Houston Concert Watch 11/8: Jackie Venson, Better Than Ezra and More

Austin's Jackie Venson will perform at the Heights Theater on Friday.  Shows from Swimwear Department, Better Than Ezra and The Paper Kites are also on tap this week.
Austin's Jackie Venson will perform at the Heights Theater on Friday. Shows from Swimwear Department, Better Than Ezra and The Paper Kites are also on tap this week. Photo by Ismael Quintanilla. Creative Commons.
As an increasing number of aging rockers curtail their touring schedules or retire altogether, tribute bands are stepping in to fill the void. A gander at recent local venue schedules shows that more tribute bands are being booked in more upscale venues. At Main Street Crossing, for instance, almost half of the shows in November are tribute bands, featuring the music of Metallica, the Beatles, Tom Jones, Bob Seeger, Billy Joel and others.

Within this climate, a new movie project has been announced. So brace yourself. The forthcoming film, Bjorn of the Dead, will star Bruce Dickinson (lead singer of heritage metal act Iron Maiden) as the leader of Abbatoir, an ABBA tribute band that ends up hunkering down in a small club as the apocalypse kicks into high gear. I may have to see this one, out of morbid curiosity if nothing else.

Ticket Alert
If you missed out on the Eagles ticket sale last week, a few seats are still available for the Toyota Center show, at $150 and up. Way up. Seats on the lower level for the February 16 show start at $300, and if you want to be on the floor, prepare to whip out at least $750. In any case, be sure to save some money for those $12 beers.

Scattered tickets remain available for the Enrique Iglesias / Pitbull / Ricky Martin triple bill at Toyota Center on Saturday, November 18. Get ‘em while they’re hot.

Concerts This Week
Austin’s Jackie Venson has been pegged as a blues player, but there is much more than that going on in her music. Though initially inspired by Buddy Guy, Venson displays a variety of influences in her music; soul, R&B, reggae, rock and techno all show up from time to time. Catch Venson on Friday at the Heights Theater, with Kam Franklin from the Suffers opening.
On Saturday, Swimwear Department will perform at the Continental Club. The Houston band’s sound has been described as “a refreshingly frivolous and fun brand of garage / surf rock” Frivolous and fun? I’m in! Be sure to wear your dancing shoes, or a swimsuit if you want to go all out.
After forming at LSU and then grinding it out on the Gulf Coast club circuit, it all came together for Better Than Ezra in 1995, when the band had a number one record with the single “Good.” Though Ezra peaked early, the band is still recording and touring, performing on Sunday at the House of Blues.
When you think of bands from Australia, AC/DC, Men at Work, INXS and the Bee Gees might come to mind. Were The Paper Kites on your list? If not, maybe they should be. Since 2010, the folkie quintet from down under has joined the ranks of Aussie bands who have hit it big in the States, achieving platinum status with the single “Bloom.” The Kites will perform on Sunday at the Heights Theater.
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