If last week’s all-Saturday night slate of CultureMap concert picks presented any quandaries for those who had early Sunday morning church service, this week’s picks should be a revelation (no pun intended… sort of).
In an effort to get the holiday week started off right, the best shows in Houston are all on Friday night.
Even touring artists want to go home for the holidays. In that spirit, Houston should be the last stop (or maybe second-to-last stop) for these folks before they pack up the guitars and point the tour bus in the direction of family and eggnog.
“104.1 FM, KRBE Not So Silent Night,” featuring All-American Rejects, Cobra Starship, Jay Sean and Justin Bieber at the Verizon Wireless Theater
Look closely at this line-up, friends. This is the future of your FM dial (or, for the more technologically advanced, satellite new rock stations). If top 40 pop-rock is your genre of choice then you won’t want to miss this line-up of up-and-comers who one day in the not-too-distant future could all be headlining their own shows.
The All-American Rejects are the best known of the bunch and those who enjoyed year-old third album, “When the World Comes Down,” will want to mark this date as a “cant-miss.” The band has dubbed this month of dates as the last in support of the album before they go into the studio to create new songs in 2010.
No doubt, that older AAR favorites like “Swing, Swing” and “Dirty Little Secret” will make the set list as well.
Cobra Starship adds a much needed blast of smart-aleck teenage pop and British beatboxer Jay Sean will add the thump. But the most curious member of this line-up is Justin Bieber. Riding a wave of cotton candy-coated pop confection hits like “Favorite Girl” and “One Time,” it’s possible he’s getting ready to be the “It” boy of teeny-bop for 2010.
If so, this will definitely be the most intimate setting he’ll ever play in Houston.
Sold out, but KRBE listeners have a chance to win tickets. Tune in at 11:07 a.m. for a chance to meet Jay Sean, 2:37 p.m. for a chance to meet Cobra Starship and 4-7 p.m. for a chance to meet Justin Bieber. 714-490-KRBE.
Billy Bob Thornton and the Boxmasters at Fitzgerald’s
To see a movie star like Billy Bob Thornton (yes, the BBT who was married to Angelina Jolie and liked “french-fried ‘taters” in Sling Blade) trying to expand his artistic range on a small club concert stage, one normally has to pay big bucks to attend a music conference like South by Southwest. This is a rare chance to see a show like that for a mere $20 ($15 in advance).
Even if it’s not the most inspired night of music you’ll ever see, Billy Bob and his band have proven over the last few years to be musically competent and much better than your average local bar band.
And give Thornton and his band points for having guts. It takes a lot of belief in the music to come down to this part of Texas playing rockabilly and electric country and expect to win a crowd. (It doesn’t help that Billy Bob and The Boxmasters dropped out of a Canadian tour supporting Willie Nelson earlier this year for reasons that are still not totally clear).
Curiously, Thornton does not place himself front-and-center like past actors-gone-rock-stars Russell Crowe and Juliette Lewis. He sings, but he does so from the behind the drum kit.
Give it a chance. You may like it enough to buy a copy of The Boxmasters new album, “Modbilly.” Or you may just have a good story about seeing a celebrity perform in a great ol’ Houston landmark. Either way it’s a win-win.
Billie Joe Shaver at the Firehouse Saloon
It has been said that the key to being a successful songwriter is experiencing enough life and strife to keep the artist well supplied with material. If that’s true, Corsicana native Billy Joe Shaver has enough lyrical fodder for about the next 200 years.
Shaver has worked for the military and as a rodeo cowboy. He’s been married, divorced, married and divorced again… and that was just to the woman who gave birth to his son, Eddy.
He, sadly, lost both his wife and mother to cancer in 1999 and tragically lost his son, guitarist and songwriter Eddy Shaver, to a heroin overdose a year later.
Through it all Shaver has kept on writing and stayed on the road touring for some 35 years now. Some say his first album, 1973’s “Old Five and Dimers Like Me” is a classic outlaw country album, (with all due respect to Willie, Johnny, Waylon and Kris). Others feel he represents the definition of “Texas music” about as well as anybody could.
Whatever, you believe, come hear his stories set to song. It’s well worth the price of admission for a man who’s given a lot for his art.