Houston's 10 Best Concerts in November

Houston's 10 Best Concerts in November
Photo by Mary Ellen Matthews/Courtesy of RCA Records

Toyota Center, November 4
Fifteen and a half years into her musical career, Australian singer-songwriter Sia Furler finally released a breakthrough album: 1000 Forms of Fear. Produced by a handful of music-industry heavyweights, including Diplo, Fear featured such radio hits as "Chandelier" and "Elastic Heart," both of which were accompanied by music videos featuring an underage dancer contorting herself to Sia's lyrics. The video for "Elastic Heart," which also featured Shia LaBeouf, was met with allegations of pedophilic undertones.
Not one to be deterred, Sia has invited the young dancer to join her "Nostalgic For the Present Tour," which stops in Houston this Friday. Sia's latest tour will surely feature a number of cuts from Fear, but her latest album, This Is Acting, is no slouch either. "Alive" and "Cheap Thrills" have been inescapable radio hits, as Sia hasn't shown any signs of releasing her recent stranglehold on the industry. Between her unique vocals, thought-provoking videos and theatrical persona, this artist's star may prove to be akin to a fine wine or whiskey: best when aged a bit. MATTHEW KEEVER

Vinal Edge, November 5
Saturday evening, Vinal Edge brings two of Houston’s best, if underrated, bands together for a showdown for the ages, like Ginger Baker facing off with Elvin Jones, except of course, without any of the drums or drumming. In one corner, the absurdist dub-punks in Distant Worker rely on the slightly more sophisticated compression rates and greater ram of a laptop computer to serve up the bottom of their refinery slurry of sleng-teng riddims and musique concrète. The Wiggins, meanwhile, opts for the elegant simplicity, the more responsive pad triggers, and the unmistakable aura of a boss drum machine run through a gauntlet of distortion pedals and silverback speakers. He’s always been a classicist, rooted in the countrified surf-rock of Link Wray and Dick Dale as much as the hiss and feedback of Big Black and Flipper. Allowing for electricity, and keep in mind we’re still in the margins of hurricane season, the face-off promises to be electric. Distant Worker is coming out of a few months of quiet revery on the heels of their dense and incredible Animal Data CD, hot to trot with new tunes and new beatnik put-ons and provocations. Despite his short sabbaticals in between his steady flow of undersung albums, The Wiggins never quite dries out his silk boxing shorts. There’s always a twang of sweat and menace in the air when he comes out of the shadows, dancing and growling, his hands tightly wrapped around the neck of his guitar like a garrote. TEX KERSCHEN

Toyota Center, November 8-9
Arguably the biggest musical force on the planet makes her way to Houston for a pair of dates. This isn’t going to be some over-the-top production with smoke and lasers, meant to distract from the artist onstage. Rather, this will simply be Adele belting out hit single after hit single from her mega-successful catalog. Fans of raw vocal ability shouldn’t miss this one. CLINT HALE

Toyota Center, November 10
Everything ends, and after years of reunions that stuck, reunions that didn’t, semi-reunions, various Ozzfests, lineup shuffles and far too many unfunny “Iron Man” jokes, Black Sabbath is at last headed for their final resting place, playing the penultimate U.S. date of their THE END tour in Houston. It’s been almost half a century since Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and now-estranged drummer Bill Ward oozed up from the post-industrial decay of steel-sodden Birmingham, England, warping electric British blues into monolithic and sinister slabs of suffering and paranoia that enabled the band to set new records for volume onstage and debauchery backstage; Spinal Tap would of course be nowhere without them. The world’s children of the grave, tortured and forgotten, flocked to them by the thousands, creating not only the original metal fanbase but a tribe of true believers whose only option is to see Sabbath through to the bittersweet end. CHRIS GRAY

Heights Theater, November 13
Ray Wylie Hubbard, (mostly) God-fearing Okie kid turned ne’er-do-well Cosmic Cowboy turned Zen role model for two generations of Texas singer-songwriters, has led the kind of white-knuckle, seat-of-the-pants charmed life that, laid end to end, seems like it should add up to a lot more than 70 years. (Required reading: His 2015 memoir/lyric file A Life...Well, Lived.) For fans of a certain type of music in a certain part of the world, namely this one, Hubbard’s albums – which he is kind enough to gift us every year or two, the latest being last year’s The Ruffian’s Misfortune – yield nearly as many entrée-rich word banquets, wayward yet (mostly) well-meaning characters, and subtly disguised morals as the collected works of ol’ Billy Shakespeare. That Hubbard’s 70th birthday party aligns with the very first show at the restored Heights Theater augurs nothing but good things for the historic movie house, and might even be cause for an extra chorus of “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother” or “Screw You, We’re From Texas” or two. CHRIS GRAY

White Oak Music Hall, November 19
There was a time, long ago, when the world was divided on the subject of Morrissey. There were those who despised him for his Wildean affectations and his louche gloom, and there were, on the other hand, people with good taste. These days, Morrissey-penned Smiths anthems like “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” have become the global singalong to three decades of pandemic underemployment and related miseries. Likewise, hits from Morrissey’s solo discography such as “The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get” have mapped out the course of the Internet and its psychic sprawl within the pompadoured craniums of millions. Some artists make it hard on their fans, they behave badly, throwing fits and otherwise carrying on like divas, or they just can’t deliver, but the only difficult thing facing a Morrissey fan is dealing with the pain and the shock that occur when his only Houston show in years sells out before one has had the chance to secure tickets. That, and deciding which Smiths song to put on next. Because he’s a dreamboat, a charismatic performer, a sharp dresser and a smooth operator, with an enviable quiff, an incomparable talent for wit and tuneage, and a croon that induces population booms. (Note: this show is sold out.) TEX KERSCHEN

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