The Tontons

Holiday Hangover Hell Yeah
Dec 28 at 8
$12–27
Warehouse Live
813 Saint Emanuel St
713-225-5483
warehouselive.com

The “Holiday Hangover Hell Yeah” show at Warehouse Live Saturday night will showcase the diverse pop music coming out of Texas. The array of performers is impressively wide-ranging, and only $12. The night will include performances from a long list of great Houston bands: Los Skarnales, The Suffers, The Tontons, Featherface, Fat Tony, and Bagheera. Joining this already- stuffed bill are Austin’s Quiet Company and Wild Child and Dallas’s Ishi. Whether you’re into electronic dance music, garage rock, rap, ska, or indie pop, there’s something for everyone here. To hear all the artists featured in the show, check out this Soundcloud playlist assembled by Mark C. Austin

Los Skarnales

Los Skarnales (whose name translates roughly to “The Ska Brothers”) have a long history in Houston. The band formed in 1994 and have been playing surf rock–influenced Latin big-band music for almost 20 years. They’ve toured with well-known ska and reggae bands such as The Specials and Ozomatli. Their last album Dale Shine!was released in 2010 and explodes with brassy energy. The band’s eight members shout, blast, and beat their way through a wide range of music that includes ska, reggae, and rockabilly. They’ve been around for a while, but they won Best Latin Act from the Houston Press in 2012, evidence that they’ve continued to deliver the punk-infused excitement that has been their calling card for almost two decades. 

The Suffers

The Suffers are one of the most exciting new bands in Houston. Backed by an impressive raft of nine musicians including a full brass section and multiple percussionists, singer Kam Franklin owns the room. With every performance of driving, propulsive numbers like new single “Gwan” and slower songs like bring-down-the-house closer “Giver,” Franklin pleads, admonishes, screams, and flirts with a vulnerability that feels too honest to be an act. Don’t think she does all the work, though. Keyboardist Pat Kelly provides a relaxed vocal foil to Franklin’s histrionics, and a number of songs give the brass section ample opportunity to prove their mettle with solo passages both solemn and electric. They’ve kept busy over the last year, recording a debut EP this summer and playing gigs at almost every venue in town. 

Featherface

Featherface are a young quartet of big-haired psych-rockers with a knack for poppy melodies and dazzling guitar work. They have one full-length album, 2012’s Actual Magic, under their belts and released single Ourselves Togetherin October. It’s easy to get caught up in the intricate layers of noise in songs like “I Saw You Dancing,” which throbs with palpable jealousy. Their music is powerful but melodic, and I’ve found myself more than once singing along as much to the music as the lyrics.

Quiet Company

Austin’s Quiet Company proves that rock and roll doesn’t mean you can’t wear a tie. The last time they were in Houston was to headline the Yes, Indeed! Fest at Last Concert Café in September. They’re literate types, with song titles that go on longer than some of the songs, but these well-heeled indie-rockers back up their bookishness with a brass section and enough punch to get the crowd dancing. They’re Texan cousins to Fallout Boy, Dawes, and the kind of anthemic power-pop that packs a thesaurus but can still raise its voice.

Wild Child

Wild Child pair beautiful male/female vocal harmonies with the baroque instrumentation that’s popular in a post–Mumford & Sons world, ornamenting songs on their album The Run Around with ukulele, violin, banjo, and cello. Dynamic songs like “The Tale of You & Me” are built on an insistent fiddle and stomping rhythms. NPR named “Living Tree” one of the Top 10 Songs of 2012 for vocalist Kelsey Wilson’s jazzy, confident vocal performance and the music’s antiqued finish.

Fat Tony

Fat Tony is a young Houston rapper whose sophomore album Smart Ass Black Boy was released to national fanfare from outlets like XXL and Pitchfork earlier this year. It features production work from frequent collaborator Tom Cruz, and lead single “Hood Party” is a laid-back party anthem that includes a captivating turn from Kool A.D. of Das Racist and name-checks Houston “from River Oaks to the Cuney Homes.” Tony relocated to Brooklyn recently, and “BKNY” celebrates his new home with the same slow, comfortable rhythm. No matter where the party is, Fat Tony’s ready to make himself at home. He’ll be spinning a DJ set Saturday night, giving the audience a  look at one of Houston’s best-known exports.

Bagheera

The electronic end of the night will be held up by Houston’s own Bagheera, which produces chillwave dance music. Aidan Kennedy and David Elkin have only been performing as Bagheera since last year, but their mix of hiccupping syncopation and murky textures in songs like “Ray Gun” and “Thief” is hypnotizing. In their short time Bagheera have shared the stage with a number of national acts including M83, Big Gigantic, and Ghostland Observatory.

Ishi

Dallas electronic trio Ishi plumb adjacent sonic territory, bringing spacious beats that glow as bright as their neon glasses. The shimmering, mystical “Moon Watcher” creates a vibe that’s simultaneously invigorating and relaxing. Their stage presence is replete with the neon-accented Native American headdresses and face-paint that are common sights at many music festivals, although they make sure to point out that some members of the band are of Muskogee Creek Indian heritage. They’ve been winning awards in Dallas for a few years now, and have been touring the festival circuit behind this year’s excellent album Digital Wounds.

Rounding out the bill are the Tontons (pictured above) one of the best-loved acts in Houston. We can lay a lot of that at the feet of vocalist Asli Omar, whose detached sensuality anchors the garage-rock aggression of songs like the defiant you-can’t-break-me message of “Golden,” which is reminiscent of Canadian band Metric. You might recognize her voice (or her impressive afro) from the Houston Dynamo’s MLS season opener, where she sang the national anthem. The Tontons are as stripped-down as they come, but they rock hard, with just drums, bass, and electric guitar backing Omar’s slinky kiss-offs. They’ve toured hard over the last year, gathering national press and backing from Paste Magazine for their addictive power-pop single “Veida.”

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