The Black and White Years to Play in Full Color: Live

Picture, if you will, the year is 2007. You and two of your friends from college have been playing in a band together for about one year, and you’ve secured a spot on the lineup at South by Southwest, amongst over 1,400 other acts. At the show, you open for a group of five bands, and a whopping seven people are in attendance for your set. No sweat, right? Everybody’s gotta start somewhere. After the show, BAM, freakin’ Jerry Harrison (guitarist and keyboardist for the Talking Heads) is all up in your grill offering to produce your first LP at his personal studio in California. The LP drops in 2008 to critical acclaim. After some more touring and maturing, your band is awarded: Best New Band, Song of the Year, Best Rock Band, Bass Player of the Year, and Producer of the Year all at the 2009 Austin Music Awards. Now it’s 2014, and you’re playing at the one and only Grand Stafford Theater in Bryan, Texas. Okay, admittedly, maybe things didn’t haven’t happened quite that quickly or easily for The Black and White Years, but, aside from the five years not mentioned above, the details ring true (sorry, you’re not actually in an awesome band, but it’s fun to pretend.)

photo from thesessions.com

The Black and White Years were formed by Scott Butler, Landon Thompson and John Aldridge in 2006. Since then, they’ve been joined by official drummer: Billy Potts, played hundreds of shows, established a decent fan base, and built up a discography exemplifying the meaning of quality over quantity. Surprisingly, despite their hard-earned success, The Black and White Years are still struggling to find their niche in the musical world. This is due in part to what Houston Press has deemed “a lack of touring and production over the last few years have somewhat held them back,” which is also a probable explanation for the gap in between releases of studio material.

photo from: blog.houstonpress.com

Last month marked the end of a four year long material absence from The Black and White Years, which is to say that their new album, “Strange Figurines” (released Jan. 21, 2014) is the first we’ve heard from the group since 2010’s “Patterns.” “Strange Figurines” delves farther into The Black and White Years’ affluence for the past than any previous LP. Synthesizers (funky and grimy alike,) dark sunglasses, dancing, probably cocaine, and the velvety soothe of Butler’s vocals all coalesce into a project that can’t be described in just black and white. Think soft purples, mellow yellows, orange euphoria, and glimpses of the whole color spectrum instantaneously. It seems as though The Black and White Years are inching out of the comfort zone, little by little, with each track. And it’s working out fantastically. This electronic-pop-punk concoction is here to stay, or get bigger, and it looks like the only route from here on out is up.

Come experience The Black and White Years and songs from their new LP, “Strange Figurines,” this Saturday at the Grand Stafford!
Doors @ 8 p.m.
$10 tickets available online and at the door!
By: Dylan Huddleston

Comin’ Around the Mountain with Micky and The Motorcars

photo from http://www.mickyandthemotorcars.com/

Tumblin’ down from the heights of the Sawtooth Mountains, Micky and The Motorcars hit the Stafford stage Thursday night to commence their Texas tour. Led by frontman Micky Braun and his guitarist brother Gary Braun, The Motorcars are coming to kick up some grade-A Americana dust. Music is just part of the brothers’ blood, as it has been for the last few generations of Brauns. Micky and Gary make up half of the Brauns brothers; their older siblings, Willy and Cody Braun, head the increasingly popular and genre-similar band: Reckless Kelly, who just so happened to edge out Jay-Z and Metallica for a Grammy award in Best Record Package last month. Collectively, Micky, Gary, Willy and Cody have been performing on stages since before they were teenagers. At a young age, all four brothers toured the nation playing alongside their father, Muzzie Braun, in his family Texas Swing band. Muzzie showed the boys what road life was like, touring across the nation and even appearing with them on stage at The Grand Ol’ Opry and twice on The Tonight Show. Given a work ethic twice the size that most people have before they were even allowed to drive, it’s no surprise that the Braun brothers have come so far with their respective musical accolades today. Micky and The Motorcars have been touring Candada, the UK, and the states consistently for the past eleven years, averaging about 200 shows per year (which, by my calculations, is about 2 gazillion shows in the last decade, but I’m no mathlete.) In any case, it’s blatantly obvious that this five piece country rock band knows how to play. They’ve seen numerous records hit the Top Ten singles mark on the Texas Music Chart, and even spent an amazing seven months on the Americana Chart. Micky Braun handles most of the songwriting (brilliantly, at that), but it is the seemingly endless talent and ambition of the group as a whole that has given them a sound all their own and paved the way for a legion of fans worldwide. The two Braun brothers are joined by guitarist Dustin Schaefer, bassist Joe Fladger, and drummer Bobby Paugh. Each member has brought their own musical background and influence into the mix. You can literally hear the accent of rock’n’roll, electric blues, jazz, and even a little soul in their music. Toss in some country, a dash of folk, wrap it up, package it, and find it tied up in an Americana-sewn bow right in front of your very eyes this Thursday at the Grand Stafford Theater.

