UPDATE: All RodeoHouston concerts have been canceled following the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo announcement on Wednesday, March 11.
The big news of the week revolves around the cancellation of this year’s South By Southwest Festival, the reverberations of Austin mayor Steve Adler’s decision being felt across the music world. California’s Coachella Festival, one of the biggest music gatherings in the world, might follow suit.
One couldn’t help but feel that RodeoHouston, not even through its first week, might be next, seeing as each night brings 50 to 75 thousand people together in the enclosed NRG Stadium. But we Houstonians are made of sturdier stuff and Saturday brought news from RodeoHouston officials that the show would go on in statement:
At this time, the 2020 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is continuing as planned, with additional precautionary measures in place, which can be found on our Health Tips webpage.
With the news of the cancelation of the SXSW Festival, many questions have arisen regarding the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. According to Austin health officials, cancelation was partially due to the travel of international guests. While both the Rodeo and SXSW are musical events, the attendees differ significantly. The Rodeo is predominantly a local event, with 73 percent of the 2019 Rodeo visitors residing in the greater Houston area, 94 percent in Texas, and 99 percent in the U.S. In contrast, 26 percent of the 2019 SXSW attendees were international.
We are continuing to monitor the situation and collaborate daily with Harris County and City of Houston officials, and the Houston Health Department.
In other words, kids need their college scholarships, there’s BBQ, funnel cake and fried Oreos to be eaten, and Lizzo is taking the stage on Friday. Giddy up!
To cap off a week of over-the-top news, The Strokes, a band that probably played one of the best shows this city ever witnessed at the old Bayou Place (now Revention Music Center) back in January 2002, announced they would make a long-awaited return to Houston (well, Sugar Land) in May.
RodeoHouston and several other shows are still going on as scheduled in CultureMap’s shows of the week:
CultureMap show(s) of the week: RodeoHouston at NRG Stadium
K-Pop takes over NRG on Tuesday, March 10 as NCT 127 makes their first appearance at RodeoHouston. While not as huge as fellow South Korean act, BTS, the seven-member boy band is making big waves on the American shore Expect this show to be loud with Spring Break in full effect for many local school districts.
“Don’t Go City On Me” country singer Kane Brown, who’s star practically rose on the RodeoHouston’s star-shaped stage makes his second appearance on Wednesday, March 11 with five Top Five country singles under his belt.
Country will get another showcase with Huntsville, Texas native and former bull rider Cody Johnson on Thursday, March 12, his fourth appearance in a row. He’ll likely break out his string of hits, “On My Way to You,” “With You I Am,” “Dear Rodeo,” “Wild as You,” and “Ride With Me.”
The hometown artist who sold out her RodeoHouston debut in seven minutes, Lizzo, brings the “Juice” on Friday, March 13, one of the few artists on the planet right now that can bring teenagers and middle aged women together. And no wonder — the Alief Elsik High School and University of Houston music student has had the biggest year of any artist (other than Billie Eilish) with multiple Grammy wins behind the hit songs, “Truth Hurts,” “Good as Hell,” and “Water Me.” This might be the RodeoHouston show of the season.
Things will get back on the country track with back-to-back-to-back shows, starting with throwback boots and saddles singer Jon Pardi making his RodeoHouston debut on Saturday, March 14. Expect to hear No. 1 country hits, “Head Over Boots” and “Dirt on My Boots” (the man really likes his boots).
Affable star Dierks Bentley, who has had 11 No. 1 country hits such as “What Was I Thinkin’” and “The Mountain,” will play his eighth RodeoHouston set on Sunday, March 15. And the ever great, ageless wonder Keith Urban will kick it up a notch with a Monday, March 16 set, also his eighth appearance.
RodeoHouston starts runs through Sunday, March 22. Tickets are available at various prices.
CultureMap recommends: Kamasi Washington at House of Blues
Like the best jazz artists, Los Angeles-based Kamasi Washington brings a little danger to the genre. The new jazz bandleader is at the forefront of the genre, mixing his witchy brew with soul, hip-hip, funk, and psychedelia. He’s worked with a who’s-who of artists, including Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Raphael Saddiq, Broken Bells, and Flying Lotus. For a genre that doesn’t get a lot of love from indie and hip-hop kids, Washington is an exception. His latest is 2018’s Heaven & Earth.
Kamasi Washington is at House of Blues, located at 1204 Caroline St., on Wednesday, March 11. Tickets start at $30 plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.
Free Nationals at House of Blues
Speaking of acts that performed with great artists, the Free Nationals are best known for their work with Anderson .Paak. With .Paak’s star on the rise, the California based act spread their wings and set out on their own with this year’s self-titled debut, which featured guest turns by Kali Uchis and the late Mac Miller. This intimate show at House of Blues’ Bronze Peacock appears to be sold out, but it would be worth seeking out resale tickets to see this talented quartet.
The Free Nationals play the Bronze Peacock at House of Blues, located at 1204 Caroline St., on Thursday, March 12. Tickets start at $17 plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.
Rüfüs Du Sol at Revention
Rüfüs Du Sol is part of the wave of Australian dance-influenced acts that have found success in North America (see Tame Impala, Cut Copy, Empire of the Sun). Their smooth and experimental house-driven sound will get crowds moving, evidenced by hits “You Were Right,” “Like an Animal,” and Innerbloom.” Their latest is the 2018 album, Solace.
Rufus Du Sol performs at Revention Music Center, located at 520 Texas Ave., on Friday, March 13. Tickets start at $35 plus fees. Doors open at 8 pm.
Ginuwine at Arena Theatre
A huge star in the ’90s, Ginuwine signaled a shift in R&B in the latter half of the decade, teaming up with a young producer, Timbaland, rocketing to No. 1 with “Pony,” a slinky, funky, and sexy single that’s still a wedding reception staple. He went on to release several platinum selling albums and singles, including “Tell Me Do U Wanna,” and “Same Ol’ G.” Justin Timberlake would follow his formula and become a superstar with Timbaland in the early 2000s.
Ginuwine is at Arena Theatre, located at 7326 Southwest Fwy, on Saturday, March 14. Dru Hill, Avant, and H-Town also appear. Tickets start at $99.50 plus fees. Show starts at 8 pm.
Speaking of The Strokes, the man to open for them at that 2002 show was Har Mar Superstar aka Sean Tillmann, who is back in Houston this week as a member of Heart Bones alongside Sabrina Ellia (of great indie act A Giant Dog). If it’s anything like his other persona, this show will be unpredictable, heavy on synths and innuendo, a lot of fun. Their latest is this year's Hot Dish. Unfortunately, due to the cancellation of SXSW this week, The Bad Man will not be opening.
Heart Bones and The Bad Man play White Oak Music Hall, located at 2915 N. Main St., on Sunday, March 15. Tickets start at $15 plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.
Keane at House of Blues
When British quartet Keane first came onto the scene in the early-2000s with their piano-driven anthemic alt-rock, they were both blessed and cursed by Coldplay comparisons. But where Chris Martin and company veered into widescreen, international influences, the Tom Chaplin-led band stayed true to earnest, heartstring tugging, torch songs.
To put their popularity across the pond into perspective, their debut, Hopes and Fears, beat out (a pre-controversial) Morrissey to the top spot on the UK charts and became the ninth-best selling album in England in the 2000s. And while the Coldplay comparisons hurt them later on in the U.S., they plugged away and are back behind their best album in years, 2019’s Cause and Effect.
Keane is at House of Blues, located at 1204 Caroline St., on Monday, March 16. Saint Sister opens. Tickets start at $49.50 plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm