Shows of the Week: The Gambler's Last Deal For His Hometown Fans
Photo courtesy of Webster PR
Redneck Country Club, August 11
Until recently, and the force of nature known as Beyoncé, Kenny Rogers held the distinction of being the top-selling recording artist from the city of Houston. His September 2015 Today Show retirement announcement couldn’t help but launch a million “Gambler” puns, most of them of the “know when to fold ’em" variety. Rogers’s chart achievements are truly staggering, and many of his country and pop comrades will salute him at an all-star October concert at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena featuring, among others, Little Big Town, Jamey Johnson, Elle King, old friend Dolly Parton and, well, the Flaming Lips. By contrast, joining the 78-year-old Rogers at the Redneck Country Club stop of his “Last Deal” tour is Dottie West, his partner in a string of hit ’70s duets, including “Every Time Two Fools Collide,” “What Are We Doin’ in Love” and “All I Ever Need Is You.” Easy to argue that Rogers’s hometown fans are getting the better end of that deal.
Miller Outdoor Theatre, August 11
Creativity is the key to every great band, and one of the attributes that make the Ozomatli crew one of the best. Their music ranges from hip-hop to funk, cumbia, son jarocho and seemingly everything in between. Ozo's latest effort, Non-Stop: Mexico to Jamaica, re-envisions classic and contemporary Latin music through the majesty that is reggae and other Caribbean sounds. They even pay tribute to Selena with a fun rocksteady version of “Como La Flor,” which has become a fan favorite at their shows, especially in Texas. With a career spanning more than 20 years and counting, Ozomatli continues to represent the substantial diversity and beauty that the people of the Americas hold so close to their hearts. MARCO TORRES
White Oak Music Hall, August 11
Modern life, according to the authors of Washed Out’s latest official bio, “can be overblown and over-dramatized to the point of absurdity.” Enter Ernest Greene, electronica artist whose lo-fi, somnambulant productions help the outside world melt away, often with the help of headphones and certain mind-numbing controlled substances. Some folks call it chillwave, others just enjoy the music's more pharmaceutical qualities; either way, Greene has been in the vanguard since before Washed Out’s debut LP, Within and Without, arrived on Sub Pop in 2011. Houston rap star Travis Scott is tuned to Washed Out’s vibe, sampling that album’s “You and I” on 2016 LP Birds In the Trap Sing McKnight. After moving to the prestigious, eclectic L.A. label Stone’s Throw, this year Washed Out released Mister Mellow, a visual album that pairs impressionistic short films with Greene’s signature suspended-animation hip-hop, a beat-backed sound collage of acid jazz, house, soft disco and dub over disembodied, listless vocals.
Warehouse Live, August 12
Lil Yachty is honest. Maybe a little too honest. When the Atlanta rapper with the cherry-colored dreads and beads found himself on the hot seat over not being aware of the business side of music, he flashed a toothy smile and kept on going. In the current crust of viral rappers who became self-aware and self-sufficient, Yachty may be king of them all. Nautica face, haver of fun and enjoyment, he's more brand than artist. Being a catchy, superfluous rapper who has hits such as the sprightly "1 Night" and major guest spots on DRAM's "Brocolli" and Kyle's "i Spy" is one thing. Building your entire life on entertaining teens by chasing away thoughts of hate and discrimination is another. Yachty may not be one of those Too Big To Fail rappers, but he's far too enjoyable to some — and annoying to the older crowd — to falter this early. BRANDON CALDWELL
TOMMY DARDAR MEMORIAL
The Big Easy Social & Pleasure Club, August 13
Tommy Dardar was a linchpin of Houston's blues scene, a soulful singer, world-class harmonica player and overall down-to-earth cat who lately could be found performing his roadhouse R&B with a New Orleans twist at local joints like Shakespeare Pub, re:HAB and The Big Easy. Dardar passed away last month at age 66 after steadily making music in Houston for 40 years; he sat in with Lightnin’ Hopkins as a young man, and in later decades fronted two of the city’s more popular rootsy combos, Soul Bros. Inc and Big Daddy Gumbeaux & the Big Easy Rhythm Rockers. In that time he also built up a wealth of friends, many of whom will be on hand for Sunday afternoon’s tribute show organized by James Nagel, a.k.a. the “Blueshound” co-host of KPFT’s Howlin' the Blues. Scheduled to appear are Evelyn Rubio, Allison Fisher, Tommie Lee Bradley and many more, plus — in a final salute to Dardar’s affinity for all things Big Easy — a special second-line celebration that will spill out into the streets of West U.
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