James "Boogaloo" Bolden Band at Dan Electro's, 2/7/2014

Photos by William Michael Smith
The James Bolden Blues Band blowing at gale force
James Bolden Blues Band
Dan Electro's Guitar Bar
February 7, 2014

James "Boogaloo" Bolden has been at B.B. King's side for decades as band director. But with King, 87, slowing down a bit, Bolden is finding new avenues for his talent. For starters, he's just released a new album, No News, Jus' The Blues, and (along with producer/saxophonist Eric Demmer) has assembled a powerhouse big band that can blow the roof off any joint on any given night.

Friday night was no exception, as Bolden and Demmer, who spent more than a decade with the legendary Gatemouth Brown, put their nine-piece swingin' machine through some blistering paces at the venerable Heights blues/rock outpost. Consisting of some of Houston's top players -- piano genius Daryl Lavigne; red-hot sax maven and vocalist Evelyn Rubio; Charlie "Tuna" Dennis, B.B. King's longtime rhythm guitarist; local guitar god Teri Greene; sizzling trumpeter Roy Chapa; and father-son rhythm section Barry and Brandon Jackson -- the Bolden band is a beautiful thing to behold. In fact, it ranks right there with Grady Gaines' similar setup.

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Meet the McFadden Brothers, Houston's EDM Accountants

Ryan (L) and Kyle McFadden, a.k.a. Kyle Dux
I once wrote here how my kids work at being musicians. Their hand-to-mouth life demands and modest success mean they don't have to bus tables for a living.

But many Houston musicians do work for the man. Admirably, they create and perform music by night, then do the day job. For many, it's changing tires at the auto shop or stocking shelves at Guitar Center.

Or, in the case of the McFadden brothers, Kyle and Ryan, it's the staid corporate work of accounting. Over the past year, these honest-to-Pete siblings have joined forces to create original, Houston-based electronic dance music. Under the banner of Kyle Dux -- yes, that's a nod to Bloodsport's larger-than-life hero, Frank Dux -- they focus on house music and hope to help advance a local EDM scene that seems too small for a city this large.

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Disclosure at Warehouse Live, 1/29/14

Photos by J Tovar
Warehouse Live

Wednesday night's Disclosure show was a confusing and somewhat disorganized experience, but nonetheless an amazing performance that certainly pleased the overstuffed Warehouse Live crowd.

Unless I had been huffing glue in my sleep and dreamt this, the first time I went to the Warehouse Live page to see when Wednesday's show began it said that doors were at 7 p.m. and there were two openers (Vic Mensa and Samo Sound Boy). Thankfully I am a compulsive planner and checked the site multiple times before going to the show and I learned that "due to unforeseen circumstances," doors had been moved to 10 p.m..

Doors at 10 p.m. isn't an oddity for any show, particularly for any kind of EDM show. Doors at 10 also normally means that an opener might make it on by 10:30, then another by 11:30, and the headliner would go on around 12:30 and play until bar closed.

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Five Trap Christmas Songs to Get Your Party Turnt Up

Christmas is here, food is cooking, family is visiting and presents are waiting to be opened. Now is the time to think about setting the right atmosphere for the occasion. Christmas day is supposed to be a happy day, an exciting day, one full of laughs and merriment. For the love of God, don't bore your family with the same, laid-back Christmas jams you play every year. Take things up a notch and make it a real celebration.

Your family likes trap music, right?

Good. Grab these five songs and throw them into your holiday playlist. Nothing shakes off the cobwebs of "Silver Bells" like some high-hat rolls and bass drops.

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Zedd at House of Blues, 10/30/2013

Photos by Julian Bajsel
House of Blues
October 30, 2013

I may not know what Zedd looks like, but I think he represents the future.

Let's break down that sentence a bit before you grab your pitchforks and light your torches.

On a platform at the back of the House of Blues stage, surrounded by giant video walls, lights, and lasers, Zedd barreled his way through a 90-minute set full of crowd-pleasing hits while being little more than a silhouette onstage. He addressed the crowd a few times -- typical DJ things like asking the crowd to jump and make some noise -- but for the most part he was content to let the massive sounds and impressive lighting display do the talking for him.