Doors @ 8 p.m.

$10 general admission available at the door and online

By: Dylan Huddleston

 

The Deadhorse That Can’t be Beat


Stafford faithful, get ready for metal. Deadhorse, the founding members of Houston’s underground metal scene during the late 1980′s are “BACK AGAIN” and ready to cash checks, snap necks, melt faces, and pretty much cause as much musical annihilation as possible, in a good way. Deadhorse is like a tornado made of fire and kick drums, picking up measly pop-punk guitar riffs just to disembowel them, swallow the remains, and regurgitate it into a full on rampage of axe-shredding licks. Actually, forget the tornado and replace it with a live volcano. Or a temperamental three headed dragon with a splinter stuck in its foot. Whatever image of pure metal you can think of, just know that your imagination will never lend full justice to the kind of energy and performance emitted by this legendary thrash metal band from Houston, Texas: land of the players  and pimps undead and damned. These guys are so metal that metal isn’t even a worthy term. “Horsecore” is more like it, wherein “it” is a mix of lightning fast drums, heavy bass, cinderblock riffs, drop-D, and an all-out brutal assault on your cochlea (don’t worry it’s a good thing.) The band is well known for incorporating all things Texas into their music, including traces of good ol’ country music, so really, what’s not to like? All things considered, this isn’t your momma’s metal; this is Texas bred, in-your-face, thrashcore that is 24 years in the making. When you hear it, you can taste the determination that has tailored this group to the likes of “legendary.” Deadhorse hits the stage this Friday along with Lou, Signal Rising, and ASS (accurately self-described as the kind of band you skate a bowl to.) It’s gonna be a heavy night, so come prepared to rock your own spine out of alignment.

Doors open @ 8 p.m.

$12 tickets available now online and at the door.

By: Dylan Huddleston

A Band Named (Peggy) Sue

Hailing from all the way across the pond, Peggy Sue (formerly known as Peggy Sue and the Pirates, also known as Peggy Sue and the Pictures and once referred to as Peggy Sue and Les Triplettes) kicks off their U.S. tour Wednesday night at the Grand Stafford Theater. Composed of singer-guitarists Rosa Slade and Katy Young with the help of drummer Olly Joyce, the indie-pop/folk trio proclaims themselves as “The best thing you’ve ever heard, prepare to wet your pants.”

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Is Peggy Sue really worth wetting your pants over? That depends (don’t miss the puns). Have you ever heard two ladies strapped with guitars croon about the considerable heartache of being a superhero (i.e. “The Ballad of Superman”)? Although the claim that they are the “best thing you’ve ever heard” might be a little over the top, Peggy Sue will have you humming along before you even know the words. On stage or off, Peggy Sue refuses to pamper (don’t pun-ish me) their music with gimmicks or clichés. The great thing about front-women Slade and Young is the message they emit in choosing to write songs about Superman, or people who step on snails in the dark, or a cannibalistic lover who thieves body parts. While Peggy Sue adheres to, and improves upon, the indie-folk sound that many have grown to adore in recent years, their subject matter seems to inadvertently declare that you don’t have to be coming from heartbreak or a hurt place when you pick up an acoustic guitar (I’m looking at you, T-Swift).


Peggy Sue is original. Peggy Sue is unique. Peggy Sue is charming, quirky, genuine, and damn talented. Slade and Young are known for wielding their wittiness like a blade, a weapon reflected by their lyricism and their between-song dialogue while onstage. Adding to the excitement of Peggy Sue at the Stafford, the band will release their highly anticipated third album “Choir of Echoes” on January 28th. Of the record, the band says: “Choir of Echoes is an album about singing. About losing your voice and finding it again. Voices keeping each other company and voices competing for space. The call and response of the kindest and the cruelest words. Choruses. Duets. Whispers and shouts.” As such, the band’s third release is poised to boast the kind of matured goodness that would make even the hippest oenophile relish in delight. “Choir of Echoes” may just be Peggy Sue’s magnum opus, as they have been building upon their sound and flavor since 2005.

