Bayou City

Shows of the Week: The More Intimate Side of Dave Matthews

Dave Matthews (center): Band not included this trip.
Dave Matthews (center): Band not included this trip. Photo by Rodrigo Simas/Courtesy of The Fun Star
Smart Financial Center at Sugar Land, January 25
No, not Dave Matthews Band. Rather, Dave Matthews is teaming up with longtime friend/collaborator Tim Reynolds for a more low-key evening in Sugar Land. Regardless of your opinion of DMB, and they certainly vary from overrated Phish wannabe to cult-like phenomenon (the truth lies somewhere in the middle), Matthews knows how to please an audience. And with Reynolds in the fold, these two will treat those in attendance to an evening full of hits, banter and deep cuts. CLINT HALE

Walters Downtown, January 26
These scabrous groups, in short order, will disabuse anyone clinging to the daft notion that music is meant to uplift and inspire, and most likely leave a collateral welt or two in their wake. As a Texas tour kickoff for the two headliners, Thursday’s gig is also a ripe time to revel in the bayou-scented bile that Houston bands of this ilk continue to unleash on the rest of the state. God Fearing Fuck gives no quarter for the blasphemous doom-metal and pestilent grind of recent EP Wasteland Hymns, available digitally and on vinyl as black as their hearts. Speaking of, Killer Hearts leer through the kind of stacked-heel, sleazemongering glam-rock that might have already knocked you up on songs like “Death On the Dial.” At some point expect this party to be raided by The Cops, the smartly dressed band of skull-crackers who are rapidly proving to be Houston’s most arresting new punk band in more ways than one. With Hel-Razor and Dagger Head.

House of Blues, January 27
Pop Evil is the precise sound of U.S. rock radio in 2017: Not quite as heavy as Disturbed or Rob Zombie (but close), nowhere near as arty (or pretentious) as Muse or Kings of Leon. On average, their songs hit hard enough to get the blood pumping while also lending themselves to easy singalongs. Founded in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Pop Evil hit their stride a decade later with 2011’s War of Angels, before 2013 followup Onyx sent the singles “Trenches,” “Deal With the Devil” and “Torn to Pieces” to the top spot on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs chart. Two years later, fourth LP Up kept the band cruising right along, powered by the high-octane crunch of “Footsteps” and “Ways to Get High.” With Red Sun Rising and Badflower.

Redneck Country Club January 27; Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe, January 28
Have cigar, will travel. Kinky Friedman is now 75 years old, and most people thought he was done surprising them after his respectable if less than successful 2006 campaign for governor of Texas, plus two subsequent runs for agriculture commissioner. But the wry singer-songwriter, author and cigar aficionado delights in side-stepping expectations, and in 2015 he turned around and released The Loneliest Man I Ever Met, his first studio release in more than 30 years. A lovingly curated collection of songs that dovetail with Friedman’s peculiar point of view and those that reveal his carefully concealed sentimental side, the album does manage to squeeze in three tunes by the Kinkster himself, among them “The Wild Man of Borneo.” True, it’s a little bleak in spots (e.g., Warren Zevon’s “My Shit’s Fucked Up”), but The Loneliest Man… is a warm invitation to read between the lines of Friedman’s life through the words of his favorite songwriters — and himself, of course.

Lucky’s Pub, January 29
Sundance Head defines 21st-century overnight success. Son of ’60s “Treat Her Right” hitmaker Roy, possessed of the same blue-eyed soul genes, the Porter native made some noise around the Gulf Coast for about a decade, landing a few minor hits like “Darlin’ Don’t Go” on regional radio. Then he entered NBC’s The Voice and, thanks to his outlaw teddy-bear image and a keen tenor that was a natural fit for everything from Otis Redding to Maren Morris’s “My Church,” won the whole shootin’ match. Things are now very much in transition for Head, who is now running through the previously existing dates on his booking calendar — like Sunday’s 93Q-sponsored cookoff with Aaron Lewis and Tracy Byrd — before linking up on tour with ex-Voice sponsor Blake Shelton, with whom he delivered a knockout version of “Treat Her Right” on the Season 11 finale that helped put him over the top.
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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