One night last week, an increasingly rare evening when Houston's musical cupboard was relatively bare, Noise and a friend were talking about fall.
There was a chill in the air we hadn't felt since April (at least), one of the main reasons autumn is our favorite time of year in Texas. But just like it is for retailers and football coaches, fall is the busiest time of year for music reviewers, and we mentioned how we were looking forward to the next three months — when there's a show almost every night, kicking off with this weekend's Austin City Limits Music Festival (see our music blog Rocks Off for complete coverage) — with a combination of excitement and dread.
"Well, why don't you write about how youmaintain your sanity with so many shows coming up?" our friend asked.
2009 Houston fall music scene
It's certainly a nice thought, and Noise explained (or tried to, anyway) how that very thing is pretty much an unspoken theme in everything we write. It's not as easy as it looks, and in fact we're afraid that particular ship may have sailed some time ago.
But as long as our eardrums, lungs and liver do hold out, you can probably find us at many of the following fall shows, grouped by genre this time. Complete calendars and ticket information should be available on each venue's Web site — see the accompanying "Web Slinging" box for those. And please have mercy on our poor, bloodshot, soon-to-be-exhausted soul.
Alternative/Indie/Punk: This is exactly what we're talking about right here — this admittedly broad grouping almost merits an entire column on its own. But out of a long, long, long list of shows, Noise is most looking forward to pudgy Prince acolyte Har Mar Superstar (Super Happy Fun Land, Oct. 17), Dinosaur Jr. and Built to Spill (Warehouse Live, Oct. 23), Brit brats Art Brut (Walter's, Oct. 24), the revitalized Meat Puppets (Rudyard's, Oct. 31) and Tool man Maynard James Keenan's lecherous alter ego Puscifer (Jones Hall, Nov. 27).
Gothy/industrial types take note of Emilie Autumn (Meridian, Oct. 19), KMFDM (Meridian, Oct. 23), Revolting Cocks (Warehouse Live, Oct. 27), AFI (Verizon Wireless Theater, Nov. 21) and, believe it or not, both Skinny Puppy (Warehouse Live, Dec. 1) and Nitzer Ebb (Meridian, Dec. 2) — back from the dead, if you will. Emos should likewise have their well-wrung hands full this fall with Thursday (Oct. 17, Meridian), MuteMath (Oct. 30, Warehouse Live), Brand New and Thrice (Verizon, Oct. 31), Boys Like Girls and Cobra Starship (Verizon, Nov. 1), the Used (House of Blues, Nov. 6), Say Anything (Warehouse Live, Nov. 16) and Taking Back Sunday (House of Blues, Nov. 30). Whew.
Blues/R&B/Soul: Maxwell's Black Summer Night is being touted as one of the top R&B albums of 2009, but Houstonians have another reason to go see him, Common and Chrisette Michele at Toyota Center Oct. 13: Max's keyboard player is Bayou City native and accomplished jazz musician in his own right Robert Glasper. In a similarly smooth vein are K'Jon (House of Blues, Oct. 8), Frankie Beverly & Maze, Teena Marie and Babyface (Reliant Arena, Nov. 7), Raphael Saadiq (House of Blues, Nov. 25) and Al Jarreau (Arena Theatre, Dec. 11), while old salt Buddy Guy (House of Blues, Oct. 18), second-generation boogie-man John Lee Hooker Jr. (Meridian, Nov. 5) and College Station gospel girl Ruthie Foster (House of Blues, Nov. 21) get a little grittier.
Country/Roots: Top of the heap here — in another jam-packed field — are four Texas perennials: Lubbock lights the Flatlanders (Fitzgerald's, Nov. 6), "Screw You" senior statesman Ray Wylie Hubbard (McGonigel's Mucky Duck, Nov. 13), caustic wordsmith James McMurtry (Continental Club, Nov. 27) and not-so-poor Aggie Robert Earl Keen (House of Blues, Dec. 28). Oh yeah, and one bona fide rockabilly legend in Wanda Jackson (Continental Club, Oct. 24).
In alt-country land, no way are we missing Lucero with Cedric Burnside & Lightnin' Malcolm (Meridian, Nov. 9), Son Volt (Continental Club, Nov. 11), Mojo Nixon (Continental Club, Nov. 14) or Neko Case (Warehouse Live, Nov. 22). We probably should skip Hank Williams III (Meridian, Oct. 24), considering the bender his February show touched off, but we're not that bright.
First-class neo-honky-tonkers, Marty Stuart (Dosey Doe Coffee House, Oct. 22) and Dwight Yoakam (Arena Theatre, Nov. 23), are headed this way, while folk lovers have a full calendar with Betty Soo (Mucky Duck, Oct. 15), Michelle Shocked (Warehouse Live, Oct. 16), Webb Wilder (Mucky Duck, Oct. 29) and Slaid Cleaves (Mucky Duck, Nov. 20).
