Houston Concert Watch 5/22: Melanie Martinez, Ruthie Foster and More

The ridiculously talented Ruthie Foster will perform a full-band show on Thursday at Main Street Crossing.  Concerts from Melanie Martinez, Feid, Grupo Firme, Sue Foley, Dana Cooper and Iris DeMent are also on tap this week.
The ridiculously talented Ruthie Foster will perform a full-band show on Thursday at Main Street Crossing. Concerts from Melanie Martinez, Feid, Grupo Firme, Sue Foley, Dana Cooper and Iris DeMent are also on tap this week. Photo by Riccardo Piccirillo. Creative Commons.
Do people indulge in illicit / mind-expanding substances at music festivals? Sure they do. But how many, and how much? Thanks to the folks at Innerbody Research, we now have answers to these questions. Their study,  which surveyed 900 music festival attendees, reports that the heaviest drug use occurs at Rock Fest in Wisconsin. Burning Man is in second place, followed by Coachella. The Austin City Limits festival was not mentioned, but South by Southwest was ranked at number 11.

Approximately 87 percent of those surveyed reported that they planned to enhance the experience while attending festivals this year. Marijuana is the most popular party favor at festivals, with 65 percent of those surveyed reporting cannabis use. In what may seem something of a throwback trend, cocaine came in second place with 46 percent. Psychedelics came in third place, with 26 percent, but when you’re tripping balls, does anything really feel like a competition?

Ticket Alert
Sure, they just performed at the Big As Texas festival in Conroe, but many folks will be ready to groove to Los Lobos again when they play at the Heights Theater on Thursday, September 19. Tickets are on sale now, so grab them while you can. I mean, can you really hear these guys crank out “Mas y Mas” too often? No es posible.

Country neo-traditionalist Cody Johnson will perform for two nights at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion on Friday, October 25, and Saturday, October 26. Two nights? That’s rather ambitious, but let’s keep in mind that Johnson sold out a Rodeo Houston performance in 2018 as an unsigned artist, so he does have a strong local following. Which makes sense, as he was born in Sebastpol, which is just up the road from the Pavilion. Tickets are still available for both nights, and there is also a VIP option.

This just in: British blues chanteuse Joss Stone will perform at the Bayou Music Center on Friday, August 23. The presales are happening now, with the general sale set for Friday.

Concerts This Week

A bunch of graduation ceremonies are scheduled for the coming week, which means that many concert venues are booked. I suppose that some schools are holding the ceremonies off-site in order to allow more family members to attend. Because you can’t have too many yahoos blasting air horns and hollering “That’s my baby!” after they have been told to hold their applause until everyone walks across the stage and flips the tassel.
Be that as it may, there are still many fine live music choices this week in Houston. Molly Tuttle, a virtuoso guitarist and bluegrass star, will play Thursday at the White Oak Music Hall Downstairs. Her record City of Gold won a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album in 2023, and her album Crooked Tree won the same award in 2022. If you dig Billy Strings and the like, this show is worth checking out. Tuttle will perform at Cactus Music today at 5:30 p.m. if you would like a preview.
Toyota Center will be jumping this week, with Melanie Martinez performing on Thursday. Martinez first gained national recognition after appearing on “The Voice” in 2012. Since then, it’s been nothing but platinum records.  On Friday at Toyota Center, it’s Columbian Reggaeton phenom Feid, touring in support of his most recent album, Mor, No Le Temas a la Oscuridad (Love, Do Not Fear Darkness). Saturday brings Regional Mexican megastars Grupo Firme.
Two of Austin’s most talented musicians will be performing this week at Main Street Crossing. On Thursday, it’s Ruthie Foster with her signature mix of blues, soul and gospel. Then on Sunday, Sue Foley and her paisley pink Telecaster will take the stage for some serious get-down blues.
Singer-songwriter and Houston favorite Dana Cooper will be at the Dosey Doe Whiskey Bar on Friday. Cooper is celebrating the release of his new album, The Ghost of Tucumcari, which, in addition to his usual batch of swell songs, includes guest performances by Lyle Lovett, Hayes Carll, Shake Russell and Darden Smith among others. If you can’t make it out to the Dosey Doe, Cooper will play an in-store performance at Cactus Music on Wednesday, May 29, at 5:30 p.m.
At the Heights Theater on Friday, it’s the renowned and respected Iris DeMent, whose latest album, Workin’ on a World, addresses the manifold issues that society faces in contemporary times. ‘Cause Knowledge is Power: DeMent has guested on albums by John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle and Delbert McClinton. Ana Egge, whom Lucinda Williams referred to as “the folk Nina Simone,” will open the show.
Ready to shake your groove thang? Then head over to Miller Outdoor Theatre on Thursday, Friday and Saturday for “Dancin’ in the Streets,” Houston’s 25th annual salute to Motown and more. We’re talking classic R&B, soul and funk. Songs made famous by artists like Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and Tina Turner. The show is free (as are all performances at Miller), with tickets for covered seating available online the day before the show.
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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