The Best Concerts in Houston This Weekend: Aaron Lewis, Creole Festival, Skinny Puppy, etc.
Photo by Andrea Minze/Courtesy of We Are Solid Gold PR
The Black & White Years Fitzgerald's, January 31
The Black and White Years were blessed with good luck almost from the get-go. No less than Jerry Harrison, the former Talking Heads guitarist, took a shine to the Austin indie-rockers at their 2007 SXSW show and produced the eponymous album that followed a few months later; that album helped them clean up at the Austin Music Awards a few months after that.
The single "Power to Change" became a CMJ-circuit favorite, and sophomore album Patterns followed in 2010. Last week they released third album, Strange Figurines, more classic OMD-style synth-pop and nocturnal electronica reveries a la MGMT. Come early for BLSHS, the Houston electro-pop trio featuring Michelle Miers' haunting vocals and touting brand-new EP Abstract Desires. With BLSHS. CHRIS GRAY
Rosie Flores, Patrica Vonne Continental Club, January 31
This double bill of fiery Latina rockers could be just the thing to jump-start your Super Bowl weekend. After a short stint as neo-traditionalist country singer, Austin-via-L.A. singer and guitarist Rosie Flores released the 1995 album Rockabilly Filly, which reintroduced pioneers like Wanda Jackson into the public eye and put Flores herself on the short list of roots-rock queen bees.
Last year she released Working Girl's Guitar, an ambitious album full of everything from surf instrumentals and country ballads to covers of both Elvis and the Beatles. Meanwhile, Patricia Vonne is one of maverick Texas filmmaker Robert Rodriguez's sisters, and brings more than a little of that El Mariachi attitude -- plus a hint or two of Patti Smith -- to her brassy border rock evident on albums like 2013's Rattle My Cage. CHRIS GRAY
MFAH Mixed Media feat. Dam-Funk & DJ Sun Museum of Fine Art, Houston, January 31
The entire Museum District will be groovin' when MFAH's insanely popular Mixed Media takes over the neighborhood for its season opener. For starters, beloved Houston turntable maestro DJ Sun - who just celebrated re-launching Montrose lounge The Flat under his stewardship - is no slouch as a warmup. Then headlining is Dam-Funk, the L.A. DJ whose talents are as in demand as a collaborator (Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill's B-Real, Steve Arrington of '70s/'80s Ohio funk lords Slave) as a party-rocker, and who never misses an opportunity to prove himself the "Ambassador of Boogie Funk." Hosted by Ky Meyer of Channel 39's NewsFix. CHRIS GRAY
Houston Creole Heritage Festival Discovery Green, February 1
This idea is long overdue. Zydeco was born in Houston, where local musicians added some big-city juice to the lively Creole sounds of the Gulf Coast prairie, and is still its unofficial capital thanks to the number of prominent artists who live in the area. But it hasn't produced a crossover star in many, many years, so zydeco's mainstream visibility has receded somewhat. Make no mistake, it's still out there -- most prominently at Jax Grill, the Big Easy and Mr. A's in Fifth Ward, for starters -- but this weekend it'll be smack in the middle of downtown at at the inaugural Houston Creole Heritage Festival.
Saturday alone features a cook-off, trail-ride camp, art show, talent show, kid's zone auditions for Texas Folklife's Big Squeeze accordion contest, and the Mardi Gras Parade, to go with two stages of entertainment featuring top names like Step Rideau, J. Paul Jr. & the Zydeco Nubreeds and Dikki Du. Additionally, the bon temps keep rolling at the Knights of Columbus hall near Hobby Airport (6320 Madden Ln.), with Brian Jack, JoJo Reed and Zydeco Dots scheduled for Friday through Sunday, respectively. See houstoncreolefestival.com for more information, and zydecoevents.com for a more complete look at just how active this homegrown style of music continues to be. CHRIS GRAY
More shows on the next page.
Photo courtesy of LOUDMOUTH Entertainment
Aaron Lewis Nutty Jerry's (Winnie), February 1
Rarely does an artist see as seamless a crossover as Aaron Lewis has. The former front man of alt-rockers Staind always had a penchant for playing acoustic shows, so that, and his twangy, sorrowful voice, made for an easy transition to good ol' country boy. Lewis has always written about his personal life, and it seems things are looking up, with those lonesome lyrics of old now replaced with a more positive message through songs like "Endless Summer." Sure, it's been a while since we've heard Lewis belt out those brutal Staind songs, but perhaps that's not such a bad thing. ANGELICA LEICHT
P.O.D. Bayou Music Center, February 1
It's still a bit surprising that San Diego-bred nu-metal band P.O.D. gained so much radio success in the early '00s, considering their Christian message is a bit, well, religious; rock fans were suspicious of anything preachy after Scott Stapp and Creed emerged. But somehow P.O.D. prevailed over those hurdles and produced two massive hits off of their fourth studio album, 2001's Satellite. The super-positive and upbeat "Alive" and its counterpart, the equally depressing "Youth of the Nation" -- which explored the school shootings that took place during the post-Columbine years -- both scored Grammy nods for the band and solidified their place in mainstream rock. ANGELICA LEICHT
Skinny Puppy Warehouse Live, February 1
When it comes to groups whose dense and abrasive songs warped an entire generation of alternative-music fans, Skinny Puppy is right up there with Ministry. With nothing remotely pop about them, the Canadian duo mined the electronic chaos of ancestors such as Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire to craft a despairing sound heavy on samples and synths; the lyrics spoke of dystopia and decay, with a pointed political edge ingrained into Skinny Puppy's dark industrial groove.
After reaching their apex in the late '80s and early '90s with albums like VIVISectVI, Rabies and Too Dark Park, core members cEvin Key and Ogre became estranged for a while, but the duo reunited in 2000 and have been projecting their disturbing visions ever since. Saturday Skinny Puppy makes its first Houston appearance in many years behind last year's return to form, The Weapon. CHRIS GRAY
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