Bayou City

10 Acts Long Overdue a Show In Houston

Mick Jagger at Arlington's AT&T Stadium, June 2015
Mick Jagger at Arlington's AT&T Stadium, June 2015 Photo by Mike Brooks/Dallas Observer
It’s such a familiar complaint by now it’s become an unusually cruel cliche — this band or that artist, the toast of the music world, has just announced a new tour…which is, naturally, coming nowhere near Houston. Music fans here are so used to this by now that usually we don’t even bat an eyelash, let alone shed a tear. Fortunately, the crop of new venues that have recently opened has made the city at least somewhat less skippable than in the past. Some acts, though, still haven’t gotten the message. We’re not sure what it might take for some of the following performers to get over whatever aversion they may have to the Bayou City, but we are willing to negotiate. We’d say they know where to find us, but frankly we’re not so sure anymore.

Last year, I saw Liz Phair live for the first time ever. She was incredible, but I wondered many times that night what it might have been like to see her at her peak, sometime around Whitechocolatespaceegg's release. I really hope I am not 20 years from now having those same thoughts at a local Courtney Barnett gig. Like Liz, she's an indie guitar goddess with a catalog of lyric-driven gems and a penchant for skipping Houston on tour. I may be mistaken, but I believe the next time Barnett plays Houston will be the first. She's only been making her highly-acclaimed garage rock about five years now, so in fairness she barely qualifies for consideration in this particular exercise; but she has been to Texas before and has yet to grace our stages. Barnett's current tour schedule doesn't quell my FOMO, either. There are Dallas and Austin dates in November, but once again no sign of Houston. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.

Slim Shady doesn’t really tour anymore, for a couple of reasons. One, he’s admittedly battled substance-abuse issues over the years, and life on the road is typically not kind to those in recovery. Secondly, Eminem is all set with money and admittedly a bit of homebody and studio junkie, meaning there’s really no need for him to get back out on the road. Eminem is only coming to Houston under two scenarios. He either headlines a festival gig here, as he did at ACL a couple years back, or he tours as part of some limited stadium tour alongside fellow hip-hop heavyweights, say, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Whether the latter every comes to fruition is anyone’s guess, but Houston can certainly play a role in making the former a lock. Simply put, this city needs to either create a festival worthy of an Eminem appearance, or one of its existing fests needs to step up its game. Free Press Summer Fest once seemed a worthy candidate for an on-the-rise festival that may one day get to the Eminem/Drake/Foo Fighters level, but alas, that day seems to have come and gone like a summer thunderstorm. CLINT HALE

For a band that has toured as relentlessly as the Foos, they sure make a point of avoiding H-Town. The last show, a raucous January 2008 affair at the Toyota Center after the release of their Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace LP, was as notable for the entire floor-length gangway Grohl and bandmates used to strut well out into the audience as it was for their trademark high-energy performance. The intervening years have seen the Foos travel the world in support of both the lean and mean Wasting Light and 2014's ambitious Sonic Highways, recorded in multiple cities while being filmed for an HBO documentary series. Sure, Grohl and company have gone on hiatus and even suggested the band was no more, but nearly ten years is a long time to go without a trip to the fourth largest city in America, no? JEFF BALKE

The world is full of people playing the music of Pink Floyd. Forget about your bar bands and all-purpose cover acts: Pink Floyd inspires tribute bands like no other, with different acts from around the world bring Floyd's music to the masses multiple times a year. Hell, Roger Waters just melted our minds a few weeks back. And while all of that is great, often wonderful, it doesn't change the fact that Houston has gone quite a while without hearing Pink Floyd guitar god David Gilmour rip the solo to “Comfortably Numb” in the flesh. Considered by many to be among the Top 10 solos of all time, for my money it's the perfect guitar solo at the intersection of “musically interesting” and “thematically appropriate.” (They wrote concept albums; meaning matters, y'all.) At this juncture, it feels, much like the case with Roger Waters, that the chances of seeing any future David Gilmour shows in Houston is pretty small. At least we have the tribute bands? CORY GARCIA

The first time members of the electronic-rock group Kraftwerk touched down in the Lone Star State — and the U.S. — was in the mid-seventies in Dallas at an unnamed venue during their Autobahn tour. It’s amazing to think the members of the autobahn nation have not played in the oil capital of the world. Almost 4o years later, Kraftwerk rolled out a series of U.S. dates for their visually compelling 3-D Concerts that included two Texas dates: Dallas and, surprisingly, San Antonio. I’ve never considered my hometown a hub for electronic music; however, with the recent expansion of the mission reach and the new Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, perhaps they were trying to connect with a new audience? Houston not only has the funk of the bayous, but is one of the first launch sites for NASA and is home to not one, but three James Turrell pieces. If that doesn’t say 'far out' then I don’t know what does. At any rate, Day For Night has confidently upped their electronic-music game with European headliners such as New Order, Bjork and Aphex Twin. With their otherworldly light shows Berlin-modeling low-key locations (who knew you could revamp a post office into a venue so cool?!) we’re feeling Kraftwerk might be a nice surprise for, say, 2017? VERONICA ANNE SALINAS

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
The Houston Press is a nationally award-winning, 32-year-old publication ruled by endless curiosity, a certain amount of irreverence, the desire to get to the truth and to point out the absurd as well as the glorious.
Contact: Houston Press