Houston’s concert scene brings plenty of action, but do you know the under-the-radar shows as well as the monster acts? In this regular series, PaperCity’s Matthew Ramirez cuts through the noise to find the best things to do around town. Let’s get to this weekend’s top options.
Jimmie Dale Gilmore & Butch Hancock, Friday, December 11 @ Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe in Galveston
The Flatlanders are a Texas institution, founded by Jimmie Dale Gilmore. After a brief sprint of a career in the ’70s, the band split up, and its members found differing levels of solo success. As these things tend to happen, the name of the Flatlanders grew as the band lay dormant for decades, before appearing again in the ’90s and then performing live throughout the first decade of the century.
In full swing, the cult of the Flatlanders has outlived their original shelf-life — think a Texas version of a cult act like The Wrens. And who can forget this tune about Dallas from the mind of Gilmore?
Starlito, Friday, December 11 @ Eastdown Warehouse
Starlito hails from Nashville, and there is something of a country-inspired confessional approach in his lyrics that feels like a few steps left of hip-hop, even traditional hip-hop lyricism. If the “country-fried” approach of a revivalist like Big K.R.I.T. is too overtly indebted to Houston rap to be truly fresh, Starlito might be more your speed, more Nirvana than Silverchair. His latest album, I’m Moving to Houston, surprise-released just a week ago.
The Weeknd, Sunday, December 13 @ Toyota Center
Abel Tesfaye started his career shrouded in mystery with a trilogy of free albums available to download in 2011. At the time, House of Balloons, the first and easily the best of the three, felt almost revolutionary: the smooth, thick drums of R&B matched with slight trip-hop nods and guitar-tinged atmosphere, like Dru Hill meets Cocteau Twins. He went an entire year without showing his face, then, steadily his profile grew through 2013’s tepid Kiss Land, before he exploded with “Earned It” from the 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack. Now a bonafide pop star, Tesfaye went from a guy with a Tumblr to onstage dancing with Victoria’s Secret models performing a song that sounds exactly like a Michael Jackson b-side. Time flies.