Christmas came early for urban cowboys in Houston.
The one-time most famous country bar in the world and line dancing haven is making a comeback. Gilley's, first opened nearly 50 years ago in Pasadena. The nightspot and its owner, country singer Mickey Gilley, would catapult into the national consciousness with the hit John Travolta film, Urban Cowboy, released in 1980.
The venue will make a return for that movie's 40th anniversary in 2020 as a $130 million, 16-acre mixed-use development in fast-growing League City, that will include a hotel, amphitheater, and restaurants. It will be similar to another Gilley's entertainment complex in Dallas. And no Gilley's would be complete without a massive dance hall to partake in some boot-scootin' boogie.
Be on the look out for scheduled concerts at the new hot spot in the column. Until then, here are this week's biggest, best, and most notable shows of the week.
CultureMap show of the week: Megan Thee Stallion at White Oak Music Hall
Who's had a bigger year in music? Billie Eilish? Okay. Lizzo? Probably. But Houston's own Megan Thee Stallion is certainly up there as an artist that completely blew up in 2019. The "Hot Girl Summer" star and Texas Southern student blew up the charts and onto the national scene faster than James Harden puts up 60 points, earning widespread acclaim.
Yes, "Hot Girl Summer" might have been the catalyst with her 2019 album Fever the big payoff, but the woman born Megan Pete earned her stripes on the Houston freestyle scene, learning from all the "chopped and screwed" H-town artists that came before her. This one is sold out and no doubt is one one of the hottest tickets of the year.
Megan Thee Stallion play White Oak Music Hall, located at 2915 N. Main St., on Tuesday, December 3. Tickets are sold out. Doors open at 6:30 pm.
CultureMap recommends: Old 97's at Warehouse Live
One of the more popular regional acts makes another appearance in Houston this year and those who like lead singer Rhett Miller are in for a double dose. The band will perform a yuletide set, most likely drawing songs from its 2018 album, Love the Holidays.
The night will also feature a solo set from Miller and magician Casey Magic, which sounds more than interesting and bit bizarre. But we'll give the hardworking and hard touring Texas band the benefit of the doubt.
Old 97's perform at Warehouse Live, located at 813 Saint Emanuel St., on Wednesday, December 4. Rhett Miller plays a special acoustic set and Casey Magic opens. Tickets start at $25 plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.
Yacht at White Oak Music Hall
Los Angeles by way of Portland act electro-pop Yacht was on a roll creatively and commercially, gaining critical notices for 2015 album I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler when the usually smart group made a really dumb decision to promote a new song via a fake sex tape that blew up in their faces. While they always explored the interaction of music via our reliance on the digital sphere, the stunt came across as extremely insensitive and set the band's career trajectory back years.
After a few years off to regroup, the Yacht is back with Chain Tripping, a colder, less-fun album than their previous work, returning to LCD Soundsystem head honcho James Murphy's label, DFA Records. The fact that they are playing upstairs at White Oak when a few years ago would have easily played the larger downstairs space just shows how much of a hill they have to climb before winning back their fanbase. Whether they can forgive or forget remains to be seen, but surely this band has a lot of musical talent to make up the gap.
Yacht performs at White Oak Music Hall, located at 2915 N. Main St., on Thursday, December 5. Jennifer Vanilla opens. Tickets start at $13 plus fees. Doors open at 8 pm.
A$AP Ferg at House of Blues
A member of the similarly money-signed A$AP Mob, which included A$AP Rocky, the New York City-based A$AP Ferg has found success as his own voice outside of his original group. Moving past the Mob, Ferg released a series of tight and aggressive mix tapes, collaborating with a who's-who of hip-hop artists, including Snopp Dogg, Busta Rhymes, and Rick Ross.
His 2017 full-length, Still Striving, hit the Top 20 of the Billboard charts making him an equal with his former bandmate. After a series of guest appearances on other artists' tracks, his latest is this year's Floor Seats.
A$AP Ferg is at House of Blues, located at 1204 Caroline St., on Friday, December 6. Murda Beatz, Made in TYO open. Tickets start at $32.50 plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.
Kansas at Smart Financial Centre
The holidays are a good bet that classic rock acts will roll through the city and that job this year falls on the shoulders of Kansas (The Guess Who are also playing in The Woodlands Saturday night). The group rose to fame when too many bands named themselves after geographic locations (re: Chicago, Alabama, etc.).
Like bands of the time, they got big on a mix of hard rock and prog rock that fit with the psychedelic times, hitting their commercial peak with 1977s Point of Know Return, featuring single "Dust in the Wind." And again, like many classic rock acts of the time, they broke up and reformed and are now a staple on the nostalgia circuit but fans of the act will take pleasure in the fact the band will be playing their biggest album in fill on this tour.
Kansas performs at Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land, located at 18111 Lexington Blvd. in Sugar Land on Saturday, December 7. Tickets start at $44.50 plus fees. The show starts at 7:30 pm.
The Grand Ol' Christmas Show at House of Blues
Holiday shows are a dime a dozen each December, but here's one that actually does it for a good cause. The Grand Ol' Christmas Show is a concert-meets-variety show-meets play featuring some of the best talent in Texas, including locally raised Americana troubadour Robert Ellis and Blue Water Highway.
Starting in 2003, the annual Texas touring performance has helped raise over $100,000 for various charitable organizations, including the Brazoria County Youth Home, Agape in Action, The Brazosport Center for the Arts and Sciences, and Military Moms and Wives of Brazoria County. Part of this year's proceeds goes towards Habitat for Humanity.
The Grand Ol’ Christmas Show is at House of Blues, located at 1204 Caroline St., on Sunday, December 7. Murda Beatz, Made in TYO open. Tickets start at $32.50 plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.