Wiz Khalifa, A$AP Rocky Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, July 26
Rapper and brand-spankin'-new father Wiz Khalifa may be one of the most likable characters on the hip-hop scene. Not only is he responsible for that super-catchy "Black and Yellow" earworm -- an homage to his hometown team, the Pittsburgh Steelers -- but he's also responsible for schleppin' around his son's diaper bag, which he does proudly.
Even with a new album that dropped in April, O.N.I.F.C., and this massive "Under the Influence of Music" tour" featuring A$AP Rocky and a bunch of other big hip-hop names, Wiz still finds time for his share of the diaper duty, flying mama and baby out on the weekends while on tour. It's too awesome for words, so we'll just forgive his penchant for fur coats and Cruella de Vil hair in return. Also with B.o.B, Joey Bada$$, Pro Era Burner, Chevy Woods and Smoke DZA. ANGELICA LEICHT
The Mighty Orq Shakespeare Pub, July 26
As dependable a performer as you could ask for, The Mighty Orq is usually not hard to find, averaging two or three gigs a week when he's not out of town. A multiple Houston Press Music Award winner for both his guitar talents and his blues mojo, Orq has actually been traveling recently behind new album Soulful City, a love letter to both Houston's rich blues legacy and the steely Resonator guitar with which he crafted it. CHRIS GRAY
Adam Ant Warehouse Live, July 27
Always a pop-minded performer and consummate singles artist, Adam Ant has had a more fearless and confounding career than almost anyone else associated with New Wave. Announcing "ridicule is nothing to be scared of" on 1981's "Prince Charming," he's brushed up against the line between commercial-minded music and something much much more avant-garde too many times to mention, whether post-punk ("Kings of the Wild Frontier") or hip-hop ("Ant Rap").
Still, he may have topped himself with Adam Ant Is the BlueBlack Hussar Marrying the Gunner's Daughter, a concept album (obviously) that doesn't necessarily need to be understood to be appreciated for its bluesy textures and Ant's Iggy-esque slither. With Prima Donna. CHRIS GRAY
Brad Paisley Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, July 28
Let's look past that little hiccup known as "Accidental Racist," LL Cool J and Brad Paisley's poorly-advised but well-intentioned equality plea that dropped earlier this year, and glance at the bigger picture for a moment. Even with that little snafu, Paisley is an amazing artist and one hell of a guitar player who has collaborated with everyone from Reba McEntire to Dolly Parton over the years.
Oh, and that song, "I'm Still a Guy," is too anti-bro awesome for words, with its blatant rejection of the manscaped culture. It's country as all get-out, and thank God for that, because country -- real country -- is what Paisley does well. With Chris Young, Lee Brice and The Henningsens. ANGELICA LEICHT
Living Colour Warehouse Live, July 28
Intelligent, thought-provoking hard rock is always a hard sell, but every so often an album comes along that turns out to as big a hit at the cash register as with the critics. That happened with Vivid, Living Colour's 1988 debut that stormed rock radio with a virulent combination of Corey Glover's pointed lyrics, Vernon Reid's blistering guitar, a funk-tight rhythm section and a handful of razor-sharp singles, first and foremost all-time '80s-rock classic "Cult of Personality."
Vivid was a left-field hit for sure - what else could a record by four African-Americans with deep roots in New York's downtown No Wave scene be in 1988? - and Living Colour never quite reached the same commercial heights, but continued releasing uncompromising (if lower-profile) albums through 2009's The Chair In the Doorway. Sunday, they're playing Vivid in full for its 25th-anniversary tour. With Brandon West and the Black Hats. CHRIS GRAY
SIX OTHER SHOWS YOU MIGHT CONSIDER By Chris Gray
Skyrocket!: All your '70s and '80s pop-rock favorites from the Austin aces at the Houston Press' Cocktails & Covers concert series. (House of Blues -- Bronze Peacock Room, July 26)
Soulhat: Seriously funky Austin rockers; with twang-tastic HPMA Best New Act nominees Grand Old Grizzly. (Continental Club, July 26)
Sara Hickman: Radiant Austin singer-songwriter keeps the dark clouds away on new album SHINE. (McGonigel's Mucky Duck, July 26)
Exploded Drawing XXII: L.A. beatmaker Jonwayne (Stones Throw, AlphaPup Records) headlines this event that swirls hip-hop, electronica and mind-expanding visual art. Also performing are Exploded Drawing - the psychedelic Austin producers behind iNSECT Records from which the event takes its name - Lo Phi, Kinder, Sampler & Son, Soundfounder, Limb Rez, LIMB, FLCON FCKER, Josiah Gabriel, and more. Doors at 8; see exploded-drawing.com for information. (Summer Street Studios, July 27)
KPFT Watermelon Dance and Summer Social: Annual freak-flag-flying fundraiser for 90.1 FM features Flounders Without Eyes, Heart Byrne, Atomic Nightengales, Premium Blend, HPMA nominees QandA and, we'd wager, perhaps a few pair of bare feet. (Last Concert Cafe, July 27)
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American Idols Live: Who won again? Just kidding -- 2013 champ Candace Glover will be there, as well as ten other finalists. (Reliant Arena, July 28)