Live Music Now

11 coolest concerts to catch in Houston this October

11 coolest concerts to catch in Houston this October

Modest Mouse, Ben Moon, music
Modest Mouse returns to Houston on the White Oak Music Hall lawn on Friday, October 8. Courtesy photo
Sleigh Bells
Rebel alt-rockers Sleigh Bells will perform at Warehouse Live on Tuesday, October 12. Photo courtesy of Sleigh Bells
Fat Tony Houston
Houston rapper Fat Tony plays to the hometown crowd at White Oak Music Hall on Wednesday, October 13. Photo by Maxwell Gay
H.E.R.
R&B songstress H.E.R. is at Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land on Thursday, October 14. Photo courtesy of H.E.R.
Dead & Company
Dead & Company bring the rollicking jams to Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion on Friday, October 15. Photo by Danny Clinch
Kane Brown
Country star Kane Brown headlines the Toyota Center on Friday, October 15. Photo by Matthew Berinato
Say Girl Say
Houston indie duo Say Girl Say performs as part of the Houston Artist Commissioning Project Live, Part 1 on October 15 and 16. Pam Ashley Photography
Jonas Brothers
The Jonas Brothers bring their Happiness tour to Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion on Friday, October 23. Courtesy Facebook/Jonas Brothers
Jack Harlow
Buzz-worthy rapper Jack Harlow peforms at House of Blues on Saturday, October 30. Photo courtesy of Jack Harlow
Japanese Breakfast
Fast-rising Japanese Breakfast brings her quirky vision to White Oak Music Hall on Saturday, October 30. Peter Ash Lee
Wild Nothing
Wild Nothing will be at Sattelite Houston on Saturday, October 16. Cara Robbins
Modest Mouse, Ben Moon, music
Sleigh Bells
Fat Tony Houston
H.E.R.
Dead & Company
Kane Brown
Say Girl Say
Jonas Brothers
Jack Harlow
Japanese Breakfast
Wild Nothing

Choices, choices, choices.

In most normal years, October means an uptick in concerts due to Houston's periphery to the two-weekend Austin City Limits Music Festival. (Check out our must-see list here.)

This year is different. Even without the ACL bump, bands are clamoring to get back on the road after 18 months of venue closures to make up losses incurred while on lockdown and venues are only more than willing to book them.

That means a smorgasbord of acts and performers crowding concert listings, making for some extremely tough choices as a casual live music fan. Thankfully, CultureMap is here to help make those decisions easier with some of the most noteworthy shows through the end of October.

Here are 11 to catch this month:

Modest Mouse with Future Islands
Friday, October 8
White Oak Music Hall, 2915 N Main St.

Popular Pacific Northwest act Modest Mouse returns to Houston for a lawn show at White Oak with a new album in tow, The Golden Casket, their first in six years. Much beloved for it's eccentric take on punk-inflected, left-field indie rock, they hit the big time with the instant classic single, "Float On," from 2004's high-water mark, Good News for People Who Love Bad News after a series of much beloved early albums.

Bringing in The Smiths guitarist and Johnny Marr for a time, the band largely survived lead singer Isaac Brock's more questionable offstage moments. They'll be joined by the fantastic, atmospheric Baltimore rockers, Future Islands, that made a career on lead singer Samuel T. Herring's innate charisma and quirky dance moves. Act now because tickets are limited.

Tickets start at $47 plus fees. Doors open at 6 pm.

Sleigh Bells
Tuesday, October 12
Warehouse Live, 813 St Emanuel St.

Brooklyn duo Sleigh Bells struck an immediate chord when they burst onto the scene in 2010 with their killer debut, Treats. Featuring Derek Miller’s heavy guitar riffing, it juxtaposed Alexis Krauss’s sugary, throwback, pop coo against hip-hop beats.

Many pegged them as the next best girl-guy rock group a la White Stripes and The Kills, and appearances on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations only confirmed their untouchable cool. But the band continued to produce same-sounding results, somewhat constrained by its distinct sound. They’ll look to break that jinx on their new album, the aptly-named Texis, and they can still bring the heat on-stage.

Tickets start at $30 plus fees. Doors open at 8 pm.

CultureMap Show of the Month: Houston Artist Commissioning Project Live Part 1
Friday, October 15 and Saturday, October 16
Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana St.

Local artists get the spotlight as the Houston Artist Commissioning Project (HACP) unveil six live performance winners in the project's pilot year on the Jones Hall stage. The festivities will kickstart on Friday, October 15 with the world premiere performance, Becoming, a collaboration by indie duo Say Girl Say and Two Star Symphony Output in what they are calling a "musical and visual human experience."

They'll be followed by spoken word vet Patrick Dave with a poetic ensemble for Black, Blue, All Lives; OH MY! And Loop38 and the Houston Contemporary Dance Company will bring together two boundary-pushing music and dance groups to explore the frictions between opposing force with Body and Spirit (Corpórea y Espíritu)

Tickets start at $25 plus fees. Doors open at 7:30 pm.

Fat Tony with Cadence Weapon
Wednesday, October 13
White Oak Music Hall, 2915 N Main St.

Local underground rapper made good, the Third Ward’s Fat Tony, plays a hometown show after a few years of unassailable success, including a spot on the Vice TV night show, Vice Live, a slew of appearances on tracks by other luminaries in the hip-hop world, and the release of 2020’s Exotica.

