Bob Dylan has a well-deserved reputation for defying expectations. This past weekend at the Farm Aid concert in Indiana, the Nobel Prize winner really went nuts, performing an unannounced three-song set that included “Maggie’s Farm,” “Positively 4th Street” and “Ballad of a Thin Man.”
But here’s the wild part: Dylan’s performances of the songs sounded pretty darn close to the records, a rare thing during the past several decades. With backing from a band that included guitarist Mike Campbell, keyboardist Benmont Tench and drummer Steve Ferrone from Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers, the sound of 1965 returned in full force. With Dylan, you never know.
Elvis Costello has just announced an upcoming tour that will put him in Houston on Wednesday, January 17, at the House of Blues, backed by longtime collaborators the Imposters and Texas guitarist Charlie Sexton. The presales start today, with the general sale beginning on Friday. But in the meantime, Team Costello gives us this to ponder: “Remember that this is not just a concert, it is a communion of amorous spirits, an odyssey of pure, unadulterated elation." Well, OK then!
What to call the Old 97's? Alt-country? Rock? Power pop? Band member Rhett Miller prefers the term “loud folk.” The presales are up today for the band’s show at the House of Blues on Wednesday, December 6, with the general sale on Friday.
Scattered tickets remain for Janelle Monáe and her Age of Pleasure tour, which rolls into town on Tuesday, October 10, at the Bayou Music Center. The main floor will be general admission / standing, but there are seats in the balcony for those who prefer to take a load off.
Concerts This Week
I don’t envy Pink. While her Summer Carnival tour has been on the road since June, doing bang-up business in Europe and the United States, Pink will perform tonight at Minute Maid Park while Houston is still recovering from two nights of Beyoncé at NRG Stadium. It’s a challenge to be sure, but Pink (or P!nk, if you prefer) will no doubt pull out all the stops, utilizing her skills as a gymnast and acrobat to put some icing on a solid musical cake. ‘Cause Knowledge is Power: Pink has stated that her two role models are Madonna and Janis Joplin. Well, one out of two isn’t bad.
And speaking of stadium shows, Guns N’ Roses will be at Minute Maid Park on Thursday. Since the return of guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan to the fold in 2016 for the Not In This Lifetime tour, the band has been relatively busy, frequently on the road and sporadically working on new material, including the recently released single “Perhaps” (which is a pretty wimpy title for a GNR song, but hey, maybe that’s just me). Here’s hoping that the band will start the show somewhere close to on time, or at least on the same date as the concert is scheduled. Anyone remember Guns at the Summit in 1992? As I recall, things got underway around midnight and were still cranking when I had to leave sometime after two in the a.m.
Fire up the DeLorean and head back in time to the Dosey Doe Big Barn this weekend for shows by two bands with their roots firmly in the ‘70s. On Friday, it’s Pablo Cruise, a band that earned its Yacht Rock stripes with singles like “Watcha Gonna Do” and “Love Will Find a Way.” Then on Saturday, it’s Spyro Gyra, practitioners of jazz fusion who could conceivably be filed under Yacht Rock on the basis of 1979’s “Morning Dance.” As is often the case at the Dosey Doe, these are both “dinner and a show” presentations, so come hungry!
The Mavericks have always resisted the tyranny of pigeon-holing. Despite being initially marketed as a country act, the band has consistently pushed stylistic boundaries, led by Raul Malo and his magnificent vocal chops. Ironically (or not), the Mavericks have been hailed as proponents of Americana, bringing rock, pop and Latin influences into their unique mix. The band with perform on Saturday at the House of Blues, celebrating the 10th anniversary of their album In Time.
Acclaimed singer-songwriter Josh Ritter is on the road with the Royal City Band in support of his latest album Spectral Lines. Ritter will perform on Saturday at the Heights Theater, with Sarah Harmer opening. In addition to his musical exploits, Ritter has written two novels, Bright’s Passage and The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All, which have been praised by authors Dennis Lehane (Mystic River) and Stephen King (half of the bestsellers from the latter part of the 20th century).
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