Live Music Now
These are the 5 hottest concerts to rock in the holidays in Houston
It was the holiday wish heard around the country:
All we want for Christmas is Taylor Swift tickets.
Unfortunately, thousands of Houston residents were left out in the cold with a lump of coal — and no tickets to see the Anti-Hero star. Adding insult to injury, Tay-Tay fans had to go through Ticketmaster hell in an attempt to obtain entrance into three announced May shows at NRG Stadium. We feel their pain.
On the bright side, Houston wraps up one of the busiest music years in memory with plenty of holiday season shows that still have tickets left, no waiting room necessary. Here are five shows that are worth your time before 2023 arrives.
Sunday, December 18
House of Blues, 1406 Caroline St.
Heartthrob crooner Chris Isaak returns to Houston as part of his Everyone Knows it’s Christmas tour, playing your favorite holiday hits in his recognizable Americana-meets-rockabilly sound. Isaak, whom every teenager in the ‘90s will remember from the “Wicked Game” video that starred a scantily clad Helena Christensen, has maintained a healthy career since his commercial highpoint. He recently released his first album in six years in First Comes the Night this year, recorded in Nashville.
Tickets start at $35 plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.
Toadies with Flickerstick
Tuesday, December 27
House of Blues, 1406 Caroline St.
A band that always rolls through Houston around the holidays, the ‘90s hit band Toadies head to the House of Blues stage. One of the better alt-rock acts to garner mainstream success, the North Texas act went platinum with their major label breakthrough, Rubberneck, producing radio hits like “Possum Kingdom” and “I Come From the Water,” the former still receiving regular airplay.
Unfortunately, label woes pushed their follow-up album back six years and by that time, audiences had moved on to new sounds. That doesn’t diminish Toadies killer live show, perfect for those who are looking for something that doesn’t involve family gatherings.
Tickets start at $30 plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.
Thursday, December 29
Toyota Center, 1510 Polk St.
The long-running, holiday-centric, lights and sound spectacular Trans-Siberian Orchestra makes its annual pilgrimage to the Toyota Center with its show, “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve – The Best of the TSO and More.” The “more” likely refers to the bonkers rock 'n' roll/metal versions of your favorite seasonal tunes set to eye-popping visuals that will make it nearly impossible to fight feeling the Christmas spirit.
Lasers, lights, dozens of giant video screens, a full-size orchestra, and a band of guitar shredders will get you more joyful than “Joy to the World.” Christmas dinner with the in-laws has nothing on this.
Tickets start at $29 plus fees. Doors open at 2 and 6:30 pm.
Friday, December 30
713 Music Hall, 401 Franklin St., Ste. 1600
In what’s becoming a trend, Alief-raised cult rapper Tobe Nwigwe is playing another hometown show for the holiday season. A few months after a fellow Alief performer, Lizzo, performed at the Toyota Center, Nwigwe follows a similar path as an outspoken and positive-minded artist. He’s taken that outlook to critical acclaim, playing at the BET Awards in 2020 and reaching No. 4 on the Billboard R&B charts with “Jesus Says.”
Heavily influenced by the ‘90s hip-hop scene and his upbringing as a Nigerian-American, Nwigwe has elevated his star status in 2022 with an appearance in the Houston-based Netflix comedy, Mo, and a nomination as Best New Artist at the 65th Grammy Awards set to air in early 2023.
Tickets start at $22.50 plus fees. Show starts at 8 pm.
The Suffers with Fat Tony and Dem Roots
Saturday, December 31
Last Concert Café, 1403 Nance St.
Gulf Coast Soul collective extraordinaire, The Suffers, closes out a busy 2022 that saw them perform several U.S. tour dates to promote their third – and possibly best – album, It Starts with Love. That record placed on NPR music critic Ann Powers’ Top 20 Albums of the Year list, who called it a “major artistic leap.”
They’ll ring in the new year with some of the best local acts, including eclectic rapper Fat Tony, who also embarked on a national tour earlier this year, and Dem Roots. If there is one Bayou City band best suited to ring New Year’s Eve, it’s The Suffers, who always bring it in a live setting.
Tickets start at $50 plus fees. Doors open at 9 pm.