DJ/Dance: The one to circle here is Tiësto, the Netherlands native considered one of the world's top DJs and remixers, bringing his Kaleidoscope tour to Reliant Arena Oct. 23, which promises to be a strobe-lit spectacle even if you can't tell deep house from deep-dish pizza. Elsewhere, everyone's favorite Christian vegan DJ/blogger/left-wing gadfly Moby spins from his new LP Wait for Me at Warehouse Live this Saturday, Tiësto's fellow Dutchman Armin van Buren trances Planeta Bar Rio Oct. 16, Danish disco pranksters the Junior Boys bust a move at Walter's Oct. 20 and award-winning Canadian house producer Deadmau5 thumps House of Blues Nov. 8.
Pop: All sorts of pop variations are headed to Houston this autumn, from Radio Disney upstarts Honor Society (House of Blues, Oct. 11) and cute-as-a-button Colbie Caillat (Meridian, Oct. 24) to Tulsa's wistful Stars Go Dim (Mink, Oct. 23) and bewitching Broadway-bound siren Regina Spektor (Verizon, Nov. 10). Ex-Squeeze player Glenn Tilbrook brings new album Pandemonium Ensues to the Listening Room at NiaMoves Oct. 24, and Thai-American singer/pianist Vienna Tang drops by the Heights yoga-studio/venue Nov. 13. Halloween brings Twin Cities native Owl City, who has been making some sweet music on MySpace, to Meridian, and how could you resist mmmm-bopping to Hanson one more time at House of Blues?
Metal/Noise: Houston's fall metal calendar more or less revolves around the Mastodon, High on Fire, Converge and Deathklok black mass (Verizon, Nov. 12), but the true high holy day might be Oct. 9, which brings All That Remains and Lacuna Coil (House of Blues), Deicide (Meridian) and Kittie (Scout Bar) all to the area. Later on come Hatebreed and Cannibal Corpse (Meridian, Nov. 19) and Baroness (Dec. 8, Warehouse Live), while more progressive (or more stoned) metalheads might prefer Fu Manchu (Walter's, Nov. 5), HEALTH (Mango's, Nov. 8), Melt Banana (Walter's, Nov. 9) or Municipal Waste (Meridian, Nov. 11). Also Nov. 11, "Captain Clegg" — a.k.a. Houston honky-tonker Jesse Dayton in his Halloween II guise — opens for Rob Zombie's latest traveling circus at Verizon.
Rap/Hip-Hop: Noise is a little shocked and dismayed that there are only a handful of these shows on the calendar, but bear in mind there are probably a lot of them we haven't heard about yet, and that corporate-sponsored "private" (well, semiprivate) events like this weekend's Common/Roots show (see "Chatter") seem to be the going trend in live hip-hop these days. The best of what we do know of is easily reunited fonky Atlanta crew Goodie Mob with Houston's own Scarface at House of Blues Oct. 19, but don't sleep on Jeru the Damaja (Warehouse Live, Oct. 15), Rakim (House of Blues, Nov. 3) and the rescheduled Yo! MTV Raps tour, which brings Naughty By Nature, 2 Live Crew, Big Daddy Kane, Tone Loc and more to the Arena Theatre Oct. 23.
Rock: Word around the music-biz water cooler is that U2's Oct. 14 Reliant Stadium appearance is the worst-selling North American date of the Irishmen's 360º tour. Still, with tickets as low as $32, don't expect too many empty seats. Give the lads' generally panned new album No Line on the Horizon another listen, too — "Breathe" and "Unknown Caller," especially, should sprout a healthy set of wings live.
No doubt AC/DC won't have much trouble filling Toyota Center for its second Black Ice stop here in less than a year Nov. 9, and start packing on the pancake makeup for KISS at the same arena Dec. 5 and Alice Cooper at Verizon Oct. 11. Southern rock aficionados have their choice of the Black Crowes (House of Blues, Oct. 14), Allman Brothers and Widespread Panic (Woodlands, Oct. 17), Lynyrd Skynyrd (Moody Gardens, Galveston, Oct. 31) and Edgar Winter (Dosey Doe, Nov. 21).
Finally, Noise is already cringing at the hangover from two of our all-time favorite bands, the Pogues — the Irish rovers' first time ever in Houston — and Drive-By Truckers back-to-back at House of Blues Oct. 29 and 30. But that's sure as hell not going to stop us from going.
Arena Theatre: www.arenahouston.com
Continental Club: www.continentalclub.com/Houston.html
Dosey Doe Coffee House: www.doseydoescoffeeshop.com
House of Blues: www.hob.com/Houston
Listening Room at NiaMoves: www.listeningroomhouston.com/a
McGonigel's Mucky Duck: www.mcgonigels.com
Planeta Bar Rio: www.bar-riohouston.com
Reliant Stadium/Reliant Arena: www.reliantpark.com
Scout Bar: www.scoutbar.com
Super Happy Fun Land: www.superhappyfunland.com
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Toyota Center: www.toyotacentertix.com
Verizon Wireless Theater: www.livenation.com
Warehouse Live: www.warehouselive.com