Asher Roth, Kid Cudi, House of Blues, August 1: "[Cudi has] tapped John Goldstein, Kanye's famed stage light guy, to help him create an actual feel to his show. Hipster rappers get derided a lot as not being "real rappers," but they put on a hell of a show. The crowd is already his." Shea Serrano Thee Armada, Warehouse Live, August 1: "The time spent in their rooms practicing over the years showed during both their original songs and especially on a cover of Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back in Town," a tribute to all the parents in attendance." Kim Douglass Jimmy Webb, Dosey Doe Coffee House, August 2: "To be sure, there's a lot of lyrical silliness in Webb's work - cakes left in the rain, moons that are harsh mistresses - but they're redeemed by striking melodies and inventive arrangements. He broke the rules (after learning them) like Bacharach or Sondheim." Rich Connelly
Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, August 2: "To the audience at last night's nearly sold-out Houston stop on the 'Bob Dylan Show' tour, new music from any of these legends, or hell, just reworked old stuff, was shunned and thrashed." Craig Hlavaty Katy Perry, Verizon Wireless Theater, August 2: "Perry gets the usual all-hooks-no-heft brushoff from most critics, but she's an engaging performer (to put it mildly) with real pop smarts who knows her history. She chose the Beach Boys' 'California Girls' for her entrance music Sunday - kudos for not using the more age-appropriate David Lee Roth remake, girl." Chris Gray De La Soul, House of Blues, August 2: "In a time when hip hop is coming out of its protracted adolescence and struggling to find itself, De La Soul's dedication to remaining both steady and prominent on the daily grind shows the new boys how it should be." Kim Douglass Th' Legendary Shack Shakers, Rudyard's, August 4: "Burning through songs at Rudyard's Tuesday like a writer on deadline burns through cigarettes, the Nashville quartet brought forth images of cars with huge tailfins, high-school sock hops gone horribly awry and sharecroppers' sons setting out for the big city to seek their fortunes." Chris Gray Atmosphere, Warehouse Live, August 4: "Focusing less on machismo and how much more ballin' he is than the next guy, MC Slug comes at his fans with full force and honesty." Kim Douglass
Mike Stinson, Under the Volcano, August 5: "Stinson sang his way through a jukebox's worth of field notes on various fools on stools in a nasal tone reminiscent of Buck Owens' Bakersfield buddy Webb Pierce." Chris Gray Green Day, Toyota Center, August 8: "Saturday made Aftermath wonder what he must have been like in those punk-club days, because Green Day can finally command venues whose size matches Armstrong's infectious, boundless energy. And it looks like they'll be there for a while." Chris Gray George Strait, Reliant Stadium, August 8: "Country fans, especially those of the variety only heard on terrestrial radio or CMT, are a fiercely fanatical breed. They see no problem in spending $100 and $125 dollars for a floor seat that still puts them half a football field away from their idol." Craig Hlavaty Big Walter "The Thunderbird" Price's 95th Birthday, The Big Easy, August 9: "The 95-year-old Price, dressed in a subdued red blazer, took center stage in his wheelchair and belted out several songs that would've done Muddy Waters proud." William Michael Smith
Passengers, The Mink, August 14: "The drums were ferociously robotic and seemed to be played with tree trunks, Bonzo-style. The first two songs were wobbly at parts, but we're chalking that up to the fact that this was the band's first public exposition." Craig Hlavaty Blue October, Verizon Wireless Theater, August 15: "Crouched in the photo pit, Aftermath felt the air go out of the room as the band walked out onto the still-dark stage; the screaming, straining against the security barricade and shouting of song lyrics followed shortly thereafter." Chris Gray Jonas Brothers, Toyota Center, August 16: "The robot eggs have hatched and out come three marionettes, made entirely out of cheese, slathered in the holy sweat of Jerry Falwell, packaged with a bow, and placed in the clearance aisle of the toy store at a mall for starving rats. The price? Your soul." Brandon K. Hernsberger
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Davila 666, Mango's, August 17: "In 1970, these boys would have had the MC5 opening for them, and Iggy Pop would be waxing nostalgic about every single gig he followed them to for every VH1 camera that would listen." Craig Hlavaty We Were Wolves, Satin Hooks, The Mink, August 18: "They might want to work on their love songs. Nothing wrong with a title like '(I Know) You Think I'm an Asshole' - although they never would have said that to Pablo Picasso - but if you're going to call a song 'She Loves It,' it's always a good idea to have at least one or two actual females in the audience." Chris Gray Mos Def, House of Blues, August 19: "Jay Electronica, who will forever be known as Erykah Badu's husband, just wandered out on stage. Some lady behind us very politely hollered 'Who the fuck are you!?' Welcome to Houston, Jay." Shea Serrano Fastball, House of Blues, August 22: "It was an odd, anachronistic reminder of how the radio could lodge a song in your cerebral cortex after only one listen and that, although its power as a medium has been much diminished in the decade since "The Way" was a hit, the source material is still out there and ripe for the picking." Chris Gray
Lil Wayne, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, August 22: "A five-year-old boy attempted to sell this writer a king-size poster of Weezy along with a plastic necklace with a wicked skull on it in the concession area, with the tenacity of a carny seven times his age. Everything is for sale, except the artists themselves." Craig Hlavaty "Keeping the Music Alive," Miller Outdoor Theater, August 22: "A little later the announcer intoned, 'Please welcome to the stage... Scott Gertner!' and the blanket next to us erupted in beery wrath. 'Not that fool again!' groaned the young man with the perpetual Bud Light." John Nova Lomax Blondie, Pat Benatar, Arena Theater, August 23: "Even at today's prices, dreaming is free. That's why an evening with Blondie is such a bargain. Debbie Harry's crew navigated the Arena's revolving stage with casual grace and veteran cool." Chris Gray Depeche Mode, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, August 30: "The crowd stood politely, swaying in place, waiting for something they actually knew. Then Depeche really sank the hooks in with "Walking In My Shoes," a sensual, seductive twister that, stripped of its electronic adornments and Martin Gore's scratchy fuzz guitar, would have made an excellent torch song for Etta James or Ella Fitzgerald." Chris Gray