This season’s UHD Thursday Night Concert Series features an exciting and eclectic lineup with a lot for a music lover to discover. Putting together a lineup this fantastic doesn’t happen without a lot of time, effort and thought.
For the task, Discovery Green turned to Wonky Power who, with their deep Houston roots and vast network of talented musicians and contacts, found musicians from Houston, and from our neighbors to the east and west to fill six nights of free concerts.
“We wanted to show Houston that Discovery Green is definitely where you come to discover new sounds,” said Mario Rodriguez. “We branched out for the lineup. It’s something new because it’s very diverse, a mixture of sound in one series. We wanted to make sure we highlighted a little bit of everything in the best manner possible.”
Based in Houston’s East End, Wonky Power is a team of producers, musicians and more. Founded by spouses Mario and Elizabeth Rodriguez in 2014, the pair were inspired to open their own business after seeing the kind of support available to musicians in other cities. Wonky Power strives to nurture Houston artists while also supporting touring bands.
These days Wonky Power produces local musicians in their recording studio, curates hundreds of concerts a year, serves as booking agents, livestreams concerts and hosts podcasts including Geto Boys Reloaded with Scarface and Willie D.
They’re creating the environment Houston needs to discover the city’s ample local talent. Which makes them the perfect fit to create and book a lineup for Discovery Green’s stage.
Discovery Green spoke with Mario Rodriguez about this season’s UHD Thursday Night Concert Series and how each band fell into place to create the perfect music sampler for the country’s most diverse city.
Thursday, April 20
7 – 9 pm
From: New Orleans
Sounds like: Jazz meets hip-hop, meets soul, meets rock and rolls around in funk.
Sounds like: Roots reggae.
Mario says: We feel like reggae is a genre that isn’t really highlighted a lot in Houston. We’ve been wanting to have Sunami Force on a stage for a while because they have such a great energy, great sound and they really take you some place with their music.
From: Austin via Colombia and Miami
Sounds like: A fusion of Afro-Colombian, Reggae and Latin world beat
Sounds like: Rock, Latin, pop, soul reggae and blues
Sounds like: Electronic sound mixed with cumbia, reggaeton and plus perreo
Mario says: May 4 is the day before Cinco de Mayo so it made sense to match something with a Latin flair. Kiko’s one of those guys who every time he plays in Houston, he brings in a lot of locals and Houston musicians really respect him. The Tiarras are a new group. They’re a trio of sisters who play a lot of Latin rock, but also a little bit aggressive, alternative Spanish rock with a lot of English and modern elements. Cucucuy have been around for about a year or so, but they all come from different bands, so they formed this super group. They’ll start it all off with a bang.
Sounds like: RnB and pop
Sounds like: Neo soul, and jazz
Mario says: Kam is the lead singer of The Suffers, but she’s also been pushing on her solo career and dedicating time and effort toward her new record which she’ll be releasing soon. She’s one of those leaders who commands the stage and she’s just incredible. Her new single has been hitting hard and this show will be a bit of a sneak peek for her new record coming out.
Micah is opening the show and he’s one of those artists I feel is going to have a breakthrough later this year, or maybe sooner. He’s released a few songs that are really good and he’s been highlighted on NPR. He’s also got a great band with top local professionals. He’s someone to keep an eye on for sure.
From: New Orleans
Sounds like: deep funk grooves and pure joy, a “portable Mardi Gras dance party”
Sounds like: Indie, soul psych
Mario says: Cha Wa puts you in that space like you’re about to party in the middle of the street in New Orleans. There are several videos of them out where you can feel that energy coming through. They’re one of those bands that don’t come to Houston, because no one knows about them, but as soon as Houston gets a taste, they’re going to want them to return.
Mind Shrine is one of Houston’s biggest indie, soul rock groups in Houston. They hardly play in Houston and we were lucky to get them before they started their tour. They’re going to be a big draw along with Cha Wa and their sounds will blend in well.
Thursday, May 25
From: San Antonio
Sounds like: country honky tonk rock
Similar artists: The Pink Stones, JP Harris and Logan Ledger
Ms Mack & The Daddies
Sounds like: soul
Mario says: Lots of people have a rich connection with honky tonk. We thought it would be awesome to do with this artist from San Antonio. It’s going to be a fun one. He’s honky tonk country with a bit of rock. They call themselves cosmic country honky tonk weirdo band. Ms Mack and The Daddies were a fun find too. They are a great soul band from Austin with a mix of funk. She has a tremendous voice, strong and empowering.
Sounds like: soul, funk and psych rock to a world beat
Similar artists: Khruangbin, The Bright Light Social Hour and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
Sounds like: rock/pop, melodic, grungy and fun
Mario says: Golden Dawn Arkestra is an incredible band with a world sound. They’re based in Austin, but their members come from all around the world. They all have their costumes and they’ll come out for a show. We wanted a big banger to close out the series and we thought they’d do that. Jumprope is very new, but they’ve been getting a lot of buzz around town and they’re about to go on tour as well. We feel it’s going to be an incredible series they’ll get on that stage and show everyone what they have.