Mitski performs with Helado Negro Tuesday at Walter's.
Houston’s 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.
Tell Your Friends About It
Abel Tesfaye has come a long way since his project, The Weeknd, anonymously debuted behind the (still good!) free debut mixtape, House of Balloons, way back in March 2011. While his consistent output since then hasn’t always been my speed, it’s safe to say The Weeknd has exploded beyond his simple blog beginnings and as a cohort of Drake to a full-blown pop star.
His single with Daft Punk, “Starboy,” seemingly plays every half-hour on pop stations, and not only rap/R&B channels. A bonafide real world star now (no pun intended), Tesfaye hits the Toyota Center Saturday, May 6, to bring his latest album Starboy, and no doubt his smattering of high-charting singles like “Can’t Feel My Face” to a crowd of thousands. Not bad for a kid from Toronto making music in his bedroom.
Doors open at 6:30 pm, show starts at 7:30 pm. Tickets start at $39.50.
I Found Me
A new zine that examines issues of race in America, and specifically Houston, through the lens of notables ranging from WWE wrestler turned Houston mayoral candidate Booker T to Ringer writer Shea Serrano is dropping Saturday. The release party for the inaugural issue will be held from 6 to 9 pm at Wired Up – Modern Conveniences.
Blessings on Blessings
Speaking of guys who started working at an independent level and are now selling out arenas and theaters. Chicago’s Chance the Rapper inconspicuously started his career with the mildly successful 2012 mixtape 10 Day, before really taking off with its 2013 follow-up, Acid Rap, still one of the most exciting, free-wheeling, and joyous rap albums of the decade. I saw him in 2013 opening for Mac Miller, who was untouchable at the time.
He’s come a long way to a near sold-out show at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion up in the Woodlands, touring behind 2016’s Coloring Book, an album many loved but I merely liked. (I prefer the 2015 album Surf he released with his side project, The Social Experiment.) However, his live performances are always exciting, part-rap show, part-Kirk Franklin-style witnessing, part all-ages singalong.
Chance speaks across generations and that is something to be commended. Sunday, with doors at 7 pm and show at 8. Lawn seating starts at $30.
Your Best American Songwriter
Mitski was an amazing but unheralded songwriter for years before finally breaking out with last year’s Puberty 2, a thrilling, devastatingly personal album that made her a household name of sorts. She performed at Walter’s last summer to a packed audience, but I was told it was one of just a few shows from her tour that did not sell out.
t’s hard to imagine her return to Walter’s this Tuesday not selling out, but to be honest I don’t know how much more packed that place could be. Nonetheless, Mitski’s songwriting prowess has finally reached a critical mass, a crucial voice in a predominantly white-majority indie rock scene.
Speaking of: Helado Negro, the stage name of Ecuadorian songwriter Roberto Carlos Lange, opens. His Private Energy from 2016 was a fun, low-stakes, but thought-provoking album about identity. Show starts at 8 pm; tickets $12 in advance, $15 day of.
Say Something Loving
The xx might never top the whirlwind success they tasted as 19/20-year-olds in 2009 with their self-titled debut album, a stark, intimate exercise in minimalism coupled with teenage sincerity. 2012’s Coexist made things even quieter, while the band adjusted to a more mature outlook. One third of the band, Jamie xx, went on to collaborate with Gil Scott-Heron, Young Thug, Drake, and others.
His 2015 record In Colour was a good time, a palette-expanding explosion of color that made you itch for another xx album. That itch was scratched with this spring’s I See You. While it’s not quite a Technicolor expansion of the band’s tropes, it is a particularly lively record borne out of a new romance for singer Romy Croft and Oliver Sim‘s new lease on life after alcoholism threatened to derail the band forever.
London-based crooner Sampha, who also released a great album this spring, his debut full-length titled Process, will open. Tuesday at Revention Music Center; doors open at 7 pm. Ticket prices vary.