The Best Concerts In Houston This Week: Bob Dylan, Nightwish, Lana Del Rey, etc.
Bob Dylan (center stage, white hat) onstage at The Band's "Last Waltz," November 1976
Bob Dylan Bayou Music Center, May 5
It says something that Bob Dylan is playing a venue that can hold less than 3,000 people; namely, that his time as a pop star is long in the past while his legend continues to grow and his work ethic never tires. Most fans who have stuck with him this long know the rules of Dylan in concert: he plays what he wants, favors recent material, and even his most familiar tunes may be unrecognizable from their recorded versions.
This time through, he may or may not play selections from this year's Shadows In the Night, a collection of songs once recorded by Frank Sinatra that digs a bit deeper than "My Way." Texas-music aficionados have an extra reason to rejoice this time too, because onetime "Beats So Lonely" teen idol and Arc Angels co-founder Charlie Sexton is back on lead guitar.
Wizkid Ayva Center (9731 Richmond), May 6
Still relatively unknown in the U.S., the Nigerian musician known as WizKid started his career at age 11 and is the first African star to reach 1 million Twitter followers. Now 24, he signed with Nigerian mogul Banky W.'s Empire Mates Entertainment at age 19, and by 2013 was named No. 5 on Forbes' list of Africa's most bankable artists. His limber, high-polished Afropop has all kinds of crossover potential with its U.S. urban counterpart; last year WizKid featured guests including Akon, Wale and Tyga on his album Ayo, which translates as "Joy." An upcoming collaboration with Rihanna is reportedly in the works too.
Nightwish Warehouse Live, May 6
All the sturm and drang of an average Wagner opera can also be found in a Nightwish performance. The Finnish goth-metal sextet is so successful that earlier this month they were selected to part of a new series of the Scandinavian nation's official postage stamps alongside their countrymen Apocalyptica, HIM, Children of Bodom and Hanoi Rocks, among others. As they became one of Europe's most popular metal bands (gathering a decent U.S. following as well), Nightwish has also changed lead singers three times since their 1997 debut.
Most recently, the virtually on-the-spot switch to Floor Jansen in time for the 2013 edition of Wacken Open Air became the subject of Please Learn the Setlist in 48 Hours, a documentary available on the band's Showtime, Storytime DVD package. After playing to more than 85,000 fans at the massive German metalfest, Nightwish's visit to Warehouse Live behind this year's Endless Forms Most Beautiful (their first studio LP with Jansen up front) might seem like playing a broom closet by comparison.
More shows on the next page.
Lana Del Rey
Photo by Neil Krug/Shore Fire Media
Lana Del Rey, Courtney Love Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, May 7
This is already one of the most talked-about concerts of 2015, for all the wrong reasons. Two of the most controversial pop singers of the past 20 years, both Lana Del Rey and Courtney Love have more than their fair share of haters, as well as a special talent for pissing those haters off (especially those who work in the media). Del Rey's femme fatale pop seems expressly designed to enrage anyone who takes her songs of white-hipster ennui a little too seriously, which is what makes quite a few of them so brilliant; last year's Ultraviolence is both lovely and a little disconcerting, with echoes of both Kate Bush and Lil' Kim. Love, meanwhile, might have been a little too realistic while portraying a rock diva gone to seed on Fox's Empire this spring, but onstage she has not forgotten any of the moves.
Bill Carter, Mike Stinson Discovery Green, May 7
With wife/writing partner Ruth Ellsworth, Bill Carter co-wrote 1989's "Crossfire," one of Stevie Ray Vaughan's last big hits; the song went on to earn music publisher BMI's "Million Airs" award for more than 2 million radio spins. Today a talented journeyman musician with interesting friends (Johnny Depp, Billy Gibbons), Carter has had his songs recorded by more than 200 artists, and anchored his rootsy Austin band the Blame for some 30 years now.
In early 2013 he released his latest solo album,the Springsteen-ish Unknown (Unison Music Group), not only the sort of record that rhymes "marijuana" with "Americana," but also the sort that makes you wonder why nobody thought of that before. Thursday, Carter & the Blame kick off the Spring 2015 season of Discovery Green's free Thursday concert series; Houston honky-tonk hero Mike Stinson opens.
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