Panic! at the Disco at The Woodlands, 8/19/2014

Categories: Digitalia

Photos by Violeta Alvarez
Panic! at the Disco
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
August 19, 2014

Panic! at the Disco in 2014 is definitely not what it was before. The "baroque rock" band that joined the likes of Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance in 2006 to capture the souls of teenage girls going through their respective "scene queen" phase now only consists of one original band member, lead singer Brendon Urie. Co-founder Spencer Smith couldn't join Panic! during this summer's "Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!" tour because he needed to take some time off to deal with repercussions of alcohol and substance abuse, while other members each left somewhere along the band's eight-year, four-album timeline probably due to creative reasons.

Urie being the only remaining original member seems fitting, though, because he is and always has been the charmingly hyperactive, attention-seeking one in the band -- the type of person every pop rock band wishes to have as their front man. You'd think so many losses would force Panic! to downsize. However, Tuesday night they played the biggest venue they've ever played in the Houston area, and played it well.

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New Houston Rap: Travis $cott Rides In Another Rodeo

So...who wants new music?

MIXTAPE OF THE WEEK: Travi$ Scott, Days Before Rodeo

A year ago, Travi$ Scott emerged from Houston obscurity, Tumblr fanfare and the tutelage of Kanye West, T.I. and others to release his Owl Pharaoh EP. For much of the tape, Scott felt like he was doing more of a solid yet distorted impersonation of his influences rather than being himself. He raps in a mumble, the loudest things about him are a stage persona where he's been known to rap from the ceiling and his production -- abrasive, earth-shattering and heavily reliant on 808 drums, timely snares and distortion, his weapons of mass audio destruction.

Where Owl Pharaoh faltered was just that: Scott wanted so badly to carve out a loud, outsider feel to his creativity, as if we weren't going to understand him no matter how many times he yelped "straight up!" or attempted to beat us over the head with punched-in drum programming and frenetic pacing. You couldn't fit Scott in anywhere, despite creating an anthem like "Upper Echelon" that damn near blew a hole in Warehouse Live when he performed it earlier this year.

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The Top 40 Charting Hard-Rock Songs: Part 2

Somewhere, we hope Casey Kasem is smiling.
Welcome back to the show! We're counting down the Top 40 hard rock songs of all time, according to Billboard (sort of...). I'll take a moment to recap Nos. 40-31.

40. "Don't Tell Me You Love Me," Night Ranger
39. "Cumbersome," Seven Mary Three
38. "Trampled Underfoot," Led Zeppelin
37. "Back In Black," AC/DC
36. "Sweet Emotion," Aerosmith
35. "One," Metallica
34. "Black And Blue," Van Halen
33. "Live And Let Die," Guns 'N Roses
32. "Everybody Wants You," Billy Squier
31. "Metal Health (Bang Your Head)," by Quiet Riot

If you're in the dark as to what's going on, please refer to Tuesday's first half of the show for the qualifications and my self-imposed limitations during the selection process and breakdown of my results.

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12 Highly Entertaining Indie Artists On Twitter

Categories: Digitalia

Photo by Jim Bricker
Vampire Weekend at FPSF 2014
Way back in 2006, I bet the founders of Twitter had no idea the social-media platform would become the force it is today. Sure, you can interact with your friends and whatnot, but perhaps the coolest, most intriguing part of Twitter is the way it makes us music lovers able to see what our favorite musicians are up to.

Just think about it. Your favorite artist -- whether some nobody musician who makes beats in his or her basement or even a legend like Cher -- is most likely active on Twitter. It allows us to form what often seems like a personal connection with our idols, while we've found that some less-popular acts totally triumph in the tweeting game against those with 40-plus million followers like Katy Perry and Justin Bieber.

We've compiled a list of 16 indie artists who you should probably think about following on Twitter below, so go on a quick unfollowing spree, do what you gotta do to make some room on your timeline for some fresh, new 140-character goodness from artists who are contributing some fresh, new sounds to the music world.

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We Nominate in the Ice Bucket Challenge...

Challenge accepted.
Even in today's viral culture, this "Ice Bucket Challenge" to raise money for ALS research has taken many by surprise. Instead of quickly blowing over like so many digital fads, this one continues to yield more famous (and not-so-famous) people getting doused on Facebook and YouTube every day. Apparently now everybody has to do it (see above).

The phenomenon -- which is actually more than a month old but has hit critical mass within the past week -- has been largely propelled by athletes, entertainers and members of the media. Therefore, cynics might suggest the challenge is just a way for narcissistic attention-seekers to get some cheap publicity without doing much more than whip out their checkbooks (if that). But ALS has felled a lot more people than just the ballplayer from whom it takes its better-known nickname of Lou Gehrig's Disease -- such as the musicians Charles Mingus and Leadbelly, and perhaps someone close to you or your family.

