Stevie Wonder Toyota Center, March 20
Stevie Wonder was already a superstar in 1976, taking home consecutive Grammy Album of the Year wins for Innervisions and Fulfillingness' First Finale, but double LP Songs In the Key of Life put him in the pantheon. Almost 90 minutes of music that required approximately 130 players to create, the album lights up just about every area of Wonder's considerable skill set, from ripping jazz fusion to doe-eyed ballads and the brilliant No. 1 singles "Sir Duke" and "I Wish."
It also won four more Grammys, topped Billboard's album chart for 13 weeks straight, was a favorite of Elton John and Whitney Houston (among many others) and earlier this year inspired a CBS-TV special featuring everyone from Beyonce to Willie Nelson. More importantly for Houston, Songs also inspired this tour that brings Wonder back to Toyota Center for the first time since 2007. CHRIS GRAY
8th Wonder Second Anniversary 8th Wonder Brewery (2202 Dallas), 3 p.m. March 21
Manufacturer of such brands as the "Hopston" IPA, "Rocket Fuel" Vietnamese coffee porter, and best of all the "Dome Faux'm" throwback cream ale, EaDo's 8th Wonder Brewery is also a big booster of the Houston music scene, celebrating its second anniversary Saturday by throwing open its doors to some of the Bayou City's best beer-loving bands. Headlining is the hottest group on the Gulf Coast right now, local rocksteady-soul ensemble the Suffers, who a week from Monday will make their debut on CBS' The Late Show With David Letterman.
No one wants to follow them, so warming up will be New Orleans funkateers Earphunk; more NOLA goodness from the Stooges Brass Band; a pair of HTX indie-pop favorites in Wild Moccasins and Fox & Cats; and the benevolent grooves of Houston Music Hall of Famer DJ Sun. We'll drink to that. CHRIS GRAY
James "Boogaloo" Bolden The Big Easy, March 21
A member of B.B. King's band for some 30 years, James "Boogaloo" Bolden has had more time to focus on his own career recently as the aged blues legend's touring activities have slowed somewhat. That extra time resulted in the lifelong Houstonian's 2013 CD No News Jus' the Blues, a balancing act between Bobby "Blue" Bland-style ballads and uptempo, Latimore-like baby-makers. Featuring Evelyn Rubio, a powerhouse in her own right on vocals and saxophone, Bolden's band delivers a brand of blues that is all but extinct in Houston but sounds perfect at music-loving dives like The Big Easy. CHRIS GRAY
Luke Bryan NRG Stadium, March 22
It's a testament to his charm that Luke Bryan remains insanely likeable even after he was part of what may very well have been the worst song of 2014, Florida Georgia Line's "This is How We Roll." Just how likable is he? Well, he was the first artist to sell out his RodeoHouston performance this year, so he must be doing something right. Bryan is actually becoming something of a king around these parts during rodeo season. In 2013 and 2014, more than 75,000 people paid good money to see him do his thing. The "Crash My Party" singalong is going to be pretty loud. Plan accordingly. (Rodeo begins at 3:45 p.m.; concert starts after rodeo is over.) CORY GARCIA
More shows on the next page.
SIX MORE SHOWS WORTH CONSIDERING
The Band Perry: Still riding hit 2013 album Pioneer, slick country-pop siblings make fourth RodeoHouston appearance. (NRG Stadium, March 20)
Donkey Punch LP Release: Depraved local sleaze-punks give fans something to take home besides a bruise or two; with the Freakouts, Poor Dumb Bastards, and Killer Hearts. (Fitzgerald's, March 20)
The Bluebonnets: Ex-Go-Go Kathy Valentine leads kick-ass Austin girl band, featuring the smokin' Eve Monsees on lead guitar. (Continental Club, March 21)
Milky Chance: Young German electro-folk duo stop over from SXSW to play tunes from last year's Sadnecessary LP. (Warehouse Live, March 21)
Cyber Wasteland: Houston's top techno-industrial night plugs in. (Numbers, March 21)
Burger Records/Onward Indian SXSW Caravan: A full day of rock thanks to SoCal label and NC booking agency; ten bucks gets you burgers, hot dogs, etc. too. (Walters Downtown, March 22)
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