The Five Best Shows in Houston This Week: Wrestlers, John Legend, Rock Baby Rock It, etc.
Photo by Jasmine Lee Richardson
DJ Sun The Flat, July 21
On last year's One Hundred -- amazingly, his first-ever full-length release -- DJ Sun pours his 20-plus-year career as one of Houston's most in-demand DJs into a seamless work that never lulls, never lags and maintains an unshakably mellow groove throughout. Its intricately laid-back latticework should come as no surprise to anyone lucky enough to have met the man and easily made it one of 2013's standout Houston albums.
Among his multitude of weekly gigs, Sun's long-running "Rocksteady Mondays" residency at the Flat, where he is now managing partner, is probably the most chill environment to glimpse this true turntable craftsman at work. CHRIS GRAY
Big Ass Blues Jam The Hideaway on Dunvale, July 22
We got to partake in the pleasure that is the Hideaway on Dunvale for steak night one Tuesday, home to the "Big Ass Blues Jam" starring one Rick Lee & the Night Owls. Lee and his band do ZZ Top, Bobby "Blue" Bland and B.B. King covers; the leader has been known to play his axe with the leg of a chair and lick his guitar strings at one point. It was a good night for everyone, and we're sure the guitar had no complaints either. CRAIG HLAVATY
Wrestlers MKT Bar, July 22
One sure way to know you've made it in 2014 is if something you've created draws the attention of that content aggregator/culture curator writ large, Buzzfeed. So congrats to Wrestlers, the Houston DJ duo formerly known as Bagheera, who last week did just that thanks to their Twin Shadow-produced track, "Say Anything." The video for said electro-funky tune features Funny or Die's Nathan Barnatt as an overenthusiastic aerobics instructor who's only happy to show viewers how to break off steps like the "Dragon Breath," the "Lady Grab"and the "Butterscotch Boy." (Where's Olivia Newton-John and Jane Fonda when you need them?) Wrestlers are soon off to rock Lollapalooza in Chicago and Diplo's Mad Decent Block Party, but Tuesday stop by MKT Bar for a local warmup gig. Twerking optional, but bonus points for learning the "Smooth Operator." CHRIS GRAY
More shows on the next page.
John Legend at U of H's Cullen Performance Hall, May 2014
Photo by Marco Torres
John Legend Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, July 23
Since debuting with 2004's Get Lifted and its breakout single "Ordinary People," John Legend had been waiting for his moment. Previously the 35-year-old Philadelphia-raised singer/pianist was comfortable carrying on the legacy of R&B greats like Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield, and hip enough to collaborate with the likes of Kanye West and Lauryn Hill (he played piano on "Everything Is Everything"), but it took a full decade for Legend's popularity to truly blossom.
That's what a song like "All of Me," from last year's Love In the Future, will do. Written for Legend's own recent bride Chrissie Teigen, and already one of the all-time great wedding ballads, it knocked Pharrell's "Happy" out of the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 back in May and finally pushed Legend to the level of arena/amphitheater headliner. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, either. With Marsha Ambrosius. CHRIS GRAY
Rock Baby Rock It 14 Continental Club/Big Top Lounge, July 24
Rock Baby Rock It is not just a rockabilly festival, it's how the Continental Club has measured the passage of time. The club was barely open when the multi-day event began in 2000, and look at it now. Subsequent RBRIs have become an excellent yardstick to track the prosperity of "The Island," which is now up to almost a dozen businesses in its two-block area; musically, organizer Big E tries to top himself every year and usually does.
Thursday is but a homegrown taste of things to come with the Mean .44's blues with an attitude and Nick Gaitan & the Umbrella Man's regular Thursday gig at the Big Top, but Friday things really get revved up with the Paladins, Royal Rhythmaires, Sid & Billy King and lots, lots more. See rockbabyhouston.com for more details. CHRIS GRAY
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.