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Got Live If You Want It

Our Spring/Summer concert preview, part deux

As promised, here's the second part of Noise's spring/summer concert preview. It's nice to know there are too many venues – and too many shows – in town to fit in one column.

And although any good news on the economy is still almost impossible to come by, recent empirical evidence like Spoon's excellent, nearly packed April 22 show at Warehouse Live suggests concerts are one of the last things people are cutting out of their budgets these days.

Luckily, just like last week, there's plenty to choose from over the next few months.

The Mink: Jeff Johnson of Pigeon Eater Studios recently took over booking Midtown's DJ and indie-rock attic, and he recommends Oakland's Hot Toddies (May 27), Austin's Western Giants (June 2), Denton's Morekestra (June 6) and Arizona's Pontiak (June 7). Several top-shelf local shows are on the books as well: Friday's Mission Control tribute to J Dilla; the ArtStorm compilation CD release party with Wild Moccasins, Listen Listen, B L A C K I E and many more May 16; the Riff Tiffs and McKenzies May 23; Something Fierce June 13 and Buxton with Hollywood Black July 12. www.minkonmain.com. Grade: B

Rudyard's: Montrose's living room keeps it loud and lo-fi in May with Austin's Amplified Heat (May 16), Portland's Dead Moon successors Pierced Arrows (May 22), the hammer-and-tongs attack of Athens, Georgia's Harvey Milk (May 23) and Motor City garage-rock dynamos the Detroit Cobras (May 30). New York dance-rockers the Virgins shimmy down this way May 28, and hold onto those earplugs for locals the Flamin' Hellcats (May 8), 500 Megatons of Boogie (May 15) and Dead Roses (May 29). www.myspace.com/rudyards. Grade: B-

ShowGrounds at Sam Houston Race Park: Playing the ponies may be iffy these days, but if you're under 25, the Vans Warped Tour (July 3, with Bad Religion, The Devil Wears Prada, Shooter Jennings, Less Than Jake and about a thousand others) is always a sure thing. Otherwise, the ShowGrounds' schedule is heavy on country with Jason Aldean (May 16), Kevin Fowler (May 30), Eli Young Band (July 11) and Cross Canadian Ragweed (July 18), and retro with the "Lost '80s Tour" (May 23, with A Flock of Seagulls, When In Rome, Dramarama and Gene Loves Jezebel), America and Christopher Cross (June 13), Eddie Money and Lou Gramm (June 20) and Counting Crows (August 1). The outdoor laser extravaganza of Austin's Ghostland Observatory (May 8), though, should be a wonder to behold. www.shrp.com. Grade: B-

Toyota Center: Imagine almost 20,000 people doing the "Single Ladies" dance at once...yowza. Hometown girl Beyoncé – Sasha Fierce, whoever – brings her I Am... tour to Toyota July 4. Since the Rockets probably won't be using the venue much longer, there's plenty of room for concerts including Fleetwood Mac (Saturday), Italian tenor buffet Il Divo (June 23), Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood (June 24), Guatemalan crooner Ricardo Arjona (August 13) and – OMG! – the Jonas Brothers (August 14). Although no venue has been announced, you can probably pencil in Green Day August 8 too. www.toyotacenterhouston.com Grade: C+

Verizon Wireless Theater: Break out the leather, boys: To celebrate the speed-metal classic's 30th anniversary, Judas Priest will play 1979's British Steel front to back July 24 with special guest writhers Whitesnake. Oklahoma's All-American Rejects make the teenage girls swoon Monday with Shiny Toy Guns, while Bonnie Raitt (May 14) and James Taylor (May 16) rope in their parents. Jennifer Hudson and Robin Thicke smoothify May 8, Young Jeezy cracks off May 15, the Indigo Girls strum it up May 22, Rancid and Rise Against spike up their Mohawks July 18 and Chris Isaak shows why he's Mr. Lucky August 8. www.livenation.com Grade: B

