The Five Best Concerts In Houston This Week: Mana, INZI, Yasiin Bey, Flyleaf, etc.
Toyota Center, July 7
The AllMusic Guide has a nicely succinct one-sentence description of Mana: “Highly successful Mexican band known as the U2 of rock en espanol.” That’s not an understatement considering the Guadalajara-formed quartet once sold out L.A.’s Staples Center for seven nights straight, owing to their passionate but highly professional sound that intertwines adult alternative, Latin pop, traditional Mexican music and tropical rhythms aplenty. Already owners of three pace-setting albums in three different decades — 1994’s Donde Jugaran los Ninos, 2002’s Revolucion del Amor and 2011’s Drama y Luz — in April Mana released their first album in four years, Cama Incedendada, which was preceded by the hit Shakira collaboration “Eres Mi Verdad” and also features a cover of Los Tigres del Norte’s “Somos Mas Americanos.”
Walters Downtown, July 7
Elvis Depressedly is a fitting alter ego for the South Carolina-born Mat Cothran, a young singer-songwriter who is as prolific as he is tongue-in-cheek. After graduating from his band Coma Cinema, Cothran (who now calls Asheville, N.C. home) has released a steady stream of singles, cassettes and EPs leading up to this year’s “full-length” New Alhambra, a sample-heavy but unhurried drift through Cothran’s lo-fi moodscapes that inches along at a crawl but is still over in less than 20 minutes. Fans of indie-rock’s mellower side, from American Music Club to The War On Drugs, ought to give Mr. Depressedly a spin. With Mitski, Eskimeaux and Middlechild.
McGonigel's Mucky Duck, July 7
Inzi may be young, but she’s no rookie. The teenage singer-songwriter from The Woodlands has been a musician for eight of her 19 years, and has both a natural ear for pop melodies and the voice to match; listen for yourself on her Reverbnation page. That sounds like plenty of kids these days, but upon a minute or two of first listening to her it’s apparent Inzi has the kind of talent that can be coached but never taught. Sounding bright-eyed and youthful but not callow or naive, last month she released full-length debut Exist, now available on iTunes and your finer streaming services. Thus far Inzi’s story sounds tailor-made for the reality-competition singing show of your choice, except there’s nothing prefab about the way she sounds.
Mos Def aka Yasiin Bey
Warehouse Live, July 8
It’s been a few years since Mos Def changed his name to Yasiin Bey, but there’s no mistaking the liquid flow and acutely intelligent lyrics that made the Brooklyn-born MC into one of alternative rap’s biggest stars in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, first with partner Talib Kweli in Black Star and then on his own. Now based in South Africa, the 41-year-old Bey is back touring the States for the 15th anniversary of , his landmark 1999 solo debut that combined live instrumentation, several top NYC producers (DJ Premier, Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammed, the Beatnuts’ Psycho Les) and the socially on-point, oft-critical rhymes that were already Bey’s trademark. “My country is called Earth,” he told in May. “If there’s anything I can do with my career, it’s hopefully encourage the generations around me and after me to have that worldview.”
BFE Rock Club, July 9
Despite the departure of original vocalist and co-founder Lacey Sturm, who amicably left the Belton-born hard rockers to pursue her faith, Flyleaf soldiers on with new singer Kristen May. Their latest LP, last year’s Between the Stars, went in a poppier direction (with production by noted emo name Don Gilmore), but still packed enough punch for Revolver to call the album “tight and melodic and unrelentingly hook-driven, poppy enough in places to recall Paramore or even (on the great new single ‘Set Me on Fire’) a more ferocious No Doubt.” (MATTHEW KEEVER)