Concert Picks of the Week: Everclear, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Anvil
Did you hear that? It's the crunch of guitar chords, the thump of drums and the deafening feedback that signals the end of the holiday concert hiatus. Your favorite bands are beginning to hit the road for 2010, which means weekends in Houston will once again be filled with amplified nightlife. Consider this week the unofficial kick-off party by catching one of these can’t miss shows.
Everclear, 8:30 p.m. at House of Blues
A lot has changed for Portland, Oregon band Everclear since it rode the grunge wave out of the Northwest in the early '90s. Bassist Craig Montoya and drummer Greg Eklund both left the band back in 2003, about the same time that Capitol Records gave the band the pink slip. The one constant is lead singer Art Alexakis who continues to shine as the white trash poet laureate of our times. Just like past hits “Father of Mine,” and “I Will Buy You a New Life,” his songs continue to illustrate and examine the lessons learned from a stunted youth, dysfunctional family and the hopes that he can do better by his kids than his parents did by him. Where Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain howled in pain over a similar upbringing, Alexakis’ lyrical therapy is more dry humor and wit. It’s seems to be the right treatment. At age 47, he has recast the entire band and is working on his first album in four years. With any luck, he might mix a free live preview of new material in with some of the stripped-down arrangements of past favorites created for last year’s In a Different Light acoustic compilation. Tickets $15-$35.
Ray Wylie Hubbard, 7:00 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. at McGonigel’s Mucky Duck
He was born across the border in Oklahoma, but Ray Wylie Hubbard long ago earned his status as honorary Texas singer-songwriter when he penned “Up Against The Wall, Redneck Mother” back in 1973. After releasing the anthem, “Screw You, We’re From Texas,” seven years ago he probably could have ran for governor. But unlike peer Kinky Friedman, Hubbard is no politician. He’s prefers the life of a traveling troubadour. Over the last four decades Hubbard has brought his eclectic mix of electric blues, alt-country and confessional folk to just about every club, roadhouse and pool hall between the high plains and the gulf. He reached a songwriting peak in the last decade with a series of albums ranging from ornery blues (2003’s Growl) to swamp boogie (2006’s Snake Farm). His latest, A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There is No C) might be his greatest work of good vs. evil storytelling yet. Tickets $20.
Anvil, 8 p.m. at House of Blues
Don’t blame Anvil lead singer/guitarist Steve “Lips” Kudlow if all have not heard of the Canadian heavy metal outfit. He has screamed his throat hoarse for nearly 20 years trying to get the word out. But up until 2008, they were still the hardest working headbangers in show business that America had never heard of. That all changed when screenwriter Sacha Gervasi created the documentary, Anvil: The Story of Anvil, detailing the band’s not-so-meteoric rise. The film was an indie sensation and the band finally achieved stardom on the silver screen. Since then the band has opened for AC/DC and appeared on late night television, but this current tour is a chance for them to become the metal gods Kudlow always knew they would be. Tickets $15-$50.