Before the shows of the week, congratulations are in order for Houston's very own soul act, The Suffers, who celebrated a No. 8 placement on the Billboard R&B charts for the band's new album, Everything Here, in its debut week, before heading off to play a scorching set at the famed Newport Folk Festival. That's a fine way to represent the 713.
This week, we have another big-time Houston performer celebrating an anniversary, big shows from alt-rockers, some New Wave legends, and a buzzworthy act to catch. Here are the biggest and best shows of the week.
CultureMap recommends: Caroline Says
Formed by singer-songwriter Caroline Sallee in Austin in 2014, Caroline Says takes its band name from a Lou Reed song. The group sounds much like that inspiration, with dreamy alt-rock songs, off-kilter rhythms, sumptuous harmonies, and simplistic melodies combining into one infectious brew. The group’s latest, No Fool Like an Old Fool also incorporates elements of acoustic-picked folk that recall Elliot Smith at his finest. Few bands come into town with as much critical acclaim as Caroline Says, including mentions on NPR, Pitchfork, and Stereogum. Find out what all the fuss is about.
Caroline Says plays the Continental Club, located at 3700 S. Main St., on Thursday, August 2. Jessica Risker, Velveteen Echo, and Astragal open. Tickets are $10 at the door. Show starts at 9:30 pm.
Slim Thug celebrates 20 years
One of the major players of the Houston "chopped and screwed" Southern rap renaissance of the late-'90s, Slim Thug went on to commercial success in the mid-2000s, finding fame on the Houston anthem, the independent and platinum-selling single and forever bangin', "Still Tippin'." He's released albums on the massive Interscope label (Dr. Dre runs it now), even appearing on a No. 1 hit for Beyoncé. His height came in 2005, when Already Platinum, hit No. 2 on the Billboard charts. But he got his start putting out mixtapes in the late-'90s, often appearing with other Houston rap stars, Mike Jones and Paul Wall. Thug will commemorate those exciting times in Houston with a 20th anniversary party at White Oak this weekend. No word on if his old cohorts will make an appearance, but don't be surprised if it turns into a guest-filled throwdown.
Slim Thug hits White Oak Music Hall, located at 2915 N. Main St., on Friday, August 3. Tickets start at $44 plus a $15.60 service charge. Doors open at 7 pm.
Panic! at the Disco
Back with their sixth album, Pray for the Wicked, emo-rock survivors Panic! at the Disco (and their grammatically incorrect exclamation point) are currently on an arena tour, seemingly bigger than ever. If you like pomp and circumstance, Panic! has got you covered, with their latest record, including single "Saturday Night," expanding the sound way past their more humble beginnings. But one thing that remains consistent is lead singer Brandon Urie's penchant for over-the-top vocals and professional-grade showmanship.
Panic! at the Disco headline the Toyota Center, located at 1510 Polk St., on Friday, August 3. Arizona and Hayley Kiyoko open. Tickets start at $30.75 plus service charges. Doors open at 6 pm.
Houston International Jazz Festival
The Houston International Jazz Festival celebrates its 28th year, with all proceeds benefiting Jazz Education Inc., which provides "training and educational activities for school age youth in the field of music, using concepts and subjects not fully covered by private and/or public school systems," according to its website. The three-day event features a wide variety of touring talent. Events start in Friday, August 3 at the Kick Off Party and Hot Jazz Night at Sugar's in Missouri City featuring the Summer Jazz All-Stars. Saturday night is the Ladies of Horn and Song at House of Blues with saxophonist Mindy Abair and the Boneshakers, flautist Althea Rene, and vocalist Ashleigh Smith. Sunday is Mayor Sylvester Turner's Scholarship Brunch at the Hobby Center. All proceeds go to a good cause.
Imagine Dragons plays another sold out Houston show
For better or worse, Imagine Dragons love Houston and Houston loves Imagine Dragons. It seems like the band bred for shilling stuff plays here every year, selling out bigger venues with each successive performance. This time around, it's Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion hosting the Las Vegas natives, with lawn tickets head-scratchingly going for as high as $145 on the resale market as they promote their latest monster album, Evolve. Be sure to show up early, as the charming, America's Got Talent wunderkind, Grace VanderWaal, starts the proceedings — she quite possibly has more talent than the headliner.
Imagine Dragons headline Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, located at 2005 Lake Robbins Dr. in The Woodlands, on Saturday, August 4. Grace VanderWaal opens. Tickets start at $145 plus service fees via the resale market. Gates open at 6 pm.
CultureMap show of the week: New Wave heroes Erasure
It's hard to overstate the importance of Erasure. Not only were they huge in the New Wave/synth-pop world, but the sexuality of lead singer Andy Bell made them icons on the LGBTQ scene, something revolutionary in the '80s, where being open and gay often was seen as a disastrous business decision. Thankfully, Bell was backed up by Vince Clarke, one of the co-founders of Depeche Mode, and writer of some of that band's early and still great hits, including "Just Can't Get Enough." Clarke brought his airtight pop sensibilities to the monstrous singles, "Chains of Love," "A Little Respect," and "Love to Hate You." This show will be one helluva party.
Erasure shares their storied catalog at the Smart Financial Center at Sugar Land, located at 18111 Lexington Blvd., on Sunday, August 5. Tickets start at $39 plus service charges. Show starts at 7:30 pm.
Pretty fly: The Offspring and 311
There was a time — ahem, the late-'90s — when it was nearly impossible to turn on rock radio and not hear either The Offspring or 311. One was the California punk band that we all thought was the harder version of Green Day; the other was a bunch of bros with a penchant for reggae-inflected rap-rock. The fact is, both bands put out some decent (for the time) singles that still are played on rock radio which treats anything produced before 1998 as the crowning era of all music. And to be completely fair, The Offspring's debut, Smash, was pretty great for a spell with singles, "Come Out and Play" and "Self-Esteem," perfectly channeling teen angst in suburbs everywhere before the band turned into a jokey singles act (see the still awful "Pretty Fly"). As for 311, they have that one tune, "Down." They'll both relive the high points at Cynthia Woods this weekend.
The Offspring and 311 co-headline the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, located at 2005 Lake Robbins Dr. in The Woodlands, on Sunday, August 5. Tickets start at $27.50 plus service fees. Gates open at 6 pm.