Once again, James Harden is stealing the show. The former MVP and this year's runner-up is taking over Houston this weekend in advance of his 30th birthday (August 26) with what will likely draw a number of celebrity sightings not seen since the Bayou City hosted the NBA All-Star game back in 2013. It will completely overshadow a very strong week of touring acts.
Harden will host a series of events, including a charity softball game on Saturday afternoon with his new bestie Russell Westbrook at University of Houston's Schroeder Park. But it's the night-time activities that will bring the glitz and glamour to local music venues, where Harden plans to party it up at the James Harden and Friends Charity Concert at Revention Music Center — located at 520 Texas Ave. — on Friday, August 23.
There's no telling who will be on stage that night, but some of Harden's favorite acts include Drake, YG, Lil Uzi Vert, and hometown fave Travis Scott (although the Kardashian connection might quash that possibility). For $20, it might be worth a shot for hip-hop fans to check out.
Then there's the James Harden Bday Bash, going down at the swank Spire Nightclub (1720 Main St.) and featuring the recently freed from prison Meek Mill, performing to what will be a very glowed-up crowd. Word to the wise: leave your jerseys at home, Rockets fans. Tickets start at $20 plus fees for Friday night and $25 for Sunday night. Doors open at 6 pm on Friday; 10 pm on Sunday.
If you could care less about ballin', there are plenty of other ways to spend your time outside of attempting to catch a glimpse of hip-hop and reality TV stars. CultureMap's biggest, best, and most notable shows of the week are:
CultureMap show of the week: Heart and Joan Jett
Want to know where female empowerment in the music industry really started? Look no further than the double-bill lineup of Heart and Joan Jett taking the stage at Cynthia Woods on Thursday, August 22. This show elicited plenty of fist pumps when it was announced months ago for various reasons, but the most important one is both acts were the kick-ass, take-names female acts of their respective genres, breaking down barriers for all other female musicians that came after them. That said, these acts are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for a reason, and gender isn't one of them.
Ann Wilson (killer vocal wail) and Nancy Wilson (killer guitar wail) made a serious dent in the egos of hard rock dudes in the '70s with the still exciting singles "Barracuda," "Crazy on You," and "Magic Man." Meanwhile, Joan Jett got her start as the guitarist of all-girl teen punk act The Runaways, producing the rebellious hit "Cherry Bomb," before fronting her own band, The Blackhearts, and producing the No. 1 smash "I Love Rock 'N Roll," along with "Bad Reputation," and "Do You Want to Touch Me (Oh Yeah)." They'll be bringing along upstart Elle King.
Heart and Joan Jett co-headline the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, located at 2005 Lake Robbins Dr. in The Woodlands, on Thursday, August 22. Elle King opens. Tickets start at $29.50, plus fees. Gates open at 5:30 pm.
Mogwai at White Oak Music Hall
Gaining cult status in the late-'90s with their near-classic album Come On Die Young, Scottish act Mogwai railed against the populist Brit-pop movement that had taken over the U.K. at the time, claiming that Blur, one of the country's most famous bands, were sh*te.
That statement made waves in the music press and pointed toward a bold new direction for indie music. The band plies their trade in slow-building epics in the vein of Explosions in the Sky and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Loud, melodic, and abrasive, Mogwai is for fans that require headphones for listening to music. Their last album was the soundtrack to the indie film Kin.
Mogwai is at White Oak Music Hall, located at 2915 N. Main St., on Thursday, August 22. Papa M opens. Tickets start at $22, plus fees. Doors open at 7:30 pm.
The Lost '80s Live Concert
VH1 fans, unite! A huge lineup of '80s acts will converge on Arena Theatre — which, let's admit, is a very '80s venue — to share their big hit(s) from the most radical decade. Well, it definitely had a great soundtrack, played by bands with sketchy names that will appear at the Lost '80s Live Concert, such as A Flock of Seagulls ("I Ran"), Wang Chung ("Everybody Have Fun Tonight"), Missing Persons ("Words"), Bow Wow Wow ("I Want Candy"), and more. Bust out the leg warmers, spandex, and hairspray — this will be a wild one.
