The 10 Best Concerts in Houston This Weekend: Rock Baby Rock It, Craig Kinsey, Bri Bagwell and More
Love Dominique Warehouse Live (Green Room), July 25
Local diva Love Dominique's 2013 EP Wicked Heart did well in two unsigned-talent contests sponsored by Billboard and the Grammys, but her eponymous full-length album (available now) makes a more proper introduction. Its 11 electronically-guided tunes set a sexy mood begging for long nights of candlelight, bubble baths, satin nighties and other kinds of lovers' play, while a few songs are so chilled out they almost qualify as ambient music.
Still, bedroom jams like "Slow Grind" and "Feels Good" push right up on the PG-13/R line but rein in the dirty talk (barely), while more up-tempo fare like "If It Ain't Us" and "Park and Ride" seem destined for long life on Majic 102-like stations. Overall, Love Dominique makes a satisfyingly seductive near-debut that still leaves plenty of room for Houston's latest hometown R&B ingenue to mature.
Rock Baby Rock It 14 Continental Club/Big Top Lounge, July 25-26
Rock Baby Rock It is not just a rockabilly festival, it's how the Continental Club has measured the passage of time. The club was barely open when the multi-day event began in 2000, and look at it now. Subsequent RBRIs have become an excellent yardstick to track the prosperity of "The Island," which is now up to almost a dozen businesses in its two-block area; musically, organizer Big E tries to top himself every year and usually does.
Leading the 2014 program are two Rockabilly Hall of Famers in Dallas' Sid King (with lead-guitarist brother Billy) and Cajun sensation Joe Clay ("Duck Tail"), plus a rare Texas appearance by San Diego masters the Paladins. Further down is something for almost every rockabilly taste, whether more traditional (ex-Houstonians the Octanes, Florida's Bible Belt Sinners), zoot-suited jump-blues (Fort Worth's Royal Rhythmaires) or straight-up psychobilly (Houston's seldom-seen Luxurious Panthers).
If all that sounds too hot, hot, hot to handle, just hop on over to the Big Top and cool down with the surf-lounge exotica of Clouseaux and the Mermaniacs (Friday) and the soulful ska of the Suspects (Saturday). And not that you could, but don't forget the record hop, burlesque from Dem Dam Dames, vintage swimsuit contest, custom car show all day Saturday (of course), and more. If you can't find something exciting at Rock Baby Rock It, you're just not looking hard enough. See rockbabyhouston.com for more.
Craig Kinsey Fitzgerald's, July 26
At this point the Sideshow Tramps are a distant enough memory that it's easy to forget how easily the Rev. Craig Kinsey and company once held the local scene in the palm of their collective hand. We get it -- people grow, and move on, maybe get sober, but even a bad Tramps show (and there weren't many) exceeded the maximum amount of fun permissible by state law by half.
But on his brand-new second solo release, American Roots and Machines, ex-Tramps front man Craig Kinsey again styles himself as a maverick balladeer a la Woody Guthrie, Tom Waits and now Jack White (check out the feedback wall "What Is It That You Want?"), while demonstrating that he has a better grasp of traditional folk music's unrulier side than most. True, it might be a little difficult to know what to make of a rambling historical seminar like "Gettysburg," but at least Kinsey gives us 14 bluegrassy minutes to ponder what it all means. With Buxton and the Happen-Ins.
The Music of Led Zeppelin Jones Hall, July 26
Finding Led Zeppelin songs that are crying out for orchestral arrangements (if not there already) isn't much of a problem - the list starts with "Kashmir," "Immigrant Song," "The Ocean," and goes on. The real trick is to find a singer who can go into full banshee mode without coming off as a pale imitation of Robert Plant.
In that, the Symphony (conducted Saturday by noted classic-rock arranger Brent Havens) may have found an ideal fit in Randy Jackson of Zebra, whom many scholars regard as one of the great could've-beens of '80s hard rock. Indeed, the real fun Saturday may come in just how deep into Zep's catalog Jackson, Havens and the Symphony are willing to delve: "Trampled Under Foot"? "Achilles' Last Stand"? "Black Mountain Side"? Just about all of those might work.
More shows on the next page.
Bri Bagwell Firehouse Saloon, July 26
Those of us who have been watching Bri Bagwell for a while are still wondering when someone in Nashville or at one of the bigger Texas country/Red Dirt management teams is finally going to get around to giving her a real record deal. The New Mexico-based singer-songwriter is a little less glam than Miranda Lambert, but very much along those fiesty femme-country lines.
She's also been bouncing around the scene too long and even charted a few singles -- seemed like "Hound Dog" did pretty well for her last year -- to only have a couple of EPs to show for it. Earlier this month Bagwell rolled out another tune, an I-love-you-anyway rocker called "Crazy," which made the whole puzzle that much harder to figure out. With Scott Dean.
FIVE OTHER SHOWS WORTH CONSIDERING
Summer Slaughter Tour: Morbid Angel, Dying Fetus, Thy Art Is Murder, Goatwhore and more go for the jugular. (House of Blues, July 25)
Dangerous Toys: Jason McMaster's Austin glam-metal brigands behind "Teasn', Pleasn'" hit the Bay Area. (Scout Bar, July 25)
Peter Matthew Bauer: Walkmen utilityman brings out a new group featuring members of Fleet Foxes and TV Torso to push solo album Liberation; locals Guess Genes and ATX's Little Lo support. (Walters, July 25)
Silver Snakes, Lions of Tsavo: Brawny post-hardcore/metal bill also featuring Houston's Omotai and Forced Fem. (Mango's, July 25)
King Buzzo: Melvins mastermind brings solo weirdness, acoustic-style. (Warehouse Live Studio, July 26)
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.