The Best Concerts In Houston This Week: Josh Groban, Drake, Janelle Monae, Rihanna, etc.
An all-American opera-singing pop star you can take home to Mom, Josh Groban almost doesn't seem human: he's smart, good-looking, self-deprecating, and his radiant baritone can thaw a glacier. It has no trouble filling sports arenas, that's for sure, a good thing because Groban's popularity is in no danger of declining.
He's on tour behind new album All That Echoes, which steers him further away from Caruso in favor of the bright-cornered rock of Green Day/Paramore producer Rob Cavallo, and production numbers built around Jimmy Webb's "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" and the Celtic folk tune "She Moved Through the Fair." Really looking forward to this one. I actually took my mom to see Groban when he was here in May 2011, and she loved it. I kinda did too. CHRIS GRAY
Bayou Music Center, November 12
I remember seeing promo pictures of these guys in metal magazines and thinking, "Whoa!" So, I caught the bus to the nearest record store, bought Reign In Blood on cassette, threw it in my Walkman (no iPods back in the golden age...) and gave it a listen. Being a young teenager and listening to "Angel of Death" for the first time... I can't really describe it, but my mind was blown. GILBERT ALFARO VIA LEILA CHEMAM-ALFARO
You'd be hard-pressed to find a solo artist currently having as much widespread commercial success as Drake. Whatever the Toronto native touches turns to instant radio-friendly magic, be it a Lil Wayne track one of the 12 No. 1 singles off his own albums like this year's Nothing Was the Same. If Drake's touched it, good luck trying to hold it back -- sure, we can point fingers at him for spawning the term "YOLO," but that seems like a minor indiscretion in the face of his mounting stockpile of hits. With Miguel and Future. ANGELICA LEICHT
The most exciting new R&B talent in years, Janelle Monae is the kind of performer whose genre-busting vision and show-stopping charisma are finally beginning to earn the kind of high profile she deserves, like last month's debut appearance on Saturday Night Live. The Kansas City native and ontime Cee-Lo protege has been around a few years, but her high-concept sci-fi future-pop -- which tosses Motown, Jimi Hendrix, hip-hop, and your typical James Bond theme into a 21st-century shuffle -- finally all clicks on the brand-new Electric Lady.
If you can judge an artist by her collaborators, just look at the guest list: Lady is loaded with not just fellow young stars like Miguel and Esperanza Spalding but also Prince and Erkyah Badu, who more and more seem like Monae's peers rather than influences. With Roman GianArthur. CHRIS GRAY
More shows on the next page.