311 at Bayou Music Center, 7/30/2014

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Photos by Francisco Montes
311, Full Service
Bayou Music Center
July 30, 2014

Three songs into Wednesday night's show at Bayou Music Center, 311 played their hit song "Come Original." Despite what its name might imply, there was nothing original about it, and that was exactly what the crowd wanted. 311 came to Houston Wednesday night to give their rabid fan base an energy-packed dose of what they love: more of the same.

If the band 311 were a walking cliché, they would be "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Forming in Omaha Nebraska in the late '80s and gelling up their lineup and sound in the early '90s, 311 is a band composed of moderately talented guys who found a formula to make easily-digestible, audience-pleasing beach-rock, and have not wavered from this formula since.

In all earnestness, they haven't had to. The 311 fan base is not looking for that, they want more of what they already love.


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10 Sexy Christmas Songs to Stuff Your Chimney Right

Note: This is one of Rocks Off's favorite holiday-themed blogs we've ever run, and it's still fresh today. Pardon the pun, and enjoy!

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The approach of Christmas presents a number of dilemmas. Should you put the moves on that hot co-worker at the holiday party? Is now really the best time to come out to your heavily Pentecostal family? And what brand of top-shelf vodka best drowns out the drone of your in-laws and the shrieks of your cousins' children?

Rocks Off has your answers: 1. Yes; 2. Of course; 3. Trick question; use scotch. But that's only because we want to address a bigger issue. Musically speaking, the holiday season sucks. It's six weeks of the same carols you grew weary of 20 years ago and "Father Christmas" by the Kinks. People wonder why so many people kill themselves in the month of December - it's because they can't handle "O Come All Ye Faithful" one more goddamned time.

But if you're like us, you can't deny your baser urges. Our desire to hear the nasty stuff doesn't just go away between Thanksgiving and New Year's. What are the options for discerning listeners who want to reconcile their love of sleazy music with the holidays? Allow us to offer the following suggestions.


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Baby-Animal GIFs Review R. Kelly's Black Panties

Note: In his column Serrano Time, Houston's award-winning scribe and goofball Shea Serrano writes about his life and times.

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Here's what you need to know about Robert Sylvester Kelly: He's the fucking best.

At singing. At wearing masks. At making videos of himself having sex. All of it. And so of course his new album, Black Panties, does amazing things. There's one part where he says he wants to make crazy faces in the mirror just because it's fun, and on a different part he says he's going to marry a pussy because it's an extra-special pussy. See, he knows that if he gets bored with that pussy then the pussy he married will bring him another pussy to join them. That's a little thing called true love.

Originally, the plan was to review Black Panties using GIFs that captured each song's essence. But that would have required using anime pornography, which wasn't appropriate for this, um, family blog. So I decided on the exact opposite: ADORABLE BABY ANIMAL GIFs!


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American Sharks Are Coming For Your Children

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Artwork courtesy of The End Records
American Sharks are, like Lady Caroline Lamb said of that early 19th-century rock star Lord Byron, mad, bad, and dangerous to know. The bong-loaded Austin trio had been reliably fucking shit up around Houston for a few years -- see this practically Neanderthal 2007 slideshow from Proletariat -- before relocating to Austin in early 2012. That was around the time the band released the "Weedwizard" 7" single that came packaged with a free grinder. On green vinyl.

Among relatively recent Houston transplants, only the Octopus Project and arguably the Eastern Sea have made bigger splashes in the Austin scene than the Sharks, who the Austin Chronicle called the "Future of Austin Rock" in June. Last month VICE magazine's hedonism-touting Noisey blog spotlighted "Overdrive," a Riverboat Gamblers-like blast of a video featuring a UFO, men in radiation suits and a room full of girls in skimpy outfits.

And then earlier this week, Brooklyn label The End Records released the "Overdrive" mothership, the Sharks' debut, er, "full length" album. Simply titled American Sharks, not even half an hour long, but that's more than enough time for the Sharks to indulge in plenty of debauchery and other demonic activity. If "Cocaine" doesn't do it for you, surely "Demon With a Glass Sword" or "Satan's Overture Pt. 1" will. It's Cali high-desert throb smeared with Texas scuzz, absolutely no seeds and stems.


