The sun sets on country music in Houston for the time being with RodeoHouston wrapping up on Sunday, March 18 with a closing set from Garth Brooks. That gives way to an amazing line-up of pop, alternative, hip-hop, and indie shows, strengthened by a SXSW run-off. The quality of offerings are top-notch, and quantity almost irresistible to anyone with even a passing interest in live music. Here are the notable shows coming up.
RodeoHouston's last stand
If there was a belt buckle for best three-show run at RodeoHouston, the closing weekend of the 2018 edition surely would be in the lead, as it goes out with a bang with three of the biggest country performers in the world. Friday, March 16 will see a hotter-than-Hades Chris Stapleton play to what will be close to a sold-out audience with standing room only tickets left. Saturday, March 17 will bring Brad Paisley and his 24 No. 1 hits to the Stars Over Texas stage. And Garth Brooks will return to close out RodeoHouston on Sunday, March 18. Whether he’ll do a repeat performance of his acclaimed opening set a few weeks ago or whether he’ll mix his setlist up, it’s hard to think anyone will leave disappointed, looking forward to what 2019 will bring.
RodeoHouston weekday show times are 6:45 pm with performers going on-stage at 8:45 pm, and 3:45 pm for Saturday and Sunday shows with performers taking the stage at 5:45 pm. Tickets are available through the RodeoHouston website or the resale market. RodeoHouston takes place at NRG Stadium, located on NRG Parkway.
A show for music fans who love to live dangerously (or really bad soda)
If you’re a fan of Faygo soda or odes to the magic of magnets (1.54 - trust me on this), or if you’re a social anthropologist who might be curious as to what a gathering of official FBI gang-members might look like, head down to San Leon Friday for a gathering of the Juggalos and witness the sh**show that will be the Insane Clown Posse live in concert. FYI, Faygo has a cotton candy flavor. You’re welcome.
Insane Clown Posse perform with Attila at 18th Street Pier, 101 18th St., San Leon, TX, as part of SlamFest on Friday, March 16. Lil Toenail, OUIJA, Sylar, LYTE open. Tickets are $27.99 plus fees. Show starts at 8 pm.
Best show of the week
Not sure what we did to deserve this line-up of two acts that could easily headline their own arena show on the same bill, but it means Houston has done something worthy for the music gods to take notice. Kiwi superstar Lorde returns after her ill-fated nixed appearance at last year’s Free Press Summer Fest at the current pinnacle of her pop powers following the release of the exceptional best of 2017 chart-topper Melodrama. She comes to town with one of the best live hip-hop duos as an opener, Run The Jewels, who proved their prowess to Houston music fans twice in the last 15 months with appearances at Day For Night 2016 and a headlining set at Revention Music Center late last year.
Lorde and Run The Jewels perform at the Toyota Center, 1510 Polk St., on Monday, March 19. Tove Stryke opens. Tickets are $39.50-$99.50 plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.
Best chance to dance away Harvey memories
Fantastic indie-electro duo Sylvan Esso, comprised of singer Amelia Meath and producer Nick Sanborn, were set to play a highly anticipated show back in September before Hurricane Harvey had other plans. Thankfully, they rescheduled, giving all of those fans who lived through the torrential downpour and floods a chance to dance those negative memories away. The band has been rightfully blowing up for their catchy-as-all-get-out mix of beats and melody showcased on their two stellar albums, their 2014 self-titled offering and last year’s What Now. They make the first of two appearances in Houston at an intimate White Oak show on Monday, followed by a slot at In Bloom Festival. They’ll be sweaty, danceable fun.
Sylvan Esso performs at White Oak Music Hall, located at 2915 N. Main St., on Monday, March 19. Suzi Analogue opens. The show is sold out but tickets are available on the resale market. Doors open at 7 pm.
Closest to seeing The Strokes live
For those fortunate enough to see The Strokes on their first headlining U.S. tour at what is now Revention Center back in 2002, it was a revolutionary performance that few of those in attendance have yet to forget. After years of diminishing output, members of that legendary NYC band went their separate ways, working on different projects. Guitarist Albert Hammond Jr.'s music sticks closest to the oft-untouchable source material, the recently released Francis Trouble as close to peak Strokes as anything that has come before, which is code for pretty dang awesome. This show, with tickets at less than $20, is definitely worth checking out.
Albert Hammond Jr. performs at White Oak Music Hall, located at 2915 N. Main St., on Tuesday, March 20. Hinds opens. Tickets are $16 plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.
Return of an emo icon
Emo-rock fans will be gathering to commune with one of their heroes as Dashboard Confessional is back after a long hiatus. Frontman Chris Carrabba gained fame in the early aughts for his irrepressible good looks and heart-on-sleeve lyrics set to an acoustic soundtrack. To give a sense of his sway over mainstream audiences, his Christian music background made it cool for Jesus loving kids to wear Hot Topic, a pretty impressive feat. For dudes whose girlfriends love this band, expect a lot of singalongs and pining over Carrabba. Fans are still extremely passionate about this band, despite the ho-hum 2018 return album, Crooked Shadows.
Dashboard Confessional pours their heart out at House of Blues, located at 1204 Caroline St., on Tuesday, March 20. Beach Slang opens. Tickets start at $33.60 plus fees. Doors open at 5:30 pm.
Best chance to see a bonifide MTV star
Pat Benatar is proof that a couple of big hits are all an artist needs to build a career on as she is going strong after nearly four decades. Few female artists were bigger than Benatar in the '80s. She capitalized on a then-new music channel, MTV, to rocket to stardom through the relatively new art form of videos. Her hits “Heartbreaker,” “Hit Me with Your Best Shot,” “Love is a Battlefield,” and “We Belong” made her a superstar. She married her guitarist Neil “Spyder” Giraldo, architect of her biggest songs, and they are now billed on this special acoustic tour that will roll through Sugar Land.
Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo at Smart Financial Center, located at 18111 Lexington Blvd., in Sugar Land, TX, on Wednesday, March 21. Tickets start at $59.50. The show starts at 8 pm.