billing has enough existential dread about it to draw Albert Camus to the mosh pit. AGD is the newer of the bands, but it features veteran musicians. Its next gig is this Saturday at Rudyard’s, on a bill which includes Ese, Storm of Ages, Brewtality Inc and Poor Dumb Bastards. DTTW’s been doing it for over a decade now, often sharing the stage with some of punk’s great acts, like Bad Religion, Pennywise and, recently, Agnostic Front. Accordingly, they’re booked to play the Texas Korner Stage at Vans Warped Tour’s last-ever Houston stop, July 8. Their next show is June 2's National Bubba Day Punk Rock Party at Warehouse Live with Nowherebound, Revels, Steadfast and Roadside Union.

Second Lovers and Third Root

The first thing to say about Second Lovers and Third Root is their shared gig date is actually forthcoming – see what we did there? Both acts are part of the wildly diverse offerings on Madness on Main. Thomas Truver, Nic Morales and friends released a new Second Lovers track, “Corner Store,” a few months ago and will be gearing up for MOM with a Canned Acoustica performance this Sunday, joining Miears, Blaze X Black, Andrew James and Clay Melton Band at Discovery Green. Third Root brings a touring-act presence to the Houston-heavy fest (along with headliner Har Mar Superstar). The hip hop trio hails from San Antonio and has drawn accolades from NPR, the Austin-American Statesman and other music publications. If you want a sneak peek, travel to Austin the week before MOM and catch them at Mohawk opening for Brownout at its release party for its newest album, the Public Enemy homage, Fear of a Brown Planet.

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Giant Kitty's Miriam K and Roger Medina at Punkfest 6
Photo by Jesse Sendejas Jr.
Giant Kitty and A Giant Dog

This might sound like a scene from one of those old Godzilla movies, but the pairing would actually make a lot of sense. No one would need to be saved by a gargantuan reptile, we’d all just surrender to the superhuman strengths of each band’s formidable vocalist. Fronting the Kitties, you’ve got Miriam K, whose booming vocals are matched by her personality and onstage verve. The Dogs (who are, yes, we know, an Austin band – but Houston roots!) also boast a dynamic vocalist in Sabrina Ellis. A Giant Dog can soon be seen on an Austin date opening for Jawbreaker, the punk legends’ first Texas show in 22 years. You’ve still got a few chances to catch Giant Kitty before they take an indefinite hiatus, including a May 17 show at Continental Club with FEA and ImposterBoys.

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Jesse’s been writing for the Houston Press since 2013. His work has appeared elsewhere, notably on the desk of the English teacher of his high school girlfriend, Tish. The teacher recognized Jesse’s writing and gave Tish a failing grade for the essay. Tish and Jesse celebrated their 33rd anniversary as a couple in October.