• Thomas Joseph

'The man' tries, fails to stop Wallflower Records showcase at Grove Street

Houston psych rock stalwarts Flower Graves headlined another Wallflower Records showcase on February 22. The show - originally scheduled for dearly departed Walter’s Downtown - took place at 215 Grove Street, a converted warehouse in the Fifth Ward.

Flower Graves had support from The Sun Machine, an Austin-based schitzo-pop group. Their spacey dynamic and tight vocals were accompanied by a spectacular light show courtesy of The Electric Church, the Austin music venue known for experimental, multi-faceted production alongside a variety of acts ranging from space rock to synth pop.

All images provided by Thomas Joseph

Members of The Sun Machine are intimately involved with The Electric Church, and they plan to bring their light show on the road as part of a larger Texas tour later this year. Attendees were treated to a trippy, positive vibe that never seemed overwhelming. The whole apparatus features dozens of elements, including overhead and film projectors as well as light filters.

The light show went on all night long, as openers El Lago proceeded through a solid set. Frontwoman Lauren Eddy has a voice equal parts haunting and smooth, and they feature a tight rhythm section. The Galveston-based act has been booked for the upcoming In Bloom festival in Houston next month, and readers should be sure to keep an eye out for them.

As El Lago finished up, the Fire Marshall arrived, raising concerns about capacity. Mantra Love, the second scheduled act, ran through their sound check before the show was briefly shut down as attendees spilled out into the parking lot.

For a moment, neighbors and passers by could see a bunch of hippies and young people, literally stopped by the ‘The Man’ from putting on a rock concert.

“If they’re trying to shut you down, you know you’re doing something right,” mused Sun Machine guitarist Levi Murray after the show.

Eventually things settled down and a crowd of absolutely, utterly, and entirely no more than 40 people made their way back inside. Mantra Love put on a passionate show, but it was undercut by muddied low end on the PAs. This unfortunately carried over into The Sun Machine set, but their music sounded a bit brighter by comparison.

Flower Graves finished off the night. This group has been part of the Houston scene in some for another for years now, and they feature an easy chemistry that translates to the crowd. The group tore through a straightforward set, including runs through singles “Savage” and “Be Your Man.”

Grove Street has proven to be a refuge for the scene in the wake of Walter’s closing. Wallflower Records is hosting additional events there, including an upcoming March 2 show headlined by Peyote Coyote. The label is also running shows at classic Houston venues like Continental Club and the attached Big Top Lounge.

#livemusic #concertreview #flowergraves #thesunmachine #theelectricchurch #thomasjoseph

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