So it's all in good fun and for a most worthy cause, but let's be real: The challenge has caught on mostly because watching someone get a freezing bucket of water dumped over his or her head will never lose its appeal. Right here, as a matter of fact, we can think of a number of people in the Houston music community we'd love to see get drenched...and wouldn't you know it, here they are. Just doing our part.

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The Rocks Off 200: DJ B*Ryte, From VA To H-Town With Love

Welcome to The Rocks Off 200, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See previous entries in the Rocks Off 100 at this link.

Photos courtesy of DJ B*Ryte
Who? Megan Bowie can flip her look on a dime. When she's not working in local television, she's DJ B*Ryte, a mixer who's found her home on multiple stages across the globe, but more recently on KBXX 97.9 The Box. She has a knack for bringing grooves together without being "sloppy" (in the words of OG Ron C) and has crafted plenty a late-night mix for listeners, not to mention break tracks from local artists and national mixtape cuts that usually take months to even arrive to some listeners.

Her arrival to Houston just five months ago didn't come without its fair share of detours. Bowie learned her craft at age 16 after entering college at Virginia's Hampton University.

"I had never been to a party or club before," she says, reflecting on the moment when she knew. "And when you're in college, you can use your college ID to get into everything -- regardless of how old you are because they assume you are at least 18. I remember going to my first party and looking at the DJ and watching the crowd.

"It was like, Okay, this one person is responsible for hundreds and hundreds, sometimes thousands of people's happiness. You have the ability to either make or break their night."

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Upcoming: Carolyn Wonderland, Death, Jason Aldean, Legion, Lily Allen, Pointer Sisters, etc.

Categories: This Just In

1st Annual Cajun Zydeco Fest: With Chubby Carrier, Jamie Bergeron, Bayou Roux, Step Rideau, Zydeco Dots. Sun., September 7, 12pm, $20. Cypress Saloon, 12710 Telge, Cypress, 281-304-7777.

American Aquarium: With The O's. Sat., August 30, 9 p.m., $15 to $17. Firehouse Saloon, 5930 Southwest Fwy., Houston, 713-977-1962.

Archnemesis: With ONE4ALL., Thu., September 11, 8 p.m., $10 to $12. Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak, Houston, 713-862-3838.

Artificial Head Records Meets the Phantom of Kiss: With Jody Seabody & the Whirls, Linus Pauling Quartet, Clockpole, The Freakouts, Funeral Horse, the Hangouts, Hell City Kings, Cornish Game Hen, Stout City Luchadores, the Ex-Optimists, the Swamps. Sat., September 6, 7 p.m., Free to $10. Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak, Houston, 713-862-3838.

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The Top 40 Charting Hard-Rock Songs: Part 1

Sam Howzit via Flickr
Coming at at No. 40 on our countdown, it's the boys from the San Francisco Bay Area, Night Ranger.
Numbers. The applications to which they are used in various fields can yield results ranging from the trivial to the catastrophic if not interpreted properly. If you are involved with numbers at NASA or the military, lives could hang in the balance if something is miscalculated or misrepresented.

The misuse of numbers in the music industry isn't going to cost anyone his or her life. While music has been one of my biggest passions, I do have another guilty obsession: I'm also a baseball junkie, and if there's one field where trivial calculations influence decisions based on overinflated misinterpretations it's baseball. A perfect example of this is the 'W,' the pitcher's win: a pitcher can throw a terrible game and still get the win, and a pitcher can have an excellent game and still get a loss. For those who don't follow the sport, how a pitcher gets the win is not the point here, but the relevance is. Many around baseball (unfairly) still regard that 'W' as what determines a pitcher's worth during a season.

For those not in the know, the music industry had a number that, just like the 'W,' it relied on it for more than 50 years called the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Now, why is this one misleading as opposed to the other Billboard charts? Well, those charts tend to put the participants on an even field. There are charts exclusively for genres, such as country and Christian, and even the Top Albums chart tends to be mostly fair because it's open to all albums being sold.

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Pimp C's Story Coming Soon to Bookstores

Photo by Ray Tamarra/OZONE
L-R: UGK's Bun B and Pimp C at the 2006 OZONE Awards
The life of Pimp C is coming back -- in hardcover format.

Julia Beverly, the former editor-in-chief of OZONE Magazine and noted documentarian of Southern hip-hop culture at large, is planning to release an biography on the late UGK rapper, who died in 2007. Currently untitled, the book comes with the blessing of Pimp's mother, the late Weslyn "Mama C" Monroe and is set to detail his life, career and untimely death with vivid accuracy.

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If Bands Sponsored NFL Teams: The NFC

Categories: Dig This

Photo by Marc Brubaker
Is Snoop finally the man to bring the Rams back to L.A.?
Recently we wrote about the ramifications of KISS and Vince Neil buying their own Arena Football League teams and what it would be like if NFL teams were also themed around bands and musicians. We started by running down the AFC, including our hometown Houston Texans.

This time we're going to examine the NFC and see what teams fit with what bands in that conference.

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