Concerts

Houston Concert Watch: Todd Rundgren, Vampire Weekend and More

"Wizard" and "True Star" Todd Rundgren will perform on Sunday night at the House of Blues.  Shows from Vampire Weekend, Silversun Pickups and Jim Lauderdale are also on tap this week.
"Wizard" and "True Star" Todd Rundgren will perform on Sunday night at the House of Blues. Shows from Vampire Weekend, Silversun Pickups and Jim Lauderdale are also on tap this week. Photo by Carl Lender. Creative Commons.
Another summer tour has been scrubbed this week. Jennifer Lopez has announced that all dates for her “This is Me…Now” tour have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled. (J. Lo was set to perform at Toyota Center on Saturday, August 31.) Why the ixnay on the ourtay? As was the case with the Black Keys’ tour cancellation last week, many in the media are blaming low ticket sales, despite Lopez’s contention that she will abstain from the road in order to devote her attention to personal matters.

Without a doubt, it sucked (well, relatively speaking) to be Jennifer Lopez last week. Amid rumors of a split with former beau and current husband Ben Affleck, Lopez’ new film Atlas suffered a critical beatdown, with The New York Times characterizing the move as “cheap, dark, plasticky and fake.” Things weren’t much better on the interview front, with co-star Sterling K. Brown questioning Jenny from the Block’s Latina bona fides during a presser.

But back to the original point: who will be the next act to bail on a summer tour?

Ticket Alert
Looks like it’s victory lap time for Cyndi Lauper, who will perform at Toyota Center on Saturday, November 16. The “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” tour is said to be Lauper’s final go-round, putting the cap on a career that has included platinum albums, a Tony award (Kinky Boots), an Emmy award (“Mad About You”) and recognition as a leader in the battle for LGBTQ rights. The presales are in progress now, with the general ticket sale beginning Friday, for what sounds like one hell of a party.

Nathaniel Rateliff has been a revered figure in Denver music circles for many years, but it wasn’t until he released an album with his R&B backing band the Night Sweats in 2015 that things blew up for him on a national level. Since then, it’s been smooth sailing. Rateliff and band will play the 713 Music Hall on Tuesday, October 22, with presales up now and the general ticket sale on Friday.

Plenty of good seats remain for the summer mega-tour featuring Def Leppard, Journey, and Steve Miller on Wednesday, August 14, at Minute Maid Park. With so many musicians involved, there are seven different VIP packages, ranging from, at the top end, a photo op with Def Leppard (though “no contact with band members” is stipulated) to, for bargain hunters, the “Pearl Tour VIP Package,” which will get you an “excellent” seat, a couple of unspecified pieces of VIP merch and a VIP laminate complete with matching lanyard.

Concerts This Week
When a band writes a song about punctuation (“Oxford Comma”), it makes sense that the members are Ivy League graduates. I mean, an early version of this group was called L’Homme Run. We’re talking here about Vampire Weekend, a band that, despite its goth-y sounding name, has historically gravitated toward a Topsiders and chinos style right out of The Official Preppy Handbook. Check them out on Thursday at the 713 Music Hall.
When it comes to singer-songwriters, few are better – or more highly regarded - than Jim Lauderdale. On the “singer” side, Lauderdale has released over two dozen albums, both solo efforts and collaborations with the likes of bluegrass giant Ralph Stanley and Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. On the “songwriter” side, Lauderdale’s tunes have been recorded by luminaries such as George Strait, The Chicks and Elvis Costello. The maestro will be in residence on Saturday at the Mucky Duck.
Todd Rundgren is one bad mofo. In addition to crafting solo hits like “Hello It’s Me,” he has produced hit albums like Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell (Rundgren financed the project himself after no record companies expressed interest, making a mint as a result) and Grand Funk’s breakthrough album We’re an American Band (he came up with the “dit-dit-dit-dit” keyboard part on the chorus of the title track). The Hot Toddies (Rundgren superfans) will gather at the House of Blues for his show Sunday night.
Alt-rockers Silversun Pickups will perform on Tuesday at the House of Blues in support of their latest album, Physical Thrills. So what’s with the name? Does it have something to do with trucks? Guitar pickups? No, it seems that a friend was fond of making late-night, pre-closing stops at the Silversun liquor store in the band’s native Los Angeles. OK, now that makes sense.
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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