The week before many local schools start is traditionally a slow one for live music in Houston. Not many folks are venturing out when school supplies need to be bought, apparently. But for those without kids or in need of blowing off steam before a new school year (ahem, teachers), there are a few options to get what you need, including a massive lawn show at White Oak Music Hall (see below).
CultureMap's biggest, best, and most notable shows of the week include:
Pedro the Lion
Revered indie singer-songwriter David Bazan gained a dedicated base of fans following the early beginnings of his project Pedro of Lion, starting off as a Christian artist, before embracing a more adventurous indie sound. 1998's It's Hard to Find a Friend, was widely considered a classic upon it's release, it's quieter, low-fi production striking a chord among emo fans and alt-rockers alike.
After three more well-received albums, including the fantastic Achilles' Heel in 2004, Bazan embarked on a solo career, never achieving those same heights. Thankfully, Pedro the Lion's back with this year's aptly-titled Phoenix, much to the delight of old fans and new. They'll be joined on stage by MewithoutYou, another cult fave with Christian roots.
Pedro the Lion and Mewithoutyou co-headline at White Oak Music Hall, located at 2915 N. Main St., on Tuesday, August 13. The Interrupters, Dreamers, and Bikini Trill open. Tickets start at $24, plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.
Social Distortion and Flogging Molly
One of the hardest-working acts in the business, punk band Social Distortion has been a going concern for over 40 years, led by the indomitable Mike Ness, the gravel-voiced, tattooed singer-guitarist that has seen the ups-and-downs of the music industry and drug addiction, and somehow still keeps mounting huge tours. First gaining massive popularity in the '90s with the wave of California punk acts taking over airwaves, Social D — a band whose sounds are built on melodies of the Clash mixed with Americana storytelling — continues to put on great shows even if the band's output has been spotty.
Los Angeles act Flogging Molly has also steadily built a following on tireless touring, incorporating Celtic instruments and folk-rock into its punk ethos, much in the same vein of The Pogues. Tales of late, hazy nights and the working class endeared them to fans outside of their Irish sounds all the way back to their thrilling 2000 debut, Swagger, and their hit single, "Drunken Lullabies."
Social Distortion and Flogging Molly co-headline Revention Music Center, located at 520 Texas Ave., on Wednesday, August 14. The Devil Makes Three and Le Butcherettes open. Tickets start at $49.50, plus fees. Doors open at 5:30 pm.
CultureMap recommends: Lyle Lovett and His Large Band at Smart Financial
Anyone who witnessed Lyle Lovett opening for George Strait during the largest show in NRG Stadium history knows the Houston-born musician has tremendous talent. He never sold a lot of records compared to his counterparts, but it was apparent from his classic debut, self-titled album that he would push country into new, forward-thinking directions with notes of Americana, R&B, and gospel, something that was sorely needed in a genre that relied on tradition to top the charts.
He has been recognized for his ingenuity with four Grammy awards and the respect of the finest songwriters in the game. In an over-commercialized industry, that amounts for something. His latest album is his 2017 Greatest Hits collection. Expect to hear a lot of those when he makes his debut at Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land.
Lyle Lovett and His Large Band perform the Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land, located at 18111 Lexington Blvd. in Sugar Land, on Wednesday, August 14. Tickets start at $59.50, plus fees. Show starts at 8 pm.
CultureMap show of the week: Vampire Weekend at White Oak Music Lawn
Somewhere along the way, Vampire Weekend, those men of popped Polo collars, sweet melodies, and Afro-inspired rhythms, became one of the biggest bands in the world. Right out of the gate with their 2008 self-titled debut, the New York-based band was herald by music press as the next great hope for indie music, and it immediately catapulted them near the top of festival bills and theater-sized shows around the world.
Two follow-ups, 2010's Contra and 2013's Modern Vampires of the City maintained their status as the kings of the indie circuit. But the sameness of their sound led the band to take a break and one member, Rostam Batmanglij, to depart to pursue a successful production and solo career. When they reemerged this year with the hyped Father of the Bride, it featured new sounds, including the Madchester-house influenced lead track "Harmony Hall," the Ezra Koenig-led band all the much better for it. Make no mistake: this will be one of the biggest shows of the summer.
Vampire Weekend plays the White Oak Music Hall lawn, located at 2915 N. Main St., on Saturday, August 17. Special guests Christone "Kingfish" Ingram opens. Tickets start at $79.50, plus fees. Gates open at 6:30 pm.
We're questioning the decision why anyone would book a show featuring the 15-year-old phenom that won America's Got Talent the day before school starts, robbing much of the audience the opportunity but nonetheless, the show must go on for Grace VanderWaal, who rolls into town behind a new, more mature sounding single, "Waste My Time," and more skills in her ukulele-playing pinkie finger than most people do in their entire body.
Her run as a 12-year-old on the Simon Cowell-led reality competition remains one of the high watermarks in this often low-tread form of television and we dare anyone to get through a recap of her coming out party without the use of a Kleenex.
Grace VanderWaal is at Warehouse Live, located at 813 St. Emanuel St., on Sunday, August 18. Jade Johnson opens. Tickets start at $28.50, plus fees. Doors open at 8 pm.