Calling all music fans: Want a taste of the Super Bowl experience without breaking the bank? The greatest show on turf kicks off this Sunday, but already there have been a multitude of celebrations across the city around the big game, with plenty more scheduled through the week.
The beauty of the chaos surrounding the Super Bowl is there is something for nearly every musical taste at venues across the city, with first rate lineups that even those with a heavy aversion to the holy grail of sports can enjoy.
Shows include exclusive parties that require an invite or exorbitantly high cover charges, touting performances by internationally known acts such as Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift. Let's face it, many of us regular folks won’t get a sniff at these events, much less attend.
The good news is there are many more that are affordable to no cost at locations across the greater Houston area for those with a phobia of Super Bowl traffic and having to drive around too long to find a decent parking spot.
Super Bowl LIVE is the biggest official Super Bowl party, lasting all week and featuring an impressive lineup of Texas-bred performers. The fan festival takes place on Discovery Green, it’s family friendly, and free to attend.
Headliners this week include the rising Austin-based alternative psych-rock band The Bright Light Social Hour Tuesday night; rootsy rural Texas country from Ryan Bingham on Wednesday; Houston-native and Beyoncé sibling, R&B soulstress Solange — fresh off one of the best albums of 2016 — on Thursday night; throwback R&B gospel soul from Dallas with Leon Bridges on Friday; and Houston's very own Rock N Roll Hall of Fame inductees ZZ Top Saturday night. (For a full schedule, check out the Super Bowl LIVE website.)
Within walking distance of Discovery Green’s Super Bowl LIVE event, 8th Wonder Brewery, 2200 Dallas Street, will host its Wonder Bowl event with live shows February 1-3. Wednesday offers an official City of Houston event that showcases the East Downtown aka EaDo neighborhood with Camera Cult, The Wheel Workers, Glass The Sky and Jealous Creatures on the bill.
It doesn’t get more H-Town than Thursday’s Welcome to Brewston event at the 8th Wonder tap room, hosted by Houston hip-hop luminary Paul Wall. Local DJs will spin to the backdrop of a S.L.A.B. (Slow Low And Bangin’) car show and custom grill fittings by Wall’s Grillz on Wheelz.
All Wonder Bowl events are free. Grills are not.
Eclectic indie-rock kids at heart will want to check out the other free party a few stops on the METRORail from SuperBowl Live. The Mid Main SuperFest, 3600-3700 Main Street, will feature musical performances taking place from February 2-5 in the Midtown Cultural Arts and Entertainment District. Headliners are the hip hop and soul influenced Stooges Brass Band of New Orleans on Thursday, Houston’s alternative-indie darlings The Tontons on Friday, and the uplifting Dallas psych choir veterans The Polyphonic Spree on Saturday, plus many more.
Venues adjacent to the Mid Main SuperFest, The Continental Club, Shoeshine Charley's Big Top Lounge and Alley Kat Bar & Lounge will also host music acts during the festival. The Continental Club hosts funk-soul six-piece Soul Creatures on Thursday, 60s revivalists Picture Book Happy Hour on Friday night, and 79 year-old rock legend Wanda Jackson on Saturday. Ticket prices for Wanda Jackson are $25.
If sipping beer in hammocks, listening to local talent is more your speed, Axelrad Beer Garden, 1517 Alabama St., has you covered with a massive bill of Houston acts and limited tappings all week.
Funk-rock Handsomebeast and syth-inflected rock band Birthday Club headline Tuesday; jazz artist Kermit Ruffins headlines Wednesday night; post-punk group Young Mammals take the stage Thursday; trippy Latin-influenced Gio Chamba headline Friday; the indie-pop Telephantom and neo-new wavers Rex Hudson are set for Saturday; with DJ Rex and The Waxaholics closing out Sunday’s festivities. Shows start at 6 p.m. and admission is free.
For tailgating diehards, get a taste of barbeque before the big game on Feb. 4 at the Tailgate on McGowen: A Local Celebration of the Big Game! jointly hosted by Mongoose versus Cobra and Leon’s Lounge, 1011 McGowen Street.
In addition to grub by Harlem Road Texas BBQ and specialty cocktails and craft brews, Houston bands Blaggards, Soulshine and Edgebrook will play two outdoor sets before Americana band Mystery Loves Company performs inside. Tickets are $20 advance/$25 day of show/$30 for parking.
Those looking to stay far from the official Super Bowl LIVE experience downtown, Texas troubadour Robert Earl Keen heads to the relatively intimate setting of the Heights Theater, 39 W. 19th Street, for two shows on Feb. 3 and 4, bringing along a few of his friends at the Super Weekend of Music event.
One of the state’s most popular country-roots artists, Keen has been going strong the last couple of decades and this show should see him running through his extensive catalogue of classics, including “Feelin’ Good Again,” “The Road Goes On Again,” and “Corpus Christi Bay.” Tickets are $75.
The White Oak Super Street Party from February 2-5, between Studewood and Heights Boulevard, brings together venues and restaurants Fitzgerald’s, Onion Creek, Little Woodrow’s, Christian’s Tailgate and the Ritual for food and drink specials in addition to a stellar lineup of music and comedy.
Thursday night highlights Kentucky rockabilly band Legendary Shack Shakers, Friday sees comedian Hannibal Burress in town for two sets, and Saturday offers retro soul band Cuba Gooding and The Main Ingredient. Most performances take place at Fitzgerald’s at varying cover charges.
Outside the Loop
The award for largest Super Bowl party outside downtown goes to The Players Party at Sam Houston Race Park, 7575 North Sam Houston Parkway W., from February 2-5, featuring meet-and-greets with NFL legends (Drew Brees, Earl Campbell and many more) alongside popular touring acts.
Headliners are Country Music Award winners Montgomery Gentry and Britney's sis Jamie-Lynn Spears on Thursday; legendary surf-rockers The Beach Boys on Friday; country-pop upstart Hunter Hayes and country vet Tracy Byrd on Saturday; and decades-spanning party starters KC and the Sunshine Band to close out Sunday.
Four-day passes to the family-friendly event are $79 for adults and $59 for children, ages 5-12. Children under 5 years old are free. Single-day tickets for adults are $30 and $24 for children.