DJ Sun The Flat, December 16
Now that some of the well-deserved publicity surrounding the release of DJ Sun's first-ever full-length release, One Hundred, has subsided a little, his true accomplishment on the disc seems even more impressive. In the span of 70 minutes, Sun pours his 20-plus-year career as one of Houston's most in-demand DJs into a seamless work that never lulls, never lags and maintains an unshakably mellow groove throughout.
But then, One Hundred's intricately laid-back latticework should come as no surprise to anyone lucky enough to have met the man; as 2013 starts winding down, it's looking more and more as a worthy Local Album of the Year contender. Among his multitude of weekly gigs, Sun's long-running Monday residency at the Flat is probably the most chill environment to glimpse this true turntable craftsman at work. CHRIS GRAY
Little Joe Washington Boondocks, December 17
Out of a Third Ward blues guitar school that has now graduated to the great beyond Albert Collins, Johnny Clyde Copeland, Johnny Guitar Watson and Joe Guitar Hughes, Little Joe Washington is the last man standing. And he's hardly standing still: He's also pedaling his Schwinn from gig to gig, Fender strapped to his back, doing things with it you've never heard before and never will again, and then passing his hat around for tips. After Joe's recent hospitalization for liver and kidney trouble, he's back playing gigs... again. JOHN NOVA LOMAX/CHRIS GRAY
Backstreet Boys Bayou Music Center, December 18
The year of the boy bands isn't over just yet, as Backstreet Boys squeeze in one more show late in the game following an appearance at the Mitchell Pavilion in August. The competition has been pretty stiff this year, with heavy hitters like New Kids on the Block and 98 Degrees also passing through, so the Backstreets will have to bring their A game to this Mix 96.5 holiday ball. Perhaps openers James Blunt and the Plain White T's can lend a hand with some carol-crooning. ANGELICA LEICHT
More shows on the next page.
Rev. Horton Heat Fitzgerald's, December 19
Supposedly the most successful psychobilly act of all time (which seems difficult to measure), the Rev. Horton Heat is unquestionably the Texas favorite. Jim Heath's Dallas-based alter-ego trio has been cranking out turbocharged licks from his custom hollowbody Gretsch for more than a quarter-century, winning a following among the wallet-chain set that borders on maniacal.
On Thursday, Heat headlines over a winter wonderland of 80-proof Lone Star roots acts -- San Antone hillbilly boppers Two Tons of Steel, Austin honky-tonk purist Dale Watson, and Alamo City Mexipunks Pinata Protest -- by way of previewing his 13th album and Victory Records debut REV, due next month. Don't miss the video packed with buxom models for most helpful first single "Let Me Teach You How to Eat." CHRIS GRAY
Jay Z Toyota Center, December 19
As one of the most influential and charismatic rappers around, Jay Z hardly needs to watch the throne: he's perched on it as reigning king of the game. From the time Vol 2...Hard Knock Life hit the music scene in 1998 through this summer's Magna Carta Holy Grail, his godfather-like quality has elevated his status to the next level. Now that he's the proud daddy of adorable little Blue Ivy and his rapper-softie side shows up a bit more, he's even more likeable that he was on The Black Album. ANGELICA LEICHT
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