Neil Young has always been rock's most quixotic performer, following his own wildly wandering muse. He's even been sued by his record company for making "uncharacteristic" releases. Sensitive acoustic ballads, hard rock, electronic feedback, country, blues, rockabilly -- his never-boring (though sometimes frustrating) musical journey has embraced them all. But the road always leads back to Crazy Horse, the raw, rough trio that elicits Young's best performances. Young and the Horse will have more than three decades of material to draw from at their sure-to-be-raucous Houston show, including many songs from the upcoming Greendale, a concept record that chronicles a fictional family and town. The album will be released August 19, along with DVDs of an acoustic concert and conceptual film directed by Young (more information is available at www.neilyoung.com).
Coming off her recent World Without Tears, country rock chanteuse Lucinda Williams is an inspired choice for the show's opening act. Expect her to trot out more rollicking numbers like "Real Live Bleeding Fingers and Broken Guitar Strings" -- which, by the way, sounds a lot like a Neil Young and Crazy Horse song. 7 p.m. Wednesday, August 6. Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins Drive. For tickets, call 713-629-3700. $30 to $75. -- Bob Ruggiero
Ice Cream Social
A scoop fit for a queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream for drag queens. In addition to raising millions for AIDS and cancer charities, the Austin Babtist Women also have raised a good deal of controversy. The all-male, six-member revue has earned the distinction of being picketed by Tammy Faye Bakker. The group's other noteworthy moments include winning "Entertainers of the Year" at the Gay Appreciation Awards and receiving the "Buzzy Fanning Award" for excellence in AIDS charity work. The Babtist Women put on their Sunday best this weekend for "Ice Cream Sunday," a fund-raiser benefiting the Gay Men's Chorus of Houston. The show features a fully stocked ice cream bar, so audience members can build their own sundaes while the irreverent church ladies lip-sync and dance to classic gospel tunes. 3 p.m. Sunday, August 3. Rich's, 2401 San Jacinto. For more information, call 713-521-7464 or visit www.gmch.org. $25. -- Keith Plocek
Some cool jazz is just what we sweaty Houstonians need, and lucky for us, the Houston International Jazz Festival is back. This year's lineup includes Latin Night on Friday, with performances by the world-famous La India and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra. Saturday brings Contemporary/Smooth Jazz Night, with superstars Roy Ayers and David Benoit, along with Regina Carter and Diane Schuur. There will also be an after-set with Bubbha Thomas at the Hyatt Regency (1200 Louisiana). Friday and Saturday, August 1 and 2. Performances take place at either Verizon Wireless Theatre (520 Texas Avenue) or Jones Plaza (615 Louisiana). For information and a full schedule, call 713-839-7000 or visit www.jazzeducation.org. Ticket prices vary. -- Felicia Johnson-LeBlanc
Much Ado About Nothing and The Winter's Tale are the featured plays for this summer's Houston Shakespeare Festival. As always, admission is free, but you must stand in line in the heat for your ticket. Apparently iambic pentameter and suffering go hand in hand. The Winter's Tale: August 1, 7, 9, 13, 15. Much Ado About Nothing: August 2, 6, 8, 14, 16. All performances at 8 p.m. Miller Outdoor Theatre, 100 Concert Drive. For information, call 713-284-8352. Tickets are available between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the day of the performance. -- Troy Schulze