Bayou City

Shows of the Week: Fall Out Boy Return to Help Lift Houston's Spirits

Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz at the 2015 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz at the 2015 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Photo by Marco Torres
Toyota Center, November 7
There’s something to be said for the third act of Fall Out Boy’s career. The first act witnessed the band exploding onto the pop-punk scene and pretty much ruling the pop-rock roost for a few years. The second act was a blend of the band maturing, fracturing and eventually falling apart, only to reunite after some much-needed downtime. Turns out, a little downtime is all Fall Out Boy needed to become the band it always wanted to be. Sure, Pete Wentz and crew may not move the needle like they once did, but the band’s last two efforts – 2013’s Save Rock and Roll and 2015’s American Beauty/American Psycho – easily rank among their best. A new album is on tap in January, so Fall Out Boy is already back out on the road — and donating the proceeds of this Toyota Center stop to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Come for nostalgia, but stay for a band that finally seems to have figured it out. With Jaden Smith and blackbear. CLINT HALE

Toyota Center, November 8
Much has been discussed in regards to 4:44, Jay Z’s mid-summer album whose contents have since inspired numerous think-pieces and even course curriculum. Like, how it’s not a “Jay-Z album but rather a Shawn Carter one” or how, at 47, Jay-Z is still captivating listeners with the nifty wordplay that made him the greatest rapper of all time. Giving fans something else to discuss, his tour supporting 4:44 is vastly different from any previous Hov effort. There’s no rectangular stage, just him standing in the middle of the arena, seen by all. He’s going to spill his guts and wince at repeating songs like “4:44” while being jubilant on songs of defiance such as “U Don’t Know” and “Bam.” He’s going to lay into his performance the same way he has for almost 21 years now: back-and-forth pacing, crowd engagement and sporadic pondering, as if Jay Z himself doesn’t know what his next move on the stage is going to be. Most of all, he’s going to use this tour as a living, breathing therapy session. Hov may not be considered peak Superman, but he can still show up, leap tall buildings in a single bound and drop a life gem or two. With Vic Mensa. BRANDON CALDWELL

White Oak Music Hall, November 8
In the mid-1980s, Scotland’s The Jesus and Mary Chain submerged a melodic sweet tooth in a haze of deafening feedback and driving percussion on Psychocandy and Darklands, albums which quickly became cornerstones of the rapidly coalescing indie-rock scene. By dialing back the noise a bit and sharpening the hooks to a razor’s edge, on 1989’s Automatic they created an all-time classic full of traits vital to the very best rock and roll: catchy-ness, melancholy and a little danger. Jim and William Reid’s brotherly rows and chemical appetites quickly became as legendary as their songs, and the legend grew until the band ultimately imploded on tour supporting 1998’s Munki. Time hasn’t so much mellowed the Reids, who reunited JAMC at Coachella 2007 and delivered a memorable set at Day For Night 2016, as it’s given them a taste of the remarkable legacy they’ve created — which, as heard on the band’s first studio album in nearly 20 years, this spring’s Damage and Joy, turns out to be as addictive as any other drug. With The Dig.

Toyota Center, November 10
Axl Rose and his mostly reunited classic GN’R crew packed the house last summer at NRG Stadium, so why not return for a victory lap — albeit in a somewhat smaller venue — and give the fans another show? To say some are surprised this tour has not only survived, but thrived, would be an understatement considering the ego and volatile personalities involved. Turns out, most reviews of the tour to this point have been quite favorable, and the fellas in GN'R (most notably, the enigmatic Rose) have seemingly been on their best behavior. For those who have yet to see the band live, this might make for a nice time to do so. Sure, they may reunite for another tour down the road, but to predict the path of Axl Rose is a fool’s errand. The current tour is billed the Not In This Lifetime Tour; you may not find a more aptly titled tour in 2017. CLINT HALE

