Doughbeezy gets lit in 2014
Doughbeezy gets lit in 2014
Photo by Marco Torres

Houston's 10 Best Concerts In September

HARVEY HOE DOWN
Warehouse Live, September 7
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Warehouse Live has turned off its mikes and turned itself into a command center for disaster relief. Instead of hosting shows, the venue opened itself up as a donation distribution center, spending days sorting and packing critical goods for hard-hit areas like Beaumont and Port Arthur. Now that (most of) the flood waters have receded, Warehouse Live has turned back to what it does best: bringing the city the best local music, and this time, for a great cause. For just a $5 donation at the door, The Harvey Hoe Down will treat you to nine different local acts, including the hardcore punk band Dead to the World, psychedelic rockers Den Mother, or the rapper Doughbeezy. Don't stay cooped up,now. After a long day of cutting up drywall and hauling out floorboards, it's time to get outside and enjoy some of the beautiful music Houston can make. KATIE SULLIVAN

JANET JACKSON
Toyota Center, September 9
Much like her brother Michael, Janet Jackson is a mononym, an entity your mind can conjure with a simple mention of her name. Three decades after her monumental album Control and 1989 followup Rhythm Nation, Jackson is still a trailblazer and one of the few artists with a more than reasonable gripe about being omitted from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Last year, Jackson canceled her Unbreakable World Tour after revealing she had become pregnant with her first child. She was also about to deal with a divorce from her husband. Rebranding the tour and finding a new focus meant that Jackson could perform not only the hits she's known for but the Unbreakable records that vaulted her back to record-breaking status as an artist. The State of the World tour, as she explained in May, is about love; at the moment, the Bayou City could certainly use plenty of it. Janet is the first big show in Toyota Center since Harvey. May it be more than memorable. BRANDON CALDWELL

ZZ TOP
Smart Financial Centre, September 10
A ZZ Top show anywhere in the Houston area is special. One exactly two weeks removed from Hurricane Harvey’s record-setting devastation on the band’s home turf has historic potential. As the rains fell and floodwaters rose, ZZ issued a statement of sympathy containing a callback to 1981 LP El Loco, reeking of Gibbons-esque prose: “Long ago, we recorded a song called 'Heaven, Hell or Houston.’ We’re confident that, in the near future, the first word will describe the title's third word and the middle will soon be overcome.” If ZZ Top rises to the occasion, which is pretty much a sure thing, the Lil Ol’ Band’s Smart Financial Centre debut will be a huge step in that direction. Earmarking $100,000 toward recovery efforts is a damn good place to start. CHRIS GRAY

CANNED ACOUSTICA
Discovery Green, September 10
The physical and psychic wounds inflicted by Hurricane Harvey are still raw, and will be for a while. What our ailing community needs almost as much as physical supplies is spiritual relief, a chance to come together and lift each other up, maybe sing a few songs along the way. So let’s hope this doesn’t get canceled. If Canned Acoustica organizer Mark C. Austin, who did as much to help out his fellow Houstonians during the storm as anyone, has his way, it won’t be. Founded in 2010 as a modern twist on the old-fashioned hootenanny, all monies channeled to the Houston Food Bank, Canned Acoustica put in two more years, both installments packing the house. Now rebooted monthly through November, the lineup now as then features an eclectic cluster of Houston’s most vibrant acts — this time, it’s OG vatos rudos Los Skarnales, cumbia king Gio Chamba, bristling femcee Genesis Blu, slinky glam-pop auteur –Us, and singer-songwriter Romina Von Mohr — out to prove that turning down the amps doesn’t mean turning down the energy. Houston needs a show like this right now. CHRIS GRAY

LUCERO
White Oak Music Hall, September 11
Hailing from a city known for its blues and barbecue, Lucero just might be Memphis' saltiest export. For nearly 20 years, the group has blended country and punk rock to form a unique and emotive sound, with Ben Nichols' raspy vocals serving as the backbone of every tune. Soaked in whiskey and heartache, Nichols' lyrics serve as a comfort and perhaps a warning to the downtrodden. Over the last decade, the band the band has added a bit of polish and production via brass and piano while maintaining its signature grit. Lucero's last album, 2015's All A Man Should Do, saw Nichols baring his soul in his signature self-deprecating way. Notably, on "I Woke Up in New Orleans," the front man sings of wanting to return home and change his ways while lamenting that it's probably a little too late to change the path he chose all those years ago. MATTHEW KEEVER

