Black Flag Walters, August 26
Just to be clear, this is the Black Flag fronted by Greg Ginn, the transplanted Central Texan who in late-'70s L.A. founded one of the most aggressive, influential bands American rock has ever seen. It's not a stretch to say that within the punk world, Black Flag were as big as the Beatles, as their splenetic brand of music (aptly dubbed "hardcore") left a bruise on almost every group that followed in its wake.
Black Flag had since fallen defunct for decades, but earlier this year Ginn recruited Ron Reyes, one of the band's several former singers, and reformed, dropping a large pebble into punk rock's comparatively small pond. See, another group called FLAG - four Black Flag alumni fronted by original singer/longtime Circle Jerk Keith Morris, with a Descendant thrown in for good measure - is also touring behind the Black Flag catalog this year. For comparison's sake, they'll be along at Austin's Fun Fun Fun Fest in November.
DJ Sun The Flat, August 25
Now that some of the well-deserved publicity surrounding DJ Sun's first-ever full-length release, One Hundred, has subsided a little, his true accomplishment on the disc seems even more impressive. In the span of 70 minutes, he pours his 20-plus-year career as one of Houston's most in-demand DJs into a seamless work that never lulls, never lags and maintains an unshakably mellow groove throughout.
But then, One Hundred's intricately laid-back latticework should come as no surprise to anyone lucky enough to have met the man. Among his multitude of weekly gigs, Sun's long-running Monday residency at the Flat is probably the most chill environment to glimpse this true turntable craftsman at work.
Paul Ramirez Band Continental Club, July 17
A weekly gig is about the best way for guitarists to hone their craft, and Houston's Paul Ramirez has done just that Wednesday nights at the Continental for more than a year now. It paid off last year with Sex With a Dragon, his debut CD that throws in a little Santana and New Orleans R&B into Ramirez's stick-to-your-ribs Texas blues-rock and shows some salty reverence towards Blind Lemon Jefferson's "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean."
Dragon breathes enough fire that it doesn't wilt when held up to the gold standard of recent Lone Star guitarslinger offerings, Gary Clark Jr.'s Blak and Blu.
Alice In Chains, Jane's Addiction, Coheed & Cambria, Circa Survive Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, August 29
Though it seems like the Mayhem Festival's semis just pulled away from the Pavilion, we'd venture that Rockstar Energy Drink is getting its money's worth with the Uproar festival as well. With this year's The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, Alice In Chains proved their 2009 resurrection with new singer William DuVall was no fluke, with Jerry Cantrell's crew still pushing the envelope of angst-ridden grind.
Jane's Addiction, meanwhile, are still pushing 2012's lukewarm The Great Escape Artist, but Perry Ferrell and Dave Navarro can be counted on to deliver their share of lights-out moments anytime they're onstage together. A couple of post-hardcore acts, Coheed and Cambria and Circa Survive, have the honors of playing for those stoked enough about progressive riffs and pulverizing drums to leave work early.
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