Riding The Musical Wave At Saturday's HPMAs

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The American Heist at Walter's on Washington
Jim Bricker
Saturday didn't start out very promising: Almost as soon as Rocks Off arrived at the intersection of Washington and Silver, where the Bud Light main stage was set up, the sky darkened, then drizzled, then began pouring rain.

The downpour barely lasted 15 minutes, however, and when it cleared up, the rain didn't return for the rest of the day. Encouraged, we caught the first Washington Wave jitney and started our day, chatting with a friendly pair of lesbians who were excited to be enjoying their first music festival as a couple. Lots of cuddling and pecks on the cheek; it was really sweet.

We caught the tail end of Yoko Mono's set at the Washington Avenue Drinkery, and found their Latin-infused math rock a fine way to start off the day, even if everything was mixed a tad loud. Indeed, our colleague William Michael Smith assured us that the four acts he'd seen so far had all been turned up too loud for reasons unknown.

As if he'd heard us talking, Lee Alexander came out and played his catchy brand of folk-rock at a much more reasonable volume. It was then that we noticed: people were being quiet. They were paying attention to the artist. We chalked it up to the fact that it was still early and people weren't really drinking yet, and contentedly watched Alexander perform.

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Faith Silva
Ice, ice, baby...
Rocks Off strolled next door to Walter's On Washington, ruefully passing up the Snow Vice sno-cone stand, as we are currently attempting to save money, and caught the last few songs from The American Heist, who were - no hyperbole intended - fantastic. The next time you hear one of your friends bitching about there being no decent punk rock in Houston, force that person to go see this band: Four swarthy fellows playing blistering street-punk in the vein of early Screeching Weasel, the Humpers and the Dead Kennedys.

As our own swarthy Craig Hlavaty might tweet: GIT SUM. We were somewhat disappointed that there was no moshing going on during their set, but again, we reasoned that it was still pretty early for that kind of thing.

A trip via packed-full Washington Wave to the band VIP lounge over at Ei8ht yielded a chance to greet the Tontons, enjoy some Pink's pizza and rest for a brief spell on the porch while chatting with the violin player from a local band whose name Rocks Off can't remember, although I do recall her name (Veronica). Then it was back over to Walter's to catch the Manichean, whom we had heard very good things about them from multiple friends.

Rocks Off arrived in time to catch the end of Something Fierce's set, and was happy to see that some of the punks had, indeed, begun moshing. Once Something Fierce were finished playing, the wait for the Manichean began... and continued... and continued. Apparently their bassist was stuck in traffic, which delayed the start of the show considerably.

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