The 10 Best Concerts in Houston This Weekend: Sunny Sweeney, Bob Seger, the Blasters, etc.
Mixing Up the Medicine: PuraPharm's new self-titled EP is the hard stuff.
Photo courtesy of PuraPharm
PuraPharm Warehouse Live, February 13
Easily one of Houston's most unique bands, PuraPharm manages to balance several imposing musical elements -- Tessa Kole's foreboding vocals; Niki Sims' palate-cleansing woodwinds; the fog of effects-mottled guitars -- to arrive at a coherent sound, whereas any one of those might overwhelm a lesser group. As it is, this town has all too few acts who have been seriously touched by the likes of Spiritualized, the Cocteau Twins and Siouxsie & the Banshees, but PuraPharm (the drug reference is no accident) makes a pretty strong case that we really only need the one.
After years of knocking around the Bayou City's finer alternative-music rooms, the band's brand-new eponymous EP has already begun charting on some college-radio stations across the country. Friday Purapharm throws a release party with three other superb alt-pop bands, Austin newcomers Casual Strangers and Houston's Glass the Sky and Jealous Creatures.
Sunny Sweeney Firehouse Saloon, February 13
In that proverbial perfect world, Sunny Sweeney would be as big as Carrie Underwood. In the world we live in, even fellow East Texan Miranda Lambert wishes she has the kind of acid tongue and way with a wicked hook that Sweeney does. After 2007 debut Heartbreaker's Hall of Fame was picked up by aptly named Nashville label Big Machine, the Austin-dwelling Sweeney actually flirted with mainstream-country airplay on 2011's "From a Table Away."
However, things took a turn (as they say) and she wound up using Kickstarter to fund the record of her career, last year's Provoked. Leading off with a pair of unapologetic homewrecker anthems in "You Don't Know Your Husband" and "Bad Girl Phase," Provoked also shows real tenderness without being maudlin on "My Bed" and "Carolina On the Line." Could Sweeney still be a CMA-level star someday? Hey, anything's possible. With Breelan Angel.
Kina Grannis Fitzgerald's, February 11
Because the previous evening's Animal Collective DJ set is going to be a zoo (pun fully intended), we thought we'd hip you to the folk-pop charms of Ms. Grannis instead. The 29-year-old singer-songwriter grew up in the Orange County enclave of Mission Viejo, Calif. and started self-releasing albums a decade ago. In the intervening years she attended USC; won the Doritos-sponsored "Crash the Super Bowl" contest in November 2007; and used almost 300,000 jellybeans in the video for "In Your Arms," which has reached more than 10 million YouTube views. (Grannis is said to be one of the most popular personalities on YouTube, in fact.) Last year's dependably sunny Elements, her second album under Interscope's auspices, was produced by Matt Hales, aka the UK indie musician Aqualung. With Imaginary Future.
The Blasters Continental Club, February 14
Just when times seemed darkest for rock fans in the late '70s, the Blasters boiled the music down to its foundations of blues, rockabilly and honky-tonk with the kind of intensity that won them tons of street cred in the L.A. punk scene and an instant kinship with its flagship band, X.
Powered in the early days by brothers Dave and Phil Alvin, the Blasters are Phil's baby these days -- though last year he and Dave cut the Grammy-nominated Common Ground, a tribute to early Mississippi bluesman Big Bill Broonzy -- and not to be missed by anybody else who appreciates guitars, amplifiers, pianos, pretty girls, American cars and everything else that is right and decent. With the Yawpers.
More shows on the next page.
Detroit Made: Bob Seger always gives 120 percent.
Photo by William Rummel/Courtesy of Plan A Media
Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band Toyota Center, February 14
One of the most dynamic stage performers to ever hail from the Motor City, which is really saying something, Bob Seger has been one of America's most dependable rockers since the late '60s. His forthright, optimistic, often sentimental songs have been part of the fabric of U.S. pop culture for almost as long, stoked by their near-constant inclusion on movie soundtracks, FM radio and of course endless Chevy truck TV ads.
Last fall Seger made his highest-ever debut on the Billboard 200 (No. 3) with Ride Out, a full-bodied and soulful effort topped by one of his hardest rockers to date in John Hiatt-penned opener "Detroit Made," as well as ace covers of Steve Earle's "The Devil's Right Hand" and Woody Guthrie & Wilco's "California Stars."
FIVE OTHER SHOWS WORTH CONSIDERING
Moe Bandy, Josh Fuller: A cheatin' situation. (Redneck Country Club, Februrary 13)
Echosmith: If you can get in (it's sold out), spend your V-Day with this buzzworthy pop-rock UK quartet and the other "Cool Kids." (Fitzgerald's, February 14)
Big Squeeze Contest: Conjunto, zydeco and polka-schooled youth encouraged to compete for one of the nine finalists spots; winner will be announced April 25 at Austin's Bullock State History Museum. (Cafe 4212, 2 p.m. February 15)
A Day Late For Love: Nurse that Cupid hangover with Closed Eyes Open; So Soon, the Truth; the Eggplants; Refinery Coast; Kairos Theos; and a few other young area bands. (Numbers, February 15)
Eric Prydz: Beatport-busting Swedish super-DJ heads back to the clubs on his "GENERATE" tour. (Stereo Live, February 15)
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