Shows of the Week: Chris Isaak, Still Boyishly Handsome and Effortlessly Cool at 50
Photo by Andrew MacPherson/Courtesy of Vanguard Records
House of Blues, June 29
Chris Isaak will never not be cool. The embodiment of all things California suave, the San Francisco-based crooner will turn 50 three days before he returns to Houston’s House of Blues. Isaak of course remains boyishly handsome, but the years have been kind to his voice as well, adding the kind of melancholy wisdom that comes from singing songs about the one that got away for more than 30 years. Fans who may have lost touch with Isaak since his “Wicked Game” days, or perhaps 1995’s Grammy-nominated Forever Blue, will be pleased to know that he’s still making excellent records, too. On 2011’s Beyond the Sun, he paid tribute to early inspirations like Elvis and Johnny Cash; last year’s First Comes the Night places candlelit tunes like “Kiss Me Like a Stranger” alongside “Down In Flames” and “Dry Your Eyes,” proof Isaak and his loyal band Silvertone rock harder than you probably remember.
Satellite Bar, June 30
Kay Weathers sings like she's not yet fully awake, and her languorous instrumental tracks are hardly a bucket of icewater in the face, either. The young auteur's disaffected and melancholy songs can't help but bring to mind Lana Del Rey, especially the way Weathers gives off that feeling that even when she's with you, she's not really with you. Otherwise the five songs on her forthcoming EP Songs For Lucy would be ideal for a warm bath, a shared bottle of wine, a moonlit walk on the beach or other things lovers do to temporarily put off that persistent feeling of looming alienation. It's tempting to wonder how someone so young could have written a song called “Burnout” until you hear the amount of spiritual exhaustion in her voice; as badly as Weathers sounds in need of a pick-me-up, music as deliciously realized as Songs For Lucy is almost its own kind of comfort. With Mikey & the Drags and Black Liquid Drop.
MITSKI, JAPANESE BREAKFAST, JAY SOM
Walters Downtown, July 1
No two artists better exemplify the Asian-American millennial female experience than lo-fi rockers Mitski and Japanese Breakfast. This experience is pretty far from my own, but themes of love and loss resonate universally on their awesomely titled recent albums, Bury Me At Makeout Creek and Psychopomp, respectively. By the time this show comes around, Mitski will have another album with a fantastic title, Puberty 2. Jay Som, who also fits the above description, will open the show with her self-described “woozy” guitar pop. All in all, looks to be a real vibey night. ERIC SMITH
DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL, TAKING BACK SUNDAY
Revention Music Center, July 2
Time travel doesn’t exist, as far as we know, but a tour like this is close. Step out onto the floor of Revention Music Center and take a trip back to a world before smartphones and YouTube, to a magical time known as 2002, and prepare to relive all the awkward emotions that came with being a young music fan. Don't try and deny it: You still, to this day, know all the words to “Screaming Infidelities” and “Cute Without the 'E'.” This is the emo reunion of the summer, and you know you don't want to miss it. With Saosin and The Early November; doors at 5:30 p.m. CORY GARCIA
LONE STAR BEER & HERITAGE FESTIVAL
White Oak Music Hall, July 2
Lone Star Beer understands that both cold beer and live music are mandatory for Texans to venture outside in the summertime and thus has created the Beer & Heritage Festival, which in its second year has expanded to four cities. This year’s Houston edition welcomes Shovels & Rope, the married couple and one of the past decade’s most acclaimed Americana acts behind albums like last year’s guest-heavy Busted Jukebox, Vol. 1; and Okkervil River, the folky Austin indie-rock veterans whose ninth album, Away, is due in September on ATO Records. Also along are recently resurrected San Antonio femme-punk torchbearers Girl In a Coma; and former Delta Spirit front man and recent Texas transplant Matthew Logan Vasquez, whose song “How I Love You” is a highlight of hometown boy Robert Ellis’s recent self-titled LP. A portion of the gate will go to Feeding Texas, a nonprofit agency that helps distribute donations among a statewide network of food banks.
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