Houston's 10 Best Concerts in November

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Toyota Center, November 4
Fifteen and a half years into her musical career, Australian singer-songwriter Sia Furler finally released a breakthrough album: 1000 Forms of Fear. Produced by a handful of music-industry heavyweights, including Diplo, Fear featured such radio hits as "Chandelier" and "Elastic Heart," both of which were accompanied by music videos featuring an underage dancer contorting herself to Sia's lyrics. The video for "Elastic Heart," which also featured Shia LaBeouf, was met with allegations of pedophilic undertones. Not one to be deterred, Sia has invited the young dancer to join her "Nostalgic For the Present Tour," which stops in Houston this Friday. Sia's latest tour will surely feature a number of cuts from Fear, but her latest album, This Is Acting, is no slouch either. "Alive" and "Cheap Thrills" have been inescapable radio hits, as Sia hasn't shown any signs of releasing her recent stranglehold on the industry. Between her unique vocals, thought-provoking videos and theatrical persona, this artist's star may prove to be akin to a fine wine or whiskey: best when aged a bit. MATTHEW KEEVER

Vinal Edge, November 5
Saturday evening, Vinal Edge brings two of Houston’s best, if underrated, bands together for a showdown for the ages, like Ginger Baker facing off with Elvin Jones, except of course, without any of the drums or drumming. In one corner, the absurdist dub-punks in Distant Worker rely on the slightly more sophisticated compression rates and greater ram of a laptop computer to serve up the bottom of their refinery slurry of sleng-teng riddims and musique concrète. The Wiggins, meanwhile, opts for the elegant simplicity, the more responsive pad triggers, and the unmistakable aura of a boss drum machine run through a gauntlet of distortion pedals and silverback speakers. He’s always been a classicist, rooted in the countrified surf-rock of Link Wray and Dick Dale as much as the hiss and feedback of Big Black and Flipper. Allowing for electricity, and keep in mind we’re still in the margins of hurricane season, the face-off promises to be electric. Distant Worker is coming out of a few months of quiet revery on the heels of their dense and incredible Animal Data CD, hot to trot with new tunes and new beatnik put-ons and provocations. Despite his short sabbaticals in between his steady flow of undersung albums, The Wiggins never quite dries out his silk boxing shorts. There’s always a twang of sweat and menace in the air when he comes out of the shadows, dancing and growling, his hands tightly wrapped around the neck of his guitar like a garrote. TEX KERSCHEN

Toyota Center, November 8-9
Arguably the biggest musical force on the planet makes her way to Houston for a pair of dates. This isn’t going to be some over-the-top production with smoke and lasers, meant to distract from the artist onstage. Rather, this will simply be Adele belting out hit single after hit single from her mega-successful catalog. Fans of raw vocal ability shouldn’t miss this one. CLINT HALE

Toyota Center, November 10
Everything ends, and after years of reunions that stuck, reunions that didn’t, semi-reunions, various Ozzfests, lineup shuffles and far too many unfunny “Iron Man” jokes, Black Sabbath is at last headed for their final resting place, playing the penultimate U.S. date of their THE END tour in Houston. It’s been almost half a century since Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and now-estranged drummer Bill Ward oozed up from the post-industrial decay of steel-sodden Birmingham, England, warping electric British blues into monolithic and sinister slabs of suffering and paranoia that enabled the band to set new records for volume onstage and debauchery backstage; Spinal Tap would of course be nowhere without them. The world’s children of the grave, tortured and forgotten, flocked to them by the thousands, creating not only the original metal fanbase but a tribe of true believers whose only option is to see Sabbath through to the bittersweet end. CHRIS GRAY

Heights Theater, November 13
Ray Wylie Hubbard, (mostly) God-fearing Okie kid turned ne’er-do-well Cosmic Cowboy turned Zen role model for two generations of Texas singer-songwriters, has led the kind of white-knuckle, seat-of-the-pants charmed life that, laid end to end, seems like it should add up to a lot more than 70 years. (Required reading: His 2015 memoir/lyric file A Life...Well, Lived.) For fans of a certain type of music in a certain part of the world, namely this one, Hubbard’s albums – which he is kind enough to gift us every year or two, the latest being last year’s The Ruffian’s Misfortune – yield nearly as many entrée-rich word banquets, wayward yet (mostly) well-meaning characters, and subtly disguised morals as the collected works of ol’ Billy Shakespeare. That Hubbard’s 70th birthday party aligns with the very first show at the restored Heights Theater augurs nothing but good things for the historic movie house, and might even be cause for an extra chorus of “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother” or “Screw You, We’re From Texas” or two. CHRIS GRAY

