Tamar Braxton House of Blues, June 16
Tamar Braxton is a thoroughly diversified modern R&B diva. Besides music, her portfolio includes a clothing line, book (last year's Love and War, which she co-wrote with husband Vince Herbert), two reality shows (Braxton Family Values and Tamar and Vince) and a daytime talk show, The Real, scheduled to debut in the fall.
But none of that would be possible without her voice, which the late Whitney Houston once called "amazing" after hearing the then-teenage Tamar sing backup for older sister Toni. Braxton's latest album, also called Love and War, topped Billboard's Hot R&B Albums chart last year and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200.
Debonair Lounge Cafe 4212, June 16
Since approximately Labor Day 2013, the only way to get each week off on a good foot has been at this Museum District oasis of cool. Debonair Lounge has already welcomed a who's who of Houston's hottest young hip-hop and R&B performers strutting their stuff for one of the most stylish audiences in town. Hosted by local scenesters Tay Mitch and Brad Gilmore, whom Channel 39's Newsfix called "ebony and ivory at its finest," these few hours will have you looking forward to every Monday...just not Tuesdays.
This Monday (no cover before 9 p.m.), Tay and Brad welcome Prince Cannon, Twenty Eleven's Corbin Dallas and, as always, that butter-smooth Debonair House Band. The party never stops on Instagram at @DebonairLounge, too.
DJ Flash Gordon Parks Alley Kat Lounge, May 21
If you see Flash Gordon Parks around a set of turntables -- which you can every Wednesday at the Big Top's tiny next-door neighbor, the Alley Kat Lounge -- it's better than even money you're in for a funky good time. Parks pours an encyclopedic knowledge of soul, funk, jazz, hip-hop and more into sets that will make you think as much as they make you sweat. That's no easy feat, but he makes it sound that way.
More shows on the next page.
Houston's Juneteenth Celebration Miller Outdoor Theatre, June 19
Black or white, Juneteenth is one of Houston's biggest parties of the year, and Miller Outdoor Theatre is always the best place to celebrate. Headlining this year is Allen Toussaint, a key figure in New Orleans' vast musical history for a half-century as a pianist, songwriter (Irma Thomas, Lee Dorsey, Glen Campbell), producer (LaBelle, The Meters) arranger (Dr. John, The Band's The Last Waltz) and one of the Crescent City's leading music educators.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, class of '98, was even awarded an honorary doctorate by Tulane University last year. Toussaint would be a funky good time all by himself, but Austin's much-decorated gospel-blues diva Ruthie Foster should really have 'em jumping in the aisles too.
Springboard South George R Brown Convention Center, June 19
Aiming to pick up where SXSW got sidetracked by endless corporate lucre and digital blathering, Houston-based Springboard South still believes aspiring, unsponsored performers deserve a shot. Now in its third year, the conference/tradeshow/festival aims to put its more than 100 showcasing artists in front of not just insiders who can open music-biz doors to them, but everyday music fans too.
The four-day event begins with Thursday's Band BootCamp, a bazaar of crash courses in everything from efficient studio use to PR on a budget, and continues all weekend at Friday's "Band Mall" as well as near round-the-clock music at Warehouse Live and surrounding venues this coming weekend featuring plenty of talented Houston acts. Day passes start at $15; stay tuned for more on SS later this week. See springboardsouth.com for details.
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