Fighting, Drinking & Skanking at Griff's St. Paddy's Bash

Photo by Nathan Smith
The Dead Rabbits, pre-altercation
The Dead Rabbits, 30footFALL, the Velostacks
Griff's Irish Pub
March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day can be a tough gig -- especially on a Tuesday. No matter how energized and well-rehearsed your band shows up, you're still always going to be playing second fiddle to sheer drunken revelry. If you can win the crowd over early, your set can become a triumphant, beer-soaked blast. If anything goes wrong, however, the shenanigans can turn into a shit-show in a hurry.

There was a little bit of both going on last night at Griff's, the long-cherished Montrose sports pub that was celebrating its 50th annual St. Paddy's Day blowout with a trio of quality punk-rock acts. The Velostacks, 30footFALL and the Dead Rabbits have all proven more than capable of delivering the goods over the years, but turning a parking-lot tent right next to a face-painting booth into a real-life rock concert on a Tuesday night proved a struggle. The musicians began the evening working hard to engage the crowd any way they could, and ended it just trying to survive.

More »

Now Let's All Sing "Silent Night"

Categories: Holidaze

Photo by Asher Isbrucker via Flickr
Crackle crackle...
Mom got drunk and Dad got drunk at our Christmas party
We were drinking champagne punch and homemade eggnog
Little sister brought her new boyfriend
He was a Mexican
We didn't know what to think of him until he sang
Feliz Navidad, Feliz Navidad

More »

Robert Earl Keen's "Merry Christmas" Miracle

Photo by Darren Carroll/Courtesy of Shore Fire Media
Never mind the Love Boat, Robert Earl Keen will now be your "party captain."
Dubbing himself "the party captain of the holidays," Robert Earl Keen figures he's feeling pretty jolly this year.

"You know, it comes and it goes," reflects the Houston-born singer-songwriter, who will turn 59 next month. "Sometimes I feel kind of overwhelmed. I think that might be in all of our natures. This year I'm having a great time. I feel real peace on Earth, goodwill towards men. And women."

Whether he was joking or not (it's a little hard to tell), when we reached Keen by phone a couple of weeks ago, he said he was "just sobering up." He was in the early stages of the "Merry Christmas From the Family" tour, his annual trek built around the song that affectionately if sarcastically celebrates those trailer-dwelling, Salem Light-puffing, fake-snow-spewing Christmas lovers from coast to coast.

"These Christmas shows, they take a lot out of you, so you have to put a lot back in," Keen says by way of hair-of-the-dog advice.

More »

Three Cheers for the Peanuts Christmas Music

Categories: Holidaze

Fabiano Campos via Flickr
If this doesn't cheer up Charlie Brown, we don't know what will.
When my kids were young, I didn't force them to play T-ball or try dance class or even go to school regularly. One thing I insisted upon was them sitting with me at holiday time to watch the Peanuts specials I eagerly awaited each year as a boy.

I know they found Charlie Brown's blockheadedness boring. My daughter asked why she had to miss Lizzie Maguire to watch Snoopy when we had the Peanuts specials on video and could watch them any time we wanted.

"Because, this is how you watch TV," I explained. "You wait all year for a special you've seen 20 times before to run again and watch it a 21st time."

More »

A Gloomy Gallery of Goth Christmas Songs

Categories: Holidaze

Alisa26 via Flickr
Merry Gothmas, everybody!
Dude, religious Christmas is pretty macabre. All kinds of scandal, sex with a ghost, strangers bringing mystical gifts, and everyone predicting this young couple's baby's death like its glorious wonderful thing.

Oh and a decree to slaughter all male babies the next day...what could be more goth?

-- Kassi Gooch

Far be it from us to argue with Kassi. Some people say that depression rates go up during the holidays, and they're wrong. It's just that incidents of goth occur more frequently. So for your listening pleasure we've put together a special playlist so that Santa knows to drop off some boots and stuff with ankhs on it this year. A little black tape for a blue Christmas, if you catch our drift.

