Houston's 10 Best Concerts In August
Mary Black's "Last Call" tour finally reaches Houston on Thursday.
Photo by Gavin Leane/Courtesy of W3 Public Relations
The MATCH, August 3
What we think of as traditional Irish music dates has been passed down orally for at least a couple of millennia, has only existed in written form since about the 1760s, and in the modern era is personified in the voice and songs of Mary Black. Born into one of Ireland’s most prominent musical families, she emerged in the 1980s with an acclaimed eponymous solo album and two more with arguably the country’s leading contemporary folk ensemble, the still-active De Danann. Her first album to go multiplatinum, 1987’s By the Time It Gets Dark, set the stage for even further success; released two years later, No Frontiers spent more than a year in the Irish Top 30 and became her first album released in the U.S. Coinciding with the 30th-anniversary reissue of Dark, yet another leg of Black’s “Last Call” tour — which originally began in 2014 — brings her to Houston’s MATCH, whose bare-bones intimacy is a natural fit for the sort of hushed reverence Black’s gooseflesh-raising voice demands. CHRIS GRAY
White Oak Music Hall, August 6
Waxahatchee songs are a triumph of rejecting bullshit. Riveted between simple, lo-fi chords and brooding melodies, the world-weary lyrics singer Katie Crutchfield (who performs under the Waxahatchee moniker) drive through the woes of heartache bluntly and without shame. Waxahatchee's latest effort, Out In the Storm, is a full-throated confrontation of a toxic love affair; with each song, Crutchfield stares down her misery, unafraid to confront her sadness, her weakness, and her desire for simple relief. For all the pain, the album lacks bitterness; Crutchfield, as the song "Brass Beam" says, "just wants to play [her] songs and sleep through the night." That confidence and security has inspired a robust sonic turn for Waxahatchee, trading in the rough eight-track recordings of debut album American Weekend for a sound that is broader, unequivocal and potent. You don't have to be heartbroken to come see the Waxahatchee show, but if you are, it just might help.
Redneck Country Club, August 11
Until recently, and the force of nature known as Beyonce, Kenny Rogers held the distinction of being the top-selling recording artist from the City of Houston. His September 2015 Today Show retirement announcement couldn’t help but launch a million “Gambler” puns, most of them of the “know when to fold ‘em" variety. Rogers’ chart achievements are truly staggering, and many of his country and pop comrades will salute him at an all-star October concert at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena featuring, among others, Little Big Town, Jamey Johnson, Elle King, old friend Dolly Parton and, well, the Flaming Lips. By contrast, joining the 78-year-old Rogers at the Redneck Country Club is Dottie West, his partner in a string of hit ‘70s duets including “Every Time Two Fools Collide,” “What Are We Doin’ In Love” and “All I Ever Need Is You.” Easy to argue that Rogers’ hometown fans are getting the better end of that deal. CHRIS GRAY
THE AVETT BROTHERS
Smart Financial Centre, August 18
About a year ago, the Avett Brothers released their first album in three years. Much to the chagrin of longtime fans and folk enthusiasts, True Sadness showcased the band testing their ability to craft pop music under the tutelage of iconic producer Rick Rubin. But despite a number of tepid reviews, True Sadness debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and provided the North Carolina-born bluegrass outfit with a jumping-off point for a successful tour stretching from the US to the UK. Eight years removed from their major-label debut, the Avetts should bring a unique blend of country, roots and pop to their Sugar Land stop. They're likely to play at least a track or two from their latest release, but longtime fans are sure to hear the likes of "Murder in the City" and "I and Love and You" as well. MATTHEW KEEVER
House of Blues, August 18
Guess what? The ‘90s are back, ya’ll. And you can’t have the ‘90s without including Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, who have had their fair share of hardship, victories, crushing losses and everlasting place in music history in the more than 20 years since their catchy Grammy-award winning lament, “Tha Crossroads.” A fun fact: Bone Thugs was one of the groups to record with both Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. Fresh off their latest release, New Waves, Bone Thugs take a walk with devil with this new sound. Containing reggae melodies, pop ballads and EDM, the album might bite off more than it can chew; however, the near-title track, “Waves,” is a throwback to the days of East Coast vs. West Coast, featuring the group's original members. Rumor has it a Bone Thugs biopic in the works is being produced by Ice Cube. See you at the crossroads. VERONICA ANNE SALINAS
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