Houston's 10 Best Concerts This Weekend: Art Car Ball, Madness On Main, Sir Mix-a-Lot, etc.
Attention, the 100-150K people who have moved to Houston in the past 12 months, or whatever the actual number is: this weekend is one of the Bayou City's signature events, the Art Car Parade, and you should go. (Helpfully, it's free.) Of course something that sends hundreds of vehicles down one of Houston's major thoroughfares as uniquely decorated rolling ornaments needs an appropriate party to kick it off in style, which is where the Art Car Ball steps in.
This year the ball is being held at One and Two Allen Center at 1200 Smith St., two downtown skyscrapers (and the plaza around them) that should be lavishly decked out for such a lofty occasion. Headlining are gonzo Austin hillbilly punks the Whiskey Shivers, just back from playing California's Stagecoach Festival; alongside the biggest rock stars in the Houston scene right now, the A Fistful of Soul DJs; the handkerchief-waving antics of Free Radicals' second line; and the spirit-raising voices of the Third Ward Community Choir. See artcarball.com for tickets. Houston...you're soaking in it. CHRIS GRAY
Bay Area jam band New Monsoon has been steadily touring since the early 2000s, always making it a point to stop in Houston for a show or two or three or four. Eventually they built up a strong local fan base that was eventually nicknamed the Texas Tribe. Among the faithful was promoter Gary Hartman of Tapir Productions, who became New Monsoon's manager in 2008 but sadly passed away unexpectedly when he was struck by an aneurysm only four years later.
For their return to Houston, New Monsoon have reunited with their original "three-headed crew" of percussionist Rajiv Parikh and drummers Marty Ylitalo and Brian Carey, and will be joined by Railroad Earth's Tim Carbone (fiddle) and ALO's Dan Lebowitz (guitar) at "GaryFest," the second of hopefully many more events to come. Not to be missed. JIM BRICKER
This summer, it's all about the boots and the Southern twang in the great outdoors, thanks to Live Nation's 2014 Country Megaticket. This multi-date country concert package kicks off with a bang with Grammy-winners Lady Antebellum. A new-country hybrid complete with leather pants and an edgier sound, the Nashville trio has seemingly been nonstop since their 2009-10 crossover megahit "Need You Now" and subsequent successes like "Just a Kiss" and "I Run to You."
Also on board Saturday are Billy Currington ("Must Be Doin' Somethin' Right") and David Nail ("Whatever She's Got"), which makes us wonder if the Country Megaticket -- which will host names like Luke Bryan later in the summer -- is indeed the gift that keeps on giving. ANGELICA LEICHT
Brought to you by the same folks behind last fall's Yes Indeed! festival, and very much along the same lines, Madness on Main Street gathers more than two dozen local acts and a handful of guests for an eclectic evening of emerging talents and reliable veterans. At $15 a head, it's damn hard to pass up, too.
A few names to watch for here include Casio-tone auteur Children of Pop, Austin R&B belters Latasha Lee and the Black Ties, post-Tax the Wolf prog-rap fusion crew Satellite d'Homme and personal picks Second Lovers, Glass the Sky and Electric Attitude. Beyond that, the real attraction for adventurous fans is that with four stages in all, someone intriguing is bound to be playing throughout the mini-festival's eight-plus-hour duration. See smart.url/madnessonmain for details. CHRIS GRAY
Huntsville-based Cody Johnson may be the best-kept secret in Texas Country, at least until his debut at Sam Houston Race Park Saturday. His reputation for forthright, traditional two-steppin' and balladry has been growing since his days selling CDs out of his pickup truck on the bull-riding circuit. (True story.) Then again, latest album Cowboy Like Me debuted at No. 7 on Billboard's Hot Country Albums chart back in January, so maybe that cat is already out of the bag. Free admission with racing ticket or $20 after 8 p.m.; concert starts immediately after final race. CHRIS GRAY
More shows on the next page.
2005 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, TX
3700 Main, Houston, TX
3714 Main, Houston, TX
3718 Main St., Houston, TX
7575 N. Sam Houston Parkway W., Houston, TX
18307 Egret Bay Blvd., Houston, TX
2706 White Oak, Houston, TX
1204 Caroline, Houston, TX