We called last week the official kick-off of the spring music season, and this week only goes to back that assessment up with a dozen great shows throughout the city.
It also marks the return of Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion to big concert shows, meaning it's prime time to take in an outdoor show before the heat and humidity return to the Houston area.
No matter what show (or shows) you pick, you can't go wrong, with the concert calendar looking like a mighty fine festival lineup. (If only we still had one of those in Houston in the spring.)
CultureMap's biggest, best, and most notable shows of the week are as follows:
Shovels & Rope at HOB
Fans of the singer-songwriter genre will want to turn up to the House of Blues this Tuesday. South Carolina duo Shovels and Rope have one of the best albums of the year in By Blood, incorporating country, bluegrass, blues, and indie rock into a beautiful mix incorporating rock textures. This is a band to watch. They'll be joined by the acclaimed folk rocker Frank Turner, whose political incisiveness and strong sense of melody liken him to a Billy Bragg (even if they don't share the same views).
Shovels & Rope is at House of Blues, located at 1204 Caroline St., on Tuesday, April 23. Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls, Indianola open. Tickets start at $30 plus fees. House of Blues is currently running a buy one, get one free deal, so take a friend. Doors open at 7 pm.
CultureMap Show of the Week: Snoop Dogg
Fo' shizzle, this show is going to be hype, as Snoop Dogg celebrates 25 years of the seminal West Coast rap album Doggystyle. That album, buoyed by Dr. Dre's production, spawned the hits "Gin and Juice," "Murder Was the Case," and "Doggy Dog World," all of which would make Snoop Dogg a superstar.
In that quarter-century, Snoop has become one of rap's most visible hitmakers, his stoned drawl carrying countless hits and TV shows with convicted felon chefs. This tour features his entourage of E-40, Too Short, DJ Quick, and more. The Smart Financial Centre is about to get hazy, y'all.
Snoop Dogg is at Smart Financial Centre, located at 18111 Lexington Blvd. in Sugar Land, on Thursday, April 25. Tickets start at $39.50 plus fees. Show starts at 8 pm.
10,000 Maniacs at Heights Theater
While this may not be the band fronted by the great Natalie Merchant, it is the same band that wrote tons of hits in the '90s that captured the attention of millions. The band soldiered on after Merchant went solo in 1993, now joined by Mary Ramsey. Their last studio release is 2015's Twice Told Tales, but they have been touring in support of two live albums, so expect to hear many of those greatest hits such as "These Are Days," "Trouble Me," and "Because the Night."
10,000 Maniacs headline the Heights Theater, located at 339 W 19th St., on Thursday, April 25. Nathan Quick opens. Tickets are $30 plus a $7 service charge. Doors open at 7 pm.
CultureMap Recommends, Part 1: Leon Bridges
Make no misktake, Leon Bridges is really good at what he does. Bridges faced some unwarranted blowback when RodeoHouston booked him to perform on Black Heritage Day in 2018. Critics said he wasn't relevant enough, that his music spoke more to white audiences more than African Americans.
What those critics didn't take into account is how great Bridges' output is. Last year's Good Thing masters his '60s retro sound and ups the pop factor, perfecting his sound. It's made him a star with him appearing in ads for Gap and Sonos. The first big show of the season at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion will be a doozy.
Leon Bridges is at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, located at 2005 Lake Robbins Dr. in The Woodlands, on Friday, April 26. Jess Glynne opens. Tickets start at $29.50 plus fees. Gates open at 6:30 pm.
CultureMap recommends, Part 2: Chvrches
Very few bands in the world make better synth-pop than the Scottish trio Chvrches (pronounced Churches). Fronted by the charismatically bold Lauren Mayberry, Chvrches bursted into the consciousness of music fans worldwide with the excellent debut The Bones of What You Believe, full of heartfelt synth lines, and Mayberry's romantic lyrics that immediately felt timeless.
Their latest, Love is Dead, veers toward pop more than any of their previous work, but manages to reach the heights of the band's greatest work. Another strong female voice will open for them in the form of Los Angeles band Cherry Glazzer and its frontwoman, Clementine Creevy, which just released one of the best albums of 2019 in Stuffed and Ready.
Chvrches play at White Oak Music Hall, located at 2915 N. Main St., on Friday, April 26. Cherry Glazzer open. Tickets start at $34 plus fees. Gates open at 6 pm.
Liz Phair at Heights Theater
One of the icons of alternative music, Liz Phair, broke down the gates of the boys club that was the grunge era when she released the 1993 masterpiece Exile in Guyville, an unabashedly sexual and confrontational work that paved the way for many successful female performers today. While her output following that high watermark has been spotty, Phair still commands attention on the live stage, and seeing her at the intimate Heights Theater is a must-see for any '90s alt-rock fan.
Liz Phair is at the Heights Theater, located at 339 W 19th St., on Saturday, April 27. Tickets are $32 plus a $7 service charge. Doors open at 7 pm.
Erykah Badu at Arena Theatre
The artistic queen of hip-hop, soul, and R&B, Erykah Badu, returns to Houston to give us a helping of creative beauty. Badu hasn't put out much since 2010's New Amerykah, Pt. 2: Return of the Ankh, but that doesn't mean to sleep on this show.
One of the most creative performers of our times, commands our attention and delivers on many levels, with hits stretching all the way back to 1997's Baduizm. She's informed many of the biggest acts today in terms of her influential vision. You know when Outkast's Andre 3000 sings to Ms. Jackson "Me and your daughter got a special thing going on?" in the song of the same name? That's about Badu.
Erykah Badu is at Arena Theatre, located at 7326 Southwest Fwy., on Saturday, April 27. Tickets start at $99.50 plus fees. Show starts at 8:30 pm.