Last Night: The 2010 Houston Press Music Awards Ceremony

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Photos by Marco Torres
Nick Gaitan & The Umbrella Man began Wednesday's performances with a steamy zydeco polka.
Houston Press Music Awards Ceremony
Warehouse Live
August 11, 2010

Ed. Note: See here for slideshows of performers and the crowd, and here for the winners.

Aftermath is not going to spend just a whole lot of words on Wednesday night's Houston Press Music Awards Ceremony, because a) You can scroll down a bit and see our live coverage, and b) We have been living and breathing the awards for a good month now, and we are absolutely worn out.

Besides, if you wanted to see panties thrown onstage during Grandfather Child's gospel-blues beggar's banquet, guys kissing other guys and Los Skarnales - in their first-ever HPMA ceremony performance, believe it or not - absolutely burn the place down with some timbale-laced pachuco boogie that lit the crowd like a dry tinder box and created an instant dance floor, well, you really should have been there. It was free, after all.

Oh, and Best Keyboards winner Jennifer Grassman's a cappella, impromptu "Over the Rainbow," which she came up and sang because Grandfather Child wasn't quite ready yet. Things actually ran ahead of schedule. And get well soon (again) Little Joe, who, as far as we know, is not named after Washington Avenue.

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Fat Tony could hardly contain himself during a roof-raising - or lowering - "Like Hell Yeah."
Houston being Houston, there was a little too much talking in the crowd for our tastes during some of the performances, especially during Lee Alexander's ponderous, mournful acoustic blues "Wheel," which he introduced as a song about being a musician in Houston and is donating all the funds from online sales to the Lightnin' Hopkins Historical Marker Fund.

Houston also being Houston, we also saw several unique strains of Bayou City musical hybrids we're pretty sure exist only in our swampy, polyglot Southeast Texas climate. All of them, really, starting with Nick Gaitan & The Umbrella Man swirling steel guitar and zydeco rubboard into steamy minor-key polka "Mind's In Misery" all the way through Fat Tony's hyperkinetic "Like Hell Yeah," which had the Best Underground Rapper winner and cohort Smash Bro brushing the Warehouse Live ceiling, and Tax the Wolf mingling Pearl Jam and a Latin funeral dirge on the evening-closing "184 Chromosomes."

How special is Houston? Aftermath assumed Nick Gaitan had long since left Warehouse Live for the Continental Club by the time his name was announced as Local Musician of the Year, but he stuck around. Then, after a few heartfelt words of thanks, he headed down to Main Street to play Umbrella Man's weekly Wednesday-night residency.

For tips.

Personal Bias: We work for the Houston Press. And we live in Houston.

Overheard in the Crowd: "Quite a spectacle" - The Manichean front man Cory Sinclair, who should know.

The Crowd: Nominees, friends and family, Press staffers and local music fans who hung on to the very end... almost.

Random Notebook Dump: From now on, we think everyone should accept their awards in a metal voice (known as "Cookie Monster vocals") like this year's winners Pinche Gringos.

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