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In 2012, before beginning work on “Choir of Echoes,” Peggy Sue delivered a Rock’n’roll cover album inspired by the 1963 Kenneth Anger cult-classic film “Scorpio Rising.” On top of that, the band has spent a large majority of the last few years touring the UK and perfecting their stage presence with powerhouse acts such as Kate Nash, Mumford and Sons, The Maccabees, and Jack White. Join us in welcoming Peggy Sue to the States on Wednesday, January 29th at the one and only Grand Stafford Theater! Who knows, it might be the best thing you’ve ever heard! Doors open at 6:00 pm, $5 tickets available now on the Grand Stafford website and at the door on Wednesday!

(Diapers sold separately).

by: Dylan Huddleston

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Driver Friendly returns to Grand Stafford Theater

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Friday night, Grand Stafford Theater will open its doors once again for the fan-favorite, Driver Friendly, along with their tour-mates, Wild Party. Bryan, Texas is the third stop on the “Texas Takeover” tour: a nine-stop tour spanning the breadth of this great state from El Paso to Houston. The Bryan/College Station area is no stranger to Driver Friendly. If anything, BCS could call itself a very good friend of the band. From shows dating back to 2009 between Driver F and Defacto Productions at the old Stafford Main Street to Texas A&M’s campus, Driver Friendly has become well acquainted with the B/CS crowd and demographic over the past few years.

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Given Bryan’s location between Austin, the music capital of the world, and Houston, land of the players and pimps, it only makes sense that bands touring the perimeter of the Texas triangle make stops to play here. However, a Driver Friendly show at the Stafford boasts the kind of energy that cannot be held accountable to geographic coincidence alone. For the band members, Bryan emits an earthly aroma of home. The cult-like following of Driver Friendly fans in BCS is composed of Woodlands High School alumni, friends of the band from Austin, and those who have been super-fans since Driver Friendly’s first album “Chase the White Whale.” Without a doubt, it is the area’s extensive relationship with the band that yields the kind of intimate concert experience that is to be expected every time Driver Friendly sets up their instruments at The Stafford. If you’ve ever been a part of their crowd before, then you know exactly what those expectations are. Triumphant horns, anthemic lyrics, hum-along guitar riffs, ska-dancing, moshing, smiles, laughter, and the not-so-uncommon crowd surf are staples of a concert put on by a band fully comfortable with their stage presence. It’s the same kind of comfortable that makes a Driver Friendly show the epitome of experience guaranteed by Grand Stafford Theater.

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After signing with Hopeless records in 2012, touring with Motion City Soundtrack and Reliant K around the country, and playing at Van’s Warped Tour in 2013, Driver Friendly returns to the heart of Bryan, Texas to present themselves at peak condition to a room full of family, friends, and kindred spirits. This tour brings Driver Friendly with friends from San Antonio, Wild Party and local favorites The Feeble Contenders and King & Nation. Don’t miss out, doors open at 8pm and tickets will be available at the door!

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Article by: Dylan Huddleston
Photos by: Molly Strehl

Marriage Proposal at GST

Every so often we hear some great stories from people, students, our community, musicians and friends about how Grand Stafford Theater has affected their lives positively. From stories about finding their new favorite artist, opening for a band for the first time then going on a tour with them… We get emails about great concert experiences, how people had a great time or made some new friends at a show. However, when we received an email with a request to propose marriage on our stage, we were beyond humbled to have been chosen as the special place where two people would make one of their most cherished memories of their lives.

On Friday October 18th, Travis Porter ’12 asked his girlfriend Rachel Wilcox ’14 to marry him on the stage of Grand Stafford Theater.



“I’m extremely grateful for the Grand Stafford Theater and their management for helping to make my marriage proposal unique and special! My (now) fiancée Rachel and I went on one of our very first dates at the Stafford not even a year ago. In that time, we’ve come back to see several shows for some our favorite artists. We have grown very fond of the Stafford as a special place for us, as well as, for the quality of music they bring to BCS and for the generosity of the management. A big “thanks” to the Stafford Theater for their genuine involvement with the BCS community, their love for good music, and for letting me use their stage and staff to ask my girlfriend to marry me!” — Travis Porter

And this is how we continue to get involved with our community and make this a venue for you. It is because of people in our community like you and like Travis & Rachel that we are able to stay in business, open our doors each night for new concerts and continue to bring quality entertainment to this town. Sometimes even if it’s just to help a date go well and igniting a fire between two people–providing the utmost live music experience is our goal and a goal that we think goes well beyond just putting on a show. It’s the small things like this that let us know we’re making a difference in this town and for that we’re thankful!

One of Travis & Rachel’s first dates was to see Seryn live at a concert here with us and they’ve been back ever since to see them over and over again as well as discovered other bands we’ve had play here since last year.