More »

Nosaprise Marks 10th Toy Drive With New Music of His Own

Photo by Marco Torres
Bah, humbug? Hardly -- Nosaprise with the spoils of his 2013 Trills the Season toy drive.
Dozens of Houston-area kids are about to have a very merry Christmas thanks to the efforts of Houston musician Nosaprise, whose annual "Trills the Season" toy drive returns for its tenth year this evening at Boondocks. A two-part event devoted to gathering and distributing toys children in need, the drive kicks off with tonight's concert featuring Nosa, garage-rockers Young Girls, hip-hop crew Def Perception and "digital cumbia" auteur Gio Chamba; the second half commences Christmas Day, when Nosa and his friends will distribute whatever merchandise is donated this evening to local children who probably aren't expecting a whole lot out of jolly old St. Nick.

Also tonight, though, Houston DJs Dayta, Fat Tony and Baby Roo will keep the party going with all your favorite Christmastime jams between sets. Admission is one new or gently used toy worth at least $10. As you can see by the above photo, taken before Nosa distributed the fruits of last year's Trills the Season drive to kids in Denver Harbor, Fifth Ward and Kashmere Gardens, he should soon have quite a pile of loot on his hands.

More »

The 10 Best Chopped & Screwed Holiday Songs

Categories: Holidaze

Indi Samarajiva via Flickr
Getting into the high holidays with chopped & screwed Christmas tunes.
The chopped and screwed Christmas mixtape should be a staple of any H-town holiday party. You can't expect everyone to share the same taste for slowed-down grooves, but since the concept was birthed (R.I.P DJ Screw), it's only right to apply it to our holiday treasures.

There's nothing new about cranking down the BPMs on the holiday classics. A few proper Christmas mixtapes are floating around the Internet. And while not everyone can claim to be authentically chopped and screwed, we can appreciate hearing the same boring songs that play while you shop at Target in a new way.

So here are the ten best chopped and slowed down Christmas songs we found to enjoy this holiday season.

More »

10 Badass Anti-Holiday Songs For Your Grinchy Side

Know what's infinitely better than songs about jingle bells and Santa and holly? Songs about hating jingle bells and Santa and holly.

Face it: Christmas music sucks. And no matter how hard you try, it's impossible to keep from being inundated by it. It's impossible to avoid department stores, drugstores, grocery stores, or the friggin' gas station for the entire month of December, and all of those places seem hell-bent on assaulting our eardrums with Mariah Carey's Christmas vibrato.

So should you be suffering from the dreaded Christmas music overload, perhaps you should delve into some of these anti-holiday songs instead. Their utter disdain for holly could be the perfect remedy for what ails ya.

More »

"I'll Be Stoned for Christmas" Argues for Keeping Weed Illegal

Categories: Hipsters, Holidaze

Photos courtesy of Force Field PR
You know what, maybe weed shouldn't be legalized after all.
So that photo happened, apparently at the hands of a dude named Dent May. And not only is he the culprit for the worst Christmas photo known to man, but his holiday-themed song is a little foggy, too.

And yes, we remember that awful Mariah Carey earworm. "I'll Be Stoned For Christmas" lights that one up.

Described in the press release as having "the restless musical mind of a DIY pop auteur," May supposedly "investigates life's timeless mysteries, touching on youth, mortality, alienation and unrequited love with startling honesty and humor." The song does indeed sound kinda funny -- especially considering May's self-proclaimed funnybone -- but we're not that amused.

More »

The Smart Music Fan's Guide to Black Friday

Categories: Holidaze

Photo by John Henderson, Flickr Commons
Don't let this happen to you.
If you had to navigate a dense Christmas tree forest just to buy Halloween candy or recognized "Holly Jolly Christmas" slowly seeping into the store like a poisonous gas weeks ago, then you know the horror of the holiday shopping season is in full swing.

Like any good slasher flick, there's an apex scene of terror to these proceedings, the brutality-filled moment that all the back story and early suspense leads up to. This culmination of fear, blood and human depravity is better known as Black Friday.

More »