The Toadies, Helmet, UME
This bill featuring a trio of glowering alt-rock bands arrives like a midsummer punch in the gut. Headliners the Toadies should have been the house band for Mike Judge's King of the Hill, if perhaps Hank Hill kept a body in his deep freeze like Jack Black in Richard Linklater's recent film Bernie. Our neighbors to the north's fifth album, Play. Rock. Music, is due later this month on Dallas's Kirtland Records; some of the Toadies' favorite serial killers frolic with lingerie models in the video for first single "Summer of the Strange." Steered by front man Page Hamilton, Helmet coined a brainier brand of '90s hard rock that mingled metal riffs, hardcore's rigidity and odd time signatures on albums such as Strap It On, Meantime and Betty. After leaving to work on film scores (Saw, Titus) and play lead guitar on David Bowie's 1999 tour (like Stevie Ray Vaughan before him), Hamilton rebooted the group in 2004 and has now released three more Helmet 2.0 albums, most recently 2010's Seeing Eye Dog. Opening are go-for-the-throat former Houstonians UME, a now-Austin-based trio that has established itself as one of the young decade's bands to watch — not just in Texas, but anywhere — behind 2009's excellent Sunshower EP and last year's equally driving, relentless full-length Phantoms.