Houston's 10 Best Concerts In February
Photo by Carlota Guerrero/Courtesy of Sony Music

Houston's 10 Best Concerts In February

SOLANGE
Super Bowl LIVE, February 2
In a year marked by what seemed like unending catastrophe, the 2016 release of Solange's album A Seat at the Table was a pleasant surprise. The singer mixed classic R&B vocals along with vignettes of resistance into an album that was both personally and politically Solange. Songs like "Don't Touch My Hair" and "Borderline (An Ode to Self Care)" gave voice to the everyday aches and pains of blackness, and for many, the album was a salve against those larger social maladies. That comfort, combined with the artist's riveting approach to visual art through fashion, suggest that Solange's Super Bowl LIVE concert will be a collective, cathartic experience not to be missed. Houston loves us some Solange, and we know this hometown hero won't disappoint us. KATIE SULLIVAN

BRUNO MARS
Club Nomadic, February 3
If you want to save a few bucks, Mars is actually headlining a gig at Toyota Center later this year. However, for those just itching to be a part of the Super Bowl festivities, Mars’ ticket is one of the hottest. The pop superstar will headline a gig at Club Nomadic, a sort of travelling pop-up nightclub that seats nearly 10,000 folks. Tickets aren’t cheap (you’ll have to hit the secondhand market), but for those who want to experience a little big-game-weekend revelry, you can’t do much better than this. Chainsmokers and bro-country’s own Sam Hunt headline a gig the previous night, while Taylor Swift closes out Nomadic’s Houston run with an invite-only gig on Super Bowl eve. CLINT HALE

WOMEN IN PUNK FEST
Vinal Edge Records, February 4 (7-9 p.m.)
Created by local musician, professor, author and Houston Press contributor David Ensminger, this all-ages, free showcase pays homage to the contributions of female artists in punk rock. According to Vinal Edge owner Chuck Roast, the evening grew out of Ensminger's recent series of Facebook posts detailing “120 Days of Women in Punk.” “The event is meant to shed light on all the contributions of women to the underground music culture, including all the subgenres that encompass the punk ethic," Ensminger himself says. "It also serves as the culmination of my series on women and punk, which is a transcript of my new book, my seventh, that I have been sharing online in a transparent effort to create conversations, which are dedicated to the same subject." What more appropriate place to celebrate than H-Town's favorite punk record store, with a sampling of Houston's finest punk musicians? Bands scheduled to appear include Screech of Death, Supergrave, No Love Less, Mel Hell and the Texas Mod Crushers and Clare, the relatively new group featuring members of Ex-Girlfriends and Vivian Pikkles and the Sweetheart Uber Alles. KRISTY LOYE

CUBA GOODING & THE MAIN INGREDIENT
Fitzgerald’s, Feburary 4
No, not the Cuba Gooding you are thinking of who won an Oscar for his role in the film Jerry Maguire acting alongside Tom Cruise; that’s junior, his father Cuba Gooding Sr. is the lead singer of soul group The Main Ingredient who had two top-ten hits back in the 70s with “Everybody Plays the Fool” and “Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely.” Other notable singles include “Spinning Around (I Must Be Falling In Love),” “I'm So Proud,” and “You've Been My Inspiration.” The group was not on the Motown record label, but with their R&B harmonies, melodies, and soulful lyrics it would be easy to make that assumption. Gooding was later signed to Motown himself as a solo act, where he had a hit in 1983 with “Happiness Is Just Around the Bend.”  A bit of a departure for Fitzgerald’s, usually known as a home for punk rock and indie acts, this should be a great show to kick off the Super Bowl weekend, for Houstonians and visitors alike. DAVID ROZYCKI

