The 10 Best Concerts in Houston This Weekend: Modest Mouse, Olivia Newton-John, etc.
Modest Mouse Bayou Music Center, November 7
Nearly capsizing after 2007's We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank baffled most of the latecomer fans who arrived with 2004's unlikely Top 40 single "Float On," idiosyncratic Washington State indie-rockers Modest Mouse have stayed on the road and out of the stores until just recently, when they released the 2011 demo "White Lies, Yellow Teeth." (Sadly, ex-Smiths guitar maestro Johnny Marr is no longer a member.) Their lack of new material hasn't slowed demand for the Mouse's first Houston show since the Engine Room days one iota, though -- tickets were already getting scarce as of last week, so act fast. With Rocket From the Crypt.
Meat Puppets, Cass McCombs Fitzgerald's, November 7
Among the handful of American post-punk bands that helped shape a generation of alternative rock, Arizona's Meat Puppets mingled hardcore punk, desert psychedelia and honky-tonk to arrive at a most unique formula. Kirkwood brothers Curt and Cris have been through hell and back since their seminal early-'80s SST albums, but have stabilized since Cris' 2007 return, fleshed out by Curt's guitarist son Elmo and Shandon Sahm (son of late Tex-Mex legend Doug) on drums.
Last year the rejuvenated Puppets released Rat Farm, their most intoxicating music since 1994's gold-certified Too High to Die. Splitting the bill is Cass McCombs, the California singer-songwriter who adds an even drier touch to the already-droll aura of Lou Reed on albums like 2013's Big Wheel and Others.
Legends of Zydeco & the Next Generation Northwest Mall, November 8 (11 a.m.)
Here's something hardly anyone could see coming: an all-day zydeco festival in the parking lot of Northwest Mall, with a lineup studded with Grammy winners and other Creole-music superstars. That's what we've got, though: an entire afternoon and evening packed with performers even zydeco novices should recognize: Buckwheat Zydeco, C.J. Chenier and his Red Hot Louisiana Band, Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas, Terrence Simien & the Zydeco Experience, Rosie Ledet & the Zydeco Playboys, Step Rideau & the Zydeco Outlaws and, filling out the "next generation" part of the bill, Lil' Nate & the Zydeco Big Timers.
The unlikely benefactor of all this accordion-fired entertainment is none other than Tony Draper, the onetime owner of '90s Houston rap label Suave House who has been recently working in film and TV production but Saturday makes a most intriguing return to the music world. Tickets start at $35, a true steal for all this talent. See legendsofzydeco.com for more information.
Galveston Island Brewing's Beer & Music Festival Galveston Island Brewing (8423 Stewart Rd., Galveston), November 8 (12 p.m.)
You can almost hear the rumbling Harley engines from this weekend's Lone Star Rally in Galveston here on the mainland, as the four-day event is supposedly the largest motorcylist gathering in North America. But if you're not into huffing diesel fumes and queuing up for one of the dudes from Sons of Anarchy's autographs, head across town to Galveston Island Brewing, where Island-dwelling troubador Robert Kuhn has put together an event where the vibe should be quite a bit more laid-back.
Besides Kuhn, whose LP Everybody Knows is one of 2014's better local roots/folk releases, he's invited ukulele-strumming Las Cruces pal Bourbon Legend; fellow New Mexicans Damn Union; Come See My Dead Person's Matt Mejia; Cassette Tape's Louis Morales; honky-tonker Kevin Anthony; Friendswood family band Campfire Soul; and lots more.
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El-P and Killer Mike's Run the Jewels 2 is a serious contender for Best Rap Album of 2014.
Photo courtesy of Biz 3 PR
Run the Jewels Fitzgerald's, November 8
As Run the Jewels, El-P and Killer Mike transcend regional styles, attitudes and hip-hop stereotypes to create some of the most uncompromising, noddable rap music in the marketplace today. The Brooklyn/Atlanta duo's second full-length, the aptly titled Run the Jewels 2, swirls guests like Zack de la Rocha, Three 6 Mafia moll Gangsta Boo and blink-182's Travis Barker around ear-probing production, rubber-band beats and provocative lyrics like "we run this spot like a Chinese sweatshop." Some are understandably tapping it as the rap album to beat in 2014, and live Run the Jewels will surely create some sweaty, spirited, satisfied customers. With Ratking, Despot and The Outfit (TX).
25th Annual Blues For Food Shakespeare Pub, November 9
One of the local music community's most charitable annual endeavors is also one of the few times fans can see practically the entire Houston blues scene perform in the same building and, needless to say, one of the biggest parties of the year. Starting at 1 p.m., the Shakespeare will play host to 12 straight hours of music, maybe more, thanks to a star-studded cast of the Bayou City's biggest bluesmen and women: John Egan, Sweet Mama Cotton, Don Kesee, Ezra Charles, Annika Chambers, Paul Ramirez, Sonny Boy Terry, John McVey & the Stumble, Trudy Lynn, Rich DelGrosso, John DelToro Richardson, Mojofromopolis, Sparetime Murray, Eugene Moody and many, many more.
The final four hours are reserved for a winner-take-all open jam session, plus free barbecue, a raffle, carnival games, face painting dunk tank, silent auction and more. Cover charge is a donation or equivalent in nonperishable food items, and all proceeds go to the Houston Food Bank. Now this is blues you can use.
She's the one that we want: Olivia Newton-John
Photo by Denise Truscello
Olivia Newton-John Stafford Centre, November 9
Hundreds of boyhood crushes will be satisfied Sunday night, when Olivia Newton-John brings her "Summer Nights" show from the Flamingo Las Vegas to Fort Bend County. The picture of rosy-cheeked, soft-rock wholesomeness on early-'70s hits like "Have You Never Been Mellow?" and "Please Mr. Please," the Australian-raised actress/singer smiled back from almost as many bedroom walls as Farrah Fawcett once the 1978 film version of Grease made her an international pop idol.
Her hefty bio has since added a few more lines: breast-cancer survivor, workout queen -- after yet another smash hit, 1982's "Physical" -- and proper Dame, after Newton-John received an Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II in 1979. Seems even Her Majesty couldn't resist "You're the One That I Want."
THREE MORE SHOWS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER
2014 Scorpio Party: Eclectic local bill of Jealous Creatures, PuraPharm, La Sien and A Sundae Drive, plus Fort Worth's Missing Sibling and Lafayette, La.'s ElectoVeldt, celebrate one important thing they all share -- that Zodiac sign with the stinging tail. (Bohemeo's, November 8)
Marsha Ambrosius, Musiq Soulchild: Silky, seductive nightcap of bohemian neo-soul. (Arena Theatre, November 8)
Andrew Duhon, Grand Old Grizzly, Libby Koch: New Orleans minstrel in the Tab Benoit/Tom Waits vein shares a bill with two of Houston's better Americana acts. (Continental Club, November 8)
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