Let’s make more memories together BCS, see you at a concert! What band has made a great impact in your life that you’ve seen live at a show here or that you discovered by coming to a concert here? If you have any stories about how GST has influenced you or a role it has played in your life let us know by sending us your story to info@grandstaffordtheater.com

Putting the “Craft” Back into Cocktails

Tuesday nights are Craft Cocktail night at the Grand Stafford Theater. For some of our patrons, just the mention of “craft cocktails” is enough to send their taste-buds into a desirous frenzy, but others of you may not know exactly what kind of treat you’re in for. So let me give you the “what’s what” on the recent resurgence of quality mixed drinks.

Over the last few decades the cocktail has been much maligned. From “girly” to “sissy” the accusations cocktails suffered have ranged from innocent insults to emasculating and unabashedly misogynistic. While mostly undeserved, drinks like Cosmopolitans, Pink Ladies, and Fuzzy Navels provided fuel to the liquor purist’s fire. These saccharin sweet drinks, which mostly mask the flavor of distilled alcohols don’t bode well with palettes that can appreciate a well crafted drink and can tell you the difference between Bourbon, Scotch, and a good ol’ fashioned Tennessee Whiskey without hesitation. (There is a difference.) With drinks like the “Cosmo” being the celebrities of the mixed drink world, it became hard to see the artistry of cocktail making – similar to the way Nicholas Cage makes it hard to see the artistry of acting. It tastes good at first, but by the time you’re halfway through, you feel sick to your stomach.

In recent years, however, a subculture of passionate cocktail concocters, like the Grand Stafford’s very own Cody Schilling, have been working hard to restore honor to the cocktail’s name. The key difference in craft cocktails is the approach. While some cocktails (we won’t name names) have employed sour mixes and sugary syrups to hide the tastes of the liquors within, craft cocktails emphasize using ingredients that support and enhance what the liquor brings to the table. Additionally, a true craft cocktail will use only the finest of ingredients. Instead of sour mix a craft cocktail boasts the complexity and freshness of fresh squeezed citrus juices and when the recipe calls for something sweet, seasonal fruit is used in place of sugar-packed imitations. Another distinguishing factor for craft cocktails is the inclusion of “bitters.” Bitters are created by distilling a base liquor with herbs, fruits, spices, or roots in order to draw out and concentrate flavors. Their purpose in most drinks it to add an extra layer or two of complexity and bring out subtle flavors that naturally exist in the liquor(s) in the drink.

The world of craft cocktails, with all its highfalutin terminology and methodology may seem intimidating, but in reality it is a return to a simpler time. Much of what the craft cocktail movement stands for was commonplace in pre-prohibition bars. At the core of the movement are people who have a passion for good liquor. These people feel that mixology (the art of making mixed drinks) is both a privilege and an obligation. They feel compelled and honored to serve you drinks that use only the freshest fruits, herbs, and spices to highlight the subtleties of their favorite liquors rather than drowning them in a sea of corn-syrup. After all, you’re supposed to be enjoying a cocktail, not a snow-cone.

For those of you who have been joining us on Tuesdays, we hope to see you return – and if you do, bring a friend. For those of you who have been reluctant to come see what it’s all about, we hope this has eased your minds. If not – we can assure you the cocktails will.

Shinyribs Leaves ‘Em Smilin’ at the Stafford Theater

Well, he sounds country, especially with that mandolin, but wait. Is he covering Snoop Dog’s Gin and Juice?” Yes! Rap lyrics with a Texas twang and the crowd is going wild.

“If you leave a Shinyribs show without a smile, you better check your pulse,” said Bill Allen of Bill Allen’s Motorcycles in Bryan, Texas. Bill Allen is also director and co-star of the exclusive History Channel video series Hairy Bikers.”

“They’ll cover Hip-Hop songs then turn around and do a beautiful Bob Dylan song,” said Allen. “You never know what they’re gonna do. They will take you on a musical journey.”

And a musical journey it was, Thursday night at the Grand Stafford Theater in Downtown Bryan. “People were dancing, throwing their hands in the air, having a good time—all around good vibes in the theater,” said General Manger Carlton Lee as he reminisced of the Shinyribs performance with a smile.

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With over 100 people in attendance, the venue quickly became intimate. “There were chairs at the beginning of the night but everyone pushed them out the way and had a good time right there [in front of the stage],” said Lee.

“Kev Russell could write a song about the woes of a road reflector and it would put tears in your eyes,” says Allen. “He is extremely insightful and positive. His music is heartfelt and fun and thought provoking.”

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Kev “Shinyribs” Russell is most known for his involvement with The Gourds and their popular cover of Snoop Dog’s “Gin and Juice.” He and the band produced over 10 studio albums since 1996 and released their last album “Old Mad Joy” in 2011.

