The Best Concerts in Houston This Week: Amy LaVere, Amon Amarth, Matt Wertz, 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.
In 2012, Cooper brought that same kind of musical civic pride to the Radicals' first albumin 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. The group's weekly jam, wherever it may be, is a true local-music institution. For a while it's been at AvantGarden, a local-music institution of its own, and follows David Dove's avant-music showcase They, Who Sound -- still another. CHRIS GRAY
Pay attention to Amy LaVere. She won't be difficult to spot; not too many women play upright bass and front a band these days. But it's her talents as a songwriter, as well as an irresistible bio -- her nomadic background includes a mid-teens stint in Detroit punks Last Minute and a Legendary Shack Shaker as an ex-husband -- that make her worth seeing.
In 2011 the now-Memphis-based LaVere released the LP Stranger Me, a suite of rootsy, moonstruck pop with darker undercurrents drifting over from the banks of some remote Louisiana bayou. She and John Paul Keith of Memphis garage-rockers the One Four Fives teamed up to release last summer's Motel Mirrors, a seven-song EP that echoes the heyday of '50s sock-hop pop. CHRIS GRAY
More shows on the next page.