The 25 Best Concerts In Houston This Summer

If GN'R's "Not In This Lifetime" tour doesn't crash and burn, Slash will have thousands of Houstonians air-guitaring to "Sweet Child O'Mine" August 5 at NRG Stadium.
If GN'R's "Not In This Lifetime" tour doesn't crash and burn, Slash will have thousands of Houstonians air-guitaring to "Sweet Child O'Mine" August 5 at NRG Stadium.
Photo by Mathew Tucciarone/LA Weekly

No need to sugarcoat anything: summer in Houston can be a grind. OK, it stinks. Amateur lexicographers could coin a different synonym for “unpleasant” for each day between Free Press Summer Fest and well past the autumnal equinox, and going outside would still be awful. Local weather during the middle part of any year is the reason thousands of people refuse to even entertain the notion of moving to Houston, and why thousands more who do live here hate it anyway. Fortunately, subtropical latitude-dwellers such as Houstonians have concocted worthy summer activities a little more exciting (if not ultimately more rewarding) than avoiding the unfortunate condition known as "gig butt." Live music is perhaps chief among them, so we have narrowed the multitude of summer concerts taking place around our vast metropolitan humidosphere before Labor Day to these 25 almost-sure things. Happy mosquito-swatting!

House of Blues, June 8
Five years ago, I caught my first Thrice show at the House of Blues. On tour in support of 2011's Major/Minor, the California-based quartet's set list spanned from older cuts rooted in punk, metal and hardcore to newer musical styles, giving newfound and seasoned fans alike plenty to enjoy. The crowd was enthralled by each song, and my fandom of Thrice was solidified. Come to find out, their 2011 tour was practically a farewell, and the band went on hiatus shortly after. But Thrice has finally returned - a long five years later - with a new album and a tour in support of it, and I can't wait to hear "Back Honey" live. MATTHEW KEEVER

House of Blues, June 9
It’s been a few years since the mysterious shredder sporting a horror-movie mask and highly recognizable fried-chicken-container headgear has brought his act on the road. In the meantime he has recorded and released hundreds (not an exaggeration, literally hundreds) of albums, which should give him plenty of fresh material to pull from. Equal parts out-there performance art and genuine marvel of technical ability, Buckethead should leave fans with more than they came with. And that’s without counting the tendency he has to hand out his favorite toys during his shows. ERIC SMITH

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, June 10
It's fair that fans might be a bit gun shy on Weezer, who has given us a solid decade of some epically shitty albums. But their latest effort, another self-titled affair known as The White Album, turns the clock back to a palatable time in the band's sonic history. Songs like "King of the World" and "L.A. Girlz" will tug on the heartstrings of listeners who lust after Weezer's iconic power pop sound. With over twenty years of experience and the humility of their many missteps, Weezer now knows how to give fans a show they want to see. KATIE SULLIVAN

Toyota Center, June 15
Selena Gomez is all grown up, and that's for the best. The last time she was in town, she was still straddling that weird line between teen and adult pop star, and the result was a show that had the crowd screaming less because of her talent and more because she simply existed; given how bored she looked onstage, it was not a good look. Word is the Revival Tour is more of a showcase for Gomez as an artist and less a pop spectacle, which mainly means less choreography. It's the kind of tour she needs to crush if she's wants to solidify a spot next to the Ariana Grandes of the world. Still, it'll be interesting to see where a song like “Love You Like a Love Song” fits in with a song like “Hands to Myself.” As an added bonus, DNCE are the openers, so you'll get to hear “Cake by the Ocean” too. CORY GARCIA

Fitzgerald's, June 17
About to release his fourth album as Shinyribs, Kevin Russell’s expanded project has now attached Austin’s Tijuana Trainwreck Horns and backup singers Alice Spencer and Sally Allen, whose hoochie-mama choreography puts their visual stage show over the top. The ex-Gourds co-pilot and crew just recorded a brassy swamp pop album at SugarHill with Jimbo Mathus before hitting the road for Merlefest in North Carolina, where they stunned the crowd with their high-energy Gulf Coast funk. In spite of their original repertoire, the band has also vaulted into the top rungs of that somewhat stale genre we call Texas music and is now packing the largest clubs and theaters in the state. Maybe there is salvation from the Texas-music herd after all. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH

Last Concert Cafe, June 18
FreshDark may be a little festival on the make, well-sited in one of the comfiest yards in Houston, but you can still call it a star-studded event. Firstly, because both L.A. New Age R&B crooners J*Davey and our own homegrown psychedelic rockers Space Villains* have seen fit to decorate their own names with an asterisk; and secondly, because this party is so heavy with groovy local talent including Philippe Edison, Android Genius, The Aspiring Me, and electro-cumbia champ Gio Chamba. TEX KERSCHEN

Walters Downtown, June 18
People are always after me to agree with them that three things made America great: cool cars, electric guitars, and drum machines. Before these, they argue, America was a backwater. Cool cars are a thing of the past? just the same, The Wiggins will be bringing their signature car-crash music and American exceptionalism to an atmospheric and Eurostyled (think London dungeon) bill also featuring San Antonio’s Moze Pray, new space-rock band Fantasy Ritual, coldwave duo Tearful Moon, and DJ Bad Bones. TEX KERSCHEN

