When you look to put together an event, mixing genres and everything else is always the most intriguing way to go. Over the past five years we’ve seen tour packages that signify diverse lineups more than we ever saw in the thirty years prior. When we sat down to orchestrate the lineup behind Benefit Week, the first twenty plus bands we came up with are primarily who is set to perform. By luck in that we went with artists we liked who work hard and throw great performances, we ended up with a truly diverse lineup. Below, we discuss why that diversity is what makes a city like Houston so great, and why it helps Benefit Week stand out as well.
We at Closed Captioned and the team at Wonky Power wanted a lineup that represented the best that Houston has to offer. There were legacy acts that we didn’t reach out to due to age, artists who had contracted COVID-19 who were taken out of the running and artists who couldn’t do the livestream due to their fears about the unknowns surrounding the virus. The addition of Hayes Carll was a whim and we’re glad to add his stellar songwriting skills to the headliners like Fat Tony, Narrow Head, Kam Franklin, Gio Chamba, El Lago, B L A C K I E and Sergio Trevino. However since we’ve discussed those acts, we want to shine a light on the rest of the lineup starting with R&B singer ATTXLA. One of the best voices we’d heard in a minute, his sultry tones mixed with top notch production made him a name we realized we had to get for this lineup. We could say the same for New York born and Houston transplant Amanda Pascali. With tender melodies and gentle vocals, she has a sound that could swoon any suitor. She has the ability to captivate any crowd she’s in front of, while her music has a traditional sound that is more earnest than a lot of the folk genre. John Allen Stephens not only produces and engineers music for artists, some of whom are on this lineup-but he writes some of the best music you can get into your ears. Catchy and arranged like he’s doing so to save his life, his debut album Radioclub.LP is and probably always will be, our go to jam. His live sets are passionate and seeing that he plays all of the instruments himself, you’ll wonder how he pulls off such arranged notes with such ease.
We also had to add electronica duo Studded Left. Out of the ashes of Indian Jewelry, Tex and Erica bring a hazy swagger to their music that plays half to street urchin vampires and half to those who love their tongue in cheek demeanor. Buckle up, the ride they take you on will be bumpy and full of characters. The first time we caught India Tigers in Texas, we were curious if someone had slipped something into our Topo Chico. Hazy psych rock that displays all of the haunts and colors that the genre needs, their self titled debut album is still one we can’t stop listening to. With Houston’s Tee Vee, we felt like electro-pop couldn’t get more fun. As an artist who’s played on multiple festivals, her latest album Tempest is one of the best arranged electronic records you can put in your ears, and her live sets are like a party where everyone gets to dance. Producer and multi-instrumentalist Rex Hudson is on that level as well. His shows are nothing if not fun energy from start to finish and his music is well composed between electronic tones and live instruments in a way that’s chill but also engaging. For a band like The Body Speaks, the pandemic put a hurt on a band that was just getting started. What makes them stand out is their passion for every note to be on point, and every track to hit just like you want. Their set should be amazing as they’ve been doing livestreams before most people knew what they were. Howard & the Nosebleeds have the ability to take your ears to a new space with their wild performances and their guitar driven psych touched tones.
Luba Dvorak is another addition that we knew was worth putting on this lineup. The king of “Brooklyn Twang,” the Croatian born, Canadian raised and Brooklyn troubadour plays country like he was raised on a farm. His latest full length American Sin has all the makings of a honky tonk hit, and his live sets are known to get boots moving across the dace floor. That could get met by the well rounded tones that NICO places within each song he writes. Lead by Nico Diaz, his Spanish tones hit you where you want and never leave. Of course when we first caught the music of Ezra Black, we were floored not just at how original it was, but how it made us feel every note. Mixing modern electronics with traditional instruments, we could listen to his 2020 album Midnight Tide on repeat for months on end. We can’t say enough great things about the high energy and full throttled Oi! punk of Liberty & Justice. Easily a one two punch to the face, the melodic brand of punk is exactly what we need in this world right now. In a live setting, you won’t fall asleep for a second of their intense performance either. Rounding out this lineup is the intense shoegaze squealed energy of GOODGIRL. Catching them in person is a life shattering moment for those who’ve been lucky enough, and their debut album POOR HABITS is on its own level.
This lineup is diverse, just like Houston. You can catch all of these acts via livestream beginning August 24 through August 30 for BENEFIT WEEK. Tickets for all seven days are available here and all proceeds go to Houston independently owned live music venues Satellite Bar, Rudyard’s, The Secret Group, Dan Electros, Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe and Red Dwarf.
Image Credits: Photo by Daniel Jackson.