Something Wicked Sam Houston Race Park, October 27
Whether you're a dance-music fan from the days people went to "raves" or a little wetter behind the ears, Something Wicked promises to be something memorable. Megapromoter Disco Donnie and Houston's own Nightculture are hoping to bring a little Electric Daisy Carnival-style magic to Southeast Texas, with more than a dozen artists spanning the electronic spectrum, from electro house (Deorro, Jack Beats, Le Castle Vania), to progressive house (Danny Avila) and dubstep (Flux Pavilion, Killsonik, the live band Modestep).
Most artists mingle the different styles fairly freely, and many are barely old enough to drink alcohol (Avila is 17), but headlining is a relative veteran in Kaskade, the Southern California DJ whose sets can last up to 12 hours. Costumes (and comfortable shoes) encouraged. CHRIS GRAY
GWAR House of Blues, October 27
GWAR plays disgustingly loud, hilarious, hardcore-inflected thrash while covered in blood and gore, living for violence and mutilation. They are an American, if not worldwide, metal and comedy institution. Be sure to wear a crisp, new white tee to show off to your grand-bastards when they ask you if you ever saw the most gruesome interplanetary band that ever existed. CRAIG HLAVATY
Cactus Music 5th Anniversary Cactus Music, October 27
Amazingly, it's already been five years since Cactus Music reopened in its Shepherd Plaza location, snatched from the brink of extinction by a rekindled interest in vinyl and the undying loyalty of local music fans who know just how important the store is to the scene. So why not celebrate? Saturday, Cactus is partying all day long with afternoon in-stores by Sweet Mama Cotton and Ronnie Fauss (1 and 4 p.m.), but the official party starts later on. Just back from a West Coast tour, Houston punk trio Something Fierce performs at 9 p.m., and artist Carlos Hernandez - whose latest "Day of the Dead Rock Stars" installment opens Friday evening -- mans the Record Ranch turntables all evening. CHRIS GRAY
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Sons of Hercules Rudyard's, October 27 San Antonio is justifiably famous for its rabid metal fan base and contributions to conjunto music, but it also may be Texas' No. 1 garage-rock city. For more than two decades now, Frank Pugilese -- a S.A. scenester from way back who once opened for the Sex Pistols at Randy's Rodeo -- and his merry men have been sneering out their Stoogey brand of electric-guitar mayhem, with more emphasis on swagger than style points. Their latest full-length, this year's A Different Kind of Ugly, doesn't fix what isn't broken. CHRIS GRAY
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Justice House of Blues, October 28 French electro duo Justice rarely tours this part of the States, usually opting to stay on the two coasts and haunt major music festivals. This is Houston's first-ever chance to see the pair, who first came above ground with 2007's Cross, a torridly catchy disc full of ubiquitous singles like "DVNO" and "D.A.N.C.E." that helped kids on this side of the pond warm to electronic music all over again. The band's latest, the year-old Audio, Video, Disco., showed off their newfound prog-rockin' side. CRAIG HLAVATY