Dwight Yoakam Arena Theatre, December 20
Throughout his career in the public eye, Dwight Yoakam has successully negotiated the perils of country stardom without ever once coming close to being labeled a sellout. The looming 30-year anniversary of his 1986 debut Hillbilly Deluxe is a big one -- alongside albums like Randy Travis' Storms of Life and Steve Earle's Guitar Town, it briefly sparked a honky-tonk revival within mainstream country still sometimes known as the "Great Credibility Scare."
Yoakam and the Nashville machine have long since gone their separate ways, but after a mid-'00s detour on New West Records, he's back making major-label albums again -- and his last one, 2012's 3 Pears (RCA), is a keeper and then some. CHRIS GRAY
Max Bemis Warehouse Live (Studio), December 20
Perhaps fatherhood has helped to tone down the notoriously edgy Max Bemis. During his Say Anything days he had a rough go of being in the public eye, what with a couple of public breakdowns and some press that was not so nice at all.
He seems to have calmed down lately, though, and since he's always made some pretty decent music - the Say Anything album ...Is a Real Boy, for example - we're glad to embrace Sir Bemis' newly calm nature. Saturday he's in town with his wife, Sherri Dupree-Bemis, formerly of the band Eisley, so it should be sweet to see them onstage together. ANGELICA LEICHT
thelastplaceyoulook's Holiday Bash Warehouse Live (Ballroom), December 20
In the spirit of giving, thelastplaceyoulook is giving fans an awful lot of rock for just ten bucks at their fourth consecutive Warehouse Live Holiday Bash, celebrating another successful year as arguably Houston's top modern-rock band. