Live Music Now
These are the 7 best concerts in Houston this week
Anyone in attendance at Bayou Place (now Revention Music Center) on August 9, 1998 applauded when news dropped a few weeks back that Richard Ashcroft of British band The Verve won back full writing credit from Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to his masterpiece single "Bittersweet Symphony," hands down one of the best songs of the '90s.
The tune was a major point of contention when first released when the Stones' longtime manager, Allen Klein, sued Ashcroft for using too much of a sample from an orchestral version of the Stones song "The Last Time." Ashcroft lost rights to the song and with it, millions of dollars over the years. Thankfully, the classic track is back in the right hands. Good move on the part of Mick and Keith, albeit a little late, ahead of their stop in Houston this summer.
As for that show, those who were there that hot summer night will remember a tight and mid-tempo driven set, the show starting off with the charismatic lead singer throwing a handful of cigarettes into the crowd to protest a newly-in-place smoking ban at the venue, replying in classic Ashcroft fashion, "Everyone needs a smoke once in awhile." Only replace "smoke" with the Brit term for a cigarette that many in the audience probably thought was a gay slur (it wasn't). What a legend.
Revention will be home to two big concerts this week in CultureMap's biggest, best, and most notable upcoming shows:
Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals at Revention
A favorite of the Pitchfork set, Anderson .Paak, the Oxford, California, native is fast rising in the music world for his talented flow and creative production, picking up a Grammy for his single "Bubblin'" and accolades for his 2018 album Oxnard and 2019 offering Ventura. He's worked with Dr. Dre in addition to other acclaimed contemporaries, but it's his live show that brings the heat, featuring a full band, The Free Nationals. Need proof of his ascendance? This show sold out quick, but it would be worth shelling out the clams on the resale market to see one of the hottest artists in music right now.
Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals play the Revention Music Center, located at 520 Texas Ave., on Tuesday, June 11. Mac DeMarco and Thundercat open. This show is sold out but tickets are available on the resale market. Doors open at 6:30 pm.
Sebadoh at WOMH
Lou Barlow has been one of the more prolific indie artists over the last 30 years. He's a member of the fuzzy, influential indie-band Dinosaur Jr. He was in trippier '90s indie-duo Folk Implosion, which scored one of the most unlikely '90s Top 40 hit, "Natural One." But he's been most prolific as the leader of the lo-fi indie act Sebadoh, which finds home on the cool-as-all-get out Sub Pop Records. In other words, indie rock fans won't want to miss this one. Sebadoh's latest, Act Surprised, the band's first in six years, is receiving critical acclaim for its contents as much as its live show.
Sebadoh plays White Oak Music Hall, located at 2915 N. Main St., on Thursday, June 13. Waveless opens. Tickets start at $18 plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.
CultureMap show of the week: Hootie and the Blowfish
Not that we are singing praises of the unassuming and middle-of-the-road acoustic rock band from South Carolina that unexpectedly sold a gazillion albums in the '90s, but the Hootie and the Blowfish show at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion will be a packed house (and lawn) this weekend. While music critics will dejectedly remember them as the band that pretty much acted as the nail in the coffin for the creative years of grunge, others who appreciated the simple pleasures of lead singer Darius Rucker's gruff baritone and melodically strummed pop songs ("Hold My Hand," "Let Her Cry," "Only Wanna Be With You" — all Top 10 smashes) will surely not give a damn.
Cracked Rear View, the quartet's 1994 honorary soundtrack to the Friends era sold an inexplicable, mind-boggling 21 million albums worldwide. Perhaps the best thing the band could have done was go on a lengthy hiatus, which only served to whet the appetite for more Hootie. They'll be joined by another world-beating — and probably more talented — act, the Canadian heroes, Barenaked Ladies. It's a full-on VH1 flashback, y'all!
Hootie and the Blowfish perform at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, located at 2005 Lake Robbins Dr. in The Woodlands, on Friday, June 14. Barenaked Ladies open. Tickets start at $29.50, plus fees. Gates open at 6:30 pm.
CultureMap recommends: Book of Love at WOMH
Fans of classic synth-pop will be in heaven when the groundbreaking quartet Book of Love returns to the city that showed them a lot of their own love back when the band opened for Depeche Mode on that monster act's Some Great Reward and Black Celebration tours in the mid-'80s. Book of Love, now touring as a duo (Ted and Susan Ottaviano, not related), put out their touchstone debut, self-titled album in 1986.
That album featured the stellar singles "Boy," "You Make Me Feel So Good," and "I Touch Roses," and won the hearts of new wave kids, goths, and the gay community, making them a tremendously popular act in Houston, where they received mainstream radio play at a time when their sound was still largely considered underground. Today, it's just hella-fun, retro dance music.
Book of Love bring the retro sounds to White Oak Music Hall, located at 2915 N. Main St., on Friday, June 14. DJ Marc Nicholson opens. Tickets start at $35, plus fees. Doors open at 8 pm.
Charley Crockett at Goodnight Charlie's
In the feel-good story of the week, Texas-raised American roots singer-songwriter and Houston favorite Charley Crockett returns to the live stage after undergoing double heart valve replacement surgery in January. Music fans should be thankful. Before he took time off to recover, Crockett was an artist on the rise, Rolling Stone calling his wholly original 2018 release Lonesome as a Shadow "one of the 25 best country and Americana albums of the year so far" next to such luminaries as Willie Nelson and Kacey Musgraves. Better yet, this show is free. Let's show this guy some love.
Charlie Crockett performs at Goodnight Charlie’s, located at 2531 Kuester St., on Saturday, June 25. Croy and the Boys open. Admission is free. Doors open at 7 pm.
Machine Gun Kelly at Revention
One of the most controversial rappers to come along in some time, Houston-born Machine Gun Kelly aka Richard Colson Baker signed a lucrative deal with Bad Boy and Interscope Records (run by Dr. Dre) at the young age of 21, influenced by rapper DMX as much as punk bands like Blink-182 and rock act Guns 'N Roses. His first album, Lace Up, hit No. 4 on the U.S. charts. His last album, Bloom, featured the No. 4 single, "Bad Things," alongside 2019 RodeoHouston performer Camila Cabello.
You may have also seen him in the Mötley Crüe flick The Dirt, playing Tommy Lee. But it's his antics that make news more than his music: he's buddies with SNL paparzzi fave Pete Davidson, he's feuded with label mate Eminem, and he's facing legal woes for allegedly ordering his bodyguards to beat up an Eminem fan. Classy. Yet, his Hotel Diablo tour is drawing big crowds. Isn't America grand?
Machine Gun Kelly is at Revention Music Center, located at 520 Texas Ave., on Sunday, June 16. Tickets start at $30 plus fees. Doors open at 8:00 pm.
John Digweed at Stereo Live
One of the most revered DJs in the world, John Digweed rose to prominence in the golden era of rave in the '90s, eventually being named as the best DJ in the world in 2001 by DJ Magazine. Along with his fellow DJ friend and business partner, Sasha, the two generally ruled electronic music for a significant period of time and they both still play to thousands of adoring fans around the globe.
Digweed plies his trade in house and progressive house, the classic build-and-drop climaxes that countless other DJs made their names on. In other words, the success of EDM owes a debt of gratitude to him. While raving on a Sunday night isn't always the best laid plans for those who have to work the next day, Digweed is well worth the exception.
John Digweed and his beats are at Stereo Live, located at 6400 Richmond Ave., on Sunday, June 16. Tickets start at $20, plus fees. Doors open at 6 pm.