Bareback Bar and Ice House (19940 Kuykendahl, Spring), November 11
The third edition of this annual Veteran’s Day benefit for veterans wins this month’s “Where Are They Now?” lottery and promises a good half-day’s worth of top Texas country acts for a bargain. Headlining is Jamey Johnson, the rough-looking Alabama native who wrote No. 1 hits for George Strait and Trace Adkins and released the brilliant albums That Lonesome Song (2008) and double-length The Guitar Song (2010), but has since gone rogue from anything resembling the mainstream-country scene and is now, wouldn’t you know it, on the same icehouse circuit that brings him to Spring on Saturday. Joining him is New Caney native Jason Cassidy, whose 2015 LP 717 brushed Billboard’s Country Albums and Heatseekers charts; Bri Bagwell, whose remorse-free ballad “Don’t Call” is a newly minted regional radio hit; and outlaw-leaning groups Jackson Taylor and the Sinners; Scooter Brown; Midnight River Choir and Blacktop Mojo. When a company named Outhouse handles an event’s ticket sales, you’re practically guaranteed a good time; just guarantee yourself a safe ride home. Doors open at 11 a.m.; tickets available at

Heights Theater, November 11
This show is, for Houston, the Americana equivalent of a unicorn sighting. Known for pairing rousing country-folk arrangements with brave social criticism on albums like 1996’s The Way I Should (“Letter to Mom,” “Wasteland of the Free”), Dement has also distinguished herself on several collaborations with John Prine, including Ernest Tubb’s “Who’s Gonna Take the Garbage Out” on the latter’s 2016 duets album For Better, or Worse. The reason Dement is making her way to Houston, at last, is The Trackless Woods (Flariella), which adapts several works by long-suffering Russian poet Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966) for just piano and voice; Dement recorded the project in her living room. Expect the same kind of intimate atmosphere Saturday night, where her aching vocals and stirring lyrics should raise plenty of goosebumps. With Pieta Brown.

Cullen Performance Hall, November 11
Most fans could be excused for thinking an old-timey string band from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina would have a hard time topping themselves after their version of Bob Dylan’s “Wagon Wheel” became a No. 1 country hit for Darius Rucker. Not Old Crow Medicine Show, who in May 2016 took the stage at the Country Music Hall of Fame (celebrating the museum’s 50th anniversary) and whipped through, start to finish, Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde. Dylan scholars can and do debate the merits of his discography all day long, but most agree the 1966 double LP — recorded just months after Dylan infamously “went electric” — ranks at or near the top. It’s the album of “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35,” “I Want You” and “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands,” but also “Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat, “Absolutely Sweet Marie” and “Obviously 5 Believers.” Old Crow’s performance was so inspired that Columbia Records signed them and released the whole show this past April, making the group labelmates with none other than Dylan himself. Took them long enough.

House of Blues, November 11
The Grammy-nominated indie-pop faves return for what will undoubtedly be a rousing yet long overdue show. After an anticlimactic FPSF that culminated in their set's cancellation due to severe weather, The Shins owe Houston fans at least a set and a half and one solid encore. Their live shows are intimate affairs without the self-conscious, trite parade of pain for art’s sake that is too often center stage at dream-alt shows. While most fans may have come on board after the Garden State soundtrack’s success, The Shins' following has stayed loyal despite front man James Mercer’s disbanding the group in 2012 and reforming with all new members four years later. Upheavals aside, this year’s Heart Worms feels like a return to form for the singer and songwriter who has long been the brains behind the curtain. With Baio. KRISTY LOYE

Shakespeare Pub, November 12
Far from an ordinary food drive, Blues For Food is a high point of the Houston blues community’s social calendar. For more than 12 hours, guitars and horns ring out as donations pour into the Houston Food Bank to the tune of several thousand pounds and approximately $100,000 annually. Now in its 28th year, since 2000 under the stewardship of local harmonica stud Sonny Boy Terry, Blues For Food is also an annual reminder of the ongoing strength and depth of the city’s blues scene. This year, with donations more vital than ever in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the talent on offer includes The Hipwaders Flying Circus featuring Bert Wills, Clint Boyd, Campfire Soul, James Wilhite, Raa-Raa Zydeco, Evelyn Rubio, Alisha Pattillo, John McVey, Milton Hopkins, Texas Johnny Boy and, as ever, the climactic free-for-all jam headed up by Sparetime Murray & the Honeymakers featuring Little Screamin’ Kenny, which many say is worth the price of admission alone. That, by the way, is a bag of nonperishable food items or cash donation, in exchange for a plate of delicious Texas barbecue and all the tasty H-Town blues anyone could digest. Starts at 1 p.m.
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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