Houston's 10 Best Metal Bars and Clubs

Cecil's cranks on more than just the cheap drinks.
This West Gray institution is best known for its cheap drinks on Mondays and gigantic, covered patio, but its darkened, Bohemian charm and bitchin' jukebox have long made it a favorite among Montrose metalheads. Expect to hear a healthy dose of the heavy stuff inside, especially on weekends, when the old-school juke is pumping out everything from Iron Maiden to the Deftones. Keep an eye peeled for fresh gig flyers, and don't be afraid to strike up a conversation with a few of the longhairs puffing away outside.

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What Is to Be Done About Children of Pop?

Children of Pop has been lighting up the Houston music scene over the past year, hustling the way that dedicated musicians should. Following an album release, Chase DeMaster's musical alter ego has played countless headlining and supporting slots, sometimes even DJing or hosting a troupe of local acts. And though we've come to know him fairly well by now, perhaps, he's already shown that the unexpected is what he does best.

Rocks Off caught up with Children of Pop to discuss his upcoming 7" release, "Pre Madonna," which will get an official release party this Saturday at Fitzgerald's.

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The 10 Best Concerts in Houston This Weekend: From Indian Lakes, Bubble Puppy, etc.

SorokaIntern via Wikimedia Commons
From Indian Lakes: show up early and sing.
From Indian Lakes
House of Blues, November 21

With all apologies to Relient K and Blondfire, can we take a moment to talk about great the new From Indian Lakes record is? Absent Sounds is one of the best records to come out this year, and "Sleeping Limbs" is one of the best songs that no one is talking about. Yeah, they're indie-rock, and yeah, their singer does kinda sound like the dude from Death Cab, but give it a listen; these songs will worm their way in to your ears and make a permanent home. Then we can all show up early and sing. It'll be fun. With Relient K and Blondefire. CORY GARCIA

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Rodeo Outlines New AXS-Based Ticketing System

Officials from the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo and ticketing company AXS explained their new ticketing system to members of the media Thursday morning, saying they hope it will prevent the demand-induced server crashes of recent years as well as help ward off scalpers and ticket brokers.

The change, which also severs the rodeo's longtime relationship with Ticketmaster, will be in effect by next year's event, scheduled for March 3-22 at NRG Park. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, January 17.

The new system will be available through AXS.com and the AXS smartphone app. As explained by AXS Vice President of Operations Curt Logan, the software creates a "virtual waiting room," a way station where ticketbuyers can monitor the availability of the performances they want to attend in real-time.

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Let's Meet Our Houston Press Artopia 2015 Bands

Vintage New York City Queens: the local indie-pop band, shown in 2011, recently announced new album Glass Houses is on the way.
Rocks Off is excited to announce the musical lineup of Houston Press Artopia 2015, the quickest way to warm up your winter with an evening of the city's top visual and performance artists, fashion designers, purveyors of victuals and of course musicians. It all goes down 8 p.m. Saturday, January 24 at Winter Street Studios, 2101 Winter St.

The Artopia presale is available right now and runs through 10 a.m. this Friday, November 21; go to this link and enter the promo code ROCKSOFF. Tickets go on sale to the general public Friday at noon. (Prices start at $45 but consider the luxe VIP package, where you'll be swimming in swag.)

Now, let's meet our bands.

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The Five Best Concerts in Houston This Week: Willie Nelson, Chrissie Hynde, etc.

Method Man & Redman
House of Blues, November 17

Although there are many to choose from, one of the best hip-hop duos of the past 20 years is the paring of Method Man and Redman. Between two successful albums and their cult-favorite movie How High, Meth and Red have proven quite possibly the most successful of the bunch outside of maybe Outkast. It's a rare treat to see them live, this being the first chance Houston will have in quite some time. JIM BRICKER

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Do One Kind Favor for Little Joe Washington

Photo courtesy of Ray Redding/TexasRedd
Little Joe Washington tears it up at the 2008 Houston International Festival.
I'm sad and grateful with tears for Marion Washington, better known by his nickname "Little Joe." I am grieving more deeply than I would have guessed for what was obviously inevitable, given his 75 years and his frail and failing health in recent months.

If you want to understand where this talented musician was coming from -- sonically and otherwise -- listen to some early Johnny "Guitar" Watson, another late Third Ward phenom. Check out that guitar tone, the raspy vocals.

Our Little Joe was original and unique; yes, he was, but he -- just like his mentor Joe "Guitar" Hughes -- was profoundly influenced by Watson. Little Joe was the last link in that lineage, the final articulation of a combination of sounds we will not hear again live on local (or other) stages.

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Houston's 10 Best Bars to Watch the Texans

Categories: Only In Houston

Try the beer pong.
If there's a bar I wish the Texans could be just a little more like, it's Bourbon Street Sports Bar in Katy. It's kind of reckless and maybe a little dangerous. It can be sexy, but in that sort of scary way some people like. If you walk in thinking you have its playbook figured out, you'll find yourself sprawled on the ground like Kareem Jackson getting toasted by T.Y. Hilton.

The most dubious of the bar's activities is its beer-pong setup. An entire table is dedicated to this tailgate staple, which must be driving some insurance company's liability department nuts. You may have been your frat's champ once, but these regulars will bounce your ass into a red solo cup quicker than you can say Omega Delta Phi. Add in at least a dozen TVs of various sizes, a spacious room, poker tables, slot machines, and a full bar serving a rowdy bunch and it's quite a Sunday afternoon. 803 S. Mason Rd. (Katy), Facebook page

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The 10 Best Concerts in Houston This Weekend: Real Friends, Black Keys, Sturgill Simpson, etc.

Photo courtesy of Fearless Records
Let's have a singalong: Real Friends
Real Friends, Neck Deep
Scout Bar, November 14

Had they existed in the early '00s, it's likely a lot of people in their late twenties or early thirties would have Real Friends lyrics tattooed on their body. The Chicago group's new album, Maybe This Place Is the Same and We're Just Changing, is full of quotables that tug at the heartstrings and is basically a perfect pop-punk record -- sad, but not necessarily pessimistic, full of songs that are begging to be screamed out loud in concert.

Add to that Neck Deep and the perfection that is "Silver Lining," and you've got a night that's going to be all sorts of emotional. With Cruel Hand. Note: this show has been moved from Walters Downtown. CORY GARCIA

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Houston Remembers Little Joe Washington

Photo by Marco Torres
Little Joe Washington made the rounds...he even stopped by our place once in a while.
Whenever someone important like Little Joe Washington dies, an easy way to gauge just how much impact they had on their community is to see what people were saying about them right before they passed. Enter social media.

In Washington's case, it was a site called Funky Blues Radio, an Internet station that uses its Twitter feed as a log to track songs played, and apparently went on a bit of a Little Joe kick Tuesday. After he passed, people far and wide paid their respects -- but not surprisingly, an overwhelming amount of them were musicians.

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