Cannibal Corpse & Behemoth Defile House of Blues

Photos by Jack Gorman
The hair says it all: Cannibal Corpse's Corpsegrinder, mid-headbang
Cannibal Corpse, Behemoth
House of Blues
January 29, 2015

More than 25 years into their surprisingly rigor-resistant career, death-metal archetypes Cannibal Corpse still relish their status as outsiders. Thanks to their gore-soaked and gleefully offensive album covers and lyrics, the group has battled a long legacy of censorship around the globe, with bans on their work in Germany and Australia lifting only recently.

Even today, when Cannibal enjoys status as elder statesmen of a global death-metal scene that's as strong as ever, they're still rankling powerful gatekeepers. Just last year, the band had the plug pulled on them by the authorities at a gig in Russia and once again found their artwork and lyrics outlawed.

If that all seems like kind of a big fuss over a band that comes up with bonkers song titles like "I Cum Blood," you probably haven't seen the band live. The potency of the band's music and the sheer dexterity of their performances makes them easy to take seriously. As purveyors of death-metal spectacle go, they're pretty hard to top, and not just anybody is capable of sharing a stage with them.

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TV Girl Tops a Bacchanalia of Overstimulation at Fitz

Susan Wyatt
Children of Pop's Chase DeMaster reinforces Jam Master Jay's Notion that a DJ can be a one-man band.
If Greek Bacchanalian festivals existed today, delirious dancing would be performed by stark raving madmen and women filled with MDMA instead of wine, listening to the clanging of beats and displaced rhythms, replacing the terrifying ancient custom of uprooting large trees with celebratory joy. Today's partakers of Dionysian worship display their reverence passively, clapping their hands and bobbing their heads.

Moments of overstimulation and elements of gaudiness coupled with pure unadulterated joy lined Thursday night's show at Fitzgerald's, featuring Austin's scintillating Sphynx, Houston musical auteurs Children of Pop, and L.A.'s TV Girl. Madness ensued, in a good way, generating joy felt by all those who welcomed it.

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Friday Night Shaping Up to Be a Rocker

Power-pop master Paul Collins headlines Walters' Record Fair tonight
Friday is shaping up right nicely for those of us who frequent H-Town's lower dens.

The biggest news is that the Paul Collins Beat is at Walter's as the centerpiece of a record fair sponsored by Sound Exchange. Collins first touched the hem of fame as drummer for the legendary Los Angeles power pop band the Nerves. Featuring Peter Case and Jack Lee, the power trio took L.A. by storm.

Their searing live shows apart, the Nerves are probably best known for Blondie's smash hit cover of the Jack Lee tune "Hanging on the Telephone." After Lee left the band, Case and Collins worked with a changing cast of musicians and recorded together as the Breakaways. Their best known song was "Walking Out On Love," which the Nerves had been playing live but never recorded.

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deadhorse Singer Mike Argo Ain't Going Nowhere

Categories: Metalocalypse

Photo courtesy of deadhorse
Mike Argo, front, with deadhorse
When word spread three and a half years ago that deadhorse -- the undisputed kings of the Axiom back in the '90s -- were reuniting after a 20-year layoff, most local fans were elated. Most. Not all. There was dismissive grumbling from some quarters about former guitarist and songwriter Mike Haaga's non-involvement. And just to up the train-wreck factor, rumor had it that some dude nobody knew was going to be singing. Jesus! Would they even sound like deadhorse?

Well, come to find out, that dude nobody knew was named Mike Argo. He heard the bitching and the grumbling. And what's more, he understood it.

"I could relate to it," Argo says. "There were some nerves surrounding that first show, because being a fan myself, I knew how I would've felt: The new guy would have to be badass. It couldn't just be some joker getting up there. They were really going to have to tear it up and do a good job, is the way I would've seen it."

So, that's what Argo set out to do. When the band made its triumphant return at last, taking over the Warehouse Live ballroom and filming its first-ever live DVD, the skeptics got quiet pretty fast. The guy out front may have looked unfamiliar, but his voice undeniably sounded like pure, unadulterated deadhorse. You'd best believe that was no coincidence.

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Houston's 10 Best Non-Sports Bars to Watch the Super Bowl

Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Sunday at noon, 8th Wonder Brewery opens up its taproom, which has plenty of TVs for you to cheer on the Patriots or Seahawks later in the day. Arrive early for a chance to taste the brewery's inaugural release of its new Brewston Texas Pale Ale and help get the party started. Eatsie Boys will have a food truck on site with plenty to eat, and Feges BBQ will set up a pop-up kitchen. Misc. A Mobile Store, and Urban Izzy will also have trucks on site for your retail shopping needs.

