A Place to Bury Strangers' Theater of Feedback Ravages Fitz

Photos by Violeta Alvarez
A Place to Bury Strangers
February 26, 2015

Thursday night, world's loudest three-piece rock and roll band made ears ring without regretting the premature acquisition of tinnitus.

A Place to Bury Strangers created a tone of desperation and wild abandon while playing to a mesmerized audience downstairs at Fitzgerald's Thursday night. The bravest of them stood directly in front of the stage, braving both front man Oliver Ackermann's Kabuki theatrics and the tsunami of feedback produced by the evening's actors.

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The 12 Most Exciting Acts at Bad Ass Weekend III

Categories: Current Events

Photo by Groovehouse
Headliners Napalm Death at House of Blues in 2013
Written by David Sackllah and Nathan Smith

A date that has been blacked out on the calendars of Houston's gnarliest music fans has finally arrived: Bad Ass Weekend III is here at last. Assembling quite a collection of the baddest-ass and most brutal acts from the local and international punk, metal and grindcore scenes, this homegrown festival is primed and ready to mosh the living daylights out of crowds stretching from Fitzgerald's to Walter's to Mango's and Rudyard's over the next three nights, and if you aren't planning on attending, it's only proper that you take off that patch-covered battle jacket and turn it in to the proper authorities. You're officially mainstream.

There are so many bands playing across multiple stages this weekend (don't forget the afterparties!) that no human being, no matter how drug-crazed, could possibly see them all. Even if it were possible, it damn sure wouldn't be healthy. In order that you might put together a respectable plan of action, however, your buds at Rocks Off have put together this handy list of highlights to make sure that you don't miss out on the most exciting stuff.

Whatever flavor of auditory violence you're into, there's a little something to satisfy the bloodlust in everyone on this list. It's going to get wild, so go ahead and accept that now. Just remember, above all else, to tip your bartender and to bring your own glue, 'cause we ain't sharing.

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Sarah McLachlan's Fans Aren't Shy About Hugging Her

Thumbnail image for KharenHillSarahMclachlan_Bedroom_Feb27.jpg
Photos by Kharen Hill/Courtesy of ID-PR
Sarah McLachlan enjoys surfing.
Whenever the subject of the greatest Canadian singer-songwriters in history comes up, as it often does, Sarah McLachlan deserves a seat at the same table as Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell. McLachlan's music is so beloved in her homeland that in 2010 she was asked to write the theme song for the Olympic Winter Games in her adopted hometown of Vanouver, B.C., delivering the typically inspirational "One Dream." She hasn't had much trouble connecting south of the border, either, selling an estimated 20 million albums in the U.S.

McLachlan's songs radiate a kind of snug intimacy, swimming in lush arrangements that swirl emotion and intrigue. Approachable but also a little aloof, that style clings to her best work, from 1994 breakthrough single "Possession" through last year's Shine On, her first album in four years and eighth overall. It's made her an essential artist to adult-contemporary radio since the '90s, and inspired an almost otherworldly level of devotion in many of her fans.

But we'll get to that. The Houston Press was lucky enough to speak with McLachlan, now 47, earlier this week after she had just returned from a quick tour Down Under.

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The Glorious Sons Seek a More Perfect Union

Categories: Inquiring Minds

Photo by Jess Baumung/Courtesy of SKH Music
Comin' in from Canada, The Glorious Sons: Adam Paquette (drums), Andrew Young (guitar), Brett Emmons (vocals), Chris Huot (bass) and Jay Emmons (guitar).
With American Top 40 playlists dominated these days by pop tarts, hip-hoppers, alt-screamers, sensitive singer-songwriters, and boy bands, there isn't much room for straight-ahead rock and rollers anymore. Interestingly, a number of today's "current but classic-sounding" rock bands are springing out of Canada; groups like the Sheepdogs, Monster Truck and now the Glorious Sons.

Hailing from the industrial town of Kingston, Ontario, the quintet of Brett Emmons (vocals), brother Jay Emmons and Andrew Young (guitars), Adam Paquette (bass), and Chris Huot (drums) formed in 2013 and released an EP, Shapeless Art. Last year saw the Canucks put out their full-length debut, The Union (Black Box Records).

It was nominated for Best Rock Album at the 2015 Juno Awards, Canada's version of the Grammys. The winner will be announced next month.

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Houston's 10 Friendliest Bars

Photo by David Rozycki
Just a couple of the friendly people you might meet at Lola's Depot.
On our bar adventures about town, most of us are going out to have a good time and hoping to encounter some friendly faces. From our experience, the bars on this list meet these requirements, as we usually encounter both good-natured and approachable patrons and staff at these places.