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10 Swang-and-Bang Anthems for Sunday's SLAB Parade

Photos courtesy of Slab Ridaz Magazine
Swangers on a Silverado? Welcome to H-Town.
Just so you know, that low, persistent rumbling you feel in your gut this Sunday afternoon will have nothing to do with the Whataburger you pounded down at 3 a.m. the night before. It'll be the ultrasonic bass emanating from the popped trunks of 50 customized vehicles swangin' through Third Ward as part of the city's very first SLAB Parade and Family Festival at MacGregor Park.

What's a SLAB, you ask? Well, first off, thanks for visiting Houston, and we recommend that you check out Frenchy's Chicken before you have to leave. According to the Houston Arts Alliance Folklife + Traditional Arts Program, the Houston Museum of African-American Culture and Workshop Houston -- the triple partnership putting on the festival -- a SLAB is commonly an older-model American sedan enhanced by glossy paint, plush interiors and flashy rims. That '84 Cadillac with wire-spoke wheels and purple candy paint you passed on U.S. 59 South? SLAB, homie.

Don't get it twisted: We're not talking about West Coast low-riders or simple hoopties here. The SLAB is an H-Town thing, identified by markers such as a superfluous fifth wheel on back, neon lights in the open trunk and TV screens jumping up out the dash. And if it ain't got those swangers poking out -- "elbows," they're called -- it ain't a SLAB, baby.

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Added Music Takes Bayou City Art Fest to Another Level

Every great band requires a great timekeeper. The man behind the drum set for Houston Press Music Award winners The Suffers is named Nick Zamora. He's one of those dudes who just gets it, man.

The guy is a musician's musician, who can keep time, sing back-up vocals, act as a sound man, and book your next show. So when the Bayou City Art Festival was looking for assistance in increasing the appeal of the annual event's musical fare, it was only natural that they called upon Zamora.

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Krewella at Stereo Live, 9/6/2013

Photos by Julian Bajsel
Stereo Live
September 6, 2013

Oh how things can change in just under a year. The last time Krewella came to town they were in the opening slot with a single EP under their belt, but it was clear at the time that there were big things ahead for the trio.

They managed to reach those big things pretty quick. Since we spoke to them way back in October 2012, they've officially become a thing. Not only are they EDM headliners selling out clubs coast to coast, but Krewella had a legit crossover hit with "Alive" that introduced them to listeners outside the genre.

Friday night saw them bring the "Get Wet Tour" to Houston, bringing with them a custom stage, live vocals, and an album's worth of new material to wow the crowd. And if this is where they are after a year, it's scary to think about where they'll be a year from now because right now they're on fire.

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Something Wicked Reveals Full 2013 Lineup, With Wolfgang Gartner, Cookie Monsta, More

Something Wicked already teased Tiesto as a 2013 headliner to make up for last year's injury-related cancellation. Today promoters Nightculture and Disco Donnie Presents announced the remainder of the lineup for the local electronic-music festival's encore year, scheduled for October 26 at Sam Houston Race Park.

Topping the bill at the spookiest music festival in all of Texas (and one of the coolest, really; all the costumes are hard to beat) are Wolfgang Gartner, Tommy Trash, Cookie Monsta, Deorro, Antiserum, Henry Krinkle, Luminox, Crizzly, Simon Patterson and Shogun, as well as these fine artists:

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I Watched Nearly Four Hours of Brony EDM So You Won't Have to

You know how this works: a snarky writer starts off with a few high-minded paragraphs about subcultures and having an open mind and cultural anthropology. The goal is to make it seem like they started watching whatever video they're about to tear apart with the best intentions, instead of admitting that they knew good and god damn well what they were only watching it to crack a few jokes.

So let me say this from the start: I spent nearly four hours watching a Brony rave because I thought it would be funny.

Now, I'm not going to pretend that I understand the Brony subculture. I don't. At first I thought that teen and adult males watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was one of those modern irony things that I don't understand, but as far as I can tell these guys genuinely enjoy the show. And that's fine- we all have passions in life. Some people paint their faces and throw soda at each other, and some people write dubstep songs about cartoon ponies. The world is weird and beautiful like that.

Sometimes videos just pop up in your Twitter feed like a gift from the heavens, showing you something you couldn't have imagined if you tried. This is one such video.

Shot in Houston during Fiesta Equestria 2013 (a MLP convention, if you don't know), Pon3techtronica featured some of the very best in the Brony EDM scene... I think. I can't say I'm well-versed in the realm of pony-centric dance music. I had seen the highlights, but once I found out there was a complete, uncut edition of the video I had to watch it. So I did.

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