Houston’s concert scene brings plenty of action, but we want to make sure you know about the under-the-radar shows as well as the monster acts. 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 picks.
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5–SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 7 @ JONES HALL
A truly unique experience, this performance (it runs three days this weekend) combines a big-screen projection of the 1952 classic (deemed “the greatest movie musical of all time” by the American Film Institute) with a performance of the iconic score by the orchestra. From the title song to “Good Morning,” relive the most essential musical live and in person.
SARA HICKMAN, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6 @ ANDERSON FAIR
Last time out she hit the Duck, and now hometown songwriter Sara Hickman plays another one of Houston’s best-kept secrets for the acoustic crowd: Anderson Fair, tucked off Montrose and a world unto itself. For those who have never been, Hickman is as good a reason as any to go: The song “I Couldn’t Help Myself” from Shortstop landed her on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson – twice – and reached #11 on Billboard in 1990.
She hits Anderson Fair’s intimate confines Saturday night.
CHARLIE WILSON, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6 @ ARENA THEATRE
Deemed “Uncle Charlie” by a generation of fans who mostly know him for his collaborations with Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, UGK, and Tyler, the Creator, Wilson has a career that is the envy of many musicians: transcending generational boundaries and speaking to all ages over the course of decades. With fellow Wilson brothers Robert and Ronnie, Charlie fronted the iconic soul group The Gap Band, before a long solo career gave way to many scene-stealing performances with a generation of the best and most influential rappers and modern R&B singers.
Touring behind his 2015 solo album Forever Charlie, Wilson hits the Arena Theatre in what is billed as an “up close and personal” performance.
UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA, MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8 @ NUMBERS
UMO started off as literally an unknown band (whose identities were not revealed until after their excellent 2011 self-titled record had begun to make the rounds) with a sound built on breakbeats and fuzz. Three albums into their career, the beats have gotten a little sharper, the fuzz has receded, but one thing remains: singer/songwriter Ruban Nielson‘s ability to engineer albums that sound like timeless artifacts and wed that timelessness to a songwriting that is completely contemporary – Nielson is too old to be considered a millennial, but given that the best song off their 2015 record Multi-Love was called “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone,”
UMO have blended a throwback, R&B-infused rock sound with songwriting rooted firmly in the minutiae of 21st-century living. Former Houstonian Jana Hunter and her band Lower Dens return to the city to open, touring behind their solid 2015 record Escape From Evil.