Concert picks of the week: Patti LaBelle, The Wailers, Between the Buried and Me
Houstonians are fortunate to live in a city that attracts so many stars to perform in its many state-of-the-art venues. Even “A-List” superstars have spoiled us with the frequency with which they bring top concerts to town. It’s rare, however, to get the opportunity to see true musical legends. This weekend locals can catch two. One is the second lady of soul, making way only for the great Aretha Franklin. The other was the backing band to the world’s greatest reggae prophet ever. See them both this weekend and give yourself an “A” on your popular music history homework for this week.
Patti LaBelle at H'Town’s Arena Theatre 8:00 p.m.
Whose face is it that comes to mind when thinking about the ultimate song diva? Galleries of beautiful faces ranging from Barbara Streisand to Shakira flow across the cerebellum, but few have ever made the title as elegant as Patti Labelle.
Ever since her first Philadelphia girl group, The Bluebelles, took their first single, “I Sold My Heart to the Junkman” all the way to the Apollo Theater in 1962, LaBelle has been the epitome of soulful, feminine grace on stage. She was never an overpowering radio juggernaut like Whitney Houston, Madonna or Mariah Carey, but she always was able to reappear as a hit-maker in some new, glamorous form.
In the '70s she took her band LaBelle to the top of the charts with the funky, dramatic soul of “Lady Marmalade.” In the mid-80s she returned as a pop balladeer, dueting with Doobie Brother Michael McDonald on No. 1 hit “On My Own.” More recently LaBelle has focused on more sacred tunes.
Her last album, The Gospel According to Patti LaBelle featured her surrounded by an all-star cast of Kanye West, Mary Mary and Consequence for the single, “Anything.” Other contributors to the album were CeCe Winans, Wynonna Judd and Houston’s own Yolanda Adams.
LaBelle may not be the diva you immediately remember. But after seeing her landmark show, she won’t be one you easily forget.
The Wailers at House of Blues 8:30 p.m.
Whether it was your dorm room, your car or doing laundry on the weekend, nearly all of us have passionately belted out the lyrics to a Bob Marley & The Wailers classic as if we had grown dreads and been possessed by the great Rastafarian himself.
Unfortunately Bob Marley passed long ago, but the opportunity to sing “Three Little Birds” or “Buffalo Soldier” with The Wailers is still an attainable dream. Bassist Aston “Family Man” Barrett, the leader of the latest formation of The Wailers, has been slapping strings on these songs since Marley recorded them with his famed backing back in the '70s and '80s.
This is as close as one gets to jamming with reggae royalty.
Between the Buried and Me at The Meridian 8 p.m.
Hailing from Raleigh, N.C., Between the Buried and Me are the thinking man’s heavy metal band, which immediately makes them more intriguing than your everyday, run-of-the-mill headbangers.
The band name is not derived from some random combination of descriptive word that cause revulsion (anybody else ever heard of the band Throbbing Gristle?), but instead is taken from a contemplative lyric by the very mellow Counting Crows.
Past grindcore favorites from its discography range from references to David Lynch’s “Mulholland Falls” (“Camilla Rhodes”) to a cover of Motley Crue’s “Kickstart My Heart,” and Pink Floyd’s “Us & Them.” It appears the influence of those past greats took hold.
Between the Buried and Me seems to be finding its own, cryptic voice and gear-crunching style on a new album of originals, The Great Misdirect.