+ Saturday, 2/8/20 @ 3:00pm
+ Tuesday, 2/11/20 @ 6:00pm
Photo Meet & Greet with Prince Royce [Wristband Event]
+ Saturday, 2/15/20 @ 11:00am
+ Saturday, 2/22/20 @ 1:00pm
+ Saturday, 2/29/20 @ 3:00pm
+ Saturday, 3/14/20 @ 3:00pm
+ Monday, 3/16/20 @ 5:30pm
+ Wednesday, 3/18/20 @ 5:30pm
+ Sunday, 3/22/20 @ 3:00pm
+ Tuesday, 3/24/20 @ 5:30pm
The Skatastrophics are an amalgamation of two Houston ska/punk bands, Always Guilty and Fuska, formed in 2014 when members of both bands wanted to start playing ska and reggae, in more of a traditional form.
We’re dreamy rockers (alternative – shoegaze) from Houston, TX.
There is deep soul in the music of Devon Gilfillian—but for the talented Nashville-based singer-songwriter and bandleader, that descriptor goes way beyond a mere genre classification.
Growing up in Philadelphia on a steady diet of R&B, hip-hop, rock, blues, and soul music, Gilfillian gravitated to records that ignited his mind while making his body move. For him, listening to the towering icons of his musician father’s era—Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, The Temptations—was just as formative and exciting as discovering the new sounds of his own generation, and the beats and rhymes made by rising rap stars like Wu-Tang Clan, Kanye West, Notorious B.I.G., and Jay-Z inspired him in new ways. He began to recognize a connective thread in the sounds he loved best: from the golden throwbacks sampled by the hip-hop beat makers to the raw, emotional vocal deliveries of the Motown greats, for Gilfillian the key ingredient seemed to be the “soul”—not simply the genre, but the feeling and vibe.
Following his electrifying 2016 debut EP with upbeat singles like “High” and “Troublemaker” in 2018, Gilfillian signed to Capitol Records and hit the road––performing with the likes of Anderson East, Keith Urban, Gladys Knight, Kaleo, The Fray, Mavis Staples, and more. In early 2019, Gilfillian traveled to Africa to find healing and inspiration before headlining a tour in Scandinavia and opening for Brothers Osborne on their spring tour. His debut album, “Black Hole Rainbow,” is available now.
Rachel Ammons Music is half of the beloved “psychedelta” duo Tyrannosaurus Chicken and toured the past few years with the internationally in-demand Ben Miller Band, which mixes folk, blues, bluegrass, country and other odds and ends to make what the band calls “Mudstomp.” Ammons sings and plays violin, cello, guitar and electric cactus. “Smilin’ ” Bob Lewis, her godfather and Tyrannosaurus Chicken bandmate, was the luthier who kept a shop in the back of Musicians Exchange in Van Buren. Ammons apprenticed under him for years, and the electric cactus was her doing.
“I was messing with a cactus at a friend’s house and noticed that the different spines made different tones. Not only that but some of the intervals were actually on a musical scale,” she explained. “I started with some combinations of 3 or 4 notes, almost arpeggios that sounded kinda classical. It blew me away. The connection makes sense, though, if you look at the link between math, biology and music.” She put a pickup on the cactus and likes to run it through effects pedals. She thinks it sounds just like a “kalimba mixed with a guitar.”
“Born of the gutters and raised by acid, the three that are Thyroids have been digesting the urban leftovers that is Garland, Tx since 2015. Post apple-pipe smoke sesh, ground work began for the fizzy and blown-out 5 song EP Gnarlands, an homage to their gnarly proving grounds. Soon after, word of this cultural psuedo-phenomenon reached the upper echelons of the Dream Life Record Syndicate, who extended a generous and welcoming hand to the band.
Having simmered in a broth of Southern Hospitality, self-loathing and chicken bones, Thyroids were ready to be plated and shoved through the expo window of the rest of the U.S. The 2016 Heat Tour included a stint of Midwest and East Coast presentations that invoked the good, the bad, and the hideous.
Upon their return, ensuing bouts of heart-breaking, street-sleeping, and job-working left Thyroids beaten and battered. Not to mention the war waged on the good folk of the surface by the horrid subterranean reptilian-people on the 20th of January at 11am Central Standard Time. Who could forget? And furthermore, who could focus on a lively music career? But as anyone must at least try to, they rebuilt and reinvigorated. Shows were played, eyebrows were raised, and Dallas based BarfWave Records reached out to the group to begin the production of Compact Discs.
On gear borrowed from their newfound label mates, Thyroids returned to their self-produced roots with the inception of what would become Gelatinous Happiness; a 13 minute and 41 second blazer designed with only their own listening pleasure in mind. And now, a year after its deliverance, the salad trio have set out to bring you the good word contained within. Hail Shrek! Wash Your Brain.”
