Promising “if Jack Black and Jimmy Fallon started a cover band, this would be it,” Austin’s Skyrocket! has been a sensation in the Capital City since forming in 2003 as K-Tel Hit Machine. Consisting of several seasoned Austin music veterans – Ben Hotchkiss, Kyle Crusham and Paul English of the Real Heroes, Johnny Goudie and former Houstonians Trish and Darin Murphy – Skyrocket! won “Best Cover Band” at both the 2006 and 2007 Austin Music Awards with a ‘70s and ‘80s repertoire of unabashed pop hits (Bay City Rollers’ “Saturday Night,” Air Supply’s “All Out of Love,” Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain”) to the cornerstones of modern rock as we know it (the Clash’s “Rock the Casbah,” Psychedelic Furs’ “Pretty in Pink,” David Bowie’s “Suffragette City”). Saturday night at the Continental, in one of their rare non-private engagements, come see why the Austin Chronicle also named Skyrocket! as “Best Reason to Pawn Your Karaoke Machine” last year.
Elsewhere, Houston hosts a couple more Austin artists of the singer-songwriter variety tonight: Michael Fracasso at Anderson Fair and Terri Hendrix (who technically lives in San Marcos, but, you know, whatevs) at the Mucky Duck. Houston’s Fondue Monks and unapologetic jam band the Rafters, whose Behind the Scene is due in April, make it funky at Dan Electro’s, zydeco groovers J. Paul Jr. & the Zydeco Nu Breeds bump Mr. A’s (3409 Cavalcade, ladies free before 10 p.m., also Sunday) and instrumental-rock locals Motion Turns It On bedazzle Notsuoh. For those in a decidedly less mellow mood, White Swan unleashes some “Punk Rock Fury” with Always Guilty, Poison Apple Martini, Death from Afar, Gutter Rats and Vatos Locos, and Houston’s top EBM/industrial/Darkwave promoters HaVoK unfurls “Dance Statik 2” at Meridian with DJs Nesto, Whisperwish, Anomalous, Austin, Nickodemus and lots of gothically attired dancers.
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Saturday, you may well see many of the same Dance Statik folks at Numbers for Red Flag, the San Diego synth-pop/electro duo behind the 1988 club hit “Russian Radio.” (Which you can hear most Friday nights at Numbers as well.) Up north, one of the two touring incarnations of 1980s Sunset Strip sleazoids L.A. Guns wango tangos the FBI Bar (11528 Jones Road), and JavaJazz hosts one for the kids with California’s Postal Service-like Sherwood, plus the Higher, the Matches and We Shot the Moon. Cactus Music doubles up on the free in-stores with "Snakes on a Plane" pop-punks Cobra Starship (2 p.m.) and local guitar-crunchers The Mighty Orq (4), while Spain Colored Orange, the Drawing Board and Paris Falls serve up Texas indie-rock with a pop twist at Rudyard's. And if you enjoyed U2-3D even a fraction more than my boss’s son did, don’t miss the Chicago-based Vertigo USA at Sam’s Concert Pub (5636 Richmond). Uno, dos, tres, catorce! – Chris Gray