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Mike Barfield's Funk Machine Was One for the Vice Squad

Photos by Reginald Burns
Mike Barfield and his band got a little sideways at Under the Volcano
Mike Barfield
Under the Volcano
January 28, 2015

I missed the first song of Mike Barfield's set at Under the Volcano Wednesday night, but walking in midway through "Funky Popcorn," I immediately knew two things: The band was bringing the funk hard and dirty, and some pony-tailed blonde was into it enough to do a body-shake that would put many an exotic dancer to shame.

The attack was brutal. This was no Suffers with nine pieces to build a sound around; just three hungry Austin headhunters and one tacky, bodacious hillbilly soul man cut from Joe Tex/James Brown cloth. They were putting the sex factor in it, along with plenty of "we're just a bit over the redline" attitude. Guitarist Johnny Moeller (Fabulous Thunderbirds) locked into some deep, dark riffing and hips ground in the room again.

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The 10 Best Concerts in Houston This Weekend: Buxton, Kongos, Rakim & EPMD, etc.

Photo courtesy of New West Records
Buxton come in from the cold Friday at the Mucky Duck.
McGonigel's Mucky Duck, January 30

As entrenched a band as can be found in Houston, Buxton has now notched more than a decade on local stages as their delicate, eerie style of indie-folk has continued to mature and evolve. In early March the band will release Half a Native, their first album since 2012's Nothing Here Seems Strange and second overall on New West Records. Adding a little more rock to their acoustic-based Americana on songs like "Good As Gone" and "Miss Catalina 1992" -- for which they've also created their own brand of coffee(!) -- Native nonetheless retains that core of imperiled innocence that is essential to Buxton's sound. This early set at the Duck is a preview of the album's official launch next month at the Continental. CHRIS GRAY

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Children of Pop Sent Us This Rad Tour Journal

Note: Right now we are very high on Houston chillwave/dream-pop auteur Chase DeMaster, sultan of the #veryjazzed empire, and his merry band of accomplices known as Children of Pop. Recently they headed off to give select East Coast cities a taste of the CoP flavors, hyping the second pressing of their "Pre-Madonna" EP, and we asked them to let us know how it went. They exceeded all expectations.

Photos courtesy of Children of Pop
Chase DeMaster: "That photo was taken in the NYC subway as the artist was between the Titanic theme song and some french fries. 'I'm lovin' it.' Life is chill."
Sunday night Gabe and I boiled down our gear/clothes/merch into two backpacks. 2K15 motto, "Travel. Light." I couldn't sleep so I take some Nyquil (Drank) and jam on my new drone machine. It is a small box with three triangle oscillators (tone generators) with three knobs controlling pitch/frequency.

I show Gabe how it works and he takes it for a spin. We play a game of MTG*. He, my nostalgic sliver deck and I, my new knight deck. Knight deck is very quick and I take the game in 7 hands, 0-12. Fun. My wife Holly wakes us up with her morning-person banter/chants @ 4:30. Uhhhhh.

Gabe and I miss our layover in LaGuardia at the expense of a few slices +. We kicked it for about an hour as they have a shuttle from NYC to Boston every hour or something. We catch up on emails during the "Airplane mode" period. Sitting in an exit row, we are briefed/quizzed on our abilities as quasi-emergency personnel.

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Is D'Angelo's Black Messiah Really That Good?

Categories: Listen Up!

Photo by Greg Harris/RCA Records
It took maybe the final three weeks of 2014 before I truly realized that D'Angelo had released an album. That sentence alone sounds like a Christmas miracle but there we sat, enjoying our lives with a brand new D'Angelo album to dissect and enjoy.

Wait -- let us backtrack. D'Angelo is an enigmatic singer whose 1995 debut album covered plenty of old soul while mixing in a bit of laid-back lounge refrains and effortless cool. The tag "neo-soul" was attached to it. Five years later, he appeared in front of us, shirtless with chiseled abs and crowed about being in the mood for love, sometimes subtracting lyrics for elongated adlibs and ooohs. His signature moment, "Untitled (How Does It Feel)," may have single-handedly sent boys on the verge of adulthood to the gym so they could look like D'Angelo for their ladies, complete with lip curl, sexual desire and seduction. All of it.

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Does Anybody Care About the Super Bowl Halftime Show Anymore?

Categories: Current Events

Photo by bikephotomusic/Flickr Commons
When it comes to Katy Perry, you're hot and you're cold
The short answer to the headline directing readers to the next several paragraphs is: it depends.

Isn't that the truest answer to any query about a thing and whether it is relevant? Is Led Zeppelin still an influential rock and roll band in 2015? To some, albeit a shrinking demographic, the answer is yes. Is Paul McCartney as important to modern music as Kanye West? We all recall your opinions on that one.

If you don't enjoy football, music, fireworks (100 percent certain you'll get those during the halftime show), the generally agreed upon hotness of Katy Perry and Lenny Kravitz, or things that are ridiculously spectacular, the answer is "No, this does not matter." A follow-up question might ask what went so wrong in your life that you can't find the joy in even one of these awesome things, but to each his or her own.

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