The Best Acts We Saw at the HPMA Showcase, Part 2

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Electric Attitude When the set starts with the band's lead singer booty-bumping with the ladies in the front row, you know it's funny. When that same singer, Blake Shephard, stands on top of an amp, shot in hand, not one, but four times, you know it's fun. When he returns to the crowd not once but five times, nearly falling over a woman the last, you know it's a party.

And when his fellow bandmates get together, collectively creating something that easily sounds like 50 musicians or more, you know it's passion. When passersby look into the windows, their faces asking, "Who's makin' all that funkin' noise?" you know it must sound damn good. And when the Reserve 101 proprietors fling open their backdoors to let out the sound into the street, you know it's Electric Attitude. ALTAMESE OSBORNE


The Best Acts We Saw at the HPMA Showcase, 8/4/2013

Nick Greer & the G's Nick Greer & the Gs are a musical force to be reckoned with, intent on forging their way to the top of the Houston music scene. Saturday night, in the House of Blues' Bronze Peacock Room, they got the crowd dancing, snapping their fingers and crooning along to their infectious melodies.

Sporting green suspenders and striped pants, Greer kept to his keyboard and microphone while the Gs behind him danced in unison. Back in June, Greer said of his band, "We are here to intimidate and inspire change." If they keep performing the way they did Saturday night, they're already well on the way to accomplishing both. MATTHEW KEEVER

The Hates Given the solid following that The Hates have built over the years, I was surprised to see how sparse the crowd was at Pete's Dueling Piano Bar, but all the more room for me to jam out and admire that well cultivated purple mohawk, I suppose. The Hates were awesome; they're a Houston institution, and their raw, rebellious punk translates just as well as it did 30 years ago.

They even busted out their new song, "Houston," which is a rad little ode to everything about our city. They ain't talkin' 'bout Boston, fools. H-O-U-S-T-O-N. You get the picture. ANGELICA LEICHT

Mikey & the Drags The Drags called down some serious early-Who thunder on MKT Bar, stirred up seismic waves of Farfisa, and shot one surf-rocker down the pipeline that was good enough to wax Dick Dale's board. Later, on Twitter, they promised a big surprise in December. Be there. CHRIS GRAY

The Suffers The best two acts I saw at the HPMAs were both acts I was seeing for the first time. The first was The Suffers, Houston's most buzzworthy ska/soul outfit -- so much so that I am forced to use the word "buzzworthy," which I despise -- commanding the stage with the skill and confidence of a much older band. And damn, can singer Kam Franklin ever belt a note to the rafters.

At the end of the ir gigantic, emotionally harrowing set closer "Giver," the girl standing in front of me actually started getting choked up. "I'm sorry!" she laughed to her boyfriend, fanning her eyes, "That was just fuckin'... too much!" JOHN SEABORN GRAY

Little Joe Washington Hiding beneth a giant sombrero, Houston's ageless, dreadlocked leprechaun of the blues brought his fat, swinging horn section, touching on B.B. King's "Sweet Black Angel" and rocking and rolling a sizable crowd on the Crossroads stage. Whatever mysterious mojo Little Joe has tapped into in the course of his seventysomething years, we should all be so lucky. CHRIS GRAY


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