The Best Concerts in Houston This Week: Tianna Hall, Tom Russell, Bruno Mars, etc.
Reliant Stadium, March 6
Not nearly as cheesy as Kenny Chesney, Dierks Bentley can make beer-drinking sound downright eloquent on his recent hit "Tip It on Back," couching a couple of hours of Friday-night cruising as an essential ritual to salute the passing of small-town U.S.A. The Arizona native's tough-guy attitude, dry sense of humor and expert way with a ladykilling ballad make it no surprise he's been one of the most consistent and successful male vocalists to come out of Nashville in the past ten years.
At the top of his profession, Bentley is also a little bit more plugged into some of country music's honorable traditions than many of his peers, gathering talents like the Del McCoury Band, Jamey Johnson, Miranda Lambert and Kris Kristofferson for 2010's superlative Up On the Ridge. CHRIS GRAY
The improbable rise of Bruno Mars these past few years -- he plays instruments! -- was both surprising and comforting at the same time, if (like us) you enjoy buttery '80s pop-rock hooks. Mars isn't dangerous, no, but he is dangerous in the sense that he is proving that you don't necessarily need to have a dubstep breakdown or a rapper cameo to sell a song to radio these days.
Not only that, he followed up 2010's Doo-Wops & Hooligans with the darker Unorthodox Jukebox without losing a step, even touching on his chemical speedbumps. If you don't dig on RodeoHouston as a setting for a pop show, don't fret: Mars and electro starlet Ellie Goulding just announced a Toyota Center date for the end of summer. CRAIG HLAVATY
909 Texas Ave., Houston, TX