Pitbull & Enrique Iglesias at Toyota Center, 10/19/2014

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Photos by Marco Torres
Pitbull & Enrique Iglesias
Toyota Center
October 19, 2014

At the beginning of his set last night at Toyota Center, Pitbull retold his life story on the immense video wall that towered over the stage. The words on the screen talked about his mother and her revolutionary tendencies, his crunk and reggaeton start in the music biz, and his current standing as "a walking television network." In short, he bills his life as the embodiment of the American Dream, one that he makes sure to celebrate at every opportunity.

With the combination of dazzling lights, exotic dancers and a wide smile, Pitbull hit the stage already cranked all the way up to the roof. With his black suit and oversized shades, he charmed the bra and panties off the ladies in the crowd, shouting "dalé" and gyrating his hips up and down and all over the somewhat phallic-shaped stage.

"Houston has always showed me love and support throughout my entire career" he thanked the crowd. "Or as y'all say around here...Awwwready!"


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Twenty One Pilots at House of Blues, 10/19/2014

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Photos by Jody Perry
Twenty One Pilots
House of Blues
October 19, 2014

"This is music, and I want you to use it," vocalist Tyler Joseph told the crowd at House of Blues Sunday night. "Fall into it. Disappear."

He and percussionist Josh Dun then began to play "Kitchen Sink," a song about individual struggles and finding hope in the creative process.

"Write something, yeah it might be worthless; then paint something, and it might be worthless; pointless curses, nonsense verses; you'll see purpose start to surface."

The verse was one of many that perfectly encapsulated the appeal of Twenty One Pilots: the band's primary concern is the search for meaning. The Ohio-based duo doesn't pretend to know it all; instead, their lyrics emphasize the beauty of the search itself.


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Premium Goods Offers Premium Sounds at 10-Year Bash

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Photos by Marco Torres
Bun B onstage with The Suffers
Saturday evening, 8th Wonder Brewery in EaDo hosted a party for one of Houston's most important cultural institutions: the sneaker and apparel boutique Premium Goods (2416 Times Blvd.) was celebrating its 10-year anniversary of existence, and invited a few friends to assist in the festivities. Rocks Off photographer Marco Torres was on hand to capture the highlights.


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Houston Music Invades San Fran's Hotel Utah

Categories: On the Road

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Photos by Jesse Sendejas Jr.
Greetings from San Francisco
My family and I recently vacationed on the West Coast. However you do your vacation, I hope you're doing it well. As for us, we got zombified for Hope For Young Adults With Cancer. We drove along the edges of a massive California forest fire and shot a music video at the Salton Sea, among other, less-apocalyptic leisure activities.

One of the places we visited was the Hotel Utah Saloon in San Francisco. The bar opened in 1908, survived Prohibition and continues today, with music offered nightly. We were there for its open-mike night, and my kids played the same stage that once was a proving ground for Whoopi Goldberg and the late Robin Williams.


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Five Important Reasons Never to Date a Rapper

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No matter how fine you are, you are not twins.
Rappers are awesome. They have the freshest clothes, they have the dankest weed, and they're fucking great at making words rhyme to a beat. Everybody wants a piece of their favorite rapper -- just check out those 139 people on stage with him. What are they doing up there? Nothing, really. They're just hanging out with a rapper. And somehow, we're jealous.

But relationships that start out with a lot of laughs and a cloud of bluntsmoke often end in tears. For too long, we've seen the best booties of our generation destroyed by sadness, hysterically crying after the MCs they believed would always be down for them turned punk, seemingly, on a dime. Hanging out with your favorite rapper is one thing. Going out with him is quite another.

Now, the reasons for dating a rapper are innumerable and obvious: They've got star charisma, they've got money, and if they're really, really in love with you, they'll write you a song -- or at least get your name tattooed on their necks. You can try to win him over, lock him down, become the Kim to his Kanye. But understand you'll have to beat the odds.


