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12 hottest concerts to catch in Houston, from John Mayer to Bon Jovi

12 hottest concerts to catch in Houston, from John Mayer to Bon Jovi

John Mayer
John Mayer returns to Houston with a show at the Toyota Center on Saturday, April 23. Photo by Mark Seliger
Mt. Joy
Mt. Joy headlines the Karbach Love Street Music Festival on Saturday, April 16. Photo courtesy of Mt. Joy
Wolf Alice
U.K. No. 1 alternative act Wolf Alice plants their flag at House of Blues on Saturday, April 16. Jordan Hemingway
Billy Strings
Singer-songwriter Billy Strings is at 713 Music Hall on Thursday, April 21. Photo courtesy of Billy Strings/Facebook
Bon Jovi
Classic rock icons Bon Jovi are at the Toyota Center on Tuesday, April 26. Courtesy photo
Cut Copy
Australian electro-indie act Cut Copy returns to White Oak Music Hall on Tuesday, April 26. Photo courtesy of Cut Copy
My Morning Jacket
My Morning Jacket plays the White Oak Music Hall lawn on Wednesday, April 27. Photo courtesy of My Morning Jacket
Death Cab for Cutie
Indie mopesters Death Cab for Cutie play 713 Music Hall on Thursday, April 28. Eliot Lee Hazel
PUP band
Toronto's punk stars PUP play House of Blues on Thursday, April 28. Vanessa Heins
Deftones
Alt-metal stalwarts Deftones finally make it to the White Oak Music Hall lawn on Saturday, April 30. Photo by Frank Maddocks
Tori Amos
Singer-songwriter Tori Amos performs at Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land on Saturday, April 30. Tori Amos/Facebook
Snoh Aalegra
Grammy-nominated R&B singer Snoh Aalegra appears at Bayou Music Center on Saturday, April 30. Photo courtesy of Snoh Aalegra
John Mayer
Mt. Joy
Wolf Alice
Billy Strings
Bon Jovi
Cut Copy
My Morning Jacket
Death Cab for Cutie
PUP band
Deftones
Tori Amos
Snoh Aalegra

In a game of musical chairs, this might be the most fertile time for live music fans in Houston.

After nearly two years of no tours, no concerts, no nothing, artists and musicians are back on the road in full force, many with new albums and projects released when we were all locked up at home.

While it's a wondrous thing to have venues full again, it also makes for hard choices for the ticket-buying public. Simply look at the calendar for the rest of April and it's a murderer's row of fantastic acts and events that deserve your hard-earned dollars and attention.

CultureMap is here to share the best and most notable shows to help you narrow down those calendars. Here's what's happening in the weeks ahead in concert halls across the Greater Houston area. 

Karbach Love Street Music Festival
Saturday, April 16
Karbach Biergarten, 2032 Karbach St.

Quickly establishing itself as one of the more fun annual musical events, the Karbach Love Street Music Festival is back with more beer-fueled antics. This year's edition is headlined by the established Los Angeles-based indie band, Mt. Joy, alongside NYC alt-rock stalwarts Living Colour, and Austin indie act Moving Panoramas.

Of course, there will be a variety of suds to sip on from the Karbach taps, including the newly released, perfect-for-warm-temps, Love Street Citrus. Pro tip: the VIP tickets are pricey but you get three beers and fantastic elevated seating with A/C vents set to high.

Tickets start at $40 plus fees. Doors open at 3 pm.

CultureMap Recommends: Wolf Alice with Charlie Hickey
Saturday, April 16
House of Blues, 1406 Caroline St.

U.K. alt-rock act Wolf Alice is a story of a young group progressively getting better as the years pass. After two absolute banger full-lengths, 2015's My Love Is Cool and 2017's Mercury Music Prize-winning (best British album of the year) Visions of a Life, the quartet fronted by multi-dimensional singer-guitarist Ellie Rowsell hit the big time in their native country.

They reached the top of the pop charts, debuting at No. 1 with 2021's Blue Weekend, an anthemic collection perfected during the pandemic, elevating the band's ferocious, melodic, quiet-loud attack.

The next in line in a decades-long history of fantastic British guitar-based bands, Wolf Alice is criminally underrated on this side of the pond, all the while headlining festivals in Europe.

In other words, for those who know them in the U.S., this Houston headline gig has the chance to go down as one of those you tell your friends you attended years later. They are that good.

Tickets start at $30 plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.

Billy Strings
Thursday, April 21
713 Music Hall, 401 Franklin St. Suite 1600

Americana-roots influenced Billy Strings is seeing his star rise at an astronomical rate, having just played a sold-out show at House of Blues in December. Now he'll play the much larger venue at 713 Music Hall behind last year's Renewal, showcasing his adept musicianship and country twang.

Raised in Kentucky, Strings found a home in that state's storied bluegrass scene, eventually winning a Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album with 2019's Home. Think of a modern version of the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack and you'll get a sense of what Strings brings to the table.

Tickets start at $39.50 plus fees. Show starts at 8:30 pm.

John Mayer with Yebba
Saturday, April 23
Toyota Center, 1510 Polk St.

Ah, the talented man beloved by mothers and their daughters everywhere. L.A.-based singer-songwriter John Mayer gets a lot of crap from critics, especially when he leans into sappy radio fodder or wades into egotistical tales of previous conquests of starlets in mainstream media outlets.

However, the guy has one major thing going for him (other than his good looks) that helps his fans overlook the less-than-savory side of his career — he's an absolute beast with a six-string in his hands. Taking a break from his well-received gig in jam rock-oriented Dead & Company, Mayer is on a solo tour around his '80s yacht rock influenced album, the cheekily titled Sob Rock

Tickets start at $49.50 plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.