White Oak Music Hall, November 19
There was a time, long ago, when the world was divided on the subject of Morrissey. There were those who despised him for his Wildean affectations and his louche gloom, and there were, on the other hand, people with good taste. These days, Morrissey-penned Smiths anthems like “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” have become the global singalong to three decades of pandemic underemployment and related miseries. Likewise, hits from Morrissey’s solo discography such as “The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get” have mapped out the course of the Internet and its psychic sprawl within the pompadoured craniums of millions. Some artists make it hard on their fans, they behave badly, throwing fits and otherwise carrying on like divas, or they just can’t deliver, but the only difficult thing facing a Morrissey fan is dealing with the pain and the shock that occur when his only Houston show in years sells out before one has had the chance to secure tickets. That, and deciding which Smiths song to put on next. Because he’s a dreamboat, a charismatic performer, a sharp dresser and a smooth operator, with an enviable quiff, an incomparable talent for wit and tuneage, and a croon that induces population booms. (Note: this show is sold out.) TEX KERSCHEN

Raven Tower, November 21
Listening to Kyle Craft's debut album, Dolls of Highland, feels like discovering the sole vinyl record left behind by an itinerant father you never knew; the songwriting is dense and mysterious, scratched deep with the layers of Craft's complicated young life. Listeners will hear notes of Bob Dylan and David Bowie in his recordings, woven through with ragged Louisiana Southern rock with a ’70s flair. I've never seen him play before, but the album's magnificent, flashy piano licks and subtle twists of lyricism are bound to make for a one-of-a-kind show. Go see this guy while he's still playing smaller stages like Raven Tower; my hunch is you'll be able to brag like hell about it later. KATIE SULLIVAN

House of Blues, November 22
Pop-punk experienced a major boom in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, and Good Charlotte was certainly among the leaders of that movement. The Madden brothers and crew recently released their first album in nearly six years, Youth Authority, and they’re on the road supporting it. The show will no doubt feature some new material, but hopefully Good Charlotte will make sure to play the hits that got them here, namely “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” and “I Just Wanna Live.” CLINT HALE

The Orange Show, November 26
The new solo EP from Walker Lukens, Never Understood, is more than the sum of its parts: It's half blues ballad and half indie dirge, half heartfelt guitar and half ironipop, which makes it 200 percent good. Because Lukens calls H-town his hometown, he'll be home for Thanksgiving to play the 9th Annual St. Arnold's Foamraiser for The Orange Show. While that stage is a Houston gem worth visiting in and of itself, pair it with the innovative, fresh sounds by Lukens, and you've got yourself the recipe for a local show you're bound to remember. KATIE SULLIVAN

Toyota Center, November 27
Counting back from her breakthrough album (1963’s The Barbra Streisand Album) and stage role (Funny Girl, 1964), it only took Barbra Streisand half a century to perform in the Bayou City. That she’s coming here now still doesn’t quite seem real, as if one of the demigods from the Olympus of Old Show Business accidentally hired a travel agent keen on Southwest Airlines. But that perspective tends to gloss over what an enormous shadow Streisand, who was hailed by no less than Beyoncé at the former's 2008 Kennedy Center salute, still casts over the American performing arts. Even discounting the poolhouses full of trophies she's won (14 Grammys chief among them), Streisand continues to matter where it counts — the cash register; her two most recent albums, 2014’s Partners and this summer’s Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway, both debuted at No. 1. (Skeptics among you who foolishly dismiss her as a voice of yesteryear are invited to peek at the secondary StubHub market.) Finally, her lack of experience as a touring artist hardly means the production won't be first class all the way; even then, it still may not be up to the standards demanded by Streisand’s powerhouse yet near-robotically precise voice. CHRIS GRAY

Revention Music Center/White Oak Music Hall, November 26-27
About five to seven times a year a night rolls around that features multiple great acts in multiple venues, causing you to have to decide where you'll be spending your evening. November 26 presents one of those nights for those of us who are into big hooks from bands that know their way around a synth or two. Over at Revention, The 1975 return to Houston for the first time since their quite epic show up in The Woodlands earlier in the year. Also that night marks the Houston return of The Naked and Famous, who will be making their debut over at White Oak. Both groups released damn solid albums this year and both have at least one song worthy of your end-of-year-list considerations ("She's American" and "The Sound" for the former, "Higher" for the latter). The 1975 are masters at what they do onstage, but TNAF have a stronger catalog. The 1975 are the new hotness, but you've been rocking "Young Blood" forever. Matt Healy is the sexy bad boy you hate to love; TNAF seem like genuinely nice folks. Really, you can't lose when it comes to what to do this night, unless you decide to stay home. Or at least that was the theory at first. It appears as though The 1975 have added a second date at Revention, so you might just be looking at the best weekend of the year if you've got the cash. Do you? CORY GARCIA

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