Shows of the Week: Saucy Pop Singer Takes Right Turn Towards Country
Photo by Dustin Cohen/RCA Records
House of Blues, October 26
Remember what a great Elvis impression Rob Schneider used to do on Saturday Night Live? Elle King, his 27-year-old daughter, hasn’t fallen too far from that particular tree. Otherwise as bouncy and bright as anyone else on pop radio, King’s sound is rootsy enough that her latest hit is a duet with Dierks Bentley. That song, “Different For Girls,” reached No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart last month, also earning King a CMA nomination and invitation to sing at the Grand Ole Opry. Her biggest hit to date remains “Ex’s and Oh’s,” which drew two Grammy nominations and cracked the Top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 last fall. Further tweaking her image as a bad girl with a heart of gold, King is also an ordained minister who not only recently got engaged herself, but has offered to marry one couple per show on her fall tour supporting King’s debut album, 2015’s gold-certified Love Stuff. With Paul Cauthen.
Walters Downtown, October 28
People thought the radical and tubular slang of the ‘80s was ridiculous right up until the ‘90s came along, coining innumerable terms that were less than all that and a bag of chips. Walters’ fourth annual Halloweentime masquerade ball celebrates an aspect of the decade that has aged considerably better — the music — even if the hosts will be awarding a prize for “most obnoxious ironic use of anachronistic slang.” Doing their unironic best to evoke only the fuzziest millennial memories will be Deep Cuts and friends digging into ‘90s Top 40 as "All That," promising to be “dope but also fresh”; the ad-hoc Smashing Pumpkin Spice Latte’s “siamese wet dream of infinite radness”; a claws-out set from Giant Kitty as Bikini Kill; and the (hopefully) self-explanatory Alanis Gwarissette. No cover with a phat costume; a permanent “lame” tattoo (and $7) for street clothes.
KENNY ROGERS W/LINDA DAVIS
Stafford Centre, October 28
Following more than 120 albums sold in a career that has made him one of the most decorated singers in pop and country-music history — and, until Beyonce catches up, the most successful solo artist ever born in the City of Houston — Kenny Rogers has nothing left to accomplish except going out on his own terms. That bittersweet achievement is the basis behind his recently announced farewell tour, “The Gambler’s Last Deal,” although the good news is that plans call for him to be on the road well into 2017, so Friday may not be the 78-year-old Rogers’s final hometown goodbye after all. But this leg is definitely the “Christmas & Hits” portion of the tour, meaning fans can expect holiday favorites sprinkled among the duets (Linda Davis, his partner on “Don’t Fall In Love With a Dreamer,” is the tour’s special guest), and songs from Rogers’s First Edition days through “We Are the World.” In other words, all the hits that have made the Gambler — and the Roaster, to Seinfeld fans — a true legend.
Sam Houston Race Park, October 29 & 30
An outdoor EDM festival in Texas in October is feast or famine. For the first few years it was around, Something Wicked got lucky, with bright days and mild weather giving fans a pleasant experience dancing outside at the Sam Houston Race Park. Unfortunately in 2015 the rains came and would not stop, and as a result Something Wicked was not to be. The festival tries to bounce back in 2016 with Diplo – who you may have danced to at ACL if Radiohead wasn't your thing – and Hardwell at the top of a fairly fun lineup. Acts to keep an ear out for include 3Lau, A-Trak, Gareth Emery and Seven Lions, in addition to the others on the bill that you'd pay to see headline over at Stereo Live. Texas weather being what it is, there's no telling what Mother Nature has in store for the festival this year, but one thing we've learned about EDM fans is this: If you give them a dance floor, they'll dance, rain or shine or somewhere in between. CORY GARCIA
STEVIE NICKS, THE PRETENDERS
Toyota Center, October 29
Any discussion of the grande dames of rock is a short one indeed without Chrissie Hynde and Stevie Nicks. To borrow the title of Nicks’s hit duet, the two have been nearly inexhaustible sources of leather and lace (respectively) since the ‘70s, with precious little signs of slowing down from either one. Before undertaking yet another Fleetwood Mac tour (and box-office bonanza), Nicks mined her prodigious back catalog on 2014’s 24 Karat Gold — Songs From the Vault and is preparing to reissue her first two solo albums, 1981’s Bella Donna and ’83’s The Wild Heart; expect Friday’s set to be heavy on those records, but not of course at the expense of “Gypsy” or “Rhiannon.” Hynde has been building her solo brand in recent years, issuing both an autobiography, Reckless: My Life as a Pretender, and debut solo LP, Stockholm, in 2014, but she strutted back on the scene in a big way last week — producer and fellow Akron, Ohio native Dan Auerbach in tow — with her first Pretenders album since 2008, Alone.
White Oak Music Hall (upstairs), October 29
Just to clear up any confusion, Bayonne refers to the Houston street where Roger Sellers grew up, not the infamously toxic New Jersey town. While he was in college, Sellers discovered an affinity for loopers and other tools of the electronica trade, adopting the name Bayonne as a way of distinguishing from his folksinger iteration. Now based in Austin, Sellers has been winning widespread acclaim, plus a spot on this month’s ACL Fest lineup, thanks to last year’s Primitives (Mom + Pop Music), most of which he actually recorded in his bedroom back in Houston. The album’s ambient, after-hours vibe compares favorably with other memorable minimalists like Steve Reich and Owen Pallett, its intricate patterns and absorbing textures rewarding close listening by gradually and begrudgingly revealing Sellers’s secrets. With El Ten Eleven.
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