Live Music Now
There's a cold front on the show calendar the week ahead of Labor Day, so let's start off with an incident that has a lot of local music fans hot.
Massive hometown rap star Travis Scott made a special guest appearance at James Harden's charity concert on Friday, August 24, to a Revention Music Center full of young fans. Despite photographers being told by the venue they could shoot the show, Scott wasn't having any of it, threatening assault on and physically shoving the cameras of professional photographers in the photo pit.
One video posted on Instagram by local radio station 93.7 The Box shows Scott winding up to kick one photographer before he stops himself, instead deciding to push the likely expensive gear down from their face. Shortly after that, someone motions from the stage for photographers to immediately clear out, whether for their own safety or at the request of Scott's handlers (maybe both).
Scott's move toward the dark side is reminiscent of a late-2017 incident when Queen of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme kicked the camera into the face of a working photographer, which drew international press and general condemnation from everyone, and led Homme to publicly apologize for his behavior.
It's one thing to not want photographers in the pit. That's something that can be sorted out ahead of time by publicists and managers. And many shows place a song limit on photographers before they have to stop shooting. But sources told CultureMap that venue management placed no such limitations on photographers that night.
Hopefully, the artists at the following shows will have a little more professional courtesy. CultureMap's biggest, best, and most notable shows of the week are as follows:
CultureMap show of the week: The Backstreet Boys at Toyota Center
Backstreet's back, alright! Long after the boy band heyday, one of the biggest acts of the Total Request Live era, the Backstreet Boys, is still going strong and selling out arenas with now-middle aged (mostly) female fans with extra money to blow. Their fantasy crushes will no doubt croon and grind to their biggest hits — and there were plenty of them. To put it in perspective, the 1999 record by Nick, Brian, A.J., Kevin, and Howie, Millennium, sold more than 30 million copies worldwide on the strength of singles "I Want It That Way," "Larger Than Life," and "Show Me the Meaning of Lonely."
While tastes quickly faded many other imitators into pop culture oblivion, the Boys stuck with it, kept releasing music, mounting big-scale tours. Amazingly, they hit No. 1 in the U.S. for the first time in 20 years with this year's DNA. Husbands and boyfriends, be ready to partake in some big, cheesy fun. You never knew the mother of your children could scream so loud.
The Backstreet Boys are back at Toyota Center, located at 1510 Polk St., on Saturday, August 31. Tickets start at $45, plus service fees. Doors open at 7 pm.
Neon Indian at WOMH
Denton, Texas native, Alan Palomo aka Neon Indian has been steadily building a fanbase in Houston with his icy cool synth-pop. He'll headline the ¡Eso Es! Concert tour, which show organizers describe as "acts that represent a mix of Latinx artists making waves both regionally and nationally."
While Neon Indian hasn't put out anything since 2015's critically acclaimed Vega Intl. Nigh School, he makes frequent stops in the Bayou City to packed audiences. He'll be joined by the equally impressive Los Angeles artist Empress Of, whose 2018 album, Us, was an enjoyable slice of Robyn-esque electro-pop. Selena fans will want to check out her tribute act with the spot on name, Bidi Bidi Banda.
Neon Indian headlines the ¡Eso Es! Concert line-up at White Oak Music Hall, located at 2915 N. Main St., on Thursday, August 29. Empress Of, La Goony Changa, Tickets start at $25.50, plus fees. Doors open at 6 pm.
Rascal Flatts at Smart Financial
Let's let the official bio from Rascal Flatts do the talking: "One band. Ten albums. Sixteen Number One hits. Over 23 million records and 10 million tickets sold." Not too shabby for a country act from Columbus, Ohio. The trio formed in the late-'90s and immediately rose up the country charts upon their 2000 self-titled debut, becoming the biggest selling country act of the mid-aughts with uncanny pop crossover skills. They are huge in Houston too, having played to a massive RodeoHouston audience in 2018. Expect to hear the hits, "I'm Movin' On," "These Days," and "Bless the Broken Road."
Rascal Flatts play Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land, located at 18111 Lexington Blvd. in Sugar Land on Thursday, August 29. Jimmie Allen will play as well. Tickets start at $35.50, plus fees. The show starts at 8 pm.
DJ Pauly D and Afrojack
Long weekends are for raving, apparently, as local EDM venue Stereo Live opens its doors for two high-profile shows, one from a reality TV star and the other from an actually great DJ. DJ Pauly D made his name as a highly accessorized Italian-American kid on the inexplicably huge MTV show Jersey Shore. He flipped that fame into an inexplicably successful DJ career, keeping those party nights going and hair spray manufacturers in business. He'll take to the stage on Friday night.
Meanwhile, Danish producer Afrojack aka Nick van de Wall is regularly named by EDM publications as one of the best live performers in the game, plying his trade in house anthems that regularly fill clubs and festivals across the globe. He'll play Sunday night and, for our money, is the better pick of the two, if you like to get sweaty to big beats and laser light shows.
DJ Pauly D and Afrojack are at Stereo Live, located at 6400 Richmond Ave., on Friday, August 30, and Sunday, September 1, respectively. Tickets for Pauly D start at $15 and Afrojack starts at $40. Doors open at 10 pm for both shows.