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Musicians' Five Greatest Drunken Moments

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Photo by Marc Brubaker
Florence Welch, sans tequila, at Bayou Music Center in May 2012
For better or worse, I recently began to think about my last three birthdays in a row and realized that I've been blackout drunk throughout all three. It's not something I do often, but when my friends and I get together for a special occasion, it turns into something akin to The Hangover.

Which I guess is why I can relate so well to Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine fame. Back in July, the British singer known for both her album Lungs and her actual lungs found herself the subject of a viral video wherein she sings Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" after downing more than a few tequila shots.

It's a great alcohol-induced moment featuring a famous musician, and bad karaoke is something to which I'm sure we can all relate. That being said, it simply joins a pantheon of great drunken moments featuring famous musicians. Here are five of the best.


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Slip Slidin' Away: My Life as a Rock Journalist With the Houston Press

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Photo by Marc Brubaker
The author watching Free Energy at Fitz in 2011.
I had a hernia operation in the early summer of 2006, and had nothing to do all day but hobble around with cool cane a borrowed from Grandpa Hlavaty and play on the Internets for two months or so.

I had developed the injury while working at Domino's, but it was cool because their insurance helped pay for it, and the cool pills that came with the painful surgery.

That summer while trolling around on Craigslist for stray local writing gigs, I saw that then Houston Press music editor John Nova Lomax had put out a call for freelance music writers.

A-ha.


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It'll Take More Than a Newsletter to Clean up the Word Juggalo

Categories: Naughty Naughty

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Photo by Marc Brubaker.
Not a gang.
Juggalos have always had an image problem. Back in the day it wasn't so bad; sure, you might get called a drug-addicted hillbilly with bad taste in music, but that's the kind of casual hatred an Insane Clown Posse fan learns to live with. Those days were annoying, but at least you had your Juggalo family to stand with.

Then the FBI released the National Gang Intelligence Center's 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment, and things got ugly. At first it was funny to think about; "Juggalos Considered Gang By FBI" is something that sounds like it came from The Onion.

It's been no laughing matter for those Juggalos who've had their world turned upside down because the cops have been told anyone rocking a hatchet man shirt is a public menace. Psychopathic Records is trying to turn public opinion around, most recently in the form of a Juggalos Fight Back newsletter.

They're going to have to try a lot harder if they ever want to be taken seriously.

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Booty Drumming Is Not Nearly As Awesome As It Sounds

If you take Jorge Perez's word for it, four bouncy asses and a lone cymbal are proof that music can be found anywhere (as long as you have four willing women to bare their bums in the name of art, of course).

Solidifying his status as the envy of dudes everywhere, Jorge convinced four women to bare their bums for his drumming pleasure and recorded it for all the world to see. Drummers really do get all the chicks.

As a jazz-fusion percussionist with the band Patax, Jorge is known for playing percussion on peculiar instruments, so this booty-bongo video may be of little surprise to anyone familiar with his work.

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How Much Would You Pay for the New My Bloody Valentine?

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I have to admit, I'm not the biggest My Bloody Valentine fan in the world. I thoroughly enjoy Loveless and their newest record, mbv, but they're not my favorite band.

I guess that's why I wasn't aware until the band released a statement about it that people are selling that new record for assloads of money on eBay.

The funny thing is, out of all those people selling those ridiculously priced copies of it, none of them actually has the record. Yes, before you get your hopes up, as the band said in that statement, all those auctions are fake.

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Chubby Checker, the Man Who Killed the Boner App

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There's no way to say this in a ladylike fashion, so fuck it.

Because someone, somewhere wants me to make middle-school boner jokes today, Chubby Checker of "Twist" fame is suing Hewlett-Packard and Palm for releasing the "Chubby Checker," an app used to estimate a dude's potential boner size by measuring his foot. (Apparently the whole "judge a man by his shoe size" old wives' tale is true. Who knew?)

Marketed by its ability to support different units of measurement depending on your region, the app promises to help eliminate that whole "awkward disappointment with his mini-me" thing that we ladies so often face.

But don't issue that collective sigh just yet, ladies. The boner app has been off the market since September 2012, essentially ruining the lives of millions of women who weren't even aware the damn thing even existed.


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