Is Houston a bad live music city?
The uglier side of local audiences reared its head again this weekend at the Raconteurs show at Revention Music Center with several complaints coming from crowd members on social media that accused others of being discourteous and loud during a show by a band that's known for being, well, loud.
What's even stranger is that the show was a no-phones space, meaning that the band's management required every ticket holder to place their cell phone in a lockable pouch, which only unlocked if the patron moved to a designated area. Maybe it was a case of everyone discovering the joys of no screen time and felt inclined to share their every waking thoughts with those around them.
Let's practice a little common courtesy, folks. A concert space should be like going to the movies — keep the speaking to a soft whisper and let people through if they are trying to get to their friends/significant others if they had to use the restroom or refill their beverages.
CultureMap's biggest, best, and most notable shows of the week are as follows:
CultureMap recommends: Mumford & Sons at Toyota Center
You can thank Mumford & Sons for the popularization of "whoa-oh-ohs" that have pervaded pop and rock music like an invasive species. Arcade Fire may have started the current trend on their debut album Funeral, but it was the London act that brought it to the mainstream with their huge first album Sigh No More that produced the inescapable singles, "Little Lion Man," and "The Cave," which mixed Arcade Fire's driving rhythms with furious acoustic folk strums. They rode those "whoa-oh-ohs" to international fame and celebrity wives (lead singer Marcus Mumford is married to actress Carey Mulligan).
Their latest is the experimental Delta, which seems to be less of the "whoa-oh-ohs" and has been seen as a critical misstep. Go figure. But this band has too many hit songs to discount and it will surely pack out the Toyota Center this Tuesday night.
Mumford and Sons perform at Toyota Center, located at 1510 Polk St., on Tuesday, October 8. Gang of Youths open. Tickets start at $29 plus service fees. Doors open at 6 pm.
Great Van Fleet at Smart Financial
Greta Van Fleet, the second coming of Led Zeppelin comes to Houston promoting the release of their second album, Anthem of the Peaceful Army. While universally panned for their output due to its die-hard allegiance to the House of Plant and Page, the Michigan based act found an audience early on with their Zep-aping debut From the Fires, landing on the covers of music magazines and even a slot on Saturday Night Live.
It could have been a case of young musicians playing to their influences, but Anthem... was more of the same. These guys have talent, to be sure, let's hope that they find their own sound as they grow as musicians.
Greta Van Fleet headlines Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land, located at 18111 Lexington Blvd. in Sugar Land, on Wednesday, October 9. Shannon and the Clams open. Tickets start at $39.50 plus fees. Show starts at 8 pm.
CultureMap show of the week: Billie Eilish at Toyota Center
Not since Nirvana have we seen an artist or group touch a cultural nerve like Los Angeles native Billie Eilish. Starting at a grassroots level, releasing singles sporadically, all produced by her brother in his bedroom, Eilish grew her audience through smart marketing in a digital sphere. Her sound incorporates dark elements and skittering pop beats, a mix of Nine Inch Nails, and Ariana Grande that sits comfortably on the Billboard Top 100 as it does on alternative radio.
Did we mention she's only 18 years old and she holds the record as the first artist born in the 2000s with a No. 1 song ("Bad Guy")? And that she forgoes any sense of sex appeal, wearing ultra baggy clothing to place the focus on her music? Celebrities and teenagers alike are flocking to her shows, she's selling out tours, defying gravity on Saturday Night Live in a clip that will go down in music history, and she has one of the biggest albums in recent memory with When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? What were you doing when you were 18?
Billie Eilish performs at Toyota Center, located at 1510 Polk St., on Thursday, October 10. Duckwrth opens. Tickets start at $39.50 plus service fees. Doors open at 6:30 pm.
Banks at HOB
Like James Blake, who played House of Blues last Sunday, Banks plies her trade in alternative pop and R&B with heavy emphasis on synths and manipulated vocals. Like Billie Eilish, the California native used the power of the internet to rise to fame, attracting pop, R&B, EDM, and indie fans alike, her first album, 2014's Goddess landing high on the Billboard charts. Her progressive pop adventures continue on the critically acclaimed third album, aptly named III, which features the killer dance-inflected first single, "Gimme."
Banks plays House of Blues, located at 1204 Caroline St., on Thursday, October 10. Kevin Garrett opens. Tickets start at $26.50 plus fees. Doors open at 8 pm.
Jon Pardi at White Oak Music Hall
Fast-rising country singer Jon Pardi rolls into Houston armed with a new album that includes some well known credits. First single from his new album Heartache Medication, "Don't Blame it on the Whiskey," features the songwriting talents of Eric Church and Miranda Lambert among other Nashville hitmakers.
The California native — it seems to be California week on Houston stages — made significant inroads with his second album, California Sunrise, which earned No. 1 status on country charts and No. 1 singles "Head Over Boots," "Dirt On My Boots" and "Heartache on the Dancefloor." Expect big things from Pardi in the future, who is now playing to mid-sized venues across the country.
Jon Pardi plays the White Oak Music Hall lawn, located at 2915 N. Main St., on Friday, October 11. Riley Green opens. Tickets start at $39.50 plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.
Judah and the Lion
Nashville band Judah and the Lion hit the mainstream in 2017 with the widely heard No. 1 alt-rock single "Take It All Back" before releasing this year's Pep Talks. The album's material is a classic look at the attempt of handling success through the viewpoint of lead singer Judah Akers. It also helps that the No. 2 alt-rock album features chanteuse du jour Kacey Musgraves. They're on a headlining tour following opening slots with Twenty One Pilots, Incubus, and Jimmy Eat World.
Judah and the Lion are at the Revention Music Center, located at 520 Texas Ave., on Friday, October 11. Tickets start at $35 plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.