The 10 Best Concerts in Houston This Weekend: Cage the Elephant, Bro Safari, iFest, etc.
Photo courtesy of Tiny Human PR
Phantogram Warehouse Live, April 25
Upstate New York duo Phantogram will scratch that same after-hours electro-pop itch as School of Seven Bells' enchanting 2012 LP Ghostory. Josh Carter and Sarah Bechtel slide dusty hip-hop beats around the kind of shoegazey sounds that were made for shutting your eyes and drifting off into dreamland, a formula that worked just fine on two indie albums and last year's eponymous EP.
Now upon the release of February's proper Universal debut, Voices, Phantogram seems destined to even bigger stages, as songs like "Nothing But Trouble" and "Fall In Love" are easily as much "pop" as "electro," if not more so. With Teen. CHRIS GRAY
Cage the Elephant House of Blues, April 25
Kentucky-bred Cage the Elephant has emerged as one of the more successful alt-rock bands of the 2010s, as well as one of the quirkier and most eclectic. (Coincidence?) The Bowling Green quintet first turned heads with robust but radio-ready singles like "Ain't No Rest For the Wicked" and "Shake Me Down," fashioning a sound out of a curious '90s melange (Stone Roses, RHCP, Pixies) that became fresh air to the stagnant alternative airwaves. Cage's winning streak continued on last year's Melophobia, which has to date spawned the hits "Come a Little Closer" (a No. 1) and "Take It Or Leave It." CHRIS GRAY
Bro Safari Stereo Live, April 25
The name Bro Safari may not be as well known as, say, Skrillex or David Guetta, but the genre-bending producer has become equally as important to dance music as those other big-name boys. When Nick Weiller started producing under the name Bro Safari in 2012, he was already credentialed as part of the hardstep drum-and-bass group Evol Intent.
But his first album as Bro Safari, 2013's Animal, definitively launched him into the mainstream-EDM conversation after he originally gave it away for free on Soundcloud. Produced with longtime collab partner UFO!, the ten-song set of rowdy drum-and-bass lines and unusual textures has since been hailed as a "cohesive masterpiece" by critics and fans alike. ANGELICA LEICHT
Vex Vinal Edge Records, April 25
In a time before Houston was overly infested with sprawl, when portions of downtown were dripping with decay, mechanical bull-riding mesmerized crowds at Gilley's, and police violence regularly marred neighborhoods, bands like Vex, peppered with heavy duty politics, the "plague" of punk, and bruising live sets, set themselves far apart from wafer-thin New Wave and moronic glam-metal that held sway in the 1980s.
Singer Mike May, who also later joined Keelhaul and Crust, was the band's center of gravity. Sadly, May is now suffering from Stage-4 melanoma, but will fly back to Houston for one last howl with Screech of Death, Deconstruction Crew and Pond Water. See Rocks Off's longer article from Thursday. DAVID ENSMINGER
Mogwai Fitzgerald's, April 25
Last year I got heavily into Mogwai when I discovered that listening to music with words distracts me while writing. The Scottish band's skill at creating suspense with subtle, atmospheric notes and then exploding into a mushroom cloud of post-rock thunder is unmatched among their peers, and they still haven't peaked. Their album from earlier this year, Rave Tapes, is proof. JOHN SEABORN GRAY
Houston International Festival City Hall/Sam Houston Park, April 26 & 27
You can read quite a bit more about the 2014 Houston International Festival -- which the Houston Press is proud to help sponsor -- a little later on today right here, but here's a quick synopsis of Weekend 1. Some of iFest's honored guests this weekend include Latin Grammy winners La Santa Cecilia, UK neo-soul singer Laura Mvula, and Aussie roots-rocker Anne McCue scattered around iFest's five stages alongside a host of local acts. As far as that goes, this weekend happens to be heavy on indie-rock (Spain Colored Orange, Featherface, Young Girls) and R&B/soul (The Suffers, Steve Krase, Richard Cagle & the Voodoo Choir).
Still, our pick for top-to-bottom best bet is Sunday's Bud Light World Stage roster. Headlining is Monterrey's reggae-spiced rock en espanol veterans El Gran Silencio, but the rest of the day is loaded with top-shelf local Latin-rock talent: La Sien, Chango Man and Los Skarnales, with a side of righteous reggae singer Kyra Noons (aka the Neutral Sister). iFest may bring the world to Houston every year, but what it really does is reflect just how much of the world is already here. CHRIS GRAY
More shows on the next page.
Texas Crawfish & Music Festival Preservation Park (Spring), April 26 & 27
Within just a few years, the Texas Crawfish & Music Festival has quietly emerged as a force to be reckoned with on the state's concert calendar. Spread out over this weekend and next, the festival welcomes some of Texas' top bands in a variety of genres. Weekend 1 will see rock (Dimitri's Rail, MadSons) and country (Jason Boland & the Stragglers, Dale Watson), plus an undercard full of up-and-comers -- Austin's Wheeler Brothers, Tyler's Whiskey Myers, Lufkin's Downfall Rising -- and standbys like Shinyribs, Jesse Dayton and Houston favorites Folk Family Revival.
Topping the bill Saturday is jovial outlaw-country figureheads the Charlie Daniels Band, so resin up that bow and play that fiddle hard. The TCMF has something for almost every taste, plus a few surprises -- and isn't that what every good music festival aims for? See texascrawfishfestival.com for ticket information and more details, or our article about the festival from earlier this week. CHRIS GRAY
Nathan Quick Fitzgerald's, April 26
Houston singer-songwriter Nathan Quick's new EP, The Mile, feels like so many different artists at once that it's hard to nail down a real comparison. You can hear touches of everyone from Tom Petty and Nick Cave to Blitzen Trapper and even brushes of local acts like Folk Family Revival. He's a jangling, poetic sort of dude who dances a fine line between aspirational lyrical brilliance and pure, pop-driven love-and-loss tunes. See a longer review here. JEF WITH ONE F
TWO OTHER SHOWS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER By Chris Gray
MFAH Mixed Media: Popular see-and-be-seen event features legendary NYC DJ Stretch Armstrong, H-Town's Fat Tony and DJ Sun. (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, April 25)
Casting Crowns: Atlanta-bred Christian rockers known for "East to West" and "Until the Whole World Hears" bring their "Thrive" tour to The Woodlands with Laura Story. (Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, April 26)
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