The Five Best Concerts In Houston This Week: Doughbeezy, Peter Murphy, Steve Martin, etc.

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Photos courtesy of South Central Music
John Egan
The Big Easy, July 28

Give John Egan credit for taking chances. The longtime solo Houston bluesman's new album, Amulet, is in some respects the polar opposite of its 2012 predecessor, Phantoms. Besides bringing in a few side musicians and respected Americana producer R.S. Field (Billy Joe Shaver, Webb Wilder), Egan has expanded his songwriting reach to include Latin-tinged jazz and melancholy pop, showing he's less reliant on his Resonator guitar's unforgiving tone but comfortable keeping the instrument as his anchor.

The end result is a softer mood than Phantoms, whose songs sometimes showed visibly bared teeth, but Amulet's overall disquieting feel suggests Egan has done little to ward off the same tormentors who were after him last time. CHRIS GRAY

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The 10 Best Concerts in Houston This Weekend: Rock Baby Rock It, Craig Kinsey, Bri Bagwell and More

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Love Dominique
Warehouse Live (Green Room), July 25

Local diva Love Dominique's 2013 EP Wicked Heart did well in two unsigned-talent contests sponsored by Billboard and the Grammys, but her eponymous full-length album (available now) makes a more proper introduction. Its 11 electronically-guided tunes set a sexy mood begging for long nights of candlelight, bubble baths, satin nighties and other kinds of lovers' play, while a few songs are so chilled out they almost qualify as ambient music.

Still, bedroom jams like "Slow Grind" and "Feels Good" push right up on the PG-13/R line but rein in the dirty talk (barely), while more up-tempo fare like "If It Ain't Us" and "Park and Ride" seem destined for long life on Majic 102-like stations. Overall, Love Dominique makes a satisfyingly seductive near-debut that still leaves plenty of room for Houston's latest hometown R&B ingenue to mature.

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Trae Day 2014 in Photos

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Photos by Marco Torres
Six years ago, in the sweltering summer of 2008, the City of Houston bestowed a proclamation upon one of its citizens, a certain Frazier Othel Thompson. Rap fans know the man much better now as Trae Tha Truth, Houston's own "King of the Streets." The following year, the city was rewarded with "Trae Day," a free family block party and concert that has become an annual extravaganza of music, carnival rides, health screenings, school supplies and giveaways.

So much has happened since the first "Trae Day," both in the city and in Trae's personal life and rap career. A dispute with 97.9 The Box and subsequent ban from the station's airwaves only fueled Trae's urge to work, first aligning himself with Lil Wayne's camp and then signing with Grand Hustle, the umbrella label run by the self-proclaimed "King of The South," Atlanta's own T.I. Trae also suffered the loss of his brother "Money" Clip D and ABN associates Dinky D and Poppa C to gun violence. A bullet even managed to find his shoulder, although he would make a full recovery from the shooting.

Despite all of the adversity, Trae Day lives on as one of Houston's most anticipated annual events, and Tuesday's 2014 edition at NRG Park was full with memorable moments. Here is a short racap of yesterday's festivities as seen through my camera lens:

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The Houston Music Hall of Fame Class of 2014

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Photo by Marco Torres
DJ Sun
There's an old saying in the music industry that you have your whole life to make your first album but six months to a year for your second. This is almost the reverse. Last year, when we started the Houston Music Hall of Fame to salute the 25th anniversary of the Houston Press Music Awards, the whole thing went from concept to finished product in about six weeks. This year we had an entire year to think about whom to induct.

That made it tougher in some ways, and easier in others. We kept our original rule of inducting only people who are still at least semi-active, but we expand our scope to include a former Houstonian still very much going strong at age 75 and a venue owner who is now a sort of godmother to two or three generations of local musicians. Other than that, our five inductees have little in common aside from the fact that their talents have seldom drawn widespread acclaim until now.

Besides the household name who last year put a song on the charts for his seventh straight decade, that is. But it is now our distinct pleasure to induct DJ Sun, Grady Gaines, K-Rino, Walters Downtown owner Pam Robinson (profiled separately) and Kenny Rogers into the Houston Music Hall of Fame.


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Noose Left Outside Houston Singer's Home

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Photos courtesy of Erica Nichole
Artists are used to criticism, but nothing could have prepared Houston pop-jazz artist Erica Nichole for waking up to find a noose had been hung out side her home at South Rice and Chimney Rock over the weekend.

