Culture / Entertainment

River Oaks’ Famed Azalea Trail, the Ultimate French Party and Under-the-Radar Concerts Galore — the 10 Best Things to do in Houston

Your Full Weekend Guide

BY Virginia Reynolds and Matthew Ramirez // 03.04.20

Houston weekends are packed full of events, but how many of them are truly worthy of your time? PaperCity’s new events calendar offers a curated look at all the best things to do in the area. But everyone can still use a guru — or two.

PaperCity Weekend Gurus Matthew Ramirez and Virginia Reynolds cull our calendar for your weekend must dos in this weekly series.

85th Annual Azalea Trail

Though the official start to spring is over a week away, here in Houston we can confidently say that spring has sprung. Warmer temperatures have rolled in, morning doves have come out of their winter hiding, and flowers are blooming and painting the town with their vibrant colors. If there’s one flower that rules here in Houston, it’s undoubtedly the Azalea, and this weekend you can celebrate the return of these beautiful flowers at the River Oaks Garden Club’s 85th Annual Azalea Trail.

From Friday, March 6 through Sunday, March 8, the highly coveted Houston tradition will showcase the freshly blossomed flowers at seven locations: Bayou Bend, Rienzi, The Forum of Civics (the Garden Club’s historic home) and four private homes. Enjoy a host of activities, shopping opportunities, and food and drinks throughout the whole weekend.

Tickets are $30.

Go to the full PaperCity events calendar listing.

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French Cultures Festival Kickoff Concert

As many Texas history buffs know, a total of six flags have flown over the Lone Star State over the course of its rich history – Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America, and of course the United States of America. Though France occupied the state for only five years, its influence lives on, thus making Texas the perfect locale for a festival celebrating French culture, French food and French music.

Join the Cultural Service of the French Embassy in Houston on Friday for a free concert to kickoff the return of their month-long French Cultures Festival. Head to Discovery Green to hear music from CharlElie Couture from France, Ariane Roy from Québec and Vodi from Houston, and taste a selection of French wines and dishes provided by local hotspots.

Go to the full PaperCity events calendar listing.

The Rink at Discovery Green

Perfect to piggy back off of the kickoff concert is the launch of The Rink at Discovery Green, which opens up on Friday. The fourth season of the family-friendly roller rink will debut near the French Cultures Festival kickoff concert, so you can groove to the music as you roll around in your skates.

The Rink will be open every day through Sunday, April 12, and will feature a variety of activities and themed nights throughout its five-week run, including Cheap Skate Nights, Time Warp Tuesdays, Special Skaters and Wheelchair Wednesdays, Throwback Thursdays, Funfetti Fridays, Superhero Saturdays and This is How We Roll Sundays.

On-site tickets are $8. Skates are $4 to rent.

Go to the full PaperCity events calendar listing.

The Rink – Rolling at Discovery Green (1); Photo by Morris Malakoff
Strap on your skates and head to The Rink at Discovery Green when it opens this Friday.

Eagles: Hotel California Tour

It’s hard to beat a band as legendary as the Eagles. The talented group of singers and musicians have literally been performing for decades, giving fans of all ages the chance to roll down car windows and belt songs like “Take It Easy,” “James Dean,” “Heartache Tonight” and of course “Hotel California.”

The highly successful band has seen its fair share of top-rated tracks, and now they’re traveling the world to bring their classic rock and roll sounds to their devoted fans. This Friday and Saturday, the Eagles will be making a two-day stop in Houston to perform a lineup of their greatest hits, including all the songs from their iconic Hotel California album, with an orchestra and choir to accompany.

Somehow tickets are still available, starting at just $95.

Go to the full PaperCity events calendar listing.

DiverCity Project

Houston’s music scene is as varied and diverse as any other city, and the Houston Downtown Management District has decided that’s worth celebrating. So beginning this Saturday, March 7, the Downtown District will be hosting its inaugural bi-monthly concert series, DiverCity Project, at Market Square Park.

Every two weeks, the park will come alive with varying musical styles, like Jazz with African Roots, Western Bluegrass, German, Latin and Cuban, to showcase the city’s talent and diversity. Expect entertaining performances by the Houston Brass Quintet and occasional guest performances from local musicians. Bring a blanket, grab a bite from nearby Niko Niko’s and lay out on the lawn to celebrate the exciting new addition to Houston’s concert scene.

The concert series is free to attend.

Go to the full PaperCity events calendar listing.

