The 35 Best Houston Concerts Left in 2014

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Metal Blade Records
King Diamond
House of Blues, November 5

Go ahead and start comparing prices on quality earplugs, because King Diamond, the top-hatted, face-painted ghoul with the cochlea-shattering falsetto, is returning to Houston at long last in November. The Danish metal icon isn't skimping on the production values this time around, either: The King has promised to bring his full European festival stage set to our shores in order to deliver the biggest, most ambitious North American production in the singer's long career.

A coterie of sadistic doctors and corrupted ministers will probably be running around willy-nilly on stage amidst all the pentagrams and inverted crosses, but KingDiamond's deathless shriek ought to ensure that no one gets confused as to who the star of the production really is (Satan, duh). NATHAN SMITH

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The 10 Best Concerts in Houston This Weekend: Discoween, Hogleg, Bleachers, Lemonheads, etc.

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Photo by Jay Lee
Disco Expressions
Discoween
Continental Club, October 31

Halloween falls on a Friday this year, and I have the perfect costume: I'm going as Sia, so look for me wearing a platinum-blonde wig and standing in a corner with my back to everyone at the Continental Club, where Disco Expressions and the Allen Oldies Band are performing. They'll time-trip us back to the 1950s, '60s and '70s with covers of both the hits and long-forgotten songs from those decades.

Both bands feature some excellent Houston musicians, so I probably won't be standing in the corner for long -- I'll be on the dance floor shaking it with Elsa and Anna from Frozen and all those Orange Is the New Black prisoners celebrating girls' night out. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.

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The Five Best Concerts in Houston This Week: Finch, Jay Farrar, Arctic Monkeys, etc.

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Photo by Cory Garcia
Finch
Warehouse Live, October 28

From Cory Garcia's review of Finch's October 2013 concert at Warehouse Live, when they played 2002's What It Is to Burn in its entirety:

To their credit, the band was in good form. They perform like a band that hasn't played the exact same show dozens of times, one that seems happy to be playing the songs and not burdened by them. That excitement wasn't just limited to the stage; more than just the standard "front man gets on the barrier to get close to the crowd" move. At one point guitarist Randy Strohmeyer ended up in the mosh pit with the fans, rocking out alongside them.

With Maps & Atlases, Wounds and Helen Earth.

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The 10 Best Concerts in Houston This Weekend: PUJOL, Wade Bowen, Mike Doughty, etc.

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Photo by Jaime Goodsell/Grandstand Media & Management
PUJOL
Walters Downtown, October 24

Few feelings can match the exuberance of playing rock and roll in your early twenties. It's a potent combination of arrogance, recklessness and a hint of vulnerability that, done right, taps into the grand tradition of the Stones, the Clash, the Replacements, the Strokes and the Arctic Monkeys. In 2014, the hellion known as PUJOL positively reeks of it.

The Nashville-based auteur is one of the hottest indie acts going right now thanks to Reunited States of Being, his 2012 album reissued for last month's Cassette Store Day, and KLUDGE, the new Saddle Creek LP that embeds the sarcastic smarts of a typical late-night IFC/Comedy Central sketch series into an album's worth of lo-fi bedroom-pop nuggets. Fun stuff. With Screaming Females and Spare Bones. CHRIS GRAY

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Jim Lauderdale Is Way Past Where the Sidewalk Ends

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Photo by Jay Blakesberg Photography
Buddy Miller (l) and Jim Lauderdale (r) will produce the next Ralph Stanley (c) album.
One of the most respected songwriters in the suddenly-chic genre called Americana had been chasing the dream of a recording deal ten years when he finally found success through the backdoor to Nashville at age 35.

Jim Lauderdale, 57, who visits Dosey Doe's satellite Music Cafe in Conroe Friday night, struggled for a decade in New York -- even working as a messenger for Rolling Stone magazine -- and Los Angeles before finally hitting the big time in 1992 when two of his songs, "King of Broken Hearts" and "Where the Sidewalk Ends"" from his first album Planet of Love, were selected by Tony Brown and George Strait for the soundtrack of Strait's movie, Pure Country.


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These Bands Know Mental Health Is Serious Business

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The Walk for Mental Health Awareness Houston is a nonprofit organization that hosts events to, as the name implies, raise awareness for mental-health issues in the Houston area.