Keep in mind that you can run into a jerk anywhere, unfortunately, but we feel if you give these spots a chance you're most likely to make some new friends, at least for the night.

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Why It's Okay Your Band Isn't Playing FPSF '15

Photo courtesy of The Bad Drugs
Jaqui Kill (right), the Bad Drugs' resident throat, says the local garage-punks are over stressing about an FPSF nod.
So, your band isn't listed among the many invited to play Free Press Summer Fest 2015. Is there anything that could conceivably comfort the gnawing ache in your spurned bones? Well, for starters, just remember that Run the Jewels, Lana Del Rey, Beck and Drake won't be playing, either.

In all seriousness, being called to perform at FPSF is indeed a huge honor for Houston-area bands. And the sting of not being invited sometimes needs a salve to remind you that being passed over doesn't mean you need to rush all your equipment over to Action Pawn.

So, we enlisted the help of Jacqi Kill from The Bad Drugs and Ganesha front man Ricky Dee to pass along some reminders why it's okay if your band is not playing the fest this year.

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The 10 Best Concerts In Houston This Weekend: Aaron Watson, Robyn Ludwick, Cursive, etc.

Photo courtesy of Shore Fire Media
Aaron Watson's The Underdog is one of 2015's surprise-hit albums.
World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest
NRG Park, February 27 & 28

Never mind the Hideout during the rodeo itself, but critics who gripe that the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo embraces the likes of Fall Out Boy at the expense of the boot-scootin' talent in its own backyard must have overlooked the World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest. This year the contest spreads an even dozen top Texas country and like-minded acts over its three days, down to "Hound Dog" howler Bri Bagwell mini-residency at the "Rockin' Bar-B-Que Saloon."

After everyone has slept off last night, the fun continues Friday with headliner Aaron Watson, whose new album The Underdog hit the No. 1 spot on iTunes country chart last week, alongside Baytown's Breelan Angel; Houston's Justin Van Sant and the Bart Crow Band. Saturday brings a full plate of finger-licking tunes Saturday with Cameran Nelson, Clare Dunn, Max Stalling, Uncle Lucius and the Turnpike Troubadors. As for the food, even if you don't score a pass to one of the invite-only tents, each ticket comes complete with a yummy chopped-beef sandwich. See the rodeo's Web site for a map and more info. CHRIS GRAY

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Meghan Trainor Carried Herself Like a Superstar Bigger Than House of Blues

Photos by Jack Gorman
Meghan Trainor, Sheppard
House of Blues
February 25, 2015

It's easy to look at pop music from a conspiratorial mindset. If the industry wants an act to get big, it eventually will. Whether they take a gem and polish the edges into something marketable or create something in the lab, money is being invested somewhere to get someone into your ears.

Unless, of course, you're a one-hit wonder. Sometimes an artist lucks into a song so good that a label invests in it, the entire time knowing that they'll be tossing the artist aside as soon as they've squeezed all the blood out of the stone.

If you haven't seen Meghan Trainor in concert yet, it's easy to write her off as a one-hit wonder. Surely that "All About That Bass" girl isn't going to have a real career, right?

Time may eventually render this statement silly, but here goes: get ready to be stuck with Miss Trainor for at least a few more years, because she's not going away anytime soon.

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Aerosmith Drummer Joey Kramer: Coffee Kingpin & Part-Time Texan

Fathom Events
Aerosmith: Boston Strong for more than four decades: Brad Whitford (guitar), Tom Hamilton (bass), Steven Tyler (vocals), Joe Perry (guitar), and Joey Kramer (drums).
There is no more quintessential "Boston" rock band than Aerosmith. Since their formation some 45 years ago(!) they've proudly stood for everything Beantown, and even have an official city historical plaque in front of their old living/rehearsal space.

But goddamn -- it's cold up there right now! And as of this writing, the city is likely to break its record for most snowfall in a season due to blizzards happening with more frequency than Steven Tyler's stints in rehab. That's why drummer Joey Kramer is more than happy to spend the winter of 2014-15 in his current home (and warmer climate) of Texas.

"It's wonderful to live here in Austin," says Kramer, whose wife is originally from Cypress in North Houston. "I lived in New England for 40 years, and the winters were brutal. And they're getting slammed again. I'm glad to be out of the cold!

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Two Star Symphony vs. the Seven Deadly Sins

Categories: Listen Up!

Photos by Sarah Prikryl
Houston's own neo-classical darlings in Two Star Symphony are back with their first full-length album in three years. Seven Deadly Sins lives up to its name, exploring each of the classical transgressions in seven individual songs.

Normally I don't go through an album song by song, but that's Two Star Symphony for you; they don't do anything normal. The question is, how does each composition explore the core concept of the sin that it represents?

Let's find out.

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