THE TEXAS GENTLEMEN
Party on the Plaza (1001 Avenida de Las Americas), October 4
Lots of folks seem to be waking up to the Texas Gentlemen lately, the purportedly leaderless collective of hirsute DFW musicians whose revolving lineup can change by the gig, but exit the stage to mouths-agape audiences almost without fail. Their press materials tend to tout the group into the same category as vintage jack-of-all-trades collectives as The Band, SoCal’s Wrecking Crew of Pet Sounds fame or the Muscle Shoals Swampers, the northern-Alabama badasses since memorialized in song by the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Drive-By Truckers. That is tall cotton indeed but, as recounted in a recent Texas Monthly article, the Gentlemen also backed no less than George Strait at a private party over the summer. Their recent album TX Jelly (New West) offers a more-than-adequate introduction to their advanced-Americana aesthetic even as it suggests they’re saving the really good stuff for the stage. With Robert Ellis; starts at 6 p.m.
RUN THE JEWELS
Revention Music Center, October 5
What began as a one-off on a Killer Mike album in 2012 has now grown into something that seemingly cannot be stopped. Now the Atlanta rapper with a voice born to orate and El-P, the New York producer with enough squwak to push more than two decades of underground NYC to the masses, are Run The Jewels. They've been known as such longer than their respective solo careers, it seems, and are now near inseparable. That's kind of what happens after two wise guys who would be perfect for a buddy-cop movie create three consecutive sonic-boom rap records revolving around anti-establishment rhymes and police brutality. The more the duo has entered our lives, the more they've become synonymous with measured anger and being the voice of the voiceless. They're festival darlings; heard often in television, film advertisements, and video games; and yet the message hasn't changed. The more famous Killer Mike and El-P become, the more the music remains beautiful and chaotic. Live, it's a master class in crowd control and engagement full of taunts at the "man with a bad toupee and a spray tan” sitting in the White House, plus a little moshing. With Danny Brown. BRANDON CALDWELL
PORTUGAL. THE MAN.
White Oak Music Hall, October 6
It’s been quite a journey for the band of high-school pals who originally came together in 2004, or even since their last studio album, 2013’s Evil Friends. During a trip back home to Alaska, Portland-based Portugal. The Man. front man John Gourley’s dad showed him his old ticket stub to the legendary 1969 counterculture festival, inspiring him scrap the record Portugal had been working on for years in favor of an album of sardonic social commentary disguised as peppy pop songs, which he appropriately called Woodstock. The cover features flames engulfing a vintage Rolls-Royce; the finger-snapping single “Feel It Still” has become one of 2017’s most inescapable earworms. Now Portugal’s task is to stoke their newfound hotness with a raft of equally catchy followup singles, a promise Woodstock easily fulfills with “So Young,” “Rich Friends” and “Live In the Moment,” just to name three. With Cut Copy and Lido.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
TIM MCGRAW & FAITH HILL
Toyota Center, October 6
After launching the most successful country-music tour to date in 2006 and ‘07, known as "Soul2Soul," Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are doing an encore as a sort of extended 20th-anniversary present to themselves — and their fans, of course. Appropriately enough, the couple fell in love when Hill was opening act on McGraw’s Spontaneous Combustion tour in 1996; since then, they’ve each climbed to the uppermost rungs of Nashville’s A list and raised three girls together. (Hill has not toured since 2007.) Houston is a late stop on this 65-date tour, a four-part program that sandwiches solo sets by each performer between the big-time duets — “I Need You,” “It’s Your Love,” new single “Speak to a Girl” — that made them country’s biggest first-name-only couple since George and Tammy, only with a much happier ending.
Goode’s Armadillo Palace, October 6
A true maverick entirely too frank to toe any major-label company line, Sunny Sweeney has gradually come to realize that — to borrow a title from her latest album, this spring’s Trophy — there’s “Nothing Wrong With Texas.” Over her decade-plus career as a recording artist, which includes a Billboard Top 10 single in 2010’s “From a Table Away” and a 2013 CMA nomination for Best New Artist, Sweeney has never shied away from mining the same topics that great country artists have for decades, but have somehow fallen out of favor in our risk-averse age — drinking, pills, ill-advised affairs — and sometimes she’s paid the price for it. However, after signing with Nashville-based distributor Thirty Tigers a few years back, Sweeney has released two strong albums in a row (2014’s Provoked and now Trophy) and become one of the few solo female artists to truly hold her own on the heavily male-dominated Texas country circuit, which in itself is saying something.