5 Cool & Cheap Weekenders: December 21-23
Hard to believe it's been more than a quarter-century since Dwight Yoakam turned Nashville on its ear with the hard-charging Hillbilly Deluxe. You have to hand it to him: He's not one to rush things. It had been seven years since 2005's Blame the Vain, but he took the time to do it right on new album 3 Pears.
Here Yoakam balances his hard-won honky-tonk maturity ("Waterfall," "Nothing But Love") with songs that retain a youthful spring in their step, and gives the year one of its most brilliant/awful puns in the title track. Yoakam's old L.A. buddy, adopted Houstonian Mike Stinson, opens with what we hope will be some new tunes from the album he's finished but has yet to release. CHRIS GRAY
If this week is really our last gasp before the Apocalypse (dumb Mayans), then you can at least bid adieu to normalcy with this giant metal show upstairs and downstairs at Fitzgerald's. Headliners Pallbearer hail from Little Rock, Arkansas, and play slow, glacial metal, and this year's five-track Sorrow and Extinction melds big guitars and acoustics for maximum drama. Be sure to check out locals Omotai, who are launching a new LP, Terrestrial Grief, next week at their Walters release show.
Needless to say, you shouldn't be bored at this show, and neither should your ears. A horde of like-minded doomsayers fills out the ranks: Power Trip, Venomous Maximus, Mammoth Grinder, Warmaster, Eagle Claw, Omotai, Oceans of Slumber, Transmaniacon MC and Peasent Bring earplugs, so you can still hear that wailing and gnashing of teeth once the Apocalypse does hit. CRAIG HLAVATY
Trans Siberian Orchestra
Toyota Center, December 22
You know, it's not really the holidays in Houston until the Trans-Siberian Orchestra comes around to play some bombastic, prog-rocking Christmas music. TSO have been annual regulars around these parts for a while now, playing once (or even twice) each December at the Toyota Center. Get your fill of metal guitars, lasers, pyro and swelling strings all while bathing in the holiday spirit, because nothing screams the birth of Jesus Christ like lasers and fire. At least at my house. CRAIG HLAVATY