Following Hurricane Harvey, the need for many to get back to a sense of normalcy is as strong as a stiff pour at your favorite watering hole. While the cleanup and hard recovery continue, thankfully, the rain clouds are gone and there's a bright ray of sunshine in the form of several fantastic shows for Houston music fans to enjoy.
If the upcoming week is any indication, we are in for a great fall season, with the city attracting some great performers. Stayed tuned here, every Thursday, for our guide to can't-miss concerts. And read on for the top must-see performances this week:
Thursday, September 7
Nineties alt-crooners the Goo Goo Dolls will play the tunes you used to dance to at homecoming — the once inescapable “Name” and “Iris” are among the most memorable. The group brings their scrappy, balladic alt-rock to the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, with a performance by Phillip Phillips also on the bill. As part of Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, bring non-perishable donations for the Houston Food Bank and receive a voucher for a free ticket. You can't beat a heaping dose of nostalgia for a good cause.
Over at The Heights Theater, a venue that continues to impress with solid bookings, Colin Hay of Men at Work fame (and a critically acclaimed troubadour in his own right) is joined by singer-songwriter Ruston Kelly. After his world-beating '80s Australian group disbanded, Hay has carved out a decent career as a singer-songwriter, even finding a place in pop culture with appearances on the network comedy Scrubs. He's touring behind his latest effort, FIERCE MERCY.
Friday, September 8
There was a time a few years back when you couldn't go to a major festival without the Atlanta-based alternative Manchester Orchestra on the bill. The talented quartet is out touring in support of one of the best albums of the year: the expansive, moody, and rafter shaking, A Black Mile To The Surface. Seeing them in the relatively intimate setting of the House of Blues will be a treat. Surfer Blood and Foxing will also perform.
Saturday, September 9
The most casual music fan will remember Janet Jackson for her 2004 trip to Houston when she corrupted the virgin minds of repressed conservatives after revealing a little too much during Super Bowl XXXVIII. Nipplegate (NSFW) is etched into our collective pop culture minds for better or worse. And that's too bad because she remains a music icon, touring the world for enraptured fans. She will surely, ahem, "titillate" when her State of the World Tour hits Toyota Center.
Sunday, September 10
I fully admit I was never a fan of ZZ Top. Until this year, I only knew them from their famed videos for "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Legs," which were played constantly on MTV in the '80s. But after catching them at Super Bowl Live in February, there's no denying this homegrown trio can wail with an impressive catalog of killer tracks. They might be getting up there in age, but these Texas boys are still as tight as ever and put on one hell of a show. They will travel a short distance from their Houston homes to perform at the Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land as part of their Tonnage Tour. Trust me, your dad will love it.
Tuesday, September 12
An embarrassment of musical riches will lead to a lot of folks taking Wednesday off with several top-notch shows to choose from Tuesday night.
Alt-rock darlings Modest Mouse hit House of Blues still touring 2015's Strangers to Ourselves. It's worth the price of admission if Isaac Brock and company play any of their back catalog, including songs from stone cold classic albums The Moon & Antarctica and The Lonesome Crowded West.
(UPDATE: The Modest Mouse concert has been moved from Revention Music Center because of flooding issues. A Live Nation representative says that its customer service department will contact those who have already purchased a reserved seat to handle relocations. All previously purchased tickets will be honored. If needed, refunds will be available at original point of purchase.)
Baltimore's smooth electro-pop auteurs Future Islands visit White Oak Music Hall to showcase the highly regarded 2017 release, The Far Field, surely bringing sweet, sweet dance moves by amazingly charismatic frontman Sam Herring.
Top 40 radio fans won't want to miss megastars OneRepublic at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. In case you were living under a rock, their 2013 chart-topping hit "Counting Stars" is closing in on two billion views on YouTube. That's in addition to a dozen other hits you've probably heard while flipping through FM stations. And if that isn't enough to get the teenager in your household excited, Ellen DeGeneres' favorite party-starters Fitz and the Tantrums will open along with James Arthur.
Other shows of note: