Down Warehouse Live, January 11
Long-running sludge daddies Down are still riding high from last year's six-song EP, Down IV Part I - The Purple EP, and rightfully so. The effort was one of 2012's best releases, making it onto plenty of year-end lists and satisfying Down fans' hunger for new material because their previous album, Down III: Over the Under, is now all of five years old. This year should be a busy one for the Down camp, with more touring and recording plans and a Phil Anselmo solo album in the pipeline. Anselmo talked about all this and more with Rocks Off Thursday. CRAIG HLAVATY
B.B. King House of Blues, January 11
No man has ever looked happier singing and playing the blues than B.B. King, or given audiences such joy with songs riddled with such pain. The 87-year-old guitarist and singer adores being onstage, and has released more live albums than he has children. (Almost.)
His most recent studio effort, however, is 2008's T. Bone Burnett-produced One Kind Favor, an acoustic-shaded late-career peak that doesn't blanch at confronting his mortality. King has retained strong ties to Houston since the Duke/Peacock days, and we may yet see him again this year, because he's already signed on for three weeks of Peter Frampton's "Guitar Circus" summer tour. CHRIS GRAY
School of Rock Clear Lake Grand Opening 1020 W. Nasa Pkwy. Ste 146, January 12 Rock and roll may be disappearing from the radio and the pop charts, but it's alive and well as an after-school program. Last fall Rocks Off told you about the Katy School of Rock franchise, which throws open its doors to area kids nterested in learning the finer points of power chords and drum fills. That was the first School of Rock in the Houston area, but not for long: Clear Lake and now The Woodlands have followed suit, practically on top of each other.
The Clear Lake location, conveniently situated right next to a Guitar Center, will offer both individual and group lessons as well as interesting-looking courses like "Epic Albums." Instead of the traditional ribbon-cutting, Saturday's 3 p.m. grand opening features of course a guitar-smashing. Right on top of Clear Lake, the Woodlands School of Rock outpost is having its own grand opening next weekend. Watch Rocks Off next week for more. CHRIS GRAY
Ray Price Stafford Centre, January 12
Once Hank Williams Sr.'s roommate, Ray Price turns 87 years young at this Saturday-night Stafford Centre birthday party. The East Texan got his big break on 1953's "I'll Be There (If You Ever Want Me)," a song supposedly once slated for Williams, but quickly became a top country star himself through signature tunes such as "Crazy Arms," "Heartaches By the Number" and Willie Nelson's "Night Life."
And he's still at it. Last month the singer told us that he's working on an album of songs even older than he is, such as Stephen Foster's "Beautiful Dreamer." "It'll be new to the young people," he said. "They've never heard it. Most people in their fifties and sixties have never heard it." CHRIS GRAY
Roky Moon and the Kiss Goodnight Fitzgerald's, January 12
Mike Hardin is excited about the next chapter of the Roky Moon story, after the original Roky Moon & BOLT! lineup splintered in mid-2012 after nearly three years. "I'd like to gauge people's interest in Roky Moon, since I haven't played in almost a year," says former Houstonian Hardin, who just opened for The Sword here a few weeks ago with his metallic Austin trio the American Sharks.
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Will RM&B fans feel back at home with this incarnation? Hardin says that they definitely won't be alienated. "The songs still have the same feel, but they are just a little more gritty," he promises. "I've definitely done more to move from boogie-woogie and into more straightforward songs." CRAIG HLAVATY