Shows of the Week: Emo Reborn, Bieber Redeemed & M83's White Oak Opener
Photo courtesy of Anti- Records
House of Blues, April 6
Starting with 2005’s Easy Beat, Philly six-piece Dr. Dog could be counted on to deliver one reliably Beatlesque album — melodic, eclectic and charismatic — every two years or so, a pattern that held through 2013’s B-Room. Now, their “new” album happens to be their very first recording, Psychedelic Swamp (Anti-). Starting in the late ’90s, founders Toby Leaman and Scott McMicken worked piecemeal over a number of years and self-released the album (with close to three dozen songs) in 2001. By streamlining the track list and re-recording the more salient tunes, Dr. Dog has done something similar to a comic-book “origin story”: reintroducing a familiar character with added context and perspective, which can’t help but cast them in a slightly different light. Here, Dr. Dog have modernized themselves without losing touch with that initial spark of inspiration that has made them one of indie-rock’s most consistently enjoyable 21st-century bands.
INTO IT. OVER IT.
Warehouse Live, April 7
While the conversation about whether or not we’re in the midst of an “emo revival” has grown stale, the fact remains that the latest wave of emo-leaning acts represents the cream of the crop of today’s rock artists. At the forefront is Into It. Over It., the project of Chicago artist Evan Weiss; his latest album, Standards, is a widely acclaimed, remarkably mature achievement that shows personal growth as it recalls the sound of early Death Cab for Cutie records. Tuesday’s stacked bill also includes The World Is a Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, who played an invigorating set to a packed, passionate crowd at Walters last November; the eight-piece band has developed a devout following through their cathartic music. Rounding out the lineup are the Sidekicks and Pinegrove, the latter of whom just released Cardinal, which breathes new life into a style of folk-rock that has grown too comfortable in the past few years. You’ll want to show up early for this one. DAVID SACKLLAH
House of Blues, April 7
Long one of hip-hop’s true larger-than-life figures, Biz Markie is well-known to fans as one of rap’s early funnymen with songs like “Picking Boogers”; the inspiration for the Beastie Boys’ “The Biz vs. The Nuge”; and a hip-hop history maker with one of the first crossover hits to make the Top 10, 1989’s “Just a Friend.” These days grownups who once caught themselves humming that song’s adorably vulnerable refrain (“You…You got what I need…”) in their high-school hallways probably also know the Biz from Yo! Gabba Gabba, where he supplied “Biz’s Beat of the Day” and joined a few of the popular Nickelodeon program’s live tours over its 2009-2012 run. Biz is now back entertaining grown folks as an in-demand DJ, with an upcoming Las Vegas residency to go along with Thursday’s stop on his “Decades Collide” tour also starring Houston’s Thunderpants, a.k.a. “The Baddest ’80s Band In the World.”
THE CAVE SINGERS
Rudyard’s, April 7
This Seattle ensemble nicely straddles that line between folk and indie-rock, displaying a warm Northwestern hippie stoner vibe on tunes like “Dancing On Our Graves,” “Seeds of Night” and “Swim Club.” Formed in 2007 out of the ashes of Pretty Girls Make Graves (graves again?), the band has just self-released its fifth album, Banshee. While there’s plenty of stomp-and-clap busker enthusiasm, most of the tunes have a warm, laconic sweetness about them. This will be one of the feel-good shows of the week. With Dreamhouse. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH
Toyota Center, April 9
While his fans were always going to stick by him, it's pretty amazing to see the critical turnaround on Justin Bieber. Easy to write off when he was younger, there's pretty much no denying the strength of the singles he released in 2015. “Sorry” and “What Do You Mean?” are about as close to perfect pop songs as you'll hear these days, both dropping after an incredibly smart move to team up with Diplo and Skrillex on “Where Are Ü Now.” Basically, 2015 was the year when Bieber finally had the support worthy of his talent. So yeah, it's safe to like him as something other than a guilty pleasure, if you're the type who worries about that sort of thing, which means you don't have to worry about taking a credibility hit by going to see him live. Pack some earplugs, because the screams are likely to be bigger than ever. With Post Malone and Moxie Raia. CORY GARCIA
White Oak Music Hall, April 9
Circa 2008 and Saturdays = Youth, M83 were an unlikely act to become festival darlings. Saturdays is a great record, but not one that lends itself to fist-pumping dance parties. But everything changed with the release of their 2011 single “Midnight City,” which is one of the best songs released since the year 2000. Massive-sounding, catchy as hell and featuring an amazing saxophone part, the song put them on bigger stages and prime performance slots. After taking a few years off from touring to work on soundtrack-type things, M83 are back, featuring Texas musician Kaela Sinclair as the group's new touring keyboardist. This show will also be the first at the new White Oak Music Hall, and what a choice for a first headliner; there are few ways as great to test out a new outdoor venue than by blasting “Midnight City.” With YACHT. CORY GARCIA
POOR DUMB BASTARDS 25TH ANNIVERSARY
Fitzgerald’s, April 9
Trends (and players) may come and go, but for the past quarter-century, Houston’s Poor Dumb Bastards have reliably delivered some of the rudest and rowdiest beer-soaked punk in the Lone Star State, a style that could only be dubbed “Texas drunk rock.” The band’s shenanigans over the years could easily fill up the walls of the freshly repainted Fitz bathrooms, but these Bastards also have a softer side: Besides Saturday’s 25th-anniversary gig upstairs, downstairs they’re throwing a benefit dubbed “Bands For Ganz” to aid PDB “superfan” David Ganz in his battle with cancer. Also featuring a raffle, silent auction and all-day barbecue, the fund-raiser starts at 3 p.m. and stars country-fried PDB offshoot Hard Luck Revival and PDB cover band Browneye; like-minded groups helping toast the big anniversary later on upstairs include Donkey Punch, the Guillotines, Truckstop Assassins, Feared Alien Voodoo (described as “Houston’s scariest ’90s band”), Austin’s the Beaumonts and San Antonio’s Hickoids. Good time to brush up on your hangover remedy of choice.
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