The Best Concerts In Houston This Week: Smashing Pumpkins, Taylor Swift, etc.
Free Radicals is both Nick Cooper's revolving-door ensemble that at any given moment could be playing free jazz or Latin funk, and also Cooper's ongoing testimonial to how much he digs being a member of the Houston music community. He has so much experience at this point that he has very much become a one-man hub of that community.
Last year Cooper brought that same kind of musical civic pride to the Radicals' first album in several years, The Freedom Fence, and then in July watched it win a well-deserved Houston Press Music Award for Local Album of the Year; just while we're thinking about it, don't forget to nominate your favorites in this year's HPMAs right over here.
Free Rads' weekly jam, wherever it may be, is a true local-music institution. These days it happens to be at AvantGarden, a local-music institution of its own, and follows David Dove's They, Who Sound showcase -- still another. CHRIS GRAY
Bayou Music Center, May 15
From 1988 to 2000, Billy Corgan headed Smashing Pumpkins, one of alternative rock's reigning bands -- one that endured years-long obstacles like emotional dysfunction, personal conflict, drug addiction, and even death. Each "death," however, has ignited a resulting musical rebirth.
But even those obstacles couldn't keep Corgan from pursuing the band he still adores, as we've witnessed in the six years since he regrouped Smashing Pumpkins with a wholly new lineup. Only Corgan himself can best describe his personal ups and downs through it all, the births and rebirths, the destruction and resulting creation.
"I've had the rise and the fall, and these years since then have been a clusterfuck," he admits. Wednesday with Texans Ringo Deathstarr and Girl In a Coma; read the rest of this week's music feature story at this link. NEPH BASEDOW
San Antonio's Hacienda is one of the most exciting live rock and roll bands in Texas at the moment. After Villanueva brothers Abraham, Jaime and Rene's supercharged latter-day Tex-Mex came to the attention of Dan Auerbach, the Black Keys guitarist took Hacienda under his wing and produced 2010 breakout LP Big Red & Barbacoa.
For last year's Shakedown, Auerbach stuck around to co-write the songs with the band, resulting in an album that's both retro and modern, with dashes of psychedelia and plenty of Hacienda's patented South Texas soul. With Young Girls and Knights of the Fire Kingdom. CHRIS GRAY