Before talking about another great week of music ahead, let’s get real for a minute and talk about venue security. This issue is on everyone’s mind after the horrific scenes at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival in Las Vegas. Due to the massive loss of life on that fateful Sunday evening, live music fans, promoters, venue managers and security officials are questioning best practices at festivals, concert halls and bars.
Having personally attended hundreds of music events, there are few places that are safer. Metal detectors, body wands, pat downs, bag checks and on-hand security make venues a place where one can enjoy music in a comfortable setting. The worst thing that can happen usually involves some dude drinking too much Jagermeister and making a fool of himself.
There are various tips to keep in mind, however, first of which is to know where the exits and security are located. Have a designated spot outside the venue to meet a friend if things get hairy. Using your street smarts is always encouraged — if anything seems out of the ordinary, report it to security immediately. Know how best to move to the exit closest to you.
And lastly, don’t let the actions of a hate-filled individual get in the way of enjoying live music performances. If people stay home, men of despicable and unspeakable character have won.
ACL side shows
Thank the music gods for the ACL Festival. Yes, it’s in Austin. Yet ACL is a great opportunity for those who live in Houston to see shows in a more intimate setting than a sweltering, dusty (or muddy if it rains) field alongside 75,000 people. Numerous great acts fill in their two weekend festival commitment with side shows in mostly indoor venues. Best part about this: Air-conditioning! Short bar lines! No Port-O-Potties!
Arguably the best show of the weekend hits White Oak Music Hall this Friday with the killer line-up of Alaskan indie-rock stalwarts Portugal. The Man and Australian electro-rock band Cut Copy. Both offer a distinct taste of two acts at the peak of their powers.
Despite over half-a-dozen albums under their belt of eclectic, multi-layered alt-rock, Portugal. The Man is just now experiencing their biggest success with the catchy-as-hell Top 10 Billboard hit “Feel It Still” (yes, that’s White Oak Music Hall proprietor Jagi Katial in the video burning the Info Wars newspaper). Meanwhile, the New Order and '90s dance influenced Cut Copy, which hasn’t put out a bad album, just released the fantastic Haiku From Zero and is one of the best international touring acts around. Tickets are $27.50 in advance. Doors open at 5 pm.
Saturday night sees veteran Americana folk-rock hero Ryan Adams at the Revention Music Center. Adams is touring behind the acclaimed Prisoner and has been receiving rave reviews for his live set, which often includes a number of excellent covers. Middle Kids opens. Tickets start at $35. Doors open at 7 pm.
Texas psych-rock faves Black Angels roll in to the House of Blues with indie buzz act Car Seat Headrest on Sunday night. The Austin quintet plays loud, rolling, thunderous rock and roll, a kick to the solar plexus. 2017’s Death Song mixes '60s psychedelia with '70s metal flourishes and a '90s shoegaze cacophony. Earplugs are recommended. Car Seat Headrest is a different beast altogether, as the Will Toldeo vehicle recalls the '90s college rock of Guided By Voices with literate lyrics and bright guitars. Teens of Denial was one of last year's best. Both are worth paying to see separately, let alone on the same bill. Tickets are $25-$35. Show starts at 8 pm.
On Tuesday, California’s Foster The People bring their melodic, upbeat indie pop to House of Blues. The band hasn’t made much noise outside of the inescapable No. 3 Top 100 Billboard hit, “Pumped Up Kicks,” which they probably won’t be playing anyway because of the Las Vegas shooting. Most exciting, however, is the opening act, Los Angeles-based indie band Cherry Glazerr, which has put out one of the best albums of the year in Apocalipstick that builds on the ghost of 90s grunge with post punk underpinnings. Tickets are $35. The show starts at 7 pm.
Other shows of note
Friday, October 5
Nauseously in love country super couple Tim McGraw and Faith Hill brings the romance we all strive to find to the Toyota Center as part of their SOUL2SOUL tour. Expect to hear tons of Grammy Award-winning hits from each star and of course, plenty of duets from the fairy tale husband and wife team that are way too good looking for their own good. Chris Janson opens. Tickets start at $69.50. Show starts at 7:30 pm.
Tuesday, October 10
Highly underrated singer-songwriter Pete Yorn will perform at the The Heights Theater as part of his You & Me solo acoustic tour. Yorn stood out from a crowd of dudes-and-their-guitar at the turn of the millennium with the huge album musicforthemorning which spawned modern rock hits "Life On A Chain," "Strange Condition" and "For Nancy." He's touring behind the 2016 album ArrangingTime. Tickets start at $37. Show is at 8:00 pm.
Thursday, October 12
If the schmatlz of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill is too much for you, if you like the darker corners of Nashville that smell like cheap whiskey and stale cigarette smoke, country and western rebel Dwight Yoakum brings his gritty brand of swagger to the the Smart Financial Center at Sugar Land. He's touring behind his latest, Swimming Pools, Movies Stars. Tickets start at $49. The show starts at 8 p.m.