He’ll be joined by the live wire Canadian MC, Cadence Weapon, the former Edmonton poet laureate and Pitchfork contributor that just won one of Canada’s most prestigious music awards, the Polaris Prize, for his thrilling comeback album, Parallel World. For fans of forward-thinking, progressive rap, this is show is a must-attend event.

Tickets start at $30 plus fees. Doors open at 8 pm.

H.E.R. with Tone Stith
Thursday, October 14
Smart Financial Center at Sugar Land, 18111 Lexington Blvd.

Modern R&B heads will be out in force to see the Grammy and Academy Award winning Bay Area artist, H.E.R., who has been pushing boundaries of the genre while racking up No. 1s on the R&B chart and becoming a strong voice for racial justice.

Singles “Focus,” “Could’ve Been,” and “Damage” all went platinum and she picked up the Oscar for her song “Fight For You,” her contribution to the film, Judas and the Black Messiah. She'll bring that star power to Sugar Land this month.

Tickets start at $69.50 plus fees. Show starts at 8 pm.

Dead & Company
Friday, October 15
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins Dr.

The passing of Jerry Garcia was just another chapter in the story of three living members of the Grateful Dead, namely Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart, who simply retooled as Dead & Company and added firepower in the form of revolving musicians to step in the role of the former lead guitarist.

That has included Phish noodler, Trey Anastasio, and popular pop-blues crooner, John Mayer. Like most jam bands, the actual songs aren’t the point, it’s the journey in how they are delivered, so get those free spirits ready to sway to the grooves.

Tickets start at $51.50 plus fees. Gates open at 6 pm.

Kane Brown with Jordan Davis, Chase Rice, and Restless Road
Friday, October 15, 1510 Polk St.

One of the winners of the 2019 edition of RodeoHouston, No. 1-selling Kane Brown returns to the city of one of his greatest triumphs, performing in front of 75,000 at NRG Stadium before the world went dark just as his career was launching into the stratosphere.

That's thanks in part to the 2018 album, Experiment, achieving crossover, mainstream success. He’ll dip his toes back into the water with a likely sold-out Toyota Center show, before we may see him back on the rodeo circuit.

Tickets start at $40.50 plus fees. Doors open at 6 pm.

CultureMap Recommends: Beach Fossils with Wild Nothing and Hannah Jadagu
Saturday, October 16
Satellite HTX, 6922 Harrisburg St.

One of the strongest under-the-radar indie line-ups this fall, Brooklyn's Beach Fossils roll into town having established themselves as one of the best indie acts doing the jangly, lo-fi, recorded in a trash can sound made popular by The Drums, Surfer Blood, and Wavves.

They've put out three fantastic albums that touch on melancholy sounds, much like co-headliner, Wild Nothing. A vehicle for Jack Tatum, Wild Nothing emerged as a bedroom pop project, drawing on sounds of The Smiths and even Beach House, before successively producing bigger sounding records, including 2016's Life of Pause and 2018's Indigo.

Tickets start at $25 plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.

Jonas Brothers with Kelsea Ballerini
Friday, October 23
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins Dr.

The Jonas Brothers (Joe, Nick, Kevin) are one of the rare instances when a band is more popular after reuniting than the first part of their career. But that's the feat they pulled off when, after two of the brothers married very famous actresses (Joe with Sophie Turner; Nick with Priyanka Chopra), the boys got the band back together after an extended hiatus for acting careers, solo music, and side projects.

They announced their return in 2019 with the hit song "Sucker," hitting No. 1 on the charts with the subsequent album, Happiness Begins, hitting No. 1 as well. Some guys have all the luck. They run through all the hits (maybe even the Disney years!) alongside country-pop star Kelsea Ballerini.

Tickets start at $39.95 plus fees. Gates open at 6 pm.

Jack Harlow with Babyface Ray and Mavi
Saturday, October 30
House of Blues, 1204 Caroline St.

A rising star on the rap scene, Louisville native, Jack Harlow is working his way up festival posters with increasing font sizes with his intimately personal lyrics that are a direct line by contemporaries such as Drake. But when you're pulling in stars like Lil Wayne, DaBaby, and Big Sean to guest on your records, stardom is inevitable.

His hugely received debut album, Thats What They All Say and a chart-topping song with Lil Nas X ("Industry") has him on a rocket ship not seen since perhaps Eminem. Check him out at the smaller House of Blues in Houston — he won't be playing venues this size for much longer. He's playing both weekends at ACL to much larger crowds which will soon be the norm.

Tickets start at $29.50 plus fees. Doors open at 7:30 pm.

Japanese Breakfast with Sasami
Saturday, October 30
White Oak Music Hall, 2915 N Main St.

Already established as a indie rock star to watch, Japanese Breakfast aka Michelle Zauner benefitted from the time off during the pandemic, writing her memoir and becoming a best-selling author with Crying in H Mart.

But the road is calling and so does the opportunity to promote one of the year's best albums with Jubilee, her most realized work to date that has been winning over crossover fans outside of the Pitchfork set. Not to be outdone, she recorded and released the soundtrack for video game, Sable, this year as well, making us all look lazy

Tickets start at $34.50 plus fees. Doors open at 8 pm.