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Culture / Entertainment

The Weekend Guru

Rodeo’s Best Concert Run and Ugly God Drive Home Houston’s New Music City Status

BY // 03.10.17

Editor’s Note: Houston’s weekends are packed full of events, but how many of them are truly worthy of your time? PaperCity’s Matthew Ramirez cuts through the clutter to give you the best options in this new regular weekly series.

Machine Gun Travis
Another installment of the Mixed Media party at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston convenes Friday night at 8 pm; however, this one is especially worth a look, as the Berlin-based Machinedrum headlines the night. Machinedrum (real name Travis Stewart) is an electronic musician who’s worked with artists like the incomparable Dawn Richard, Theophilus London, and more.

His textured soundscapes are as inviting as they are intimidating, tiny pointillist pieces of music  – think Rustie but not as tinny. Tickets are $25; DJ Sun opens; and the night as always is 18 and up only.

You Can Always Go Downtown
The Providence-based bilingual punk band Downtown Boys has been called the most exciting band in America by no one less than Rolling Stone. Their 2015 record, Full Communism, received accolades from Pitchfork. The band, led by Victoria Ruiz, writes in Spanish for a very pragmatic reason: so more people will listen to them.

Always putting politics front and center, Downtown Boys even throw some sax on a few tracks, giving their throwback punk a psych-tinged, Stooges vibe. Friday night at Walters, with doors at 8 pm; D.C.-based opener Sneaks is also worth a look.

They Call the Thing a Rodeo
Beginning with last night’s Chris Stapleton set, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo hits perhaps its strongest run of shows this weekend/early next week: Alicia Keys, Alan Jackson, The Chainsmokers, Sam Hunt, and Demi Lovato.

Every single one of those artist is definitely worth seeing at least once, and the range from Keys’ electric R&B to The Chainsmokers pseudo-ironic EDM to a country legend like Jackson is impressive. It’s the rodeo; you know what you’re getting, but this weekend is in my opinion one of the stronger streak of shows the venerable Houston institution has hit on in awhile.

Weekday rodeos start at 6:45 pm, with performers going on around 8:45 pm; Saturday’s and Sunday’s shows begin at 3:45 pm, with performers on at 5:45 pm. Ticket prices vary.

Here in My (Art) Car
Get a first look at some of the coolest cars ever at Saturday’s preview of the 2017 Art Car Parade (happening April 6-9). Market Square Park will host a handful of them, and Saturday afternoon starting at 4 pm will also see live music, games, a forum featuring members of the Orange Show, and a screening of Art Car: The Movie, at 7 pm. Best yet, it’s all free.

Thundercat, Ho!
It’s hard to believe that a bassist, of all instruments, could unite so many different kinds of people, but Thundercat‘s done it; from the electronic kids, having come up in the shadow of Flying Lotus and his Brainfeeder label; to the hip-hop kids, performing with Kendrick Lamar; to the stoners, with appearances on Adult Swim.

Thundercat has long since stepped out of the shadow of FlyLo and his most recent album, Drunk, from early this year, is his best yet, sounding like a found, art-damaged funk album from the ’70s. It’s very funny, too. He’ll hit the stage Saturday at Warehouse Live, with doors at 8 pm. Thundercat will also appear at Cactus Records Saturday morning.

Drink More Water
Avant-garde Houston rapper Ugly God has cracked a couple million views on YouTube and a couple million streams on SoundCloud, and his hit “Water” even gets radio play. However, Ugly God continues to fly under-the-radar, perhaps because his music is decidedly uncommercial, a tad politically incorrect, and he is content to only write about what he knows — I’ll leave it to your imagination.

It’s not all a gag, though, because beneath the goofy exterior is a funny teenager working out his emotions and a kid with no pretension becoming successful off nothing else than his ability to connect with young people. Sunday, Warehouse Live, with doors at 7 pm.

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