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Cold War Kids Are Back; Will Anyone Notice?

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Photo courtesy of The Press House
For a minute there, Cold War Kids looked like the saviors of intelligent, conceptual rock and roll. When their first album, Robbers and Cowards, was released in 2006, it caught most of us who follow indie-rock off-guard. It was slickly produced and unabashed in its stadium aspirations, but it carried the weight of thoughtful lyricism and progressive musical tendencies.

In other words, Cold War Kids looked poised to be the Phil Collins-era Genesis of the 2000s: Loved by many, huge in the mainstream and hated by a large group of too-cool-for-you hipsters. It all went wrong after a couple of hits and the band disappeared from the public eye. However, with new strong material under their belt, are the Kids making a comeback nobody has caught on to yet?


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The Five Best Concerts In Houston This Week: Watsky, Heart, Jason Aldean, B.o.B., etc.

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Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr
Watsky
House of Blues, October 21

Last year, the most badass statistical analyst you've ever heard of, Matt Daniels, released something called the Hip-Hop Flow Chart, which ranked several popular rap acts by vocabulary size. I pored over the results like a rap geek and wondered how could Daniels have missed this prolific word-monster. This year, Daniels' version 2.0 of the chart rightfully included San Francisco-based Watsky, and counted 5,651 unique words among the first 35,000 he rapped.

That slotted him alongside some of the very best, names like Aesop Rock (still reigning champ), Sage Francis, Immortal Technique and The Roots. Watsky's new album, All You Can Do, which features more smart and empowering raps from the San Franciscan, who always seems genuinely grateful to be able to do what he does. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.

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Charli XCX at Fitzgerald's, 10/16/2014

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Photos by Jack Gorman
Charli XCX, Elliphant, Femme
Fitzgerald's
October 16, 2014

Fans of British pop starlet Charli XCX who missed her show at Fitzgerald's last night are pretty well out of luck. We're not likely to see her in such a small venue again anytime soon. She's already too famous for the place.

That wasn't the plan, exactly. When her current club tour was booked, it was meant to help break the singer stateside as her new album, Sucker, hit store shelves. But now, after her hook on Iggy Azalea's "Fancy" helped propel her to household-name status over the summer, she is broken, baby. Her advance single from the new record -- the bouncy, synthed-out "Boom Clap" -- hit No. 1 on the Top 40 chart, prompting her label to push the release of Sucker back to December in order to prepare a much larger marketing blitz.

That blitz will almost certainly involve putting her on stages much larger than the one at Fitz. The old club on White Oak was packed past the rafters on Thursday night with a strange mix of radio-obsessed teenyboppers and synth-loving hipsters, illustrating the British import's unusual crossover appeal.


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VIDEO: Jose Figueroa Is Still Dancing

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Jose Figueroa is still dancing. The Channelview high-school teacher we told you about earlier this month, whose goal was not only to dance to live music every single night for a solid year but also to make a documentary film about it, says he's not much closer to recovering the equipment that was stolen from his car last month, but still believes he might be able to complete the project nonetheless.

Although Figueroa says the police still haven't been able to turn up any information that might lead to getting his stuff back, a friend has donated a video camera that should allow him to complete a crucial part of the process - the introductory video required of Kickstarter users to start one of the crowd-based Web site's fundraising campaigns.

"Not nearly as compact as my GoPro, but a very generous loan that I'm truly grateful for," he notes.


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Thanks But No Thanks, The Contortionist

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When the Contortionist released their first full-length record, Exoplanet, in 2010, they were one of the most exciting things to come out in the realm of progressive metal for a long time. Where the genre so easily verged into tired cliches or overused tropes, as in the later releases of bands like Dream Theater and Between the Buried and Me, the Contortionist had the right mix of heavy-ass death metal and progressive tendencies.

Now it's 2014 and their third album Language is hitting the stores and online distributors. However, after hearing the first two singles, I'm about ready to throw in the towel on this band. This has all been done before, and better.


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