Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, April 24
It's tempting to write off Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga's Cheek to Cheek as a cynical ploy by Universal to trot out a few Great American Songbook warhorses one more time in the hopes many of her young Little Monsters had never heard them before (which is probably true), or at least a convenient way for Gaga to rebound after the letdown of her overly ambitious ARTPOP album. Nevertheless, Cheek -- this year's Grammy winner for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album -- rises admirably above its calculated origins.
Gaga is an old musical theater/cabaret hand from way back, while her ageless partner has been one of America's most beloved crooners since "I Left My Heart In San Francisco," and his voice remains as smoky-mellow as a fine bottle of Glenlivet. Besides, watch the YouTube videos of Bennett and Gaga bantering in-studio, and it's awful hard to fake the kind of fun they look like they're having.
Willow Waterhole Music Fest Willow Waterhole Conservation Reserve, April 25
Located right behind Westbury High School, the Willow Waterhole Conservation Reserve is one of the unsung gems of the Harris County park system -- or a handful of nature-loving citizens hopes it will be soon, anyway. Presently, the 280 acres of mostly undeveloped land just outside Loop 610 is teeming with both bluebonnets and potential, and local nonprofit Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy has begun formulating a plan to make the space something more exciting than a mere network of water-retention lakes. Saturday's festival is one of the earliest signs of things to come at the park, a scheduled 11 hours of music, food trucks and a craft fair featuring more than 40 vendors, all for the low price of zero dollars.
Performers include well-known local names such as Joe Carmouche, Kyle Turner, La Tribu, Luther & the Healers, the Zydeco Dots, Nobody's Fool, Bayou City Brass and even the Conrad Johnson Orchestra, the ensemble carrying on the big-band legacy of the legendary Kashmere Stage Band director; eight bands from area schools, including Westbury High and HSPVA, will also perform. Now, please note that there is currently no parking on-site, and the fest's Web site recommends street parking on Ricecrest and nearby businesses such as the Shell research park. This already sounds like an episode of Parks and Recreation, and we all saw how well Leslie Knope's "Unity Concert" ultimately turned out. Houston needs more stuff like this - both parks and music festivals - so come show these folks some support. Gates open at 11 a.m.
Matt & Kim, WATERS House of Blues, April 25
Now supporting fifth album New Glow, Matt & Kim are one of the most beloved couples in indie-rock for a number of reasons: their boundless energy onstage; songs brimming with positivity and fun, driven by Kim's almost childlike energy on drums; a hyper-approachable attitude towards their fans; and innovative, high-concept music videos that sometimes combine all of the above. This time through town the couple is perfectly paired on tour with WATERS, the group led by California pop savant Van Pierszalowski, who has moved his base of operations to L.A. from the Bay Area and released one of hook-happiest albums of 2015 in sophomore Vagrant outing What's Real.
Lots more shows on the next page.
SEVEN MORE SHOWS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER
Reverend Horton Heat, Los Skarnales: No quarter asked; none given. (House of Blues, April 24)
Covenant: Cyberpunk-loving Swedish EBM veterans must want a change of scenery from Numbers. (Warehouse Live, April 24)
Young Girls, Mikey & the Drags: Great local garage-rock groups at a screen-printing shop; why not!? (4202 Screen Printing Gallery, 4202 Canal, April 24, BYOB)
Sylvan Beach Festival: Besides the "Miss Sylvan Beach" beauty pageant, La Porte's 59th annual spring blowout features Sundance Head, Cameran Nelson, Cody Johnson Band, Mike & the Moonpies, William Clark Green and Saturday-night headliners the Josh Abbott Band. More info here. (Sylvan Beach Park, La Porte, April 24 & 25)
Ja-Ga Reggae Festival: Not quite 4/20, but close enough; with ex-Black Uhuru singer Junior Reid ("One Blood"), Third World ("96 Degrees In the Shade"), a jerk chicken cookoff (yum!) and lots more. jagareggaefest.com. (Beach Central Park, 2100 Seawall Blvd., Galveston, April 25)
"From In-Store to Arena Floor": Opening reception for exhibit featuring a DJ set by Wild Moccasins' Zahira Gutierrez and more than a dozen images by prolific local music photog Jay Dryden from 2009-present; runs through next month. (Cactus Music, 6 p.m., April 25)
duneTX: Chris Sacco's versatile Houston power-pop crew has worked up more than 50 tunes to celebrate their 20th anniversary as a band; come join them. (Big Top Lounge, April 25)
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