Fat Tony x Michael Lacour x Fade Em All

If it seems like I recommend Tony every time he visits his hometown, you’re not exactly wrong. However, when he returns to Houston this week, touring behind his great new record Wake Up (on Carpark Records) it will be a show to remember, as he’ll bring Michael Lacour (the given and now performing name of B L A C K I E) to open, along with Houston punks Fade Em All.

When I saw Travis Scott perform at 2019’s AstroWorld and halfway through the performance, as Scott, with a broken leg, clearly running out of gas, started to harmonize in auto-tune to fill the time, it hit me. This is what Tony has been doing for about a decade now, ever since he plugged a mic into a reverb pedal so his rapping would fill the air like the riffs at a My Bloody Valentine concert.

The abrasive noise of B L A C K I E inspired Scott and the progressive sounds of Kanye West’s 2013 Yeezus album; Scott cited the man as an influence, and has mentioned being a fan of Tony in his early days, back when he made the “U Ain’t Fat” video and was starting to bring his witty, left-of-center attitude to Houston rap.

These are the two best live performers out of Houston — I’ll believe that for the rest of my days — and you can see them this Thursday, March 5, at White Oak Music Hall. —Matthew Ramirez

Go to the full PaperCity events calendar listing.

Fat Tony brings the party to White Oak Music Hall with Michael Lacour (fka B L A C K I E) and Fade Em All.
Fat Tony brings the party to White Oak Music Hall with Michael Lacour (fka B L A C K I E) and Fade Em All.

Yves Tumor

Yves Tumor is as unclassifiable an artist as you can get. In 2016, his Serpent Music was an experimental, avant-garde affair, full of instrumental climaxes and vocals half-buried in the mix. Two years later, Safe in the Hands of Love was his breakout, a fascinating roller coaster of an album that tidied up his more outre leanings to something that was rock- and pop-influenced, but still discordant enough to entice FACT Magazine readers.

On his latest single – “Gospel for a New Century” – Tumor embraces a straight-ahead rock sound, and the result is the best TV on the Radio song since 2008 (I say that with love).

His new record, Heaven to a Tortured Mind, isn’t due until April but he’ll swing by White Oak Music Hall this Friday, March 6, to preview the new tunes. —Matthew Ramirez

Go to the full PaperCity events calendar listing.

Youngboy Never Broke Again

Baton Rouge’s Youngboy Never Broke Again (formerly known as NBA Youngboy) has in recent years eclipsed all his peers to earn the title as more or less the unofficial king of the streets. Somehow still just 20, it feels like Youngboy’s been making gritty, verite street rap for years (because he has).

Unlike a lot of his fellow street rap peers, though, Youngboy is blessed with an ability to pair his introspective tales with hooks and a top notch selection of beats, and each Youngboy project is loaded with at least a handful of songs that stop you dead in your tracks with a particularly gutting detail or wise-beyond-his-years lyric. Fresh off his Still Flexin’, Still Steppin’ mixtape, the young phenomenon hits Revention Music Center this Friday, March 6. —Matthew Ramirez

Go to the full PaperCity events calendar listing.

SOB x RBE

One of my favorite acts in hip-hop in recent years, NorCal collective SOB x RBE are an anarchic group of young men who have released a steady diet of quality mixtapes before leaping to more prominent status via a Black Panther soundtrack placement. Their 2018 diptych of Gangin’ and Gangin’ II were mini-masterpieces, all chaotic but carefree rhyming with buoyant, sample-heavy beats that were just plain fun.

In 2019 they released two split EPs: one with hip-hop producer extraordinaire Hit-Boy (best known for Jay Z and Kanye’s “Paris”), and one with EDM troll (and Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo performer) Marshmello, which was secretly better. There’s no limit to what these young dudes can do. They’ll be at Revention Music Center this Sunday, March 8. —Matthew Ramirez

Go to the full PaperCity events calendar listing.

Jill Scott

R&B icon Jill Scott is far from prolific but ever since she burst onto the scene in 2000 with Who is Jill Scott? she’s sustained a diehard group of fans who rally around Scott every four or five years when she drops another record. Part of the “neo-soul” scene that also brought us Maxwell and D’Angelo (among others), Scott has long stood in a “grown” lane that makes her music the soundtrack of many lives. Even 20 years ago.

She comes to Revention Music Center this Sunday, March 8, behind a 20th anniversary of Who is Jill Scott tour, where she’ll play the now-classic record front to back, some songs with new arrangements. —Matthew Ramirez

Go to the full PaperCity events calendar listing.

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