This is an issue that is close to my heart, so I'm happy to report that The Walk will be hosting a benefit show called Rockin' For a Cause tomorrow night at Fitzgerald's featuring Mellow Riot, Cassette Tape, Soul Creatures, Handsomebeast and the Trimms.


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The Five Best Concerts in Houston This Week: Watsky, Heart, Jason Aldean, B.o.B., etc.

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Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr
Watsky
House of Blues, October 21

Last year, the most badass statistical analyst you've ever heard of, Matt Daniels, released something called the Hip-Hop Flow Chart, which ranked several popular rap acts by vocabulary size. I pored over the results like a rap geek and wondered how could Daniels have missed this prolific word-monster. This year, Daniels' version 2.0 of the chart rightfully included San Francisco-based Watsky, and counted 5,651 unique words among the first 35,000 he rapped.

That slotted him alongside some of the very best, names like Aesop Rock (still reigning champ), Sage Francis, Immortal Technique and The Roots. Watsky's new album, All You Can Do, which features more smart and empowering raps from the San Franciscan, who always seems genuinely grateful to be able to do what he does. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.

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Ray Johnston Now a Baller With a Guitar

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Being a baller was his ultimate dream, but sometimes what you want isn't always what you get.

That's the case for former Dallas Mavericks player turned Texas musician Ray Johnston. His current album is called No Bad Days, and that's also his life's anthem.

"Thinking about the theme of the album No Bad Days, to me is the strongest song I've ever been a part of writing and I think it summed up my last ten years as far as getting a shitty diagnosis -- sorry, crappy diagnosis -- and doing my best to turn a lot of frowns upside down," says Johnston. "It was really dark for a while, man. Having leukemia five times in 12 years, there's a lot of pissed-off moments, but my parents wouldn't let me sulk."

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The 10 Best Concerts in Houston This Weekend: Skatestock III, Grindfest 2014, Brand New, etc.

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Photo by Anna O'Connor/Plowboy Records
Cheetah Chrome
Fitzgerald's, October 17

Alongside fellow contenders like Johnny Ramone, Cheetah Chrome became one of the titanic guitarists of CBGB-era American punk. His origins, though, erupted a few years earlier in down-and-out Cleveland, where he helped propel two groundbreaking units there: Rocket from the Tombs and the Dead Boys, who together fomented a warped sonic renaissance with tunes like "Sonic Reducer."

As his new memoir A Dead Boy's Tale: From The Front Lines of Punk Rock recounts, street smarts are a crucial part of Chrome's DNA. Hence, his swaggering new album, Solo (incredibly, his first-ever full-length solo outing), evokes a gritty spirit of survival without hauling along tons of sentimentality. With the Drunks, the Guillotines and Born Liars; see our interview from Thursday. DAVID ENSMINGER

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CBGB Survivor Cheetah Chrome's Creed: "Honesty and Quality"

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Photo by Anna O'Connor/Plowboy Records
Alongside fellow contenders like Johnny Ramone, Cheetah Chrome became one of the titanic, blistering guitarists launching the first wave of CBGB-era punk into the stratosphere of American culture. Yet his origins erupted a few years earlier in down-and-out Cleveland. As an authentic, no-bullshit rock and roll soldier, he helped propel two groundbreaking units there: Rocket from the Tombs, with David Thomas of Pere Ubu, and the Dead Boys, with his mate Stiv Bators. Together, these bands fomented a warped sonic renaissance and soon rendezvoused with history.

Since leading the attack with tunes like the Dead Boys' "Sonic Reducer," Chrome has taken a slightly crooked path by working with a variety of equally laudable figures, such as Ronnie Spector, Nico, Jeff Dahl and more recently New York Dolls alum Sylvain Sylvain, his partner in the Batusis. As his memoir A Dead Boy's Tale: From The Front Lines of Punk Rock recounts, street smarts are a crucial part of his DNA; hence, his new album, the swaggering Solo (incredibly, Chrome's first full-length solo outing), evokes a gritty spirit of survival without hauling along tons of sentimentality.

Rocks Off's David Ensminger reached Chrome on the road before his gig Friday at Fitzgerald's with Houston's Born Liars, the Guillotines and the Drunks.


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