Bayou City

Shows of the Week: Allah-Las Offer Houston a Brief Coachella Preview

Photo by Laura-Lynn Petrick/Courtesy of Sacks & Co.
Walters Downtown, April 3
Lovers of early-aughts garage rock will love the Allah-Las, the Los Angeles group who landed on Coachella's lineup this year. But for those of us who couldn't stomach the sickening Coachella ticket prices (or who missed the three-hour window before tickets sold out), the group will be rounding its way through the South this week. The Allah-Las fold ’60s-style psychedelia into their stripped-down sound, making for a sonic experience that's equal parts rough and groovy. Some songs, like their latest single, “Hereafter," are meandering exercises in musical play, while others, like 2012’s "Busman's Holiday," take a more classic-rock approach, even sprinkling in country elements for good measure. That kind of musical mixing should play well with a broader local audience whose tastes are chopped and screwed like the city itself. Plus, a band like this is meant to be heard in a gritty, freeway-locked venue like Walter's. Go see them. With The Babe Rainbow. KATIE SULLIVAN

Warehouse Live, April 6
If his latest single "BagBak" is any harbinger of music to come, Vince Staples's Warehouse Live show on Thursday will be a fever-pitched party laced with political rage. Lines like "The next Bill Gates can be on Section 8 up in the projects," and "Ain't no gentrifying us, we finna buy the whole town" land with suspicion rather than hope; lay those lyrics on top of a thrumming bass beat and frenetic synth claps, and you've got a song that's stitched together with Staples's signature irony. The new track builds on the legacy of social critique that emerged in his 2015 opus Summertime '06, which received effusive praise for its creative precision and cynical voice. Staples's deft ability to twist up ambivalent subjects in banging tracks makes his live performances a special exercise in cognitive dissonance – who knew nihilism would ever make you want to dance? But that's what makes his concerts one-of-a-kind and worth seeing. With Kilo Kish. KATIE SULLIVAN

Smart Financial Centre, April 6
It might seem fitting to call Bastille a one-hit wonder, but that wouldn’t be entirely accurate. True, the British pop-rock quartet came out of virtually nowhere with the 2013 smash “Pompeii,” whose infectious chorus ruled both rock and pop radio and pretty much owned 2013; it also catapulted the band’s debut album, Bad Blood, to platinum status. But the title track also cultivated quite a little audience of its own, and Bastille, led by founder and front man Dan Smith, remains quite popular in their native UK, where to date they’ve landed ten singles on the airplay charts. That includes a pair of singles from the band’s sophomore album, Wild World, which was released in September and peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200. Expect a grandiose, uptempo show from a band noted for its energetic performances. With Mondo Cozmo. CLINT HALE

McGonigel’s Mucky Duck, April 6
Alter ego of Austin’s Nick Diaz, Buenos Diaz turned quite a few heads in Texas with 2015’s Urbanized New Wave Texican, an EP whose title said it all. Its full-length followup, released late last year, is simply titled Buenos Diaz and is just as descriptive. That’s about how fast the singer and songwriter has created his own distinctive aesthetic, yoking his prodigious guitar skills to an impressive array of styles: Lenny Kravitz-inspired funk rock, classic brown-eyed soul, and fuzzy power-pop gems like “1 2 3 4” and San Fransymphony.” If you really want to know where Diaz’s heart lies, however, look no further than the big-hearted ballad “It Feels Good to Be a Texan” — or the closing track, “Muneca,” seven-plus minutes that maintains a jazzy groove as Diaz’s guitar explores places even Frank Zappa might never have imagined.

Anderson Fair, April 8
Among Houston’s steadiest bluesmen and most distinctive guitarists, John Egan is also a keen student of Bayou City musical lore. The stinging tones of his signature Resonator guitar, last heard on record with 2014’s Amulet, have returned to haunt the brand-new Magnolia City, this time filtered through Townes Van Zandt’s “Marie” and two Lightnin’ Hopkins tunes, “Once a Gambler” and “Mojo Hand.” Such a high bar to clear is no sweat for Egan, who invests those Texas standards (plus Bob Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm”) with the same gravity he does originals like “It Ain’t the Gun” and “Midnight Raven Blues.” Honed by Egan’s long-running Monday residency at the Big Easy, Magnolia City deals in echoes of the present as well as shadows of the past, bolstering a repertoire that is Houston to the bone. Egan will also preview Magnolia City at a Cactus Music in-store 5 p.m. Friday.

Continental Club, April 8
The late Selena’s stature as a Texas folk hero grows with each passing year, and the tributes have likewise proliferated. With last weekend’s South Beach salute already in the books, Houston gets another chance Saturday at the Continental, with an hour of favorites like “Amor Prohibido,” “Dreaming of You,” “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” and “La Carcacha,” starring Christal Robles as the one they call La Flor. Presented by Houston promoters Soalz Entertainment and Elk Records, the Latino-focused local label that looks after Monterrey’s Jesus Warr and Houstonians La Sien, Saturday’s celebration also features a set of classic oldies by veteran Tejano rockers Johnny & the Heartbreakers, DJ Simmerdown of Tejas Got Soul, an exhibition of Selena-inspired art, and a lookalike contest.
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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray