BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene
HOUSTON — We know that this weekend is all about what happens once that ball is hiked into Matt Ryan’s hands.
But a supportive contingent of Atlanta Falcons fans is expected to descend upon Houston days in advance of Sunday’s game, and they might be looking for something to do other than gorge on barbecue and Tex-Mex (though I highly recommend the Original Ninfa’s on Navigation for the latter).
The city has assembled an impressive lineup of concerts, with many Houston natives coming out to play (that means you, ZZ Top, Solange and, by way of Atlanta, Lecrae).
Of course, an Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl run-up would feel less spirited if there weren’t a touch of the ATL, so leave it to Ludacris and Big Boi to supply that with a performance on Friday night.
Here is a rundown of some of the major musical events taking place this weekend in Houston.
The Chainsmokers with Sam Hunt. The Georgia hitmaker behind “Take Your Time” and “Make You Miss Me” is the special guest joining the DJ duo of Drew Taggart and Alex Pall. 9 p.m. Club Nomadic, Sawyer Yards off Edwards Street. $100-$275. www.ticketmaster.com.
Solange. It’s a hometown appearance for Beyonce’s little sister, who solidified her own musical standing with her excellent third album, “A Seat at the Table,” released last year. 9:30 p.m. Super Bowl Live, Discovery Green in downtown Houston. Free. www.housuperbowl.com/.
Super Bowl Gospel Celebration. Although Atlanta claims Lecrae now, he is a Houston native, so it’s no surprise that he’s among the headliners of this event, which heads into its 18th year. Also on the bill: Natalie Grant, CeCe Winans and Yolanda Adams. 7:30 p.m. Lakewood Church, 3700 Southwest Freeway. $25-$75. www.ticketmaster.com.
ATL Invasion. Rise up! Ludacris and Big Boi are bringing some hip-hop from the Dirty South to cheer on the Dirty Birds. They’ll be joined by DJ Don Cannon. 8 p.m. Funplex, 13700 Beechnut St. Tickets start at $40. www.eventbrite.com.
Bruno Mars. Mr. “24K Magic” will get a jump on his summer tour by packing a standing-room-only crowd into the 62,500-square-foot, multilevel pop-up Club Nomadic. 9 p.m. Sawyer Yards off Edwards Street. $225. www.ticketmaster.com.
Ja Rule. The New York rap veteran will be joined by his "Always on Time" partner Ashanti, along with Mike Stud, Dave “El Pres” Portnoy, Kevin “KFC” Clancy and Dan “Big Cat” Katz at this Barstool Sports-sponsored show. 9 p.m. Rich’s Houston, 2401 San Jacinto St. www.barstoolsports.com/thebarstoolparty
Leon Bridges. The soulful R&B throwback, who impressed mightily at his Music Midtown appearance last fall, takes the stage at Super Bowl Live. 9:15 p.m. Discovery Green in downtown Houston. Free. www.housuperbowl.com/.
Snoop Dogg. Prepare for a long night since the rap veteran plans to spin a DJ set before playing live. 8 p.m. Proof Rooftop Lounge, 2600 Travis St. $50-$175. www.eventbrite.com.
Gary Clark Jr. It’s just a couple of hours’ drive for the Austin native to get to Houston and unfurl his scintillating blues-rock guitar. 7:30 p.m. Super Bowl Live, Discovery Green in downtown Houston. Free. www.housuperbowl.com/.
Travis Scott and DJ Khaled. Maxim hosts this shindig featuring Houston-based hip-hop artist Scott and the Snapchat King himself, DJ Khaled. Tickets include admission, food and bar beverages. 8 p.m. Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land, 18111 Lexington Blvd. Tickets start at $750. www.smartfinancialcentre.net.
ZZ Top. And speaking of Texans, how could there be a Super Bowl in Houston without the inclusion of the “Tres Hombres”? Of course, they’ll be there. 9 p.m. Super Bowl Live, Discovery Green in downtown Houston. Free. www.housuperbowl.com/.
T.I. More Atlanta flavor comes to the clubs when Tip, who will be joined by Brian Dawe and DJ Buza, hits Houston. Keep an eye out for T.I.'s game day fan rally at NRG Stadium. 9 p.m. AURA, 4701 Nett St. $100. www.eventbrite.com .
Taylor Swift. Perhaps THE concert of the week, depending upon your musical tastes. Fans can access concert tickets through various DirecTV and AT&T promotions. 9 p.m. Club Nomadic, Sawyer Yards off Edwards Street.
Lil Wayne. Calling it the “Undisputed Super Party,” the New Orleans rapper has enlisted DJ Drama and DJ Green Lantern to assist, as well as not-yet-announced celebrity friends. 9 p.m. Ayva Center, 9371 Richmond Ave. Tickets start at $75. www.eventbrite.com.
French Montana and Amber Rose. This viewing party kicks off midafternoon on game day and will also feature the sounds procured by DJ Duffey. 2 p.m. Proof Rooftop Lounge, 2600 Travis St. $50. www.eventbrite.com.