CultureMap Show of the Month: Bon Jovi
Tuesday, April 26
Toyota Center, 1510 Polk St.

More than 120 million albums sold. Six No. 1 albums. Four No. 1 songs for "You Give Love A Bad Name," "Bad Medicine," "Livin' on a Prayer," and "I'll Be There for You." New Jersey classic rock act Bon Jovi is still going strong after nearly 40 years of selling boatloads of records.

Led by one of the most distinctive vocalists in the history of rock 'n roll, Jon Bon Jovi, there really isn't any need for these guys to be on the road, other than the sheer joy of being adored by millions of fans around the world.

They are in town behind their latest album, 2020, and look to bring some of that '80s hair metal magic to the Toyota Center in one of the most highly anticipated shows of the year.

Tickets start at $19.50 plus fees. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Cut Copy with Suzanne Kraft
Tuesday, April 26
White Oak Music Hall, 2915 North Main St.

One of the best indie-electro acts going right now, Australian group Cut Copy are designed to do one thing: get you to dance. The act broke out from the crowded late-2000s blog house movement that burned so brightly but faded away as quickly as the term was coined.

Cut Copy first made waves with the instant classic full-length, In Ghost Colours, featuring the just as instant classic dancefloor-filling singles, "Lights and Music" and "Hearts On Fire." That album catapulted them to worldwide fame and earned them well-deserved recognition as a killer festival set, but their later output has matured into more thoughtful but still melodic and synth-oriented fare evidenced by their latest album, Freeze, Melt.

Tickets start at $25 plus fees. Doors open at 7 p.m.

My Morning Jacket with Madison Cunningham
Wednesday, April 27
White Oak Music Hall Lawn, 2915 North Main St.

One of Houston's favorite acts, My Morning Jacket is a guaranteed draw in the Bayou City, where alt-country is revered in a locale known for mixing sounds.

Fronted by the charismatic Jim James, MMJ's sound is a veritable melting pot of indie rock, folk, blues, and psychedelia, heavily drawing from the late-'60 era that catapulted Neil Young and The Band to the top of the charts. The Louisville-based band is out in support for one of their best albums in years with their self-titled 2021 release.

Tickets start at $45 plus fees. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.

Death Cab for Cutie with Mini Trees
Thursday, April 28
713 Music Hall, 401 Franklin St. Suite 1600

Death Cab for Cutie is one of the most well known indie bands in the world, rising from humble beginnings in Bellingham, Washington to headlining large theaters and festivals and providing a blueprint for success for countless other acts in their wake.

Kickstarted by Ben Gibbard, the melancholy group had initial success with 2003's Transatlanticism before reaching the top five on the singles charts with "Soul Meets Body" from the huge follow-up Plans. One would be hard-pressed to find an indie-act today that hasn't been influenced in some way by Death Cab for Cutie or Gibbard's side group, The Postal Service.

Tickets start at $30 plus fees. Show starts at 8 p.m.

PUP with Sheer Mag and Pinkshift
Thursday, April 28
House of Blues, 1406 Caroline St.

Fueled by tireless touring and seemingly boundless energy, Toronto punk act PUP rose out of the underground to become one of the more revered acts of the genre over the last decade.

Coming of age with 2016's The Dream Is Over, PUP incorporates the hardcore punk found on beloved '90s record labels Fat Wreck Chords and Epitaph mixed with the sticky-sweet hooks of pop-punk.

They've expanded fanbase over each successive release thanks to some clever videos, their sound growing on their latest, critically acclaimed album, The Unraveling of Puptheband, with synths and horns added to their propulsive attack.

Tickets start at $25 plus fees. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Deftones with Gojira and Vowws
Saturday, April 30
White Oak Music Hall Lawn, 2915 North Main St.

SoCal post-hardcore alt-metal act Deftones finally get to play the White Oak Music Hall lawn, a rescheduled show from September 2020.

While they first appeared to a national audience during the cringe-inducing nu-metal era of the late-'90s, Deftones transcended that label on albums like 1997's Around the Fur and 2000's White Pony, publicly citing artists like Morrissey and Depeche Mode as influences on their heavy sound.

Sure enough, frontman Chino Moreno is a versatile singer, expertly moving from whisper to growl to scream, oftentimes within the space of one verse.

Tickets available on the resale market. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Tori Amos with Companion
Saturday, April 30
Smart Financial Centre, 18111 Lexington Blvd.

One of the the most revered and important singer-songwriters of the '90s, piano prodigy Tori Amos distinguished herself with her dexterous skills on the ivory keys and her outspoken nature in a time when men completely ruled the music industry.

Her impeccable, early run of 1992's Little Earthquakes, 1994's Under the Pink,  1996's Boys for Pele, and 1998's From the Choirgirl Hotel afforded other female artists a spotlight on alternative music radio and on music television.

While her later career has been less about the spotlight, she remains an exciting performer, back with another acclaimed album in 2021's Ocean to Ocean.

Tickets start at $49.50 plus fees. Show starts at 7:30 p.m.

Snoh Aalegra
Saturday, April 30
Bayou Music Center, 520 Texas Ave.

Hot off her Grammy nominations in the best R&B album and R&B performance for her latest album, Temporary Highs in the Violet Skies, the Swedish-Iranian soulstress Snoh Aalegra is breaking new ground in her career, nominated along other artists such as Silk Sonic, Justin Bieber, and Leon Bridges.

Aalegra got her first break in the U.S. featuring on tracks with Common and Vince Staples, and catching the eye of Prince, parlayed those connections and her innate talent into a burgeoning career. While she didn't win at this year's awards ceremony, her best years are ahead of her and she'll take her victory lap with her biggest tour yet.

Tickets start at $66.50 plus fees. Doors open at 7 p.m.