After a relatively quiet week on the live music scene during the Thanksgiving holidays, a full slate of shows are on the calendar this week with some big names, buzz acts and those tapping into the nostalgia of decades gone by.
Best Show of the Week
One of the biggest pop stars in the world, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, aka Lady Gaga, returns to the city that served as the scene of one of her biggest triumphs. In February, Gaga held the attention of millions of people worldwide as she “jumped” from the roof of NRG Stadium to the field below to perform during halftime of Super Bowl LI. It may be easy to forget, but at the time, Gaga had been fighting her way back to the top of the pop stratosphere after the misstep of her Artpop album and left-field, but acclaimed duet record with seasoned troubadour Tony Bennett.
Her 13-minute halftime performance gave her career the boost she needed, firmly establishing her as an all-time pop artist, her sheer creativity on full display in terms of killer costumes and set-pieces with the pipes and sugary hooks to match. Expect more of the same at the Toyota Center on Sunday night as the late-2016 release Joanne world tour swings through town for an extended encore performance.
Come for the expertly produced hits that made her famous, that Top 40 radio still plays years later, including “Just Dance,” “Poker Face,” “Bad Romance,” “Born This Way,” and many more from her four No. 1 albums. Stay for the insane, over-the-top outfits and visuals that Gaga has made a staple throughout her career.
Lady Gaga performs at the Toyota Center on Sunday, December 3. Tickets start at $46. Doors open at 6:30 pm.
Best Show to See ‘90s Rock Heroes
There was a time in the mid-‘90s that Seattle band Candlebox was set to be one of the biggest rock acts in the world. Fairly and unfairly criticized for aping the best grunge acts, Candlebox shone as brightly, albeit briefly, as its namesake. Coming off over four million sales of its self-titled 1993 album that featured hit songs “You,” and “Far Behind,” the band – led by lead singer Kevin Martin and lead guitarist Peter Klett – then released Lucy in 1995, which failed to sell a fraction of their debut. The band continued to record and perform over the years, taking a six-year hiatus at the turn of the Millennium before reuniting in 2006.
While the group looks nothing like its original lineup – only Martin remains – you can be sure they will bust out all the old hits from a time when bands like Pearl Jam, Live and Sponge (remember them?) were ruling the airwaves. The band will hit town behind its Disappearing In Airports album and should be a good time for those itching to dust off their baggy pants, flannel shirts and wallet chains for the occasion.
Candlebox are at Proof Bar and Patio with American Fangs and To Whom It May on Sunday, December 3. Tickets start at $20. Doors open at 5 pm.
Best Show to Hear Killer Riffs from the UK
British power duo Royal Blood has the distinction of being one of the few bands from across the pond to make a sizable impact on rock radio since their debut album Out of the Black produced the similarly titled single along with “Figure It Out” back in 2014. They followed it up with the equally exciting and well-received single “Lights Out” and "I Only Lie When I Love You," from this year’s stellar How Did We Get So Dark? Fans of Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys, Muse and the heavier side of White Stripes will enjoy having their faces being melted off by the chugging riffs of guitarist Mike Kerr and pounding rhythms of Ben Thatcher.
Royal Blood plays Buzzfestivus with Highly Suspect and Sleeping With Sirens at House of Blues on Tuesday, December 5. Tickets are sold out but you can win them on the radio or get them on the resale market starting at $113. Doors open at 6:30 pm.
Best Show to See If You Live and Die By Pitchfork Reviews
If Morrissey and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys were ever to have a love child, the result might be The Drums lead-singer and songwriter Jonathan Pierce. Heralded as the best new hope for indie-rock upon the release of 2010's Summertime EP, the New York-based band followed it up with the critically acclaimed self-titled album and has been producing equally excellent records since, including this year's Abysmal Thoughts. Filled with Pierce's disaffected lyrics of generational malaise and catchy as hell, pop-laden post-punk mixed with '60s sounds, there might not be a group that speaks to the jaded worldview of its fan base as strongly as The Drums. Check out excellent singles "Let's Go Surfing," "Down By The Water," "Money" as evidence.
The Drums play the White Oak Music Hall (Downstairs) with Hoops on Wednesday, December 6. Tickets are $18 in advance. Doors open at 7:30 pm.
Other shows of note
Saturday, December 2
Fantastically talented German electro producer and DJ Boyz Noize will lay down what is sure to be an amazing set at Stereo Live with Brodinski. Tickets start at $10. Doors open at 9 pm.
Hard rockers Chevelle bring their gnarly radio-friendly tunes to Revention Music Hall with openers 10 Years. Tickets are available at $55. Doors open at 6:30 pm.
Wednesday, December 6
Alternative rock band Grizfolk plays at White Oak Music Hall (upstairs) as part of the Love Street Live showcase. The best part might be opener, Austin-based Walker Lukens, who has put out one of the best albums of the year with Tell It To The Judge, a multi-genre mash-up that recalls Beck jamming with Prince with a dash of Southern blues and doo wop. Tickets are only $8 in advance, $15 the day of the show. Doors open at 7:30 pm.
Music blog fave Wye Oak brings its unique indie rock to The Secret Group. Hailing from Baltimore, the duo fits in with that scene's ethereal, synth-driven sounds that fans of Beach House and Lower Dens will be sure to enjoy. Openers are Bayonne. Tickets are $15 in advance. Show starts at 8 pm.
Thursday, December 7
The Monster Energy Outbreak Tour serves up its next edition of up-and-coming music groups at House of Blues. Previous acts to play these tours include Kendrick Lamar, Chainsmokers, and DNCE. Waterparks, As It Is, Chapel and Sleep On It will showcase at the event. Tickets are $18.50. Doors open at 5:30 pm.