MODEST MOUSE
Revention Music Center, September 12
At some point in their 25-year history, Modest Mouse became a household name. The peculiar yet iconic group were darlings in indie-rock circles for years before breaking into the mainstream with 2004's Good News For People Who Love Bad News, much to the chagrin of many early fans. Despite their enduring career, Modest Mouse boasts a mere six studio albums to its name. But the band's parsimonious approach to recording and touring may have played a part in keeping their name in high demand. Modest Mouse last visited Houston in June of last year, when front man Isaac Brock referred to Houston as "essentially a FEMA camp." Coupled with a number of odd choices for their set list, the band wasn't too warmly received. This go-round, we hope Brock makes a few more crowd-pleasing choices for his set list and keeps his mouth shut about the flooding. MATTHEW KEEVER

SONGWRITERS FOR HURRICANE HARVEY
Firehouse Saloon, September 17
Country music is no stranger to heartache, and hurricane Harvey has brought Houston the hardest of heartaches. To help ease the pain, radio station 100.3 and Firehouse Saloon have put together a raft of country music singers for a hurricane relief benefit. Rich O'Toole, Micah Cheatham, Jake Ward, Julia Cole and many others will be singing their hearts out to raise money for local charities. The acts sample a wide range of country styles — Red Dirt, Americana, pop, blues, and Christian — but anyone who appreciates some simple chords on a guitar is sure to enjoy the day-long show. Most importantly, this songwriter-driven effort will help keep up momentum for Harvey relief efforts well after the storm has subsided. We've all been giving until it hurts, but these artists promise to make the giving worth your while. KATIE SULLIVAN

LUKE BRYAN
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, September 22
Say what you want about Luke Bryan, but he’s arguably the biggest country presence in the game today since Garth Brooks ruled the roost some 20-plus years ago. Bryan is a born performer, and his songs carry a certain weight with them. Did he write all of those songs? No, but then again, neither did George Strait, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney and numerous others who have carried the country mantle in recent years. Simply put, Luke Bryan, whether you like it or not, is the face of country music, and this concert will sell out. Plus, “Drink a Beer,” penned by the great Chris Stapleton, is one hell of a track. CLINT HALE

DEPECHE MODE
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, September 24
Fitting for a band whose live identity often coils around front man Dave Gahan’s snaky hips, Depeche Mode has shed its artistic skin multiple times only to emerge cannier, more poised and more hypnotizing to their fans as before. The group formed by a bunch of teens in the outer-ring London suburb of Basildon is not the same as the synth-pop breakouts of “Just Can’t Get Enough” and “People Are People,” nor the arena-conquering troubled souls of the Music For the Masses and Violator years, nor the blues-infatuated pilgrims of new-millennium peak Playing the Angel. (Forever the dark horse, though: ’86’s Black Celebration.) What Depeche Mode does share through its many personae are the songwriting gifts of Martin L. Gore and, in Gahan, one of rock’s hands-down sexiest shamen since Jim Morrison gave up the ghost. That potent combination is pressed into the service of equipment that would make Kraftwerk jealous, all the better to craft the shapely and seductive sounds of latter-day albums Delta Machine and this spring’s politically restive Spirit. CHRIS GRAY

MATCHBOX TWENTY, COUNTING CROWS
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, September 30
Pop-rock in the '90s was a real thing, and it was anchored by Matchbox Twenty and Counting Crows. The Crows came through the Woodlands last year with Matchbox frontman Rob Thomas as the opener, but this time, both bands are getting together for a night of '90s nostalgia. You will hear tracks like “3 AM” and “Hanginaround” and you will not be disappointed, if last year’s Crows/Thomas double bill was any indication. CLINT HALE

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