The 10 Best Concerts in Houston This Weekend: OK Go, Brad Absher, Record Store Day, etc.
Photo by Makoto Kubota/Courtesy of BB Gun Press
OK Go Warehouse Live, April 17
Since the days when MTV actually played them round-the-clock, no band has been more closely identified with its music videos than OK Go. Even before there was such a thing as YouTube (or much, anyway), the L.A.-via-Chicago power-pop quartet established their Cars-plus-Pixies formula on 2002 modern-rock hit before breaking ground in the viral-video arena three years later with "Here It Goes Again." (You know, the one with the treadmills.)
Nearly a decade later, the band's scampish sense of humor remains intact -- their contribution to the soundtrack of this year's Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is called "You're a Fucking Nerd and No One Likes You" -- as does their adherence to vintage New Wave; "The Writing's On the Wall," the first single from this year's Hungry Ghosts LP, is a virtual New Order rewrite.
Brad Absher & Swamp Royale The Big Easy Social & Pleasure Club, April 17
Brad Absher and his band Swamp Royale are a pillar of Houston's blues community, advancing the past two years to the semi-finals and finals, respectively, of the annual International Blues Challenge in Memphis. On their brand-new CD Lucky Dog, Absher runs his five-piece ensemble through a spirited survey course in Bayou City soul, a 12-piece menu that includes gospel standard "Jesus On the Mainline" all the way to well-chosen covers of Leon Russell and Allen Toussaint and Abshire's own originals like the second-line stomp "Woman Who Loves Me" and countrified "Not Tonight"
Record Store Day 2015 Cactus Music (and others), April 18
This year Cactus Music promises to "make all your Record Store Day dreams come true," and local music fans know that the Shepherd Plaza stalwart is not one to break a promise. Starting by opening an hour early at 9 a.m., Cactus has a jam-packed schedule of performers and other events to occupy those browsing the racks or waiting in line to purchase all those RSD '15 exclusives: an 11 a.m. DJ set by Clint Broussard of KPFT's Blues In Hi-Fi; 2 p.m. meet-and-greet by the great Sleater-Kinney (see next page); 5 p.m. performance by The Legacy Group, surviving members of Houston's legendary Kashmere Stage Band following tonight's screening of corresponding 2010 KSB documentary Thunder Soul. RSD runs all day Saturday, so please take the time to also visit Sig's Lagoon (3622-E Main), Sound Exchange (1846 Richmond), Vinal Edge (239 W. 19th St.), Heights Vinyl (3122 White Oak) and the Bayou City's other fine music merchants.
Revenge of the Mekons Alamo Drafthouse Vintage Park, April 18-20
The Mekons have been called "the ultimate cult band" as well as rock and roll's leading survivors and low-key success stories. Arising out of the same Leeds University environs that birthed Gang of Four, Jon Langford and Tom Greenhalgh's ever-revolving cast of musicians have long established themselves has one of the most eclectic, insurgent and anything-goes bands to ever come under the umbrella of "post-punk." Thanks to their 1985 LP Fear and Whiskey alone, they've also had an immeasurable influence on the ragtag scene today known as alt-country, while Langford has continued his twangy streak into the present day. Besides a wealth of priceless vintage footage, this 2013 documentary directed by Joe Angio also features luminaries like The Corrections author Jonathan Franzen, I Shot Andy Warhol director Mary Harron and legendary rock scribe Greil Marcus singing the Mekons' praises. [Showtimes: 12:55 p.m. Saturday; 3:50 p.m. Sunday; 7:30 p.m. Monday.]
Local Brews, Local Grooves House of Blues, April 18
Houston has gone craft-beer crazy in the past few years, with as many new local labels popping up as their are new bands to drink them, it seems. So now House of Blues is stepping in with "Local Brews, Local Grooves," which pairs the products from popular local beer merchants like 8th Wonder, Karbach, Saint Arnold, Goose Island and more with almost a dozen Houston acts from all over the stylistic spectrum. Performing at either HOB's Music Hall, Foundation Room and Crossroads Stage (check the Web site) will be Catch Fever, We Were Wolves, Guilla, Jay Hooks, Ruckus, Ranson Bandits, Potbelly, Charlie and the Regrets and the Wayne Garner Band. If you can't find a flavor that appeals to you here, for either beer or music, then you might consider broadening your palate. Doors open at 6 p.m.
More shows on the next page.
Photo by Brigitte Sire/Courtesy of Shore Fire Media
Sleater-Kinney Warehouse Live, April 18
2015 was barely a few days old before many people called Sleater-Kinney's No Cities to Love the album to beat this year; Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly notwithstanding, the succeeding three months haven't done much to change that in most people's minds. The indie-punk Pacific Northwest trio's first record since 2005's The Woods, Cities is a rush from start to finish. With Thee Satisfaction.
THREE OTHER SHOWS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER
Bella Gaia: Ambitious multimedia minds meld NASA footage with classical/New Age music; far out, man. (Miller Outdoor Theatre, April 17)
Rich O'Toole: Popular local Texas country hunk -- back on the radio with "Talk About the Weather" -= does a free show after UH's annual Red and White baseball game; showtime is 5:15 p.m. (Cougar Field, April 18)
Buzzfest 33: With Godsmack, Breaking Benjamin, AWOLNATION, Buckcherry and lots more, if you're into that sort of thing. (Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, April 18)
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