Shows of the Week: Kings of Leon Enjoy a Moment Back In Radio's Good Graces

Shows of the Week: Kings of Leon Enjoy a Moment Back In Radio's Good Graces
Photo courtesy of RCA Records
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Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, May 2
Kings of Leon are a weird band, in that the peak of their popularity never quite overlapped with the peak of their musical output. For instance, the band’s first three records – Youth & Young Manhood, Aha Shake Heartbreak, Because of the Times – all sold well over time, but none quite exploded out of the gate commercially despite being great. They did hit it big with their next record, 2008’s Only by the Night, thanks mostly to hit singles “Sex on Fire” and “Use Somebody,” though the album itself isn’t all that special. Their last three records, despite performing well initially, haven’t really sold all that well, even though 2013’s Mechanical Bull easily ranks as the Kings’ most underrated album; it also features a single that should have been bigger, 2013’s “Wait for Me.” And then "Waste a Moment," the first single from their most recent album, last year's WALLS, recently spent more than three months topping Billboard's Adult Alternative Songs chart. Regardless of your opinion of the Kings’ inconsistent musical output, however, one thing is certain: the Followill clan always brings a lively and energetic live show. With Deerhunter. CLINT HALE

Smart Financial Centre, May 4
For almost 25 years, Carlos Vives has showcased his native Colombia's culture to the world. Utilizing the traditional vallenato music style as his vessel of choice, Vives transmits a vibrant energy and fervent soul through his recordings, which have sold 50 million-plus copies worldwide. His live performances resonate with Colombian instruments such as the caja, guacharaca, flutes and accordion, every song inviting listeners to dance and shake with the uptempo yet smooth rhythms. As one of the top Latin artists of his generation, Vives is often nominated for Grammy Awards and has collaborated with singers such as Shakira and Marc Anthony, as well as with the virtuoso accordion master Egidio Cuadrado. He embodies what music, love, and love of music should be — somewhere between the desire for happiness and sharing that caring spirit with others. His newest single, “Al Filo De Tu Amor,” translates to “at the edge of your love”; attending one Carlos Vives show will definitely push you over that edge. MARCO TORRES

White Oak Music Hall, May 4
The notion of ‘too many cooks’ has never applied to New Pornographers, the Vancouver-based outfit whose shimmering, whip-smart brand of power-pop has made them indie-rock sure things since the turn of the millennium, a full seven albums ago. Credentials don’t come much more impeccable than founder A.C. Newman, who first tickled Canadian fans’ ears in the bands Superconductor and Zumpano; fellow Vancouverite Dan Bejar, the Bowie-esque driving force behind Destroyer; and American ringer Neko Case, the bewitching alt-country chanteuse known for albums such as The Tigers Have Spoken and Middle Cyclone. Last month the Pornographers followed up 2014’s Brill Bruisers with Whiteout Conditions (Concord), which Newman says in the press kit he imagined as “Kraftwerk meets the Fifth Dimension”; the results mine his climate-change anxiety, among other things, to yield yet another not-too-slick but supremely hummable set of songs. CHRIS GRAY

Civic TV Collective, May 5
You could do far worse than stick around from start to finish at this sweat lodge of self-abuse at Civic TV. LA’s Behavior has a sense of spareness and an economy of means that allow their take on hardcore some Pink Flag-era Wire-like head room. Blue Dolphin string a lean line of fun punk strung between totems upon which are carved the likenesses of the Wipers, the Judy’s, Really Red, and Slant 6. Rough Sleepers are unspooling the contents of a new cassette on Miss Champagne records, featuring more of their chromed-out, decayed future jams that go as well with a night of playing the connect the dots with cigarette burns on a filthy mattress as they do with casing the streets, real slow, with a giantess like Stacia from Hawkwind sitting shotgun in a Repo Man vintage Malibu, your skin burning and your trunk aglow. TEX KERSCHEN

Toyota Center, May 6
Given how inescapable he is these days, it's kind of amazing there was a time that Abel Tesfaye released a major-label record that didn't chart a single track. 2013's Kissland is a distant memory at this point, and for the time being it seems The Weeknd can do no wrong. Last year's Starboy saw him add another No. 1 record to his resume, and he's riding his momentum to another show at the Toyota Center. If his last trip to Houston was any indication, this will likely be one of the loudest shows the arena holds, as people were absolutely mad for him the last time he was here, and with good reason: he's just as strong onstage as he is in the studio. CORY GARCIA

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, May 7
It’s a good time to be a mainstream hip-hop fan. Future put out a pair of new records, each equally awesome. Drake, if you’re into that, is still out there doing Drake things. Kendrick Lamar’s latest is fire. And Chance the Rapper, riding high on the success of last year’s mixtape, Coloring Book, is about to play the Houston area for the second time in less than a year after headlining Revention Music Center last October. Coloring Book is nearly perfect as hip-hop mixtapes go and signifies an artist who really seems to have found his stride after generating a ton of buzz for the better part of the past five years. If last year’s Revention set was any indication, his headlining set in the Woodlands will feature cuts both new and old from an artist who may very well rank among the most hard-working and humble of his generation. CLINT HALE

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