The Best Concerts In Houston This Weekend: Robert Glasper Experiment, Little Big Town, the Dead Links, Mike Stinson, Lil Wayne, etc.
This should be a real pleasure: a free show under the stars featuring a hometown kid who has gone on to become a Grammy winner. Pianist, HSPVA alum and dedicated J. Dilla fan Robert Glasper was showered with hosannas with his 2012 album Black Radio, which saw significant activity on both iTunes' Jazz and R&B charts and went on to sell more than 100,000 copies.
Glasper flirted with the mainsteam even more on last fall's Black Radio Recovered EP, allowing producers such as Pete Rock and the Roots' Questlove to remix some Black Radio tracks. He looks poised for further pop stardom with upcoming Black Radio Vol. 2, due in late October with another litany of guest stars like Snoop Lion, Common, Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump, Lupe Fiasco, Anthony Hamilton and even Theo himself -- that's right, Malcolm-Jamal Warner is on the album. Below is a preview of its first single, the Jill Scott-starring "Calls." CHRIS GRAY
Keith Urban may be Friday's headliner, but Little Big Town promises to leave the sandy-haired Aussie superstar in their frothy country-pop wake. If they hadn't before, the foursome - all of whom take turns singing lead and harmonize like no other group in Nashville right now - shook off their reputation as Lady Antebellum's poor relations for good with last year's Tornado, their fifth studio disc whose monster hit single "Pontoon" powered its way to a Grammy for Best Country Duo/Group Performance.
Think of them as Nashville's version of Fleetwood Mac without quite so many psychosexual head games, which could explain why they've been covering "The Chain" in concert recently. The vibe backstage at an LBT show is probably a lot more mellow, however. Dustin Lynch opens. CHRIS GRAY
Know a good band that never got enough love? Stabbing Westward. We hadn't thought about the Chicagoans best known for 1996 modern-rock hit "What Do I Have to Do" for ages, until we listened to High as It Goes, the brand-new disc by brand-new local band the Dead Links. This band is so new that their Web site only went live this past Tuesday and they don't even have a Facebook page yet, but they're hardly newcomers.
Links partners Scott Ayers and Ken Sheppard's pedigree includes the Pain Teens and Twenty Mondays (respectively), both reminders that Houston has long had a somewhat unexpected knack for turning out quality alterna-pop bands. High as It Goes ranges from aggressive electro-rock to the calmer waters approaching Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb," making it the most pleasantly surprising local debut to cross our desk in a good while. Worth an early-afternoon matinee at Cactus, absolutely. CHRIS GRAY
About moving to Houston four years ago, Mike Stinson says, "If I'd stayed where I was, I still think I would have grown as a songwriter, but the change of scenery has done me good, man." With a probing eye for detail, dry wit and laconic delivery, the fortysomething Virginia native/L.A. veteran also has a way of raising a song's emotional stakes with a line that almost seems tossed off, like "She still thinks I'm a jerk," from "The Box I Take to Work."
That song and ten more just like it -- well, not just like it but similar enough to be different colors in the same crayon box -- appear on his excellent new album Hell and Half of Georgia, which Stinson officially releases with a busy Saturday that sees an in-store matinee at Cactus Music and Rudz nightcap with the Dollyrockers. See this week's Houston Press music feature on Stinson, "Out of the Box," for more. CHRIS GRAY