Shows of the Week: The Cadillac of Texas Bluesmen Cruises Back Into Town
Jimmie Vaughan at Houston's Arena Theater, 2013
Warehouse Live, December 2
Jimmie Vaughan’s blues opens a window on a world filled with cars sporting giant tailfins, window fans churning cigarette smoke across an empty barroom, and ice cubes clinking at last call. It hasn’t aged a day since approximately 1956, nor should it be expected to. The 65-year-old guitarist and singer is one of the coolest cats ever to put on a pair of sunglasses, and his Tilt-a-Whirl Band neither breaks stride during one of Vaughan’s extended Stratocaster rave-ups nor drags during one of his gently swinging swamp-pop ballads. Vaughan doesn’t make it to Houston as often as he should, making this stopover at Warehouse Live’s cozy Studio room a must-see for Gulf Coast blues fans — and doubly so because opening is Houston blues mainstay The Mighty Orq, supporting latest LP Love In a Hurricane.
White Oak Music Hall, December 2
Charmers and disarmers, Handsomebeast have quite a guest list for the party in their head: Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Bill Murray. On The Badass Future, the Houston-based five-piece’s third release and second full-length after 2014’s Estilo Gacho, the aforementioned star of Ghostbusters and Caddyshack rates his own song, a hard-rock freakout on par with “Elvis On Acid” a few tracks later. But Handsomebeast can do smooth too, sculpting “Sweet James ’76” and “Super Naked Skin (Lonely)” into sleek little pop-soul songs that induce swirling fantasias of sound and snap back into the groove just as quickly. Sexy work, from a band that deserves to be much in demand after this album. With Mantra Love and the Quintessential Octopus.
SATELLITE BAR ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY
Satellite Bar, December 3
Houston needs places like the Satellite Bar, which has been a real oasis for local indie-minded artists since opening about this time last year. Just the right size and striking the proper dive-y atmosphere – unpretentious but not gross – Satellite has been one of the friendliest venues for bands still feeling their way around a stage right from the beginning. Consider that the two real “veterans” on Saturday’s one-year anniversary bill, Young Girls and Mikey and the Drags, have been around for only a few years themselves. The rest of the afternoon offers a peek at the talents of several young Houston acts on the rise, from country-ish Dollie Barnes and various shades of atmospheric pop (Vodi, Whit, Cleen Teens, Whale Bones) to the more disco-minded Camera Cult and chugging guitars of Cool Moon. Those in the mood for something heavier might prefer the surf-punk stylings of the Hammer Party, Thrill’s leather-jacketed CBGB cool or the Wealthy Beggars’ ragged Americana vibe. Free show subject to capacity; doors open at noon. Many happy returns!
MAXWELL, MARY J. BLIGE
Toyota Center, December 3
If R&B has a royal court, its current throne-sitters are now making their way across America on the “King and Queen of Hearts” tour, otherwise known as the biggest date night of the holiday season. Never one to rush, Maxwell recently broke his seven-year album drought with blackSUMMERS’night, – not to be confused with its predecessor, BLACKsummers’night – an equally sultry collection of electronic grooves and unhurried after-hours seductions, again aided by Grammy-winning HSPVA jazz alum Robert Glasper. His counterpart, Blige, is about to celebrate the 25th anniversary of her quantum leap in hip-hop soul, era-defining 1992 debut What’s the 411?, and recently released a new single, the unapologetic “Thick of It,” as a sort of aperitif before the tour. With Ro James.
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