Don’t bother asking The Mastersons where they’re from. Brooklyn, Austin, Los Angeles, Terlingua; they’ve called each home in just the last few years alone. If you really want to get to know this husband-and-wife duo, the better question to ask is where they’re going. Perhaps more than any other band playing today, The Mastersons live on the road, perpetually in motion and always creating. Movement is their muse. On tour, in the unpredictable adventures and characters they cross, in the endless blur of skylines and rest stops and dressing rooms and hotels, that’s where they find their greatest inspiration, where they hone their art, and where they crafted their brilliant new album, Transient Lullaby.
“When you travel like we do, if your antenna is up, there’s always something going on around you,” reflects guitarist/singer Chris Masterson. “Ideas can be found everywhere. The hardest thing to find is time.”
For the last seven years, The Mastersons have kept up a supremely inexorable touring schedule, performing as both the openers for Steve Earle and as members of his band, The Dukes, in addition to playing their own relentless slate of headline shows and festivals. It was Earle, in fact, who pushed the duo to record their acclaimed debut, Birds Fly South, in the first place.
“Before we hit the road with him in 2010, Steve said, ‘You’d better have a record ready because I’m going to feature you guys during the show,'” remembers fiddler/tenor guitarist/singer Eleanor Whitmore. “We didn’t even have a band name at the time. We were going through all these ideas and Steve suggested, ‘Why don’t you just be The Mastersons, and that was that.”
Upon its release in 2012, Birds Fly South was a breakout critical hit on both sides of the pond, with Uncut awarding the album 9/10 stars and Esquire dubbing The Mastersons one of the “Bands You Need To Know Right Now”. Two years later, they followed it up with Good Luck Charm, premiered by the NY Times and praised by Mother Jones for its “big-hearted lyrics, tight song structures, and sweetly intertwined harmonies.” Pop Matters ranked it “among the top Americana releases of 2014,” while American Songwriter called it “a perfect soundtrack for a summer of warm nights and hot, lazy days,” and the Austin Chronicle praised the band’s “spunky wit and rare measure of emotional maturity.” The album earned The Mastersons slots on NPR’s Mountain Stage and at festivals around the world, from San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass to Australia’s Byron Bay Bluesfest.
With endless touring came new levels of comfort and confidence, and when it was time to record Transient Lullaby, The Mastersons knew they wanted to take a different approach than their first two releases. The band set up shop at Arlyn Studios in Austin, TX, where Chris shared production duties with longtime friend and collaborator George Reiff (Ray Wylie Hubbard, Band of Heathens). Together, they chased a sound that was subtler and more evocative, deeper and more contemplative.
“A lot of what we listen to when we have some rare time off is what we consider late night music,” explains Chris, who previously played guitar with Son Volt and Jack Ingram among others. “The last record was bright and jangly and we wanted this one to be vibey and dark. A lot of the stuff is very performance-based and not at all fussed with. We’ve grown so much more comfortable in our skin that we really weren’t trying to sound like anyone other than ourselves this time around.”
“We’ve had a lot of time and a lot of miles to refine our sound and our style of singing,” adds Eleanor, whose resume includes work with Regina Spektor and Angus & Julia Stone. “I think the depth of our songwriting has really grown, too. Part of the time we’re writing on a tour bus with Steve Earle, and the bar for poetry is pretty high when you’re within earshot of one of the greatest songwriters alive.”
Rich with Eleanor’s stirring string arrangements and Chris’s masterful guitar work, the songs on Transient Lullaby more than live up to the challenge. The album opens with “Perfect,” a loping duet written partially in Washington, DC, and partially in Newcastle, England, that paints a portrait of two broken lovers who still manage to find a strange optimism in this challenging world. Spare and affecting, the song puts the spotlight on the duo’s intoxicating vocal harmonies and makes for an ideal entry point into an album full of characters facing down difficulty and darkness with all the grit and humility they can muster. “Fight,” written in a downtown Cleveland hotel, is a wry wink at the battlefield of marriage (“I don’t wanna fight with anyone else but you”), while the fingerpicked “Highway 1” twists and turns on a California road trip through an emotional breakup.
“Life’s not easy,” reflects Chris. “It’s hard for everybody, and I don’t see it getting any easier. All you can hope for yourself is grace when walking through it, and someone to prop you up when you need a little help.”
Though it’s a deeply personal album, Transient Lullaby is not without its political moments. The Mastersons found themselves on tour in Lexington, KY, during the height of Kim Davis’ obstinate stand against the Supreme Court’s same sex marriage decision, and so they penned the infectious “You Could Be Wrong” in a dressing room before taking the stage with “Love Wins” draped across their guitars. “This Isn’t How It Was Supposed To Go”—a cosmic country duet written in Cologne, Germany—has taken on new layers of political meaning in 2017, while “Don’t Tell Me To Smile” is a tongue-in-cheek feminist anthem, and the gorgeous, slow-burning “Fire Escape”—which came to life in a hockey rink locker room in Alberta, Canada—suggests that the only solution to a polarized world of fear and distrust is to find strength and guidance in our loved ones.