Walters Downtown, June 21
I love PWR BTTM and Petal, and I love that they're on tour together. I love PWR BTTM for its glittery, gay garage rock, for the youthful earnestness bursting from its songs. I love Petal for its wistful guitar reverberations, and for Kiley Lotz's subterranean voice. Both of these bands will bring a vintage '90s style of rock to Walters, the ideal venue to showcase both groups' verve and authenticity. Either of these up-and-comers are worth sweating it out to, so together they're a must-see. With Pity Sex. KATIE SULLIVAN

House of Blues, June 22
The adjectives used to describe Anderson .Paak’s stage show border on the type of hyperbole reserved for acclaimed films. “Superb” meets “enchanting” meets “memorable”, that sort of thing. For .Paak, it’s something that’s been a long time coming, a L.A.-based artist who through his own mix of soul and hip-hop not only stole the show on Dr. Dre’s Compton album, currently possesses of the year’s best album. At .Paak's Houston debut, he may wiggle around delivering a pitter-patter flow on records like “Come Down” or launch into a spastic tinge of soul with “The Waters," both standout tracks from January's Malibu. It’s a style that even the best have truly found difficult to describe. We just know it’s accessible, it’s sweeping and ultimately, it builds upon grooves and influences from James Brown to Prince and even Kendrick Lamar. It’s free-range expression from a man still coming into his own. BRANDON CALDWELL

Stereo Live, June 24
Expect lights flashing, steady beats, drinks flowing and sweat pouring when the legendary British DJ takes over the decks at StereoLive. Twice named best DJ in the world, Oakenfold has influenced dance music on a global level for more than three decades and remains a constant force.  The originator will be in town along with another tastemaker and his best mate, Liquid Todd, for another “Stellar” event put on by Nightculture.  For a hint of what to expect, check out Todd's guest mix from Oakenfold’s Planet Perfecto Radio. JACK GORMAN

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, June 25
93Q, which traditionally trounces The Bull in Houston's radio-ratings sweepstakes, tends to skew (barely) younger than its FM-country competitor, but here it's throwing its listeners a honky-tonk curveball by asking Dwight Yoakam to headline its annual summertime fan-appreciation fest. Smart move: since rejoining the Warner Bros. roster a few years back, Yoakam's albums 3 Pears and Second Hand Heart have been as good as anything he's done since 1993's This Time; as a performer, few of his ilk – past, present or future – combine the craft of songwriting with the flair of live performance as deftly as he does. Among the young studs on hand here who might learn a thing or two include Kip Moore (“Beer Money”); Canaan Smith (“Love You Like That”); Easton Corbin ("Yup"); and even Wade Bowen, the Texas-country stalwart known for his band the Stragglers and the successful 2015 duets album with compadre Randy Rogers, Hold My Beer and Watch This. Former American Idol contender Lauren Alaina (“Last Boyfriend”) and Jana Kramer (“I Got the Boy”) guard against this Day In the Country becoming a complete sausage party. CHRIS GRAY

Walters Downtown, July 1
No two artists better exemplify the Asian-American millennial female experience than lo-fi rocksters Mitski and Japanese Breakfast. This experience is pretty far from my own, but themes of love and loss resonate universally on their awesomely-titled recent albums, Bury Me At Makeout Creek and Psychopomp, respectively. By the time this show comes around, Mistki will have another album with a fantastic title, Puberty 2. Jay Som, who also fits the above description, will open the show with her self-described “woozy” guitar pop. All in all, looks to be a real vibey night. ERIC SMITH

Revention Music Center, July 2
Time travel doesn’t exist, as far as we know, but a tour like this is close. Step out onto the floor of Revention Music Center and take a trip back to a world before smartphones and YouTube, to a magical time known as 2002, and prepare to relive all the awkward emotions that came with being a young music fan. Don't try and deny it: you still, to this day, know all the words to “Screaming Infidelities” and “Cute Without the 'E'.” This is the emo reunion of the summer, and you know you don't want to miss it. CORY GARCIA

Walters Downtown, July 2
If you already know to recognize Montreal as a freak haven, then the sight of Montrealer and longtime garage-rocker King Khan’s beautifully bold and shiny belly won’t strike you amiss, as it’s a near-certainty that it’ll be no time at all before the close quarters of Walters finds him in a stage of dishabillle. TEX KERSCHEN

Wortham Center, July 14
There's nothing wrong with Weird Al playing regular venues. Seriously. It's just that seeing him play somewhere like Revention is likely to leave you thinking, “he deserves better.” Weird Al is a genius and a treasure, and while he songs are without question extremely silly, he's an artist of the highest caliber, and he should be celebrated as such. Plus, given the costume changes and what not, having more space to do his thing can't be anything but good for the show. There is no show coming to town this summer more likely to make you smile or make you hungry — the man loves his songs about food — than this one. CORY GARCIA

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