The Five Best Concerts in Houston This Week: Royal Blood, Paul Thorn, Tom Petty, etc.
Photo courtesy of BB Gun PR
Royal Blood Warehouse Live, September 23
Britpop is having a moment in the U.S. again, as groups as disparate as Arctic Monkeys and Bastille have been greeted by alt-rock stations and listeners alike with open arms. The latest to make a big noise is Royal Blood, the Brighton duo of Michael Kerr and Ben Thatcher whose Zep-meets-Nirvana stomp (via the Black Keys) has caught on like the flu with everyone from the BBC to Jimmy Kimmel Live. (Jimmy Page is also reportedly a fan, so they must be doing it the right way.) With their eponymous debut LP brand-new in stores, Kerr and Thatcher have hit the colonies on their first round of headlining dates. Take cover. CHRIS GRAY
The Piano Guys Bayou Music Center, September 24
It's all too easy to forget that the piano belongs to the percussion family of musical instruments. Or it was, until the Piano Guys started racking up the YouTube clicks like a car with a busted odometer. When this classical-pop group billed as "four dads from Utah" plays the piano, they really play the piano -- as in, the ebonies and ivories are just the beginning. (See their take on One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful" for proof.) True, this may not be the show for anyone no longer able to stand Frozen's ubiquitous "Let It Go," but these guys (out plugging next month's album Wonders) might make you think differently. CHRIS GRAY
Photo courtesy of Allen Hill Entertainment
Paul Thorn, Craig Kinsey Discovery Green, September 25
Mississippi-born preacher's kid Paul Thorn comes up with some great album titles: Mission Temple Fireworks Stand, A Long Way From Tupelo and What the Hell Is Going On, the 2012 LP that contains his appropriately lustful cover of Ray Wylie Hubbard's "Snake Farm." Currently residing in Top 5 of the Americana Music Association's airplay chart, his latest, Too Blessed to Be Stressed, is more of what fans have come to expect: the lyrical acumen of Tom T. Hall or John Prine with music that splits the difference between rock, gospel and the gritty country-blues of Thorn's homeland.
An excellent local match is opener Craig Kinsey, the singer-songwriter and self-styled minister who distances himself somewhat from his former band, the wildly popular circus-rockers Sideshow Tramps, on this year's American Roots and Machines. The pair make a superb way to kick off Discovery Green's free fall concert series (its fifth), now brought to you by Green Mountain Energy. Music begins at 6:30 p.m. CHRIS GRAY
More shows on the next page.
Photo by Sam Jones
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Toyota Center, September 25
One of two first-ballot Rock and Roll Hall of Famers visiting Houston within a week (the other is Mr. Carlos Santana October 1), Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers are touring behind their strongest album in perhaps two and a half decades, Hypnotic Eye. Threading a new batch of curmudgeonly garage-pop tunes through a few trippy white-rabbit holes, Eye mostly reveals how much Petty and the boys still enjoy jamming together after 40 fruitful years. Expect all the hits and a few cuts you weren't expecting ("Rebels," anyone?), but the new stuff is hardly a license to hit the beer line, either. With Steve Winwood. CHRIS GRAY
Jungle Fitzgerald's, September 25ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
Jungle should slake the thirst of anyone tired of dancing to Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," if indeed such a thing is possible. The London duo actually predates their French ancestors' megahit by a few months, first appearing in early 2013 with a pair of singles, "Platoon" and "The Heat," that didn't stay underground for very long. Their eponymous debut LP, released this past July, mingles '70s R&B's silky-smooth grooves with the nocturnal dreamscapes of M83 to arrive at an album equally suited to the club or the bedroom. With Beaty Heart. CHRIS GRAY