The Best Concerts In Houston This Week: The Weeknd, Bill Callahan, Alt-J, etc.

The Weeknd
Bayou Music Center, September 24

As eccentric as he is explicit, the 23-year-old singer/rapper known as The Weeknd has become one of R&B's hottest names of the 2010s not just because of his association with fellow Toronto native Drake, but for lyrics that are unusually candid even for his chosen genre. So if he sounds awfully cynical for someone so young on recent single "Wicked Game," each satin-smooth, top-of-the-line Weeknd production still amounts to another seduction in progress.

Tuesday's Bayou Music Center show comes on the heels of brand-new LP Kiss Land, coming soon to a bedroom near you via ravishing cuts such as "Love In the Sky." The album lost the No. 1 spot on this week's Billboard 200 by a razor-thin margin to Keith Urban's Fuse, but still sold a more than respectable 95,000 copies. CHRIS GRAY

Little Joe Washington
Boondocks, September 24

Since Rocks Off reported on Little Joe Washington's hospitalization a couple of weeks ago, we have some encouraging news to report about the elfin bluesman, perhaps Houston's single most beloved musician. Washington has been transferred to Quentin Mease Community Hospital, which specializes in geriatric care, and responding well to the kidney infection that had sent him to Ben Taub just after Labor Day.

According to Jomonica Phoenix, one of the cluster of local fans who help look after Little Joe, he has gained more than 15 pounds since being admitted to Mease. His frequent bandmate, heart surgeon/trombonist Dr. Billy Cohn, says Washington should be up to resuming his Boondocks residency Tuesday. CHRIS GRAY

Photo by Hanly Banks/Courtesy of Shore Fire Media
Bill Callahan
McGonigel's Mucky Duck, September 25

It's difficult to want to liken Bill Callahan to Townes Van Zandt -- after all, Townes' name is all but sacred around these parts -- but it's also difficult to think of another musician who has crafted songs of such depth and gravity since Van Zandt passed away some 15 years ago. Back then Callahan was already well into his career making records under the name Smog, downcast and haunting affairs sometimes facetiously (but sometimes not) reduced to a single word, "sadcore."

Last week Callahan, now a resident of Austin for several years, released his latest Drag City effort, Dream River, which was immediately greeted with growing reviews by the kind of outlets who take serious music seriously indeed - The New York Times, American Songwriter, The Wall Street Journal, and so forth. CHRIS GRAY

More shows on the next page.

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