Argue against the cold how much you like, this is a great time to be a live music scenester in Houston. Everyone looks cool as hell in their black long-sleeves and tight jeans, fancy hats and scarves, and peacoat jackets. And sweating at shows is at a minimum, reducing the odds of running into that one hairy guy that reeks of body odor.
Let’s all admit that it’s really hard to look good at shows during the dog days of the summer. So embrace that frosty nip in the air — it’ll be 100 degrees soon enough.
A stacked week of shows means it’s time to bundle up, cool kids.
Best show of the week
The Killers are one of the best singles bands in the last 15 years. While all the band’s full length players contain plenty of filler, one can always depend on frontman Brandon Flowers and the other guys (does anyone really know their names?) to drop a couple of great tracks that find their way onto the radio into our brains.
Last year’s No. 1 chart-topping album, Wonderful Wonderful, is no exception. As a whole, the album was considered by critics to be a so-so offering, but there’s no denying the Peter Gabriel pastiche of “The Man,” and early-2000s Killers throwback “Run For Cover.”
The string of top-notch singles is why the Las Vegas band’s five full-length albums have found their way to the Top 10 of the Billboard charts. There’s simply no denying the synth-driven hooks of “Somebody Told Me,” “All The Things I’ve Done,” “When You Were Young,” and “Human.”
It’s also why the current world tour is going strong and selling tons of tickets. The catalogue of hits to draw from is getting to be quite ridiculous and Flowers knows how to command an audience with flash and flair. This will be a must-see show that people will be buzzing about long after the last notes of “Mr. Brightside” ring out.
The Killers bring the synth-jams to the Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land, located at 18111 Lexington Blvd., Sugar Land on Friday, January 26. Summer Moon and Amanda Brown open. Tickets start at $29.50. Doors open at 6:30 pm.
Best place to see the ATL in HTX
One half of the transcendent Altanta hip-hop act, OutKast, Big Boi brings his award-winning credentials and rapid-fire flow to Houston as part of his Daddy Fat Saxx tour, which has been drawing raves. It's not an overstatement to say that along with his longtime partner André 3000, the man known as Antawn André Patton changed the face of music, as part of OutKast.
First they ruled over urban radio stations with a string of untouchable hip-hop albums, then they ruled over the pop airwaves with Stankonia and Speakerboxx/The Love Below, the latter winning the Grammy for Album of the Year, the first time a hip-hop act achieved such a distinction.
Expect to hear the hits as well as a variety of tracks from Big Boi’s artistically accomplished solo albums, the latest being the pretty great Boomiverse.
Big Boi brings the ATL to Warehouse Live, located at 813 St Emanuel St., on Friday, January 26. Fatz Domino, Imani Jones, and The Cool Kids open. Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 day of show. Doors open at 8 pm.
Best local band spotlight
Local band Giant Kitty makes ferocious, feminist rock music. Think the Runaways mixed with riot grrl, and a dash of Elastica’s cheekiness and you will get Rampage, the quartet’s second album that they will celebrate with a record release party Friday, January 26, at House of Blues.
Giant Kitty is comprised of Cassandra Quirk (guitar) and Trinity Quirk (drums), Miriam Hakim (vocals), and Roger Medina (bass), all have varied socio-cultural backgrounds, an indication of the diverse worldview the group draws from, unleashing it in the form of three-minute manifestoes. Brash, bold and a helluva lot of fun, this is one of the early year’s best local releases. Don’t miss it.
Giant Kitty releases Rampage on the world this Friday, January 26 at The Bronze Peacock at House of Blues, located at 1204 Caroline St. Miears and Only Beasts will open. Tickets are $15. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Best night of killer indie rock
Back in 2005, few bands created more buzz than Wolf Parade. The Montreal act’s debut, Apologies to the Queen Mary, is a stone-cold classic, filled with angular guitar hooks, psych-tinged synth riffs and the one-two punch of top-tier songwriters Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug.
While each subsequent record has been worth a listen, the din surrounding the band has died down somewhat, largely owed to inter-band fighting and extended hiatuses so those two could focus on other music projects (Boeckner’s Operators and his one-off Divine Fits project with Spoon’s Britt Daniel are excellent). What keeps this band relevant is their live show, which puts that inter-band tension to good use and always makes for a fantastic night out. They are touring behind last year’s Cry Cry Cry.
Wolf Parade exorcise their indie-rock demons at White Oak Music Hall, 2915 N Main St., on Saturday, January 27. Acclaimed pop-punk band Charly Bliss opens. Tickets are $23.50 in advance plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.
Best show to hear funny accents, eh?
Houston is a city known for its Canadian ex-pats. Catch an Astros game at Minute Maid Park when the Blue Jays are in town for proof, as a sea of blue jerseys mixes almost evenly with orange. (And let's not get started on the crowd at The Maple Leaf Pub.)
Many of these same folks will descend on Warehouse Live as Newfoundland singer-songwriter Alan Doyle, frontman of the seminal east coast band Great Big Sea, will swing through town on his North American Come Out We Me tour. One thing is for sure, Canadians in the States turn out big for their musical heroes, and Doyle’s current tour has included sell-outs in Portland and Phoenix. It’ll be a bigger version of a good ol’ kitchen party, complete with fiddles, drums and possibly an accordion too.
Alan Doyle brings his east coast Canada hits to Warehouse Live, located at 813 St Emanuel St., on Sunday, January 28. Donovan Woods opens. Tickets start at $22. Doors open at 7 pm.