"I noticed it after I came home from my gig Friday night," says Nichole via email. "Basically, it wasn't there after my friend and I came into my apartment, and then an hour or so later, it was there. I have NO idea who would/could have done this. I have lived here 13 years, and NEVER had an incident like it."


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The Five Best Shows in Houston This Week: Wrestlers, John Legend, Rock Baby Rock It, etc.

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Photo by Jasmine Lee Richardson
DJ Sun
The Flat, July 21

On last year's One Hundred -- amazingly, his first-ever full-length release -- DJ Sun pours his 20-plus-year career as one of Houston's most in-demand DJs into a seamless work that never lulls, never lags and maintains an unshakably mellow groove throughout. Its intricately laid-back latticework should come as no surprise to anyone lucky enough to have met the man and easily made it one of 2013's standout Houston albums.

Among his multitude of weekly gigs, Sun's long-running "Rocksteady Mondays" residency at the Flat, where he is now managing partner, is probably the most chill environment to glimpse this true turntable craftsman at work. CHRIS GRAY

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The 10 Best Concerts in Houston This Weekend: Jay Z & Beyoncé, Invincible Czars, New Mercies

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Photo by Robin Harper
Jay Z & Beyonce
Minute Maid Park, July 18

So far one of the biggest blockbuster tours of 2014, with a top ticket price of $251 to match, has not been a disappointment in terms of drama. Jay Z's elevator brawl with sister-in-law Solange made a fitting prologue, and then came Beyonce's recent onstage insinuations of her husband/partner's possible infidelity via some new lyrics to her B'Day song "Resentment."

Or it could all just be an act, part of the couple's carefully constructed bad-girl/boy personas for this "On the Run" summer outing. At the very least, Minute Maid Park should make a fine venue (as stadiums go) to catch two of the millennium's biggest pop stars at the peak of their considerable powers, with the added benefit of the Houston media going absolutely haywire with Beyonce sightings anytime the Beyhive's queen is back in her hometown.

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The Rocks Off 200: Chase Harris, Deep Cuts' Rather Deep Thinker

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.

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Photo by Lauren Holshouser
Who? Props to Deep Cuts' Chase Harris. Not only does he have a pretty astute bead on what goes on around the Houston music scene (as far as we can tell), he's the first person we've asked to join the Rocks Off 100/200 to give us five Desert Island Discs we've never heard of. He's also solved the mystery of Cat Power's odd behavior at Free Press Summer Fest 2013 for us. Well played, sir.

Harris' right-hand man in in the two-year-old group (a current HPMA Best Pop Act nominee) is his best friend/co-founder/collaborator Zach Alderman, with whom he's been tight since the two were four years old. If their band name somehow isn't a clue, Harris says he's been into music since about that age as well.

"I've loved music since I was a kid," Harris says. "My parents said when I was little I would go nuts listening to CCR's 'Susie Q.'"


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UPDATED: Seven Years of Lunaface: The Illest Promoters in Town

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Photos by Marco Torres
Lunaface founder Hector Del Valle
UPDATED (Tuesday, 2 p.m.): An earlier version of this article credited Lunaface for bringing Wu-Tang clan to Numbers in December 2010, which is not the case.

For the better part of the last decade, Lunaface Promotions has provided Houston music fans with top-notch showcases that range from classic hip-hop, rock en Español, legendary DJs, musica Latina, hardcore rap, local talent, and even jazz.

Founder Hector Del Valle is constantly in search of the next great show, something he learned from his years an an understudy of Jeff Messina and passing out flyers all through his twenties.

Lunaface celebrates its 7-year anniversary tonight with The God MC Rakim at Numbers (300 Westheimer). Here's a look of some of their highlights from the last seven years.


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The Rocks Off 200: Dave Callier, Grindcore Guitar God

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.

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Photos by Stanislav Smrcak
Who? If you're at all interested in Texas' extreme-metal scene, you're going to run into Dave Callier at some point. A total sucker for unchecked speed and aggression, the guitarist serves as the front man for P.L.F., Houston's thrashiest international grindcore export.

The band just recently returned from a 32-date European tour promoting their new LP Ultimate Whirlwind of Incineration that took them from Barcelona to Moscow and every weird little hamlet in between. But one band could never be enough to contain all of Callier's hyperspeed riffs and mucous-burbling shrieks. He also fronts the speedy local death-metal standouts Oath of Cruelty and shreds brutally in the long-running blackened death outfit Morbosidad. If it's loud, fast and heavy, he's into it.


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