Walter's on Washington: The Washington Corridor – which Noise is hereby officially dubbing WaCo – has its sore thumb sticking out with Memphis twang-punks Lucero and Austin soul shouters Black Joe Lewis & the Honey Bears May 7, and falls down the rabbit hole with Toronto experimental-rockers Holy Fuck June 16. In between, there's up-and-coming punks Fake Problems (May 11), acclaimed folkie Elvis Perkins in Dearland (May 13), the dreamy Her Space Holiday (May 14), UK jive cats Manchester Orchestra (May 28), alt-country bad boy Bonnie "Prince" Billy (June 4) and cyber-shrooming Bachelorette (June 6). www.4215washington.com. Grade: B+

Warehouse Live: One of this year's SXSW breakout acts, Philly electro-rockers Passion Pit, will have the skinny jeans out in force June 4, while just as buzzworthy on the twang circuit are Old Crow Medicine Show and Justin Townes Earle (May 7). Indie-rock shows of note include Montreal's the Dears (May 17), UK chameleons Gomez (June 9) and swoon-inducing Jenny Lewis (June 24), and T-Bird & the Breaks (May 8), Grupo Fantasma (May 15) and Jimmie Vaughan (June 19) turn the venue into Austin east. For those inclined to rhyme, Mr. Lif raises the roof May 28; Scarface, Young MC, J-Kapone and Tha Fucking Transmissions do it upright May 9; and Bun B & Friends rep UGK 4 Life June 20. www.warehouselive.com Grade: A- CHRIS GRAY

The Techno Beat: As a dance-music neophyte, Noise would like to thank local electronica promoter 713Punky for helping him here. (She says to definitely not miss the annual "Rent" party May 24 at Meridian.) There are a few DJs on her list even he recognizes, though: Chicago deep house disher KasKade this Tuesday, May 5, at Rich's, ace Orlando remixer Q-Burn's Abstract Message at the Flat June 13 and German trance overlord Paul Van Dyk at Bar Rio June 26. Others include Rick Preston and the Soular Grooves DJs at Avant Garden May 8, Benny Benassi at Bar Rio May 22 and too many weekly and monthly events to list here, so look on our music blog Rocks Off for those. Thanks, Punky!

Other Venues: He heard about Houston in "Life During Wartime," now he's coming: David Byrne brings whatever world-beat experiments he's been working on lately and a smattering of Talking Heads classics to Jones Hall June 15, where the more classically minded can also enjoy cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma this Tuesday, May 5, and the Houston Symphony's tribute to ABBA (seriously) July 25.

Norwegian metal band Mayhem – two of whose former members are no longer with the band because one stabbed the other to death in 1993 – blacks out Numbers May 26, and "Happy House" maven The Juan MacLean returns there with his live band May 30. Last Concert Cafe, meanwhile, can boast the season's oddest artist/venue pairing when industrial hellraisers My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult visit May 9.

Out of Town: Although Houston couldn't land Leonard Cohen, we are making at least some strides toward convincing mid-size and prestige touring acts there's other cities in Texas besides Austin and Dallas. Nevertheless, if you want to see Pitchfork darlings like Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, Camera Obscura and the Kills in the next few weeks, you're still going to have to head north or northwest. Austin also gets Death Cab for Cutie Friday, saxophone colossus Sonny Rollins Sunday and the Nine Inch Nails/Jane's Addiction Lollapalooza reunion May 12.

Elsewhere in Texas, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp bring their minor-league ballpark tour to Round Rock's Dell Diamond August 4 and Corpus Christi's Whataburger Field August 5; Music Row anomaly Jamey Johnson plays Beaumont's Dixie Dancehall May 21; and Wilco pays a call on El Paso's Abraham Chavez Theater June 17. While you're out west, be sure and stop by ex-Houstonian David Beebe's brand-new bar, Padre's, which opened in Marfa shortly after SXSW and was immediately the talk of West Texas. CHRIS GRAY

chris.gray@houstonpress.com

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