Concerts

Houston Concert Watch 11/30: Ruthie Foster, Blue Öyster Cult, and More

Texan Ruthie Foster will bring her unique take on the blues to the Heights Theater on Friday.  Shows from Blue Öyster Cult, JD Simo, and Kinky Friedman are also on tap this week.
Texan Ruthie Foster will bring her unique take on the blues to the Heights Theater on Friday. Shows from Blue Öyster Cult, JD Simo, and Kinky Friedman are also on tap this week. Photo by Ricardo Piccarillo. Creative Commons.
Owing to my aversion to crowds, cheap sentimentality, and conspicuous consumption (along with my generally curmudgeonly nature), I have tried, over the past several years, to accomplish my Christmas shopping online. Here are some highlights of my cyber browsing so far:

It seems that the traditional gingerbread house has been joined by the charcuterie house. Yep, a tabletop dwelling that sports salami shingles, rosemary trees, and grated parmesan snow, available in A-frame and chalet architectural styles. For the movie fan in your life, “Business as Usual,” a set of cinema-themed calling cards might do the trick. Everything from Travis Bickle’s Dependable Taxi Service to Sobchack Security to Tyler Durden’s Paper Street Soap Company. And if you’re looking for a practical gift, consider In Your Pleasure’s line of fast-acting cannabis-infused suppositories, for those times when you’re out and about, want to cop a buzz, can’t really smoke, and just don’t have to time to wait for an edible gummie to kick in. You’re welcome.  From Ruthie to Kinky, check out what’s on tap in terms of live music this week.
According to most musicologists, Blue Öyster Cult was the first rock and roll band to use an unnecessary umlaut in its name, establishing a tradition that has been upheld by Motörhead, Mötley Crüe, et al. There was nothing subtle about the Cult back in the day: lasers and dry ice, tight leather britches, and creepy lyrics dealing with everything from extraterrestrials to vampires to Joan Crawford to Godzilla. Latter-day fans will recognize them from their contributions to the films Heavy Metal, Halloween, and The Stoned Age, plus a certain sketch on “Saturday Night Live.” BÖC will be at the Dosey Doe Big Barn tonight. And if you start smacking a cowbell during the show, you might (justifiably) get thrown out on your tuchus.
You could call Texas artist Ruthie Foster a blues singer, and you would be correct. After all, she has won the Koko Taylor Award for Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year seven times. Still, Foster’s music encompasses more than blues, containing the influences of gospel, soul, reggae, and rock. Talk about versatile, this woman did a blues cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” a few years ago, not to mention a simmering take on Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.” Foster will perform at the Heights Theater on Friday in support of her latest release, Healing Time.
The neo-blues vibe continues on Sunday at the Heights Theater with a performance by JD Simo. Like Foster, he pulls a variety of styles into a blues context, among them Afrobeat, which reinforces the connection between contemporary blues and its African roots. When Simo heads off in a psychedelic direction – as he is wont to do - it’s impossible not to think of Jimi Hendrix when he stomps on the wah-wah pedal. Simo plays in a power trio format, leaving plenty of room for his guitar explorations and (just as important) the trancelike interplay between the musicians. 
Singer, songwriter, mystery author, and raconteur Kinky Friedman returns to Houston and the Mucky Duck on Tuesday for a show benefitting the Gold Star Camp for Kids at Echo Hills Ranch. Friedman’s parents operated Echo Hills as a summer camp for 50 years, giving children the opportunity to enjoy the charms of the Texas Hill Country. Since the senior Friedmans' passing, Kinky and his sister Marcie have reopened Echo Hills to the children of military personnel and first responders who have lost their lives in the course of their service. A couple of years ago, the Kinkster released his first album of new songs in some time, so no doubt there will be fresh material along with classics like “Asshole from El Paso,” “They Ain’t Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore,” and “Old Ben Lucas.”
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Contributor Tom Richards is a broadcaster, writer, and musician. He has an unseemly fondness for the Rolling Stones and bands of their ilk.
Contact: Tom Richards