The Five Best Concerts in Houston This Week: Alice in Chains, Tycho, Chaka Khan, etc.
Photo courtesy of Capitol Records
Alice In Chains Bayou Music Center, April 29
After reappearing from a solid decade in the wilderness on 2009's Black Gives Way to Blue, Alice In Chains is rolling in 2014. William DuVall, who came up through Atlanta's hardcore scene, is now fully installed as front man; he shares the tormented howl of Alice's founding vocalist Layne Staley, but lacks the demons that led to Staley's 2002 demise. Meanwhile, mastermind Jerry Cantrell's earth-mover riffs already sounded grizzled on early-'90s albums like Facelift and Dirt, and have grown more weathered and pugnacious with time.
Following another layoff forced by Cantrell's shoulder surgery, last year Alice released The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Rock Albums chart, thanks to the broad shoulders of Jurassic-era singles like "Hollow" and "Stone." With Kongos. CHRIS GRAY
Tycho Fitzgerald's, April 29
Tycho sounds like great days at the beach, long drives at sunset, and helicopter shots over the Grand Canyon. Mixing the best parts of post-rock and chill electronic music, it's instrumental music for movie montages that don't exist but should. Existing in that gray area between solo project and full band, 2014's Awake saw primary songwriter Scott Hansen working in the studio with his touring band for the first time.
The results are tracks that feel fresh and a bit more human, but still have the sound and cinematic scope of the older albums. Whether you want to enjoy the video projections they use live or close your eyes and make your own movies, the "score" will be awesome either way. With Gardens & Villa. CORY GARCIA
Paul Ramirez Band Continental Club, April 30
Versatile Houston blues-rockers the Paul Ramirez Band's set Sunday are mellow enough for a late-night lounge vibe, only pocked with heavier, Cream-like moments of pure jam and a cover of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In the Wall, Part 2" that heads straight to the planetarium. Now working on a followup to 2012 debut Sex With a Dragon, on which the Santana-esque "Gypsy Woman" was a highlight, the group balances a keyboard-heavy Latin-jazz groove with Ramirez's probing guitar solos, some of which can get pretty far out there. CHRIS GRAY
More shows on the next page.
Foster the People at House of Blues in September 2011
Photo by Matthew Keever
Foster the People Bayou Music Center, April 30
You can almost guarantee that all the kids with the pumped up kicks will line up outside Bayou Music Center Wednesday to catch a glimpse of indie-pop radio gods Foster the People. The band had only been playing together for a year when their catchy 2010 single "Pumped Up Kicks" became a viral monstrosity, jumping from Sirius/XM's Alt Nation channel to L.A. alternative-FM bulwark KROQ and then scores of radio stations nationwide.
Afterward, band members Mark Foster, Cubbie Fink and Mark Pontius toured "Kicks" parent album Torches for ten months straight. Now here they come again, this time supporting the recent release of follow-up album Supermodel. ANGELICA LEICHT
Chaka Khan Arena Theatre, May 1
To call Chaka Khan a singer-songwriter would be quite an understatement. Although technically correct, with a career spanning four decades and ten Grammy awards, it's more accurate to simply call her an artist. Even in her early days as a member of the funk group Rufus, Khan's dynamic talents were apparent when Stevie Wonder helped her pen the band's first major hit, "Tell Me Something Good," before she went on to shine as the voice behind popular hits like "Sweet Thing" and "Ain't Nobody."
Khan's catalog of music now stretches across seven musical genres -- pop, rock, gospel, R&B, country, jazz, and classical - and includes collaborations with all of the musical greats, from Miles Davis to Prince and Dizzy Gillespie. ANGELICA LEICHT
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