Shows of the Week: Houston's Spring Micro-Festival Returns With More Madness
Photo by Neil Krug/Courtesy of BB Gun Press
SILVERSUN PICKUPS, FOALS
Revention Music Center, May 2
Never the flashiest, angstiest or most derivative band on the radio, Silversun Pickups have nonetheless developed into one of the 21st century’s most successful modern-rock bands. Formed in the hipster mecca of L.A.’s Silverlake neighborhood (once basically Williamsburg West), the four-piece had a runaway hit straight out of the gate with 2006’s “Lazy Eye,” establishing a sophisticated but accessible sound that instead of wilting returned them to the Modern Rock Top 10 several more times with songs like “The Pitch” and “Panic Switch.” Last year’s Better Nature, their fifth LP, showed no signs of letting up, thanks to highlights “Latchkey Kids,” “Pins and Needles” and “Nightlight,” among others. Sweetening the pot is an opening spot by indie favorites Foals, the UK quintet whose snappy post-punk 2.0 gets nice and sweaty on last year’s What Went Down. With Joywave.
Fitzgerald's, May 2
Brooklyn four-piece Parquet Courts are in the midst of a triumphant Texas homecoming for front man and Denton native Andrew Savage, rocking Fort Worth’s Granada Theater last week as part of the Texas swing of tour dates behind highly acclaimed brand-new LP Human Performance, their debut for influential UK label Rough Trade. (Savage has hardly disowned the Lone Star State, either, telling the Dallas Observer, “I’ll be eating my way through Tex-Mex [sic]” last Thursday.) In just three albums, Parquet Courts — whose laconic but reference-packed songs can’t help but recall past slacker-rock greats like Pavement — have become a favorite of the Pitchfork set and in fact Pitchfork itself; first, the influential Web site named Performance one of its “27 Albums We’re Most Excited For In 2016,” then signaled its approval by calling the album “a bracing snapshot of a band on a roll.”
CHILDREN OF POP
Raven Tower, May 6
Chase DeMaster is quickly shaping up as one of Houston’s most resourceful and entertaining young songwriters. Mostly working under the pseudonym Children of Pop since 2013’s Fiesta/Drift EP, DeMaster transmits his adventurous, lo-fi brand of acid-house synth-pop in an emotional shorthand that amplifies, as he might say, all the feels. But as DeMaster moves up in the world, recently negotiating a distribution deal that put his label/DIY operation #veryjazzed into the hands of NYC’s Frenchkiss Label Group, he's also joined the ranks of local indie-rockers Deep Cvts, electro-folk duo Guess Genes and the improvisational Get a Life. The resulting time squeeze initially led DeMaster to announce that Friday's release party for Children of Pop's latest full-length, What Does 69 Mean, would also be a wake for the band, but he later explained he was joking. He's just one busy dude, is all.
MADNESS ON MAIN FESTIVAL
Continental Club/Big Top Lounge, May 7
Entering its third year as the spring counterpart to Mid-Main’s fall fest Yes, Indeed!, Madness On Main offers another enticing assortment of established Houston favorites, intriguing out-of-towners and unsung locals who don’t get the credit that’s probably due. Really, MOM is not much different from any other bill put together by local promoters who really know their stuff; there’s just a lot more of it — 25-plus acts spread over four stages between the Continental and Big Top Lounge next door, to be exact. The genius of MOM, though (no relation to Mother’s Day), is that prices are no higher than at many regular weekend shows; advance tickets start at $17.50, or $15 directly from one of the artists. Acts to watch out for this time include immortal vatos rudos Los Skarnales, bootylicious New Orleans psychedelic-funk duo Quintron & Miss Pussycat, and rising H-Town rapper Doeman, but your mileage may vary. Hopefully it will; see above poster for complete lineup. Doors open at 4 p.m.
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, May 7
Do you love the '80s? Lots of people do, and the various sounds of the decade are back in a big way. Based on their most recent album – I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It – The 1975 are fans of the era. Not quite a tribute to the time, the album does touch on the familiar stylings that have been creeping up into modern music since “Midnight City” exploded a few years back. For The 1975, it works. I Like It When You Sleep is an easy listen, while not creating the frozen distance between artist and listener that occasionally happens with this style of electro-pop. Matt Healy has a way with words and a way with his voice, one that can play silly and sad equally well. Add in his good looks and stage demeanor, and it's not weird that some write the group off as a boy band. Oh, if only all boy bands were writing songs as great as “The Sound.” With The Japanese House. CORY GARCIA
NRG Stadium, May 7
Word on the street is that Beyoncé’s hometown stop on her “Formation” world tour may be sold out, but do you think that’s really going to stop the BeyHive? Should it stop you? Dropping Lemonade, her second “surprise” album since late 2013, earlier this month, Beyoncé’s metamorphosis from mere pop star into 21st-century force of nature has reached an advanced stage. Politically engaged, musically frisky — guests include Jack White, James Blake, The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar — and seething with anger and jealousy, Lemonade immediately saturated pop culture and demanded a social-media referendum on its greatness. Beyoncé won, but what else is new? With DJ Khaled.
LUNA, BRITTA PHILLIPS, WILD MOCCASINS
Numbers, May 7
Luna is one of those High Fidelity bands beloved by record-store clerks, Velvet Underground geeks and former college-radio DJs, but painfully obscure to practically everyone outside their adoring fan base. Founded by Dean Wareham of Galaxie 500, the revered ‘80s indie-rockers who swirled post-punk and psychedelia to great effect, Luna did much the same thing (only poppier) and enjoyed considerable CMJ-level success with mid-‘90s releases like Bewitched and Penthouse. The band trailed off after 2004’s Rendezvous, but Wareham and bassist Britta Phillips married not long after that; they continued making music as the duo Dean & Britta, as well as scoring films like Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale, before Luna reunited last year. Earlier this spring, Phillips put out the feathery electro-pop LP Luck or Magic (Double Feature), both a collaboration with and a tribute to Scott Hardkiss, the pioneering San Francisco DJ/electronic musician who passed away in 2013. Houston's Wild Moccasins don't open for many acts in their hometown anymore, but here it seems they'll gladly make an exception.
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