Shinyribs has since left the coop and and is flying solo, performing frequently at intimate music venues like the Stafford and venues in the Austin area. “There is no such thing as a bad Shinyribs show,” assures Allen.

 

Catch the Latest Stafford Theater News

We are happy to introduce you to Joey McGee, a talented and charming singer songwriter who was recently featured on our YouTube Channel, “Stafford Theater Presents.” The filmed interview is more like a one-on-one conversation with McGee; he is just as personable off stage as he is on stage. You can also catch a candid performance of McGee during his interview with the Grand Stafford Theater.

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Giving Back to the Local Guitarists

Grand Stafford Theater wants  to video record guitarists in the B/CS community  to win the Guitar Center Blues Masters Challenge!

Guitar Center is currently holding a challenge for any guitar player to perform and submit a guitar performance on a Joe Bonamassa song. The prizes include: a $10,000 CASH award, opening slot for Joe Bonamassa in Hollywood, mentor session + studio time with Bonamassa & Producer Kevin Shirley, and lastly, new gear package from top of the line products.

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We encourage all talented guitarists to contact the Grand Stafford Theater for a chance to win the Guitar Center’s challenge!

To find out details on contact information and filming dates for submissions, please click on the following link, https://www.facebook.com/events/144030469105198/

 

Know Stafford Theater and You’ll Know Live Music

To know Grand Stafford Theater is to know the music, the artists who play it and the community where it all happens.

“We’re working to provide the best live music experience in Bryan/College Station,” says Carlton Lee, the General Manager of the historic downtown venue. Located smack-dab in the middle of the Texas “Golden Triangle” formed by Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston, Grand Stafford is an ideal stop for bands touring the great state.

“What we offer here is different,” expresses Lee. “Part of our mission is to bring quality music, so even if you have not heard of the band yet, you can bet they’re going to be good,” assures Lee. “We cranked up on supporting local and regional artists, the up-and-comers.”

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Management at Stafford Theater is constantly on the lookout for the next priceless jewel of the live music scene, meaning Grand Stafford Theater offers a little bit of everything out there that’s good and live! And since the venue is relatively small, with a capacity right around 400, bar staff get to know guests and the live music experience is intimate.

Typical genres include Texas country, Texas rock, blues rock, Southern rock, and even Latin, instrumental, electronic, singer-songwriter, Indie, and heavy metal. Grand Stafford Theater began the fall of its reopening with Texas favorites such as Ray Wylie Hubbard and 9-time Grammy award winning band, Asleep At The Wheel. Other prominent bands include El Ten Eleven, an instrumental band featured on MTV; Del Castillo, known for their hit single “Malaguena Salerosa” and chosen by Quentin Tarantino for the closing scene of Kill Bill Vol. II; and Joshua James, recognized by Rolling Stone for their single “Coal War,” showcased in season 4 of Sons of Anarchy.

“That’s one of the cool things about this place,” comments Lee. “We haven’t pigeonholed ourselves with one type of music. We are definitely diverse.” The Grand Stafford Theater is a place that fosters intimate musical vibrations with delicious beverages. “It’s a place where everybody’s welcome. We look forward to new faces.”

Get to Know the Artists

Today the team is launching Grand Stafford Presents to be sure Stafford Theater guests get to know the talented musicians that grace our stage.

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“Each week we will release a new episode on the Grand Stafford Theater YouTube channel,” explains Lee. “Relaxed and candid artist interviews with clips of the artist’s music provide an intimate look at the talented individuals behind the music and showcase spots in Downtown Bryan where all the magic happens.”

Featured music may be live footage from the show or a personal, acoustic performance. It’s for the fans of Stafford Theater artists and it’s for the artists themselves.

“We’re here for the music,” said Lee. “The artists make the music so we’re going to do everything we can to support these talented musicians by letting fans know them a little better and sharing the music throughout our web channels.”

Like, Listen and Follow Stafford Theater Online

In addition to Stafford Theater on YouTube, you’ll also find Stafford artists on our Spotify Channel. Photos are available on our Facebook albums and Instagram. Follow us @GrandStaffordTheater on Twitter for news on the latest and greatest, and for general information regarding the theater please visit grandstaffordtheater.com.

Opening Show ISHI & Fall Line-up Announced

The Grand Stafford Theater is proud to announce the lineup for our opening weekend show on September 6, 2012. Electro-rock outfit Ishi will be joined by Featherface, GOBI and The 71’s for a night of high-energy performances. To make things even more exciting, this show will be a CD release for both The 71’s and Featherface. Get your ticket now at http://gstbcs.com/ishi