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Houston Music Festivals

The last three weeks of this month promise to be hard on your wallet, eardrums and liver

And then there's the fact that this is, after all, 4-20. Most real stoners will be easy skankin' to Bob Marley's old backing band at iFest, but others of a more hasher libertarian Ayn Rand ilk will no doubt opt for Rush, who are up in The Woodlands — the trees, man, the trees! — on this most momentous of days. But if you already blew the price of a ticket to either of those shows on a fat sack of kind bud, never fear: one economy option is local Zep tribute band Black Dog, who can help you sort out what is and what should never be up at Fitz's.

Week Three

Whew.

Take a breather for a few days, and then head back up to Spring on April 25 for day four of the Crawfish Fest, with rockers Glass Intrepid and Texas troubadour Ray Wylie Hubbard, Brandon Rhyden and honky-tonker deluxe Davin James.

The next day's slate up there, on April 26, features Bob Schneider, Three Fantastic, SkyBlue 72, John Evans, Jesse Dayton, Todd Frisch, and Mickey and the ­Motorcars.

It's also day three at iFest. Dominican merengue king Joaquin Diaz, the Lowrider Band (read: War, of "Lowrider," "Cisco Kid," "The World is a Ghetto" and "Spill the Wine" fame), Shemekia Copeland and the Neville Brothers grace the main stage, while locals or semilocals the Soul Rebels Brass Band, the Hollisters, the Blue­runners, Brian Jack, Miss Leslie, Johnny Falstaff, the Resin Valley Boys, Somabit, Los Pistoleros de Tejas and Espantapajaros take to the side stages.

Up at The Woodlands, there's BuzzFest, and not quite all of the bands up there suck. Canadian neo-trad punker Billy Talent and Aussies Sick Puppies are somewhat decent, and My Chemical Romance appeals to my deeply suppressed latent theater nerd. ("Dead!" on Guitar Hero II made a believer of me.) Then, of course, there's the roll call of shame of compressed guitar/whiny vocals bands like Three Doors Down, Puddle of Mudd, Chevelle, Filter and Theory of a Deadman, whose name actually sounds like a parody band of this genre. And how is Seether gonna "Fake It" through the rest of their 55-minute set?

And on April 27, with the final days of the Crawfish Fest and iFest, it all comes to a close.

In Spring, there's Fight to Rescue, Zydecane, Without a Face and folky singers Adam Carroll and Shake Russell.

And downtown, spirited Pentecostal family band the Jones Family Singers, blues chanteuse Trudy Lynn, local zydeco king Step Rideau, Soulfruit, Free Radicals, Trenchtown Texans, Spain Colored Orange, Plump, Mary's Band, Grupo Batacha and Karina Nistal perform on the side stages. Meanwhile, the main stage stars Mauritius's Menwar, the Garifuna Collective from Belize, Habib Koite and Bamada from Mali, and Taj Mahal, who will also lead the Pan-African jam to close the whole shindig.

And that, my friends, is not a bad way to end Houston's coolest music month.

Houston International Festival
April 19 & 20 and April 26 & 27
http://www.ifest.org
The northwest corner of downtown Houston, including City Hall,Tranquility Park and Sam Houston Park

Texas Crawfish Festival
April 18-20 and April 25-27
http://www.texascrawfishfestival.com/
Old Town Spring

Outlaw Music Festival/Bay Area Rally/Yuri's Night
April 12
http://www.bayarearally.com/OutlawMusicFestival.aspx
Space Center Houston
1601 NASA Pkwy.

17th Annual KTRU Outdoor Show
Sunday, April 13, noon-9 p.m.
http://bang.rice.edu/
Rice University Intramural Fields 2 & 3

Stingaree Music Festival
April 18-20
http://www.stingareemusicfestival.com/
Highway 87, Crystal Beach, Texas.

BuzzFest
April 26
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Sold Out / Listen to The Buzz to win tickets.

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