The Five Best Concerts in Houston This Week: Finch, Jay Farrar, Arctic Monkeys, etc.
Photo by Cory Garcia
Finch Warehouse Live, October 28
From Cory Garcia's review of Finch's October 2013 concert at Warehouse Live, when they played 2002's What It Is to Burn in its entirety:
To their credit, the band was in good form. They perform like a band that hasn't played the exact same show dozens of times, one that seems happy to be playing the songs and not burdened by them. That excitement wasn't just limited to the stage; more than just the standard "front man gets on the barrier to get close to the crowd" move. At one point guitarist Randy Strohmeyer ended up in the mosh pit with the fans, rocking out alongside them.
With Maps & Atlases, Wounds and Helen Earth.
Someone Must Die McGonigel's Mucky Duck, October 28
The Mucky Duck has come up with a novel way to celebrate Halloween and -- perhaps even more germane -- Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos: an entire evening of nothing but murder ballads, here labeled "Someone Must Die." Engineered by expert Houston singer-songwriter/producer Jack Saunders, the night could get downright spooky, considering the virtual murderer's row of regional talent Saunders has recruited: Mike Stinson, John Evans, bettysoo, Robbie Saunders, Michael O'Connor, Matt Harlan, Randy Weeks and Julia Engel.
All of them have been instructed to show up armed with three songs wherein at least one person doesn't make it out alive. This 2012 list of "10 Best Murder Ballads" from the Web site pigeonsandplanes.com might offer a few possible selections, but it's safe to say these folks all know their stuff. CHRIS GRAY
Jay Farrar at the Continental Club in 2009
Photo by Jason Wolter
Jay Farrar Continental Club, October 29
The stoic passion and integrity of his music make him a man out of time in many respects, but Jay Farrar is also skilled salt-of-the-earth songwriter for whom, in all seriousness, three chords and the truth is all he really needs. After 2012's New Multitudes, which celebrated the 100th birthday of Woody Guthrie by writing new music to the populist folksinger's unrecorded lyrics, he returned to Son Volt and issued the stellar, sepia-toned Honky Tonk last year. For this brief southwestern solo tour, Farrar has stripped his sound back even further, appearing onstage with acclaimed St. Louis-area musician Gary Hunt his only accompaniment. CHRIS GRAY
More shows on the next page.
Photo courtesy of Free Press Summer Fest
J. Roddy Walston & the Business Fitzgerald's, October 30
If Kings of Leon somehow figured out a way to take themselves less seriously, would that be a band that interests you? God, let's hope so. This Baltimore-based quartet plays tight, hooky songs indebted to classic-rock greats from Zeppelin to the Beatles without ever being too obvious about it -- and, just as importantly, without sounding completely miserable. Last year's album Essential Tremors, the Business' third overall, definitely belongs either in your digital library or on the shelf with your other vinyls. CHRIS GRAY
Arctic Monkeys Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, October 30
Besides spearheading this latest Britpop revival (you're welcome, Bastille), Arctic Monkeys have mellowed a little of the manic energy but otherwise haven't shed a strand of DNA from the brash UK teens who first appeared on 2006's Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not. Fronted by the ultra-charismatic Alex Turner, today the Monkeys are sexier, smarter, more soulful and scads more popular. The quartet's brooding fifth album, A.M., drew listeners in close rather than playing to the cheap seats, and wound up one of the biggest rock releases of 2013 -- if not the entire 2010s. CHRIS GRAY
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