The Best Concerts In Houston This Week: Phosphorescent, The Dodos, Toro Y Moi, etc.
Photo by Barry Sigman
John Egan The Big Easy, October 7
Solo bluesman John Egan sings in a tone that suggests someone is constantly walking over his grave, and his lyrics are loaded with bad mojo like nature gone haywire and apocalyptic visions. All he needs live is his National Resonator, one of those shiny silver guitars that sting and snarl. CHRIS GRAY
Photo by Dusdin Condren/Courtesy of Dead Oceans
Phosphorescent Fitzgerald's, October 8
Phosphorescent, the outfit based around singer-songwriter Matthew Houck, puts a shaggy spin on the old simple-folk-song/elaborate-pop-arrangment duality. Already rootsy, Houck doubled down on 2009's To Willie, a lovingly wrought collection of Willie Nelson covers like "Too Sick to Pray" and "Pick Up the Tempo," and kept right on cruising in that country-rock direction on 2010's Here's to Taking It Easy.
In March of this year Phosphorescent returned with Muchacho, a suite of latter-day Laurel Canyon mysticism that mingles copious electronic effects and chorale-like passages with Houck's familiar thinking-man's twang. With Shakey Graves. CHRIS GRAY
Rick Lee & the Night Owls The Hideaway on Dunvale, October 8
We got to partake in the pleasure that is the Hideaway on Dunvale for steak night one Tuesday, and it included the magical blues stylings of Rick Lee & the Night Owls. Lee and his band do ZZ Top, Bobby "Blue" Bland and B.B. King covers. We also witnessed the man playing his axe with the leg of a chair and licking the strings at one point. It was a good night for everyone, and we're sure the guitar had no complaints either. CRAIG HLAVATY
Local Natives House of Blues, October 9
In case you've never heard Local Natives, the music is a heady mix of Talking Heads, Television, Grizzly Bear and Genesis -- a.k.a. sharp art-pop with heaps of percussion, impeccable harmony vocals and a bright polish. The lyrical content tends to be rather personal in nature, so it doesn't hurt that many of the songs contain rapturous crescendos that are crisply executed.
In short, you might be put off by all the oxford shirts and boat shoes on the stage and in the audience, but if you're not moved by the heartfelt emotions laid out for all the world to see in such a powerful fashion, then your heart must be made of stone. ADAM P. NEWTON
More shows on the next page.
Photo by Chloe Attel
The Dodos Fitzgerald's, October 9
San Francisco's Dodos aren't alone in crafting folkish songs that employ some unusual percussion, but unlike some of their indie-rock peers, haven't forsaken sound songwriting for the visceral thrill of making a lot of noise onstage. Now up to their fifth album, this year's Carrier (Polyvinyl), Meric Long and Logan Kroeber's songs often come shrouded in the wistfulness of those famous fogs rolling in from the Bay. With Dustin Wong. CHRIS GRAY
Charlie Robison Dosey Doe, October 10
Little brother of top Austin tunesmith Bruce Robison, Charlie Robison is no slouch in the songwriting department himself, with the kind of attitude that reportedly once made him the most hated man on Music Row. (They don't call him the "bad boy of Bandera" for nothing.) That was when he was still playing country music's major-label game, somewhat, convincing Sony to release the excellent albums Life of the Party and Step Right Up around the turn of the millennium.
Since then he's married and divorced a Dixie Chick, moved back to Texas, grown his hair out and kept up his maverick ways on two more first-rate records, Beautiful Day and Good Times. Now comes brand-new album High Life, which finds Robison covering simpatico artists like Bob Dylan, The Band, Kinky Friedman and Sir Douglas Sahm. CHRIS GRAY
Toro Y Moi House of Blues, October 10
You'd expect a guy who's been an essential player on the chillwave scene during the past three years to be a bit, well, chill. Luckily for us Toro Y Moi, whose mother first knew him as Chadwick Bundick, is not chill at all. He's become a one man electro-psych dance machine, dropping studio albums, compilation albums, EPs and singles with quickness. But even firing out his tunes at rapid speed, he's kept the integrity of his chillwave roots intact while expanding the Toro y Moi sound to incorporate elements of house and funk. ANGELICA LEICHT
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