“As we look at the world political landscape, global warming, a refugee crisis and the uncertain times we’re all living in, rather than lose hope, we look to each other,” Chris says. “It’s a little brighter than Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, but not much.”
Ultimately, the road is at the core of everything The Mastersons do. “Happy When I’m Movin'” reflects their constant need for forward momentum, both physically and emotionally, and the title track paints the pair as “pilgrims of the interstate” on an endless voyage. “No I don’t unpack my bag / Traveling from town to town,” they sing in beautiful harmony. “Set ’em up and knock ’em down / Where there’s work and songs to sing / You’ll know the place where I’ll be found / If you don’t want to be alone / Then come along.”
For The Mastersons, all that matters is where they’re headed, and the songs they’ll write when they get there.
“Recording in a foreign environment like Berlin, I was inspired to experiment with more cinematic, psychedelic sounds,” says Sam Doores, “but I also wanted to combine that with my love for old school New Orleans R&B and folk music. Recording this album was an opportunity to explore the space between those worlds.”
Written on-and-off over the course of several years, Doores’ captivating self-titled debut is classic and contemporary all at once, blending traditional southern roots with adventurous sonic landscapes as it reckons with heartache and loss, love and gratitude, fresh starts and, ultimately, a whole lotta change. Doores’ timeless ear for songcraft and easygoing delivery combine here to yield a sound that feels instantly familiar, full of comfort and warmth even as it breaks bold new ground. The performances are infectious in their ease, simple on the surface but built on foundations of deep emotional and harmonic complexity that belie their amiable exteriors. It’s a dynamic that Doores is quick to credit to producer Anders ‘Ormen’ Christopherson, whose chance email sparked the entire project.
“Before Hurray for the Riff Raff or The Deslondes took shape, I was in a band called Sundown Songs alongside Kiki Cavazos, Alynda Segarra, Pat Reedy, Jessie Camerdiener, and Ross Hartman,” says Doores, who’s called New Orleans home since 2006. “Anders found our music a few years later and sent me an email saying he was opening a studio in Berlin, and if I ever came through, he’d love to record together.”
As chance would have it, Doores was just about to head to Europe at the time with The Deslondes. Hailed as “burgeoning stars” by The New York Times, the band came together as Doores was transitioning out of Hurray for the Riff Raff, and their singular sound mixed the gritty folk and country of old Alan Lomax field recordings with the electrified soul of early Stax and Sun Records. The group’s 2014 self-titled debut was a breakout hit, praised by NPR as “energized, elegant and new,” and their 2017 follow-up, ‘Hurry Home,’ earned similar acclaim, with Rolling Stone calling it “a gritty, grimy mix of early rock ‘n’ roll and lo-fi R&B.”
“I booked myself an extra week in Berlin at the end of that Deslondes tour so I could meet Anders and check out the studio,” says Doores. “They had just finished it when I got there, which meant I was the very first session. We only did a few songs to start with, but they all felt great, so over the next few years, every time I came back through Europe on tour, I’d visit Anders and we’d record some more.”
For a prolific writer like Doores, Christopherson and his studio were a godsend. At first, he used the recording time to capture songs that didn’t quite fit The Deslondes’ vibe, but when a long-term creative and romantic relationship came to a poignant end, Doores found himself penning an avalanche of personal material that only felt right to record under his own name.
“Writing those songs was my way of moving past it all and embracing the changes happening in my life,” says Doores. “That relationship ended, and then later The Deslondes decided to go on sabbatical. Those big endings were painful, but I knew that no matter how hard it was, the experience would be a positive one in the end.”
Working in Berlin, Doores found himself collaborating with an inspiring cast of characters from all over the world. There was Christopherson, the Danish-born producer; Micah Blaichman, an American guitarist who helped Anders build his studio and ended up co-producing the project; Andres Barlesi, a gifted Argentinean bassist; Carlos Santana (no, not that one), a Spanish keyboard and horn wizard; and Manon Parent, a violinist and string arranger hailing from France.
“Anders’ vision for the studio was to create a space for artists who couldn’t afford formal recording sessions,” explains Doores, “so he only works on projects he really cares about, and that’s attracted a community of musicians who share those same values. Together, they make up this wild international ‘Wrecking Crew’ of sorts.”
