The Orwells
The Orwells
Photo by Kelly Puleo/Courtesy of Pitch Perfect PR

Houston's 10 Best Concerts in April

THE ORWELLS
The Secret Group, April 7
Self-professed Pixies fanatics the Orwells found themselves with a wad of Apple cash to spend after their song “Who Needs You” was picked up for an iPad commercial in late 2014.
The Chicagoland suburbanites started the corresponding album, Disgraceland, shortly after graduating high school in Elmhurst, Illinois (also hometown of poet Carl Sandburg), but moved to the city proper and logged many van miles in time for its followup, February’s Terrible Human Beings. Simply naming a song “They Found a Body In the Bayou” should be enough to charm Houston-area fans of the Orwells’ youthfully demented brand of fuzz-pop, but fortunately the band’s virtues – or was that vices? – extend well beyond that. CHRIS GRAY

JOHN EGAN
Anderson Fair, April 8
Among Houston’s steadiest bluesmen and most distinctive guitarists, John Egan is also a keen student of Bayou City musical lore. The stinging tones of his signature Resonator guitar, last heard on record with 2014’s Amulet, have returned to haunt the brand-new Magnolia City, this time filtered through Townes Van Zandt’s “Marie” and two Lightnin’ Hopkins tunes, “Once a Gambler” and “Mojo Hand.” Such a high bar to clear is no sweat for Egan, who invests those Texas standards (plus Bob Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm”) with the same gravity he does originals like “It Ain’t the Gun” and “Midnight Raven Blues.” Honed by Egan’s long-running Monday residency at the Big Easy, Magnolia City deals in echoes of the present as well as shadows of the past, bolstering a repertoire that is Houston to the bone. Egan will also preview Magnolia City at a Cactus Music in-store 5 p.m. Friday. CHRIS GRAY

CLAPTONE
Clé, April 9
The beginning of Clé's summer sessions are a reminder that the heat is coming. So is the mysterious German DJ known as Claptone, one of the best electronic artists scheduled to hit Houston over the next few months. “The Drums” will be echoing off the walls of Midtown high-rises during the Masquerade. Little is known of the man with a golden-beaked mask who exploded on the scene with an incredible remix of Wu-Tang’s "C.R.E.A.M.," but the music he produces will no doubt get butts shaking and hips swinging in the water. Being masked and dressed in a black long-sleeved shirt, white gloves and top hat is not the ideal outfit for a swelteringly humid pool party, but don’t worry about the Charmer: The people who come out to see him will not dress modestly at all. If you are only able to make it out to one of Clé's Summer Sessions, make sure it's this one. JACK GORMAN

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS
White Oak Music Hall, April 11
Drive-By Truckers have spent more than 20 years trying to reclaim the South’s tarnished nobility, only in a much different way than politicians would have. Never a band for making apologies, the canny Truckers know that the best chance of changing people’s minds — about Southern rock as much as the Old South of George Wallace, et al. — is by elevating the Muscle Shoals Swampers as much as the great Lynyrd Skynyrd. They understand that while humor rarely triumphs over hardship, it often lessens the ache. And if those hard-learned lessons come in a gale of tornadic guitars, so much the better. CHRIS GRAY

BUZZFEST
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, April 15
To call Buzzfest polarizing is an understatement. Some swear by the annual festival, while others regard it as a chance for bored suburbanites to get together, drink too much and listen to terrible music. The reality, however, is somewhere in between. Yeah, Buzzfest is typically home to bands whose critical and commercial relevancy has long since passed. Take a quick look at this year’s lineup – headlined by Godsmack, P.O.D., Breaking Benjamin, Filter, and Toadies, to name a few – and that much is confirmed. However, it’s also an outdoor festival at a great venue in a month that often finds outdoor weather quite nice. And yeah, the music isn’t exactly high-class, but it’s fun, and there’s something to be said for just turning your mind off for a day and banging your head. CLINT HALE

CHELSEA GRIN
Walter’s Downtown, April 21
Metal fans can expect a slowdown of touring acts as we draw near to the summer months and bands make an exodus for Europe. Sadly, that dry spell has already hit Houston as of this month. While there are quality tours out there, they’re either skipping Houston (surprise!) or Texas altogether. So we all owe a huge debt of gratitude to the booking gods at Walter’s for keeping solid metal bands in the Bayou City. Here, headliners Chelsea Grin are taking their own brand of deathcore on the road behind last July's Self-Inflicted; a deluxe version was reissued in January featuring the new songs “American Dream” and “Avidus.” Prepare for serious sound carnage as this tour, also featuring Ice-Nine Kills, Gideon and Enterprise Earth, tears through town. KRISTY LOYE

A PERFECT CIRCLE
Smart Financial Centre, April 27
Excluding a greatest-hits collection, it has been more than a decade since A Perfect Circle released a proper studio album. Their last record, 2004’s Emotive, featured only two original tracks from the rock supergroup, but that didn’t stop it from being certified Gold barely a month after its release. Formed by Tool vocalist Maynard James Keenan and guitar tech Billy Howerdel, APC offered Tool fanatics and strangers alike a more melodic take on metal and melodrama. The band’s short discography is filled with stunning vocals, beautiful production, top-notch songwriting and plenty of angst. Unfortunately for rock fans, the group took an indefinite hiatus shortly after the release of Emotive, and longtime Tool fans knew better than to expect a reunion. But miracles happen, and last November Howerdel announced the band would be reuniting, adding that new APC music could be on the way by the end of the year. MATTHEW KEEVER

PJ HARVEY
Revention Music Center, April 29
PJ Harvey hasn't toured America in five years, nor stopped in Houston since 2001. Now supporting her Grammy-nominated album The Hope Six Demolition Project, Harvey will be performing at least 20 songs a night, at least according to setlist.fm. For the young folks out there who may be unfamiliar with her contribution to '90s music, know this: Her work can’t be overstated. She’s the UK’s most creative songstress to combine punk, blues, grunge and folk — and do so beautifully. A night with her won’t be soon forgotten. Harvey is touring with a ten-piece band (as she’s previously done), so you know she means business. KRISTY LOYE

OCEANO
Walter’s Downtown, April 30
Death/grindcore masters Oceano will rule the stage at Walter’s in the heaviest show to grace Houston all month. Somehow lead singer Adam Warren manages to keep this Chicago-based band together beyond all reasoning, despite old rumors of break-ups and disagreements. Oceano continue to gain success and recently announced a deal with Sumerian Records, which will release new album Revelation on May 19. This tour — also featuring Slaughter to Prevail, Aversion's Crown, Spite and No Zodiac — stacks a bunch of dark and heavy tunes that promise a full beating to your senses. KRISTY LOYE

PIXIES
White Oak Music Hall, April 30
Touring in support of their latest album, 2016's Head Carrier, Pixies will feature new bassist Paz Lenchantin, who has replaced the beloved Kim Deal. (Deal's post-Pixies group, The Breeders, are due to release a new album this year.) In addition to the lineup change, the show is supposed to be without a proper set list — as is the group's norm — as the Pixies play what they feel is right for the show. So prepare for plenty of audience participation in front of an all-new stage and lighting design as the alt-rock pioneers work in Doolittle and Surfer Rosa classics, rarities and music from 2014's Indie Cindy besides the new album. We can’t think of a better way to end the month. KRISTY LOYE

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