Unfortunately, it looks like Houston is in for (still) more lousy weather this weekend, leaving the status of outdoor events like Chvrches tonight and Blackberry Smoke tomorrow in jeopardy. Check venue websites for other possible cancellations, but luckily these five shows promise to leave you high and dry, possibly enlightened and almost surely entertained.
BONNIE RAITT Revention Music Center, April 29
Bonnie Raitt is coming off a scene-stealing appearance at February’s Grammy B.B. King tribute alongside Chris Stapleton and Gary Clark Jr., plus a new record: Dig In Deep, her first since 2012’s Slipstream and sixth since 1989’s Grammy-sweeping “comeback” Nick of Time. No reason for her to reinvent the wheel since then, so Dig In delivers another reliable mix of subtly funky soft-rockers, gritty R&B shuffles with plenty of B-3 and a last-call lament or two (“Undone”) that proves consistency is its own reward. She’s not above tucking in neat surprise covers of INXS’s “Need You Tonight” and Los Lobos’ “Shakin’ Shakin’ Shakes” to draw a few extra smiles, too.
BLUEBONNETS McGonigel's Mucky Duck, April 29
Every rocker needs a good denim jacket, and the Bluebonnets adorn theirs with patches representing rock’s best decades — ‘60s garage, ‘70s punk and glam, ‘80s New Wave and ‘90s grunge. Founded by native Austinite and Go-Go’s bassist Kathy Valentine several years ago, the Texas-proud Bluebonnets have been her only gig since a less than amicable split three years ago. Dropping the hammer in the same no-frills fashion as Iggy Pop or Joan Jett, 2014 sophomore LP Play Loud helped start a conversation that Valentine’s crew may be the best live rock and roll band in Texas right now. Come find out for yourself.
SAMMIE RELFORD Dolce Ultra Lounge & Bistro, 18039 FM 529, April 30
Sammie Relford is Houston's Mr. Soul, onetime life of the party at hot spots like the Gallant Knight and 2016 Main. According to filmmaker Will Thomas, who produced and directed the 2008 documentary Sing, Baby, Sing! about him, “Sammie owns the stage.” Back in the day, Sammie's sets used to build up to an ecstatic climax featuring his version of “Purple Rain,” and he's asked us all to gather at this Cypress-area lounge for a Prince tribute that might help us get through this thing called life. A lot of us fans could use that right about now.
SPEAKEASY Lawndale Art Center, April 29-30 SPEAKEASY is a recently rebooted series that originally ran from 1993 to 2002 to examine live performance within the context of contemporary art. Such nebulous language is much better explained through simple experience; in other words, through the work of some feverishly creative minds, this weekend you can hear some fairly conventional musical instruments — trumpet, trombone, cello, guitar — make sounds they do not usually do, and possibly were not meant to. But don't let that put you off; this is apt to be some pretty wild, beautiful shit.
Friday, doubling up are trombonist David Dove and trumpeter/MC/producer Jawaad Taylor's largely improvisational duo and Charalambides, the experimental guitar/voice duo and onetime married couple giving their first local performance in nine years, and first since Tom Carter (the guitar half) suffered a serious health crisis in 2012. The next night features rock cellist Helen Money and the duo Soldier Kane, whose “uprooted Americana” features guitar, violin, banjo, electronic drums and a vision of roots music they don't often see at the Grand Ole Opry.
JON CRAIN BAND Continental Club, April 30
Songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Jon Crain has the ideal dual citizenship — he splits time between his hometown of Houston and Austin — and he’s used it to good advantage on his latest album, Part of My Days, which he is releasing via a special early show at the Continental. Crain, who owns a construction company, has been making records (“one every ten years”) since the eighties; his latest is a bone-jarring mess of blues-funk featuring Austin aces like bassist Yoggie Musgraves and drummer Brannen Temple locking down the bottom. Crain can burn the strings, but his songwriting deserves equal attention. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH
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