Michael Franti onstage at House of Blues in 2010Photo by Jason Wolter
Captain's log, day 154: I've become good friends with the plants in my house. Sometimes I sing to them. I've been reading far too many dystopian novels, and I may at this very moment be wearing a tinfoil hat. I'm not sure I miss live music anymore because, if I'm being honest, I can't remember exactly what it was like. I remember loud noises and illuminated stages, but the rest is a fog. The glare from the lights, the sweaty crowds, bodies pressed up against one another... It all blurs together. And until we're all able to refresh our memories, here's another list of live-streaming options for the next week.
Aaron Lewis 6 p.m. CST – August 12
Aaron Lewis made a name for himself as the front-man and principal songwriter for Staind, the alt-rock outfit that rose to prominence in the late ‘90s thanks in no small part to a cosign from Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst. “It’s Been Awhile,” “So Far Away” and “Right Here” dominated the airwaves during the early 2000s before Lewis, seemingly out of nowhere, decided to try his hand at another genre. For the better part of a decade now, the New England native has made a living as a country artist. Since 2011, he has released a trio of solo albums that have been received favorably by even the most apprehensive listeners. Tonight, the powerful vocalist and self-declared "Northern Redneck" will perform another acoustic show from his couch.
Jon Bon Jovi 4:30 p.m. CST – August 14
Thirty-four years ago, Slippery When Wet turned Bon Jovi (the band) into international superstars. The New Jersey-born rock outfit has released nearly a dozen albums since – to varying degrees of success – and their latest has as projected release date of October 2. The group’s significance has waned in recent years, but their name endures, and the front man for whom the band is named remains a well-regarded figure in the music business. Bon Jovi (the man) will perform an acoustic show on Friday. A percentage of the proceeds will go to World Central Kitchen, a not-for-profit organization that provides meals to people affected by natural disasters. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has helped feed tens of thousands and is actively working with minority-owned businesses to help those affected by the novel coronavirus.
Blue October 8 p.m. CST – August 14
Blue October records have always reflected vocalist Justin Furstenfeld's mental state. For the past 20 years, the Houston-born singer-songwriter has shared just about every detail of his tumultuous life with his fans. From his suicidal ideation to an exhausting custody battle over his daughter, Furstenfeld has never been shy. Over the past few years, however, he has turned a corner, and his music has reflected as much. Best known for the lamenting tracks "Hate Me" and "Into The Ocean," Blue October's last two records — Home and I Hope You're Happy — abound with optimism, mirroring the front man’s sobriety and newfound positivity. On Friday, Furstenfeld will live-stream an acoustic performance of his band’s seventh studio album Sway in its entirety.
Michael Franti & Spearhead 8 p.m. CST – August 15
Michael Franti is known for being doggedly optimistic. In 2011, during a performance at Houston’s now-defunct International Festival, the California native told the crowd, "Everyone deserves music. Even our worst enemies, Lord. They deserve music, sweet music." Nearly a decade later, this message continues to resonate amid the ongoing divisiveness and acrimony that has seemingly consumed the world (or at least social media). With uplifting lyricism being just about the only constant, Franti’s wide-ranging musical catalog offers a little something for everyone, encompassing everything from rap and R&B to reggae, funk and rock. In his own words, the musician describes it as "rock and roll with a whole lotta’ soul." Fans looking for a dose of hopefulness can watch him this Saturday.
Darius Rucker 7 p.m. CST – August 15
Darius Rucker became a household name as the lead vocalist for Hootie & The Blowfish, a blues-influenced pop outfit whose debut album Cracked Rear View has been certified platinum 21 times since its release in 1994. Unable to recreate the success of that first offering, the South Carolina native tried his hand as an R&B artist in the early aughts before signing to Capitol Nashville and releasing his first country record in 2008. Less than a year after its release, more than a million copies of Learn To Live had been sold, and the versatile singer-songwriter has been a staple of the genre ever since. Joined by Luke Bryan, Rucker will live-stream a performance from the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville Saturday night.
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Matt is a regular contributor to the Houston Press’ music section. He graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in print journalism and global business.
Matt first began writing for the Press as an intern, having accidentally sent his resume to the publication's music editor instead of the news chief. After half a decade of attending concerts and interviewing musicians, he has credited this fortuitous mistake to divine intervention.