Paramore hits Sugar Land's Smart Financial Centre Friday (Photo Pooneh Ghana)
Mac Demarco opens for The Flaming Lips Friday at Revention Music Center (Photo Coley Brown)
Deep Cuts play as part of the Canned Acoustica concert series Sunday at Discovery Green. (Photo Jay Tovar)
Houston's own Fat Tony hits Walters Downtown Tuesday.
Jazz quartet Bad Bad Not Good will donate 100% of their ticket sales to Tuesday's show at Warehouse Live to Trae tha Truth's Hurricane Harvey fund.
Houston weekends are packed full of events, but how many of them are truly worthy of your time? PaperCity’s Weekend Guru Matthew Ramirez cuts through the clutter to give you the best options in this weekly series.
Cooking Up Something Good
Canada’s Mac Demarco is one of the best songwriters of this generation. When he hit the scene with 2012’s Rock and Roll Night Club, he was a goofy kid making sensitive songs filtered through a wry sense of humor and an over-the-top Elvis Presley impersonation. Every album has signaled tremendous growth, capping it off with this spring’s This Old Dog, a sobering, joke-free record about getting older, losing his alcoholic father, and living with regret.
He’s become Randy Newman meets Harry Nilsson crossed with Michael McDonald.
No idea why Demarco, who sold out Warehouse Live last time he was here and frequently tours in arenas, is opening for past-their-prime psych bros The Flaming Lips, but if you need to see Demarco (like I do) dropping nearly $50 for an opening set might be worth it.
Friday at Revention Music Center, with doors opening at 7 pm and tickets starting at $45. Demarco will also DJ at Barbarella later, with doors opening at 9:30 pm there (though DeMarco will probably not take over the booth until midnight). Entry is $5.
Speaking of Demarco, around the start of this decade, Philadelphia’s War on Drugs were at the forefront of a wave of sleepy but affecting indie-rock, mixing nostalgic 1970s AM radio sounds with an American Apparel sensibility and stoner philosophy — them, Demarco, Kurt Vile, Real Estate, etc…
2011’s Slave Ambient and 2014’s Lost in the Dream are keepers in my book, and War on Drugs have been a quiet favorite act of mine for a few years now. They’re touring behind August’s solid A Deeper Understanding and will hit the downstairs stage at White Oak Music Hall Friday, with doors opening at 7 pm and tickets $33.
Ain’t It Fun
A band that’s hit a crucial critical reappraisal, Tennessee’s pop-punk trio Paramore were never really my thing until their 2013 self-titled record, when they ditched the punk sound for a cleaner, ’80s-inspired pop sheen (“Still Into You” is a Top 25 song this decade). They doubled down with this year’s After Laughter, which saw them hit a new wave of appreciation, landing on the cover of The Fader and reaping positive reviews from nearly every major outlet.
They hit Sugar Land’s Smart Financial Centre Friday, with stoner-punks Best Coast on as openers. Show starts a 8 pm; tickets begin at $38.50.
The storied limited concert series Canned Acoustica made its grand re-entrance in Houston in August, where the show invites local favorites to strip down and re-arrange their songs to the basics – an intimate but unique experience for local bands, especially artists you would never suspect would try it (B L A C K I E‘s 2012 acoustic concert was legendary).
Sunday’s show brings one of my favorites, the chic indie-rock of Deep Cuts, alongside one of Houston’s best-kept hip-hop secrets, Guilla (rap Canned Acoustica shows are always cool). Also on the bill: Folk Family Revival, Another Run, and Boomtown Bass Brand.
The show is free, but donations to the Houston Food Bank are encouraged. Click here to see the Food Bank’s most-needed items. Sunday, October 1 at Discovery Green. It all gets underway at 5 pm.
Houston’s favorite son Fat Tony returns Tuesday, October 3 with a headlining set at Walters Downtown. Tony is touring behind his love letter to Third Ward, MacGregor Park, an excellent, brisk eight-song record that dropped in August. Tony, who’s relocated to Los Angeles, swings into town with Flaco on their Tour From Nowhere nationwide excursion.
Fat Tony shows are truly unique experiences, mixing a punk-rock “get in the pit” energy with a hip-hop ethos, either mosh in the front or stay in the back and watch Tony sweat himself into a crazed frenzy. He’s one of the best live performers Houston has. Doors open at 8 pm, with tickets at $10.
Good Bad Not Evil
Bad Bad Not Good appeared on my radar sometime in 2011, when they piggy-backed a renewed national interest in hip-hop and left-of-center hip-hop-inspired sounds when Odd Future, Lil B, Thundercat, and other like-minded artists started getting good reviews on Pitchfork. They would parlay their tremendous YouTube and Tumblr success into recording an entire album with Ghostface Killah, just by covering rap songs with jazz sensibilities, a novelty appeal that grew into something else.
Six years later, BBNG have dropped the gimmicks and are a full-fledged, fun jazz band now, with 2016’s IV their crowning achievement. They’ll be at Warehouse Live on Wednesday October 3, with tickets just $10 and all proceeds going to hero Houston rapper Trae tha Truth’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Doors open at 7 pm.