After moving back from California early this year, I have to say I was worried that my seeing-live-shows stock was going to drop considerably. Living in Los Angeles, I was able to find great shows to check out every single night and I wasn’t sure I’d still get that luxury living here again. Well Houston, you completely outdid yourself in 2012. This past year has given music fans much to be thankful for including great local bands, major national acts that normally would have skipped over our great town, and a once-flailing music venue brought back to life. Local acts such as Black Congress, Robert Ellis, and Limb have rejuvenated the music scene in Houston over the past year, and we’ve had some killer shows that will stay with me for a long time. From the best comedian in the world right now, Louis CK to Andrew WK bringing his tour party to the city to Converge completely obliterating Fitzgerald’s. I am seriously impressed. To top it all off, our city is now host to one of the biggest music festivals in the United States - something every person in Houston should be extremely proud to boast. Collectively, we have put this city back on the map as far as music is concerned. The locals here are absolutely killing it. This year alone, we’ve seen great albums released from across the musicalspectrum – from Venomous Maximus to A Sea Es – two of my favorite albums that have come out recently. And Houston isn’t done yet. With the end of the world looming, we’re going out with a bang thanks to a handful of shows we have coming to round out the New Year – the best local rock band in Houston, a country legend, and the new face of hip-hop. On to the shows.
American Fangs – December 14 @ Fitzgerald’s
American Fangs are releasing their long awaited and consistently delayed album in early 2013. After seeing them live this past month, I think it’s appropriate to crown them the most precise band in Houston right now. It’s obvious these dudes mean business. The set is seamless. Frontman Gabe Cavazos is the whole package. A stage presence that is unmatched by anyone in Houston, insightful and intelligent lyrics combined with hooks that stay stuck in your head for days, and let’s be honest, the guy’s got the looks to go with it. He’s probably slept with your girlfriend at some point. In a time where radio rock is stale, Fangs bring something new to the table, the edge that has been missing since the early 90s. They have written the most radio friendly rock record that will never be played on the radio, and that’s not a bad thing. Every one of the members has been a part of the Houston music scene for well over a decade, playing in some of the best rock bands to ever come out of this city. If there is one local band that’s a must see in Houston, it’s this one. Transexuals welcome. Get the hell on.
Dwight Yoakam – December 21 @ Arena Theatre
I know this one seems out of place, but seriously, who doesn’t know the words to “Guitars & Cadillacs”? I have always thought Yoakam is the country artist for people who say “I like everything except country.” He’s the hillbilly for hipsters. Plus, remember when he played that asshole boyfriend in Sling Blade? Awesome. When you see that signature strut and dance he does while performing, it’s hard not to quiver with excitement. He has always stood out among other country artists and has remained relevant and releasing albums for almost three decades now. He is a real honky tonk man – even Johnny Cash called him his favorite country singer. Yoakam makes country music sexy, which isn’t an easy thing to do. If your girlfriend doesn’t want to sleep with you after this show, I think it’s time to question your relationship.
Kendrick Lamar – December 29 @ Warehouse Live
Kendrick Lamar has released the best hip hop album of 2012, by far. With a new sound, fresh lyrics, and a new attitude, he’s what I’d like to call a game changer. He is on a path to do what Outkast did over 15 years ago with ATLiens. At the moment, Lamar is probably the most sought after and looked up to rapper in the hip hop music world. With help from producer titans like Dr. Dre and Jay Rock, he has upped the ante and proved that he deserves the number one spot of every person’s list for top MCs. This show was supposed to take place in October, but was rescheduled for the end of the year because Lamar has promised something special for Houston. One can only guess what that means, but if this guy’s past is any indication, I’m sure it won’t disappoint. All hail the new hip hop king.