The Best Concerts in Houston This Week: Wood & Wire, FPH NYE, Riverboat Gamblers, etc.
Anticipating folk music's return to the pop-culture conversation thanks to Inside Llewyn Davis by a few years, Wood & Wire have become a fixture on the bluegrass/acoustic circuit as much for their dogged work ethic as their precision-timed songs. The Austin-based quartet began at the 2009 Old Settlers' Music Festival in Central Texas, where Houston-raised guitarist Tony Kamel and mandolinist Matt Slusher picked till dawn and wound up forming a band. This past year they saw all that fretwork (which they've dubbed "Dirty Texas Grass") pay real dividends by releasing a 14-song eponymous debut CD and touring with one of the top names in the scene, Yonder Mountain String Band. CHRIS GRAY
The Big Easy, December 30
Solo bluesman John Egan sings in a tone that suggests someone is constantly walking over his grave, and his lyrics are loaded with bad mojo like nature gone haywire and apocalyptic visions. All he needs live is his National Resonator, one of those shiny silver guitars that sting and snarl. CHRIS GRAY
No doubt the team behind Free Press Summer Fest looked at what happened last year -- when the City of Houston's official party got rained out and, in any case, featured fusty headliners KC & the Sunshine Band -- and thought, "We can do better than that." They've certainly summoned a trio of much funkier top-liners for their inaugural ball-dropping event in the freshly renovated Sam Houston Park: Intergalactic royalty (George Clinton & the P-Funk All-Stars); a mashup king with a wicked sense of humor (Girl Talk); and a bounce queen whose jelly vanquishes all twerkers-come-lately (Big Freedia).
Add a typically large, typically FPSF-diverse supporting cast -- including Quintron & Miss Pussycat, American Fangs, Grandfather Child, the Beans; and DJs Lance Herbstrong, Drrrty Poonjabi, G. Wizz and Fredster -- to go with a food court dubbed the "Gastrodome," a light show, and modestly described "mega super deluxe mega" celebration of midnight, and it certainly appears that 2014 not come in lacking in the fanfare department. Gates at 4 p.m.; more info at FPHNYE.com. CHRIS GRAY
More shows on the next page.