2012 Summer Guide: It's a Scorcher

A summer concert season to melt your face off.

The temperature will not be the only hot thing going in Houston this summer as the concert season is shaping up to be a scorcher for your wallet and your ear holes. It's a classic-rock wonderland with the Beach Boys, Van Halen and Aerosmith coming through. And if those old dudes don't do it for you, LMFAO, Jason Mraz and One Direction are heading to the Bayou City, too.

Toyota Center (1510 Polk)

Bayou Music Center (formerly known as Verizon Wireless Theater) (520 Texas)


House of Blues (1204 Caroline)

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion (2005 Lake Robbins Dr.)

Eleanor Tinsley Park (500 Allen Pkwy.)

Arena Theatre (7326 Southwest Fwy.)

Nutty Jerry's (18291 Englin Rd.) (Winnie)

Rammstein, May 25, Toyota Center

Most people only know Germany's industrial outfit Rammstein for their late '90s fluke MTV hit "Du Hast," but they are much more than that monstrously catchy, secretly emo anthem. Rammstein have sold more than 15 million albums worldwide and are one of the biggest gateway bands for budding goth and industrial kids.

Free Press Summer Fest, June 2-3, Eleanor Tinsley Park

Now in its fourth year, Free Press Houston's Summer Fest is already a festival on par with other must-do Texas events like Austin City Limits Music Festival and SXSW. This year the organizers doubled down hardcore, loading the two-day weekend with Willie Nelson, Primus, Best Coast, Flaming Lips and dozens of other national and local acts.

Jimmy Buffett, June 2, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

Break out the loud floral prints and the brown sandals: Uncle Jimmy is coming back to Houston and the shed in The Woodlands for his annual parrots-and-tequila throwdown. Expect plenty of tipsy grandmas and cougar-hunting young professionals on the lawn. Buffett's shows aren't all gimmicks, though. He still has a treasure trove of classics under each arm.

Nickelback, Bush, June 2, Toyota Center

Say what you will about Nickelback, those polarizing Canadians know how to write an infectious radio anthem. The multi-platinum-selling group may be one of the most maligned in recent memory for a loud minority, but they have an even louder majority that hangs on their every word. Come on, "Rock Star" was pretty catchy.

Beach Boys, June 8, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

With a nightly set list numbering almost 42 songs from their storied 50-year career, the Beach Boys are pulling out all the stops this summer on their reunion tour. Now that Brian Wilson is back in the fold and a new album is caressing the ears of listeners young and old, don't expect this to be the last of these tours.

LMFAO, June 12, Toyota Center

It's 2012, you guys, and if the ship sinks this year, at least LMFAO will die knowing that they tried to rock each and every one of our parties, even if we resisted them. The party group is now a viable arena act after years of opening slots, making them dangerous to music snobs and fun for the rest of us. Shots!

The Cult, Against Me!, June 19, House of Blues

The Cult were one of the most beloved hard rock groups of the '80s. Led by singer Ian Astbury, they were the dark-horse favorites of the hair-metal age with their Doors-like sound and image. The group just released their ninth studio album, Choice of Weapon, a few weeks back. As for Against Me!, no one else has been doing great, punk-inflected roots-rock quite they like have for the past decade.

Buddy Guy & Jonny Lang, June 22, Arena Theatre

The master and the student, Guy and Lang, have been touring together for a few years now, spreading the gospel of blues guitar. Even if you're not a convert to expert blues guitar, the legendary Guy will have you walking out of the venue with a new swagger in your step. In the business of bending notes since 1953, he is an institution.

ZZ Top, 3 Doors Down, Gretchen Wilson, June 23, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

Houston, you have the rare opportunity to see ZZ Top twice in the same year, so there is no excuse to miss this show in The Woodlands. Following their packed RodeoHouston show in March, that little ol' band from right here in Houston announced a tour with 3 Doors Down and Gretchen Wilson. Since this isn't a supporting slot or an abbreviated set, we're stoked to hear some rarities live for the first time, given their longer playing time. Also, it's ZZ Top — did we mention that?

Van Halen, Kool & The Gang, June 24, Toyota Center

Few things will thrill us more this year than seeing David Lee Roth back out in front of Van Halen. With a kick-ass new album still making our ears ring and a renewed vigor, the band will put on a show that promises not to be a tired exercise in wankery. Yes, Kool & The Gang is opening, but don't laugh, just check out their list of hits. You bet your ass it will be shaking.

One Direction, June 24, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

Sorry, Jonas Brothers, but we like our boy bands dancing and sans instruments. Thankfully, the UK is leading the charge on yet another new wave of clean-cut, smiley and dreamboat groups like One Direction. This show sold so well, they already have another 2013 date planned for Houston.

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