Most of the songs on the album began as bare-bones performance by the core band, usually featuring Doores on drums. After capturing the basic tracks on a reel-to-reel tape machine, Doores would move on to vocals next, and from there, he and Christopherson would flesh out the arrangements with a rich palette of colors and textures: sweeping strings, vintage organs, marimbas, ethereal vibraphones, and even an autoharp run through a tremolo amplifier. Once sessions in Berlin had wrapped, Doores brought the songs back to the States for stops in Nashville, where he worked with longtime friend and creative foil Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Benjamin Booker, Phosphorescent), and New Orleans, where he enlisted a slew of friends, neighbors, and bandmates to put their distinctive touches on the recordings.
At times calling to mind everything from Leonard Cohen to Tom Waits, the finished collection shifts effortlessly from brooding noir to joyful celebration. The dreamy “Let It Roll” takes life as it comes, while the tender “Had a Dream” makes peace with letting go, and the soulful “This Ain’t a Sad Song” finds light in the darkness. Heartache is never far from humor in Doores’ writing: he teams up with New Orleans mainstays Tuba Skinny to toast an ex on the swaggering “Wish You Well,” and he alternates verses with his old bandmate Alynda Lee Segarra on the playful “Other Side of Town,” which mixes New Orleans R&B with doo-wop gang vocals in a psychedelic blender.
“I came up with that song during carnival season,” says Doores. “I wanted to write something fun and groovy to cheer my sad, sorry ass up while the world was partying all around me.”
While much of the album works to make sense of hard times (the eerie “Solid Road,” for instance, meditates on bad luck, and the ethereal “Red Leaf Rag” grapples with violence), the collection ultimately emerges stronger and more self-assured for the journey. The slow-burning “Push On” is an ode to community and resilience in the face of adversity, while the stripped-down “Windmills” reflects on fatherhood, alcoholism, and self-worth, and surreal album closer “Nothing Like A Suburb,” originally written for Doores’ sister’s wedding, celebrates the decision to love and commit.
“In the beginning, I thought this project was just going to be a fun way to record some songs that didn’t have a home,” Doores reflects, “but in the end, it became a really important creative outlet for me during a turbulent time in my life.”
The result is an album written as much for himself as for his audience. It’s the sound of heartbreak, of self-discovery, of rebirth. It’s the sound of Sam Doores.
A taste of the tropics mixed with psychedelia
Psych rockers Cosmic Chaos have been a prominent fixture on show rosters around Austin recently. Those lucky enough have seen them live understand the intense energy they bring to the stage. The band is steeped in the local music scene, hosting a series of regularly-scheduled showcases themed The Acid Test. In addition to their live music efforts, Cosmic Chaos has been busy recording their first full-length album, Eye Can See which will see its release February 5 on Secret Soup Records.
The best singers draw from experience. And that’s true for young as well as well-seasoned artists.
Though still in their mid-teens, sisters Kelli and Kayla Iutzwig, a.k.a. Wild Fire, prove this point at show after show, in song after song. Their self-titled, debut EP Wild Fire confirms that their future is bright. Their sophomore EP Been There., released in April, 2019, confirms that this future is now, with a soundtrack that’s infectious, fun and impossible to resist.
More than that, they are already conveying their stories through music in ways that inspire with audiences their age and beyond. Singly and in harmony, they channel the optimism of youth, sprinkle in the spice of early insight into life’s lessons, super-charge it with a jolt of pop and the sass of country.
No wonder Linda Wilson, President of the Texas Country Music Association, describes them as “one of the best up-and-coming young artist duos out there.” And following their live appearance on “Great Day Houston” in March 2019, KHOU-TV proclaimed, “Wild Fire are setting the music world ablaze.”
This fire was kindled in Houston, where their parents spotted Kelli’s and Kayla’s talent when they were barely old enough to sing along to Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Sam Hunt, FGL and other radio favorites. When each girl was 6 years old she began studying with celebrated vocal coach Pamela Moore. Both also learned to play guitar, with Kelli doubling on drums. They took to songwriting quickly and naturally and learned how to transfer their energy and creativity to numerous live theater and dance productions.
After launching Wild Fire in 2016, they’ve wowed audiences at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, NRG Stadium, NRG Arena, Kemah Boardwalk, Firehouse Saloon, Dosey Doe, Liberty Opry, Sugarland Opry and the University of Houston Stadium, among many other venues. They reached the semifinals of Houston Rodeo’s Rodeo Rockstar competition in 2016 — and soared to the finals in ’17. That same year they made the final round of the Huntsville Superstar competition in Huntsville, Texas. Then, in 2018, they took first prize as Female Vocalist of the Year in the Young Adult Category at the Josie Music Awards, held at the Celebrity Theater inside Dolly Parton’s Dollywood theme park.
With over 115,000 followers on Facebook and Instagram, plus many more on other social media, Wild Fire will widen their impact beyond music in 2020 as official ambassadors for the Global Country Music Association (GCMA) and advocate for equality and fairness for the genre’s female artists.