Molotov Scout Bar, December 19
Taking their admiration for Public Enemy, Beastie Boys and Rage Against the Machine south of the border, Molotov makes party-friendly rock en espanol with a pointed message. The Mexico City quartet has won four Latin Grammys since debuting with 1997's ¿Dónde Jugarán las Niñas?, which translates as "Where will the girls play?" and whose answer is "Why, at a Molotov concert, of course."
Released this summer, their latest LP Agua Maldita nods at the Red Hot Chili Peppers and features a guest rap by Run-DMC co-founder Darryl McDaniels. Houston rock en espanol homies Espantapajaros and La Sien open.
End of the World Fest Fitzgerald's, December 19 & 20; Warehouse Live, December 21
If the apocalypse was really supposed to happen on 12-21-2012, this weekend's bands have now had two full years to sit around and stew that it didn't - and lucky us. Instead of pestilence and widespread misery, Fitz throws open its doors for an entire weekend of headbanging delights. First up Friday are perennial local thrash overlords Helstar and Dallas' space-truckers Mothership; Saturday is doomsday with Austin soothsayers The Sword toe to toe with Houston haymakers Venomous Maximus and Deadhorse.
Sunday over at Warehouse Live, Phil Anselmo's NOLA bayou beasts Down close out Sunday with special guests from across the pond Orange Goblin. The world may not have ended come Monday, but your whiplash-free lifestyle probably will have. A "three-show special" is available for $55 through pegstar.net.
Buzzfestivus Bayou Music Center, December 19
The lineup of 94.5 The Buzz's annual Yuletide ball is an eye-opening example of just how much hand-wringing jock-rock is now in retreat on alternative radio; there's not a Chevelle in sight. Of the four acts walking onstage Friday night, England's You Me at Six probably contains the most post-grunge DNA, while the Depeche Mode/Cure-loving Bad Suns and nominal headliners Phantogram stand up for the arty kids, and Glasgow's emo-ish Twin Atlantic offers up a big ol' power-pop candy cane. God rest ye, not-so-merry gentlemen.
Lee Fields & the Expressions Warehouse Live, December 19
In the ongoing "vintage soul" revival, New Jersey-born Lee Fields has been one of the primary artists discovered by the younger generation, right there alongside Charles Walker and Sharon Jones. A compact vocal dynamo once nicknamed "Little JB" for his striking resemblance to James Brown -- who actually helped out with the vocals on last year's Godfather of Soul biopic Get On Up -- Fields got back on the good foot in earnest with his 2009 album My World and hasn't looked back since.
His appearance Friday alongside two of Houston's most beloved younger bands, the Tontons and the Suffers, is effectively Houston's bid to join Red Bull's "Sound Select" program, which produces concerts and other artist-development activities in 12 other U.S. cities.
Trudy Lynn & Steve Krase Cactus Music, December 20 (3:30 p.m.)
It's shaping up to be a Merry Christmas indeed for Trudy Lynn and Steve Krase, musical partners and two of the local blues scene's brightest stars. Now their talents have been drawing attention far beyond the Bayou City after the Fifth Ward diva's late-2013 LP Royal Oaks Blues Cafe reached No. 1 on Billboard's Top Blues Albums chart this past September, with Krase's Buckle Up following close on its heels. As recently as last week, the hard-blowing harp man was perched at at No. 3, trending upward and jockeying with Joe Bonamassa and Gary Clark Jr. for top dog of them all.
Story continues on the next page.
Andrew WK Warehouse Live, December 20
A fount of positivity as relentless as most of his orchestral-metal oeuvre, Andrew WK has also become a sort of working-man's pundit thanks to his column in Houston Press sister paper the Village Voice and lately has enjoyed a fair amount of TV exposure thanks to a ubiquitous Google/Android commercial's use of "Party Hard." It's still not quite as head-scratchingly awesome as the time WK almost got named an official cultural ambassador to the Middle East by the U.S. State Department, but what do titles really mean anyway? With We Were Wolves, Catch Fever and Carter.
FOUR MORE SHOWS WORTH CONSIDERING
Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Because the world will never tire of hearing "Carol of the Bells" played on electric guitar. (Toyota Center, December 19)
Wonderbitch: Another slash-happy band out of Austin, this one "Disco/Psych/Prog/Rock." Infectious! The Sour Notes, Glass the Sky, Deep Cuts and Whit get into the groove. (Walters Downtown, December 19)
Reckless Kelly, Micky & the Motorcars: At the Braun family Christmas, the stockings are full of renegade Texas country via albums like Long Night Moon, Hearts From Above, and many more. (House of Blues, December 20)
Houston's Best Christmas Fest: Deck the halls of 1410 Brittmoore with bells of garage-rock, courtesy of Silver Blueberry; RIVERS; Tan Dragon Clan, We Are Computers, Mother Ghost and a free keg. (Bldg. A/Studio 23, December 20)
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