The Lost ‘80s Live Concert featuring A Flock of Seagulls, Wang Chung, Missing Persons and more takes place at Arena Theatre, located at 7326 Southwest Fwy., on Thursday, August 22. Tickets start at $39.50, plus fees. Show starts at 8 pm.
Shakey Graves and Dr. Dog play WOMH
Fun fact: Alejandro Rose Garcia aka Shakey Graves had a small role on one of the best TV dramas ever made, Friday Night Lights, shot in and around his hometown Austin. The very-popular-in-Texas Americana dreamboat returns to the White Oak Music Hall lawn, a venue he's been able to pack in recent years around his easy-going folk rock that fits well in today's receptive climate for similar-sounding acts. His latest is the cinematic 2018 album Can't Wake Up. He'll be joined by the eccentric, cult Philly psych-rock band Dr. Dog, which is touring behind the critically acclaimed 2018 album Critical Equation.
Shakey Graves and Dr. Dog co-headline the White Oak Music Hall Lawn, located at 2915 N. Main St., on Friday, August 23. Caroline Rose opens. Tickets start at $32, plus fees. Gates open at 6:30 pm.
CultureMap recommends: The B-52s at Smart Financial
The kaleidoscopic pride of Athens, Georgia, The B-52s are back on the road bringing their high energy show. One of the most unique sounding bands to come out of the late-'70s underground, The B-52s sounded like no other band, combining '60s pop, psych-rock, and an arty quirkiness to commercial heights, smartly expanding their sound and melodies as the years went on.
Their 1979 self-titled debut is a classic producing the strangest hit song on the charts up to that point with "Rock Lobster," which could easily be from a soundtrack of a sci-fi B-movie. They got bigger and better, with the 1989 album Cosmic Thing becoming a major concern with the huge singles "Love Shack" and "Roam." But it's their live chops that keep audiences coming back. Forty years in and The B-52s remain one of the most fun live bands in the world.
The B-52s play Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land, located at 18111 Lexington Blvd. in Sugar Land on Saturday, August 24. OMD and Berlin also appear. Tickets start at $59.50, plus fees. The show starts at 7:30 pm.
Smashing Pumpkins and Noel Gallagher at Cynthia Woods
The dream of the '90s is alive in The Woodlands. Two of the biggest names of that music-rich decade join forces to show why they both sold buckets of albums. First off, Smashing Pumpkins are back in the Houston area after playing a three-hour set at Toyota Center last year. Expect to hear tracks from the band that brought grunge to newer heights with their era-defining collections Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, including "Today," "Disarm," "1979," and "Tonight, Tonight."
Meanwhile, following the contentious dissolution of the world-conquering Britpop act Oasis, Noel Gallagher forged ahead with his successful solo band, The High Flying Birds, which allowed him to indulge in more artistic directions. He's put out three successively better albums, including one of 2017's best, Who Built the Moon? However, it'll be his chart-busting Oasis songs that will get the audience going, including "Don't Look Back in Anger" and "Wonderwall," both which still hold up 25 years later.
Smashing Pumpkins and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds co-headline the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, located at 2005 Lake Robbins Dr. in The Woodlands, on Sunday, August 25. AFI opens. Tickets start at $25, plus fees. Gates open at 6 pm.
George Clinton with Parliament Funkadelic
Probably the most famous face in funk music, George Clinton is on his farewell tour with the famed party rockers Parliament Funkadelic. The 78-year-old Clinton announced that he'd retire from the stage after decades of bring p-funk to the world, influencing countless artists across many genres.
Parliament Funkadelic were kings of '70s funk with more than 40 hits to their name in that decade, including "P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)," "Do That Stuff," and "Up for the Down Stroke," among many others. But it's Clinton's colorful personality, flair for the theatrical, and insane ability to get audiences to dance well before the EDM movement that have kept him and his band going. Don't be sad, funk fans. This will be a celebration.
George Clinton with Parliament Funkadelic play Revention Music Center, located at 520 Texas Ave., on Sunday, August 24. Tickets start at $45, plus fees. Doors open at 6 pm.