Otherwise known as my best Saturday night this year. Anytime you combine social media people being social in person with great live music and throw in some photography, I’m gonna be a happy girl. So a big thanks to Mark and Amber for planning one heck of an event. I swear they are marketing geniuses. They found a way to get all of Houston to support them on their quest to win the Ford Fiesta Movement. As part of this campaign they are competeing against 20 other teams from other cities to win two Ford Fiestas. They have pledged one of the cars to a brand new local charity called Noah’s Kitchen that delivers meals to the homeless. And they are promoting Houston culture. Genius.
They won their first mission, creating a really incredible wall mural featuring 10 awesome Houston locations. So for their second mission they planned this Battle of the Bands at Warehouse Live Saturday night. They chose a panel of music experts to pick who got to play and then judge the battle as well, and there was a fan favorite band too. The event was FREE, with $10 VIP tickets available to get some extra perks like Saint Arnolds beer and some food. Best part was the VIP ticket money went entirely to Noah’s Kitchen. So of course I bought those for Mike and I. Good thing too, because we got to witness Noah in the VIP lounge strutting his stuff, challenging guys to dance offs and breaking like nobody’s business.
Lots of my Houston social media peeps were there, including J.R. Cohen who played MC for the entire event. Everybody loves him, and once I pulled out the camera, every girl wanted me to snap a photo with him. We hung out backstage for a bit and somebody shot this one for me. Mike was cool and enjoyed the music and beer and let me run off to shoot photos or chat with friends every now and then. The music was GOOD. I can’t emphasize that enough. The seven bands selected for the battle were very different genres of music, which made it super interesting. Since I’m a fan of almost all music regardless of genre, I liked it all.
Each group got to play four songs, and while not every group hit a homerun with every song, they all had at least one or two I enjoyed. Robert Ellis is very much a country western band, and their first couple songs hurt my ears, but their last two were excellent. I don’t dig the long haired scrubby cowboy look though. I like my cowboys cleancut. Wayside Drive started out strong, with some loud electronica reminiscent of Pink Floyd, but the chick bass player sounded awful and I gave up on them once she started singing. Then came Versecity and I totally loved their whole set. Their style of music, what I would classify as “punk pop”, is my guilty pleasure. Yes, they sound a bit generic, kind of like SR-71 or Good Charlotte, but it was GOOD anyway. Supposedly their cover of Ke$ha’s hit, Tik Tok, is getting serious radio airplay. It was fun, but I don’t quite get how a cover of a song that is STILL a big hit can also be such a big hit.
After that Tyagaraja took the stage. And I was totally blown away. I knew Mark was a big fan of his, and I had heard some of his acoustic solo stuff that sounded pretty trippy, but I had no idea how incredible he sounds with a full band. It was a great mix of rock, blues, and some Indian yogi vibe, but with a distinct edge unlike the music I actually practice yoga to. He had lots of musicians and instruments which lends to great texture, and they also included a beautiful, traditional dancer on stage. So I ended up voting for them, even though coming into the concert I had assumed I’d go for my previous favorite Houston band, The Tontons.
The Tontons played after Tyagaraja, with lead singer Asli Omar needing to be summoned from the bar to the stage by her bandmates. Awkward. And while I enjoy their sound a lot, I got the distinct impression that they didn’t care that much about the performance…like they’d been there a thousand times before. That’s never a good thing. Then fan favorite Black Queen Speaks took the stage. They were voted into the competition by their fans and it was obvious nobody I knew had really heard of them before. J.R. introduced them as a cross between Jane’s Addiction and Soundgarden…which immediately had Mike and I rolling our eyes at each other. That’s some balls comparing yourselves to bands like that. So to say I had low expectations would be an understatement. But to say that they far surpassed those expectations would be absolutely true. They were really good. Maybe not Jane’s Addiction good, but definitely good.