Houston Concert Watch 10/31: Ed Sheeran, Christina Aguilera and More

Ed Sheeran, all smiles the last time he was in Houston.
Photo by Lawrence Elizabeth Knox
Ed Sheeran, all smiles the last time he was in Houston.
Happy Halloween! Sure, you may have your plans locked in for tonight — good luck with the weather — but Halloween is not the end of the world. Before you get to the business of this evening, make some concert plans for the next week. And hey, stay safe out there.

Pick of the Week: Ed Sheeran
11/3 - Minute Maid Park

Dunk on his studio output all you want — he was all of maybe two and a half songs I’ve ever really enjoyed listening to — but I believe in my heart that Ed Sheeran is one of the best live artists of his generation. He could absolutely hide behind a bunch of bells and whistles and a huge band, but the fact he puts all his trust in himself to deliver to the major crowds he performs for is truly impressive. Love his music or hate it, this will be one of the best shows you see this year.

The Best of the Rest
Christina Aguilera
11/1 - Smart Financial Centre

It does seem a little weird that Christina Aguilera hasn’t had the pop in fandom that Britney Spears has had over the past two years, but nevertheless, she’s back out on the road. Maybe it’s better for her hardcore fans — do they have a clever name? — who get to see her in “more intimate” venues like Smart Financial Centre. As an added bonus, Big Boi of Outkast is opening, which means odds are good you’ll get to hear the greatest rap song of all time; if you don’t stand up when “International Players Anthem” drops, are you sure you’re human?
Legends of Hip Hop
11/3 - NRG Park

When you have a lineup as loaded as Juvenile, Scarface, 8 Ball & MJG, Too Short, DJ Quik and Bun B, you know you’re in for quite the evening; any show where the “and [artist]” is Bun freaking B means you’ve booked yourself a show and a half. Personally, I hope every other artist on the bill brings out Bun B, even if they don’t have a song with him. Make one up on the spot. Bun B is good for you.
Simple Minds
11/4 - Revention Music Center

I fell into a bit of a Youtube hole this week that led me to marathoning a bunch of clips from Live Aid. Did you know Simple Minds played the big global TV event back in 1985? I was three at the time, so I was surprised but delighted to check out their performance, which has held up much better than say Kenny Loggins. “Don't You (Forget About Me)” still holds up as a gem of a single, one which you know you know by heart.
Real Friends
11/4 - Scout Bar

Most days, if you were to ask me, I’d tell you that “From the Outside” is the best song of 2018. Your mileage may vary, put Real Friends crystalize depression in a way that I find more relatable than any artist I can think of today. It’s clumsily beautiful poetry that speaks to the heart in a direct way that is very comforting. Had they been around when I was 16, they’d probably be my favorite band of all time. Make the drive down to Scout Bar and feel something.

Bonus Roadtrip Pick: UtopiaFest 2018
11/2 - 4 - Burnet

If you book Grandmaster Flash, odds are good I’m going to recommend your festival; I have a soft spot for anyone who books rap legends these days. Headlined by STS9, Patty Griffin and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, it’s the Texas festival you’ll most enjoy camping at (if the Texas weather plays nice). (It’s also the most Instagramable, if that’s a thing you care about.) Sure, it means dealing with some Austin traffic on the drive, but it’ll be worth it once you’re there.