ERIKA WENNERSTROM
The Stash Factory (109 N. Hardeman, Sealy), February 4
If you want an escape from a typical Houston music Saturday, drive 90 minutes west out to see Erika Wennerstrom at Sealy’s Stash Factory. Wennerstrom, who is perhaps more readily known as the lead singer of Heartless Bastards, has what Texas Monthly calls an "enormous voice," but her reputation as a shy performer makes her performances hard to come by. Still, her gritty yet sonorous vocals have a unique bite in a world full of tender singer-songwriters, and her lyrics plunge to dangerous depths without drowning you. Wennerstrom's songs cut straight to the quick, with a burning incisiveness that could cauterize anyone's internal wounds. Plus, it's not every day you get to see a concert in a century-old mattress factory. Gas up your truck; it will be worth it. KATIE SULLIVAN

DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL
House of Blues, February 12
Dashboard Confessional vocalist Chris Carrabba remains as emotive as ever, channeling dogged sincerity as he makes a bid for a woman's hand on the recently released acoustic track "May." Though Carrabba has not set a firm date for the release of his band's next album — their seventh, and first since 2009 — this monthlong tour from New York to California might be his way of testing the waters to see if the climate is right for the next A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar. New music would be great, but so long as the set list includes "Hands Down," "Screaming Infidelities" and "Vindicated," longtime fans will continue buying tickets. MATTHEW KEEVER

AFI
White Oak Music Hall, February 13
It's been nearly 14 years since AFI burst onto the scene with Sing the Sorrow, and it feels like even longer since followup DecemberUnderground was almost too artsy for even its creators to top. That, coupled with a number of issues, led to fans losing interest and a falloff in album sales. The California quartet has spent the better half of the past decade trying to recover, and if the two singles from their forthcoming album are any indication, they very well may be able to recapture that old spirit for a second go-round. "Snow Cats" taps into the moody tones of DecemberUnderground, and "White Offerings" is reminiscent of the aggressive tracks that initially made AFI so popular. MATTHEW KEEVER

BOB SCHNEIDER
Heights Theater, February 18
As singer-songwriters go, Austin’s own Bob Schneider has had one hell of a run. He flirted with mainstream fame around the turn of the decade, and even dated Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock, but soon settled into the life of a working musician. Schneider puts out a ton of music and tours relentlessly, including a stop in the Houston area every few months. However, this will mark Schneider’s first gig at the newly opened Heights Theater, which should make for a nice chance to catch up with the epitome of a modern singer-songwriter. CLINT HALE

AMERICA
Stafford Centre, February 23
Formed in England in 1970 by  Dewey Bunnell, Dan Peek, and Gerry Beckley, the sons of U.S. Air Force members stationed in London, America quickly established itself on their 1971 self-titled debut, which produced the Top 10 singles "A Horse with No Name" and "I Need You." Their lone No. 1 hit, “Horse,” is often mistakenly thought to be a CSNY song by many to this day, due to the similarity in sound to that band. America’s next couple of albums produced the popular single “Ventura Highway” and minor hit ‘Muskrat Love"; the band then had further success working with “Fifth Beatle” George Martin, who produced their next several albums, which produced the Top 10 hits "Tin Man," "Lonely People" and "Sister Golden Hair" as well as singles "Daisy Jane" and "Woman Tonight." America’s songs were huge on AM Top 40 and FM rock radio in the '70s; Peel amicably left in 1977 after their popularity had waned, while Bunnell and Beckley continue on to this day with help from touring musicians. History: America's Greatest Hits is on the jukebox at dive bar Lola’s Depot here in Houston, so you know the band has to be cool, right? DAVID ROZYCKI

POWER TRIP
Walters Downtown, February 24
We can't figure out why Dallas-based thrash-metal gods Power Trip would kick off a tour in support of their new record, Nightmare Logic, in Houston the night of its release; we really don't care, either. Any chance to see Power Trip live is the kind of metal show that will make you appreciate a heavy riff solid guitar work. The support for the tour is a solid pick, too. Iron Reagan will join them to promote their own new release, "Crossover Ministry" (due February 3) and self-described as "18 songs of punk-metal fury." Four more acts – Genocide Pact, Concealed Blade, Krimewatch and Protestor – are included in the $15 cover, giving this show an almost festival-like feel. KRISTY LOYE

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