UH Frontier Fiesta TDECU Stadium (University of Houston), March 27-28
Known as "The Cage," TDECU Stadium is still just getting started as the home of the fightin' Houston Cougar football team, but UH's annual spring carnival (which turns 75 years old this year) is the field's first real opportunity to test its sea legs as a concert venue; the shows are completely free thanks to UH student fees. After Sugarland's Kristian Bush started things off Thursday, Friday saucy UK pop-rap starlet Cher Lloyd ("Want U Back") makes her claim on some of that Iggy/Charli XCX market share, and rising young L.A. rapper Schoolboy Q's 2014 album Oxymoron will provide plenty of jams for a raucous Saturday-night finale. Go Coogs!
Josh Abbott Band Sam Houston Race Park, March 28
Sam Houston Race Park kicks off its spring concert season with a true alpha dog within the Texas-country pack, one whose bark has grown loud enough that Nashville has taken notice. With last fall's Tuesday Night EP (Atlantic), the Josh Abbott Band released their first bid to show what started in Lubbock can play well beyond the Red River, then backed it up earlier this winter on a tour of the Northeast with fellow West Texan made good Pat Green. A full-length album is expected in due course, but their sizable arsenal of established regional hits ("My Texas," "I'll Sing About Mine") should be more than enough to satisfy this Saturday-night racetrack crowd.
Hogan & Moss Anderson Fair, March 28
The "old, weird America" - a term coined by former Rolling Stone wordsmith Greil Marcus - has appealed to artists alienated by modern society's strip-mall sterilization pretty much ever since that society began emerging around 1950. Even more than 60 years on, songs that sprang from jug-band, hillbilly, vaudeville, shape-note singing and other styles popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries are recorded in more contemporary genres like bluegrass, country and rock all the time.
In fact, look no further than veteran Austin duo Jon Hogan & Maria Moss, whose 2014 EP Reuben's Train mixes Hogan's originals with vintage public-domain tunes like "Mill Room Blues" and "Coo Coo" about as seamlessly as even Gillian Welch & David Rawlings could.
Adnan Sami Arena Theatre, March 28
With one of the nation's largest Indo- and Pakistani-American communities, Houston is a regular stop for some of the world's leading South Asian performers, but for Adnan Sami it's like coming back home. His last U.S. tour sparked a second Houston show due to popular demand; according to a March 2013 article in Indo-American News, he told the Arena Theatre crowd that he even lived here for a couple of years during the 1980s.
Now in his mid-forties, Sami -- who was born in London of Indo-Pakistani descent, and now lives in Mumbai -- has collaborated with Bollywood impresario A.R. Rahman numerous times and his known for his lightning-fast skills on the keyboard, as well as his emotive vocals and fluid movements between classical, film music and more pop-influenced styles. Visit humtumradio.com to keep up with more concerts and other events from the Bayou City's vibrant South Asian sphere.
More shows on the next page.
Jewel Brown Sambuca Houston, March 29
After coming out of semi-retirement in 2012 with a magnificent split album with fellow Houston R&B legend Milton Hopkins, Jewel Brown was invited to perform on the main stage of the Chicago Blues Festival. She went on to tour around three continents, a flashback to her days as the featured vocalist in American icon Louis Armstrong's orchestra.
This month the native Houstonian - who still lives in the same house she bought for her parents with earnings from her teenage gigs at the long-gone Club Ebony - teamed up with Bloodest Saxophone, a Japanese ensemble clad in sunglasses and fedoras, for Roller Coaster Boogie. Scatting jazzy standards like "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show" and "Twilight Time" alongside a few originals by Bloodest bandleader Koda "Young Corn" Shitaro, Roller Coaster is a swinging international success.
FIVE MORE SHOWS WORTH CONSIDERING
Jamey Johnson: It's been a while, but a new album is on the way for the impressively bearded "In Color" country singer. (House of Blues, March 27)
Dopapod: Theivery Corporation-esque EDM/jam unit headed to Bonnarroo soon behind new LP Never Odd or Even. (Last Concert Cafe, March 27)
KSBJ Anniversary Concert: Longtime Christian-pop FM powerhouse rewards listeners with MercyMe, Crowder, Matt Maher, Jamie Grace and more; only $10 GA lawn seats left. (Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, March 28)
James McMurtry: Austin curmudgeon's Complicated Game is a shoo-in for year-end Americana lists. (Continental Club, March 28)
Houston Blues Museum Fundraiser: Coming soon to Fifth Ward and celebrating "Blues Women Blues History" with Evelyn Rubio, Annika Chambers, and the not-yet-teen duo of Sarah and Reagan Kimberly; see houstonbluesmuseum.org for info or to donate. (Cafe 4212, 4 p.m. March 29)
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