Live Music Now
Most mainstream acts aren't anywhere near Texas right now after Lollapalooza drew hundreds of thousands of fans. Thankfully, where alt-rock, pop, and contemporary hip-hop may be lacking, Houston concerts make up for it this week in established country acts, '90s rockers, and rap acts (a common theme this summer), and just-below-the-radar up-and-comers.
CultureMap's biggest, best, and most notable shows of the week include:
311 and The Dirty Heads at WOMH
Formed in Omaha, Nebraska, of all places, 311 has had a prolific run as a good-time, bro-friendly, reggae-inflected, rap-rock band. They scored some major hits in the the mid-'90s hits with "Down" and "All Mixed Up," and while audiences moved onto harder-edged, toxic male variations of their sound (Limp Bizkit and Korn), the band soldiered on through some miserably bad music (see the travesty that is the 2004 cover of The Cure's "Love Song") with their core fan base intact. Heck, they even produced some critically acclaimed albums the last couple of years with 2017's Mosaic and this year's Voyager.
They'll be joined on the White Oak lawn by Southern California's The Dirty Heads, a group that picked up where Sublime left off, building on a grassroots following with their similar blend of reggae, rap, and punk rock as evidenced on "Spread Way Too Thin." They'll be celebrating their newest release, Super Moon, out this week. True to form, the gates will open at 4:20 pm. Smoke 'em if you got 'em.
311 and Dirty Heads get down, down at White Oak Music Hall, located at 2915 N. Main St., on Tuesday, August 6. The Interrupters, Dreamers, and Bikini Trill open. Tickets start at $49.50, plus fees. Gates open at 4:20 pm.
CultureMap recommends: Clint Black and Trace Adkins
The tour’s tagline is the very apt “Hats. Hits. History.” Two modern country legends will co-headline the Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land in what might be one of the strongest C&W lineups outside of RodeoHouston this year. Katy native Clint Black rose to fame in the '80s, pointing the way to the mass popularity of country artists in the '90s.
In other words, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, and Brooks and Dunn all owe the man a debt of gratitude for infusing a traditional honky-tonk sound with pop sensibilities. Fun fact: Black signed a deal in Nashville after a cassette of his songs made it into the hands of ZZ Top's manager, Billy Ham. No. 1 singles, the stardom-declaring "A Better Man," "Killin' Time," and "Walkin' Away" followed.
He'll be joined by Trace Adkins, who followed a different path to stardom, looking to the past to build his future, holding onto the sounds of yesteryear to make his name in Nashville. A former Louisiana oil rig worker, Adkins made it to No. 1 on the country charts with "(This Ain't) No Thinkin' Thing," and numerous other big hits, including "I'm Tryin'" and "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk." Any fan of CMT over the last 30 years will be in high heaven at this one.
Clint Black and Trace Adkins co-headline the Smart Financial Centre, located at 18111 Lexington Blvd. in Sugar Land, on Thursday, August 8. Terri Clark opens. Tickets start at $25, plus fees. Show starts at 8 pm.
CultureMap show of the week: The Growlers
The Growlers took a while to find their sound, calling themselves "beach goth," but experimented with classic rock, dub, and indie-folk too. But then they got focused, bringing on The Strokes' frontman Julian Casablancas to produce 2016's City Club.
They took a major step with one of 2018's best, Casual Acquaintances, mixing the sound of their former producers' band alongside post-punk synths, releasing their strongest songs to date, including "Pavement and the Boot," "Problems III," and straight-from-Is This It? "Orgasm of Death," the exciting melange of sounds perfectly complimenting lead singer Brooks Nielsen's purposefully lackadaisical delivery. Drop your plans and go see this thrilling act before they sign to a major label, play major festivals, before succumbing to the inevitable intra-band conflicts and crippling rock star addictions. This is what bands are supposed to be.
The Growlers play White Oak Music Hall, located at 2915 N. Main St., on Thursday, August 8. Special guests Video Age also appear. Tickets start at $32.50, plus fees. Doors open at 8 pm.
Cody Johnson at Toyota Center
Make no mistake, Houston loves Cody Johnson, practically a hometown kid that grew up near Lake Livingston and went on to play the biggest stage at RodeoHouston three times. He played the 2019 edition fresh off a No. 1 album, Ain't Nothin' to It. He'll take a victory lap by headlining Toyota Center, no doubt to a packed audience. And keeping with his humble beginnings, he'll be bringing fast-rising country acts trying to building their audiences in Gretchen Wilson, Cory Morrow, and Jesse Raub Jr. In case anyone is wondering, the new generation of country is here.
Cody Johnson is at Toyota Center, located at 1510 Polk St., on Saturday, August 10. Gretchen Wilson, Cory Morrow, and Jesse Raub Jr. open. Tickets start at $32.48, plus service fees. Doors open at 6:30 pm.
Hibou at WOMH
Who is Hibou? The Seattle-based Peter Michel plies his trade in dream-pop, recalling the ethereal jangle of '80s greats, the Cocteau Twins, the more modern Wild Nothing and Beach House, and riffs straight from a B-side of The Smiths. He's toured with the likes of Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Phantogram, and has put out three great albums, the latest perhaps the best in this year's Halve, out on the cooler-than-thou Barsuk Records. Fans of the dream-pop genre along with shoegaze will also get a dose of local talent in the equally worthy Camera Cult and Astragal.
Hibou is at White Oak Music Hall, located at 2915 N. Main St., on Saturday, August 10. Camera Cult and Astragal also appear. Tickets start at $10, plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony at HOB
Like '90s rock, '90s hip-hop is hot on the nostalgia circuit right now. Last week, we had MC Hammer at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, and this week we welcome back Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, the Cleveland group first signed by N.W.A.'s MC Eazy-E in the early '90s, which catapulted them to multi-platinum status, thanks to an ultra-tight flow and soul inflected sound, including "Thuggish Ruggish Bone," "Tha Crossroads," and the best song ever about social assistance, "1st of tha Month."
They played a much smaller show last November, but they'll be at the much-bigger House of Blues this weekend, proof that established acts of yesteryear still have plenty of clout among die-hard fans and a new generation discovering the greatness that is the golden age of rap.
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony meet at the crossroads that is House of Blues, located at 1204 Caroline St., on Saturday, August 10. Tickets start at $30, plus fees. Doors open at 9 pm.