Houston Concert Watch 9/6: Sam Smith, Pentatonix and More

Hit machine and LGBTQ icon Sam Smith will perform on Friday at Toyota Center.  Shows from Pentatonix, Flogging Molly and Bonnie Prince Billy are also on tap this week.
Hit machine and LGBTQ icon Sam Smith will perform on Friday at Toyota Center. Shows from Pentatonix, Flogging Molly and Bonnie Prince Billy are also on tap this week. Photo by erintheredmc. Creative Commons.
For the past several weeks, CNN has been relentlessly promoting its documentary Little Richard: I Am Everything, which made its broadcast debut this past weekend. While there is a bit of overlap with a recent edition of “American Masters” on PBS which focused on Richard, Lisa Cortes’ new film offers a more generous helping of sex (Richard: “Everybody likes to go to orgies!”) and drugs (Richard: “I was just doing everything – PCP, cocaine, heroin!”) along with the rock and roll.

I Am Everything does an exemplary job of putting Richard’s accomplishments in a historical context while exploring the battles that raged inside him as a result of the conflict between his sexuality and his religious leanings. The most entertaining parts, though, are the clips of Richard talking about himself, including an interview in which he recites the original, rather nasty lyrics to “Tutti Frutti” while a mortified David Brenner looks on.

Subversive filmmaker John Waters (who regularly sports a pencil-thin mustache in tribute to his idol) sums up the impact that Richard had on him and his generation: “The first song that you love that your parents hate is the beginning of the soundtrack of your life. And in my case, it was most definitely ‘Lucille.’ Little Richard gave me the fuel to rebel really, really early.” Be sure to check it out on CNN - the show is worth your while. But since this column is about live music, let’s take a gander at what’s going on around town this week.

Ticket Alert
Just announced: Houston favorite Mike Stinson will be at the Mucky Duck on Saturday, November 4. Odds are, this one will sell out quickly, so get to clicking!

Jack Black and Kyle Gass (better known as Tenacious D) will be at the White Oak Music Hall on Wednesday, September 13, a stop on their current “Spicy Meatball” tour. Be sure to have your Pick of Destiny at the ready.  Oh, and no word yet on whether kielbasa sausage will be available at the concession stand.

Drake will be at Toyota Center for two nights, Sunday, September 17, and Monday, September 18. Both shows are sold out, but there are tickets to be had on the resale market, starting at $300 for the nosebleed section.

Concerts This Week
Pentatonix has been taking a cappella to the people since 2011, when the five-member group from Arlington, TX won the third season of NBC’s “The Sing Off.” Since then, Pentatonix has become the Mannheim Steamroller of unaccompanied vocals, selling a ton of Christmas albums while continuing to maintain a steady presence on television with appearances on “The Voice” and “The Masked Singer.” I am not one to argue with success, but it is worth noting that, prior to fame, one of the Pentatonix singers was in a college a cappella group called Pitch Slap. Much catchier than Pentatonix! What was wrong with that name? The fivesome will perform on Thursday at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.
British hit machine Sam Smith will be at Toyota Center on Friday. The winner of an Oscar, a Golden Globe and several Grammy awards, Smith is touring in support of his most recent album Gloria. Jesse Reyez, who makes a guest appearance on Gloria, will open the show and probably join Smith onstage at some point during the evening. At a recent Chicago performance, Smith said to the crowd, “This show tonight is about freedom. So, let go, have fun, make some friends, sing, dance, take your tops off if you must.” Well, buckle up!
St. Patrick’s Day is several months away, but if you are jonesing for a taste of the Emerald Isle, check out Flogging Molly on Saturday at the House of Blues. The band’s sound might be described as what it would have sounded like if the Chieftans had started hanging out with the Clash while tossing back a Guinness or two. And by the way, stay away from green beer. That’s stuff’s not good for you.
A couple of things to know about Bonnie Prince Billy: 1. He is not British. 2.  He is not a prince. But he is a unique musical eccentric, displaying influences ranging from folk to punk to country. Billy performs on Saturday at the Heights Theater in support of his latest album, Keeping Secrets Will Destroy You.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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