The Five Best Concerts in Houston This Week: Poliça, The Mavericks, Sixx: A.M., etc.
Polica at last year's Treefort Music Festival in Boise, Idaho
Policia House of Blues, April 14
The 2010s are turning out to be the best decade for synth-pop since the 1980s, with similar yet hardly identical bands like Future Islands, Bleachers, Chvrches and Purity Ring stepping forward to become some of the most sought-after and admired indie acts of the social-media age. Minneapolis' Poliça definitely deserves a spot in that conversation, emerging from the fertile Twin Cities collective known as Gayngs -- specifically co-founder Ryan Olson and compelling singer Channy Leanagh -- and breaking through nationally in late 2013 with the haunting, R&B-dusted Shulamith. After swinging through Texas last fall around an ACL Fest appearance, Poliça is back so soon because they're making their next record somewhere in the state (we're guessing Austin), so expect plenty of new material. CHRIS GRAY
Ray Wylie Hubbard Main Street Crossing (Tomball), April 14 & 15
Simultaneously good-humored and cantankerous, Ray Wylie Hubbard is the most genuine Texas groover since the late Sir Douglas Sahm himself. On his last few records -- since about 2006's reptilian Snake Farm, let's say -- the 68-year-old Oklahoma native has elevated his game so far that not many musicians in either his age group (or the next few down) can touch him when it comes to playing from deep in the pocket.
Hubbard is also a caricaturist of the highest order who loves to celebrate the female form in song, and brand-new album The Ruffian's Misfortune offers up two more prime examples in "Chick Singer, Badass Rockin'" and "Jessie Mae." CHRIS GRAY
Photo by Ron Coleman Jr./Courtesy of Jordan Donald
Jordan "Chili Sauce" Donald Under the Volcano, April 15
Two years ago I witnessed saxophonist Jordan "Chili Sauce" Donald, then a student at Texas Southern University, sit in with seasoned Houston jazz veterans like pianist Darrell Lavigne and Horace Alexander Young at Café 4212. He grabbed the crowd by the ears, if not the throat, with long, blistering, sexy solos; "Chili Sauce" indeed. I was sold.
In an interview at that time, Donald said his two main goals were to graduate and then move to Los Angeles and get into the West Coast jazz scene. Right now he's still here in Houston, gigging with all kinds of people doing everything from straight jazz to funk to blues. Wednesday night, Donald returns to Under the Volcano for another gig as leader of his own ensemble; here in February, he promised to "lay the funk on heavy" and then proved a man of his word. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH
More shows on the next page.
Photo courtesy of Conqueroo PR
The Mavericks House of Blues, April 16
In the pages of country-music history, perhaps only Charlie Rich has the Mavericks beaten for pure suaveness, and even then it's pretty damn close. The four-piece trumped many "hat acts" of the early and mid-'90s with a rich, practically unique hybrid of traditional country, '50s and '60s rock and roll (Roy Orbison especially), and a heavy Cuban accent befitting their Miami origins.
After ending a ten-year hiatus with 2013's In Time, which can stand proudly alongside vintage albums such as What a Crying Shame and Music For All Occasions, the Mavericks returned this past February with the dependably eclectic LP Mono. CHRIS GRAY
Sixx: A.M. Warehouse Live, April 16
As Motley Crue is winding down (allegedly), Nikki Sixx is ramping up Sixx A.M., the sui generis group that formed to record the soundtrack to his 2007 autobiography The Heroin Diaries: A Year In the Life of a Shattered Rock Star -- and quite an autobiography it is; sample song titles include "Heart Failiure" and "Christmas In Hell" -- and notched a No. 2 Mainstream Rock hit right out of the gate with "Life Is Beautiful." Not surprisingly, Sixx found himself having too much fun to keep Sixx A.M. a one-off, and last year released third album Modern Vintage, a sampler plate of classic hard-rock styles that prompted All Music Guide to remark, "while his old band is taking a farewell bow, his new band sounds as if it's just getting started." With VAMPS and Apocalyptica. CHRIS GRAY
Like what you read? Or are we missing something? We'd love for you to join our team.
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.