Old 97's Fitzgerald's, December 12
Releasing one of 2014's best albums, in this case the nostril-flaring Most Messed Up, would be enough for about 99 percent of bands, but not the Old 97's. The DFW alt-country stalwarts have decided to take a brief victory lap to salute the 20th anniversary of debut Hitchhike to Rhome as well.
Boasting a couple of early classics in "If My Heart Was a Car" and "Stoned," as well as their untouchable version of Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried," Rhome introduced the quartet as a brash, potent group that wasn't above the occasional goof like "Ken's Polka Thing." It also got them signed to respected roots label Bloodshot Records; Wreck Your Life would follow in '95, and the '97's were off and running. With Deathray Davies.
Opeth, In Flames Warehouse Live, December 12
Just when Houston is experiencing what passes for winter, here come two Swedish groups who have probably been looking forward to breaking out the short sleeves for a while. In Flames and Opeth's respective hometowns of Gothenburg and Stockholm may be a full three hours' drive apart, but that's still probably close enough to get some sort of bulk travel-agency discount. Both bands are of a similar vintage, arising in the early '90s, and both have long since outstripped their simple death-metal origins to incorporate an ambitious palette of progressive rock, folk and even classical music into their sounds. Rest assured, both also still totally shred. With Red Fang.
Ian Moore McGonigel's Mucky Duck, December 13
Between the Mucky Duck, Continental and Dosey Doe, his Houston fans usually only have to wait a few months for Ian Moore to swing through town, but those who have skipped his past few shows may want to re-join the bandwagon this time around. For the fifth year in a row, the Austin-born, Seattle-based singer and songwriter has orchestrated a late-autumn tour oriented around the more acoustic and reflective portions of his ample catalog. But that's not all: this time Moore is also promising a merch table stocked with holiday-themed souvenirs, and to preview songs from the new album he is currently recording. Shows at 7 and 9:30 p.m.
Spaghetti Junction Tour Fitzgerald's, December 14
As many guests as show up on the average rap mixtape these days, it makes perfect sense to try recreating that more-the-merrier vibe on the road. So it goes with one of Atlanta's brightest new MCs, Scotty ATL, who is taking a couple of weeks out of his holiday season to see how heavy-lidded tracks from his new Spaghetti Junction project will fly in a few other Southern cities.
Besides the tape's producer, DJ Mike Mars, Scotty is also bringing along super-laid-back Austin MC Fast Ronald ("On Some Other Shit"), and will see quite a welcoming party in Houston: young studs DeLorean and Doughbeezy, as well as Boss Hogg Outlawz veteran Killa Kyleon. Considering his feature on Junction's "Pinky Ringz," an appearance by Bun B isn't out of the question, either.
More shows on the next page.
SIX MORE SHOWS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER
Mark Chesnutt: Bubba shot the (Internet) jukebox. (Dosey Doe, December 12)
The New Mercies: Lot of chatter lately about Lucas Gorham's new electro-funk project; with Josiah Gabriel, Gilla and Children of Pop. (Walters, December 13)
Cyber Wasteland: Celebrate the "Year of the Hacktivist," Industrial/Goth/EBM style, with DJ Enigma and Vampire James. (Numbers, December 13)
Emmure: Have metalheads been too hard on the Queens-based thrashcore outfit? We think so. (Warehouse Live, December 14)
Blaggards: Local Irish rockers' hearts are as big as their riffs; this is their 17th annual "Rock the Shelter" benefit matching toys with Houston-area underprivileged children. Doors at 3 p.m. (Continental Club, December 14)
K. Michelle, Tank: K. Michelle's probing Anybody Wanna Buy a Heart? is already on a few best-of-2014 lists; Tank is no slouch in the slow-jams department himself. (Arena Theatre, December 14)
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