Live Music Now
This week's concerts offer up sheer pop superstar power, indie rock jams, classic melodies, and nuanced Texas sounds. They're all definitely worth your time and hard-earned money, depending on your musical tastes.
Dance, dance, dance with Justin Timberlake
Let's address the elephant in the room: Justin Timberlake's new album, Man in the Woods, isn't very good. That doesn't mean JT fans shouldn't avoid getting tickets to either of the two shows he'll play this week at the Toyota Center (skipping a day for the Rockets schedule). The guy is a master entertainer — one of the best in the world. While attendees may have to sit through a couple cringe-worthy tracks from his new material, there's sure to be plenty of hits to be played live from his solo catalog. Have no fear, "SexyBack" lovers, the former N'Sync member will bring it in spades when he hits the stage.
Justin Timblerlake lights up the Toyota Center, located at 1510 Polk St., on Wednesday, May 23 and Friday, May 25. The Shadowboxers open. Tickets start at $44 plus fees. Show starts at 7:30 pm.
Smooth melodies: The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan
Two powerhouse rock bands of the '70s, The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan, bring decades of hits and millions of albums sold to Sugar Land as part of their Summer of Living Dangerously Tour that your dad is surely going to want to see. For those born after 1980, the Doobie Brothers might be best remembered by their one-time lead singer Michael McDonald, the subject of a great running gag in the Judd Apatow flick, The 40 Year-Old Virgin.
Steely Dan will be known by millennials as the band whose album, Two Against Nature, shockingly beat Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP for the Album of the Year Grammy in 2000. But to anyone who grew up listening to classic rock when it was called simply “rock,” these are two bands who have countless hit songs (the DB’s "Long Train Runnin'"and Steely Dan’s "Reelin' in the Years" come to mind) and awards to their name, and will be a great opportunity to relive the glory days.
Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan co-headline at the Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land, located at 18111 Lexington Blvd., Sugar Land, on Thursday, May 24. Catherine Russell opens. Tickets start at $49.50 plus fees. Show starts at 7:30 pm.
Texas treat: Okkervil River
One of Texas' most underrated bands, Okkervil River returns to Houston fresh off the release of their ninth album, In the Rainbow Rain. Formed in the late-'90s by Will Sheff, who would remain the band's only permanent member (reminiscent of Britt Daniel of fellow acclaimed Austin band, Spoon), the band would find wider reach outside of Texas with a series of good-to-great albums in the mid-aughts, such as The Stage Names and The Stand Ins. The group plies their trade in a varied sound that incorporates indie-folk, Americana, and straight up alt-rock. But it's the charismatic Sheff that is worth the price of admission, so seeing the band in such an intimate setting is a must for die-hard fans.
Okkervil River plays the Heights Theater, located at 339 W 19th St., on Friday, May 25. Matt the Electrician and Benjamin Lazar Davis open. Tickets start at $20 plus $5 service fee. Doors open at 7 pm.
A new Iceage
An exciting line-up with two great, up-and-coming bands, Rockefellers will be the place to be this Friday when Danish act Iceage headlines along with green, but promising, post-punk act Temple of Angels. Iceage uses punk as a foundation, evidenced by lead singer Elias Bender Rønnenfelt's seemingly nonchalant, disaffected delivery, but the music is much too ambitious to be labeled as such with tunes that incorporate synths, strings, and brass. They've released one of 2018's finest albums in Beyondless, which is rightfully garnering mass acclaim from international music publications.
Austin group Temple of Angels may not offer new in the way of dark pop tunes, wearing their Sisters of Mercy, Siouxie Sioux, and The Smiths influences firmly on their suredly black sleeves, but their S/T EP does the gothy new wave thing so, so well. For $13, this show is a steal.
Iceage hits Rockefellers, located at 3620 Washington Ave., on Friday, May 25. The fantastic post-punk band, Temple of Angels, opens. Tickets start at $13 in advance, plus fees. Doors open at 8 pm.
H-Town rockers: Vodi
Local six-piece Vodi is picking up steam off the back of their 2017 release, Talk, and are positioning themselves to be the next Houston band that could see themselves garnering a wider fan-base outside the region. Their alt-rock sound incorporates melodic hooks, synth trills, recalling the War on Drugs' widescreen vision, Broken Social Scene's quieter numbers, and a dash of Fleetwood Mac retro. This is a cheap ticket and a great chance to see why local music industry insiders are singing Vodi's praises.
Vodi plays to a hometown crowd at White Oak Music Hall, located at 2915 N. Main St., on Saturday, May 26. Quiet Company and BLXPLTN open. Tickets start at $10 plus fees. Doors open at 8 pm.
Diplo disciple Dillon Francis
Electronic dance music may have reached its peak, but the Bayou City maintains a devoted contingent of old and new school ravers. Expect lovers of the groove to be in attendance when Dillon Francis, friend of EDM impressario Diplo, gets behind the decks to play an eclectic set of house, trap, and moombahton - a mix of house and reggaeton (yes, this really is a thing). Francis has the credentials as an expert party starter, having played the biggest dance music festivals in the world, so his Spire appearance should be as well received as an expertly placed bass drop. He's touring ahead of new album, Less Days, More Nights, set for release later this year.
Dillion Francis drops the beats at Spire, located at 1720 Main St., on Saturday, May 26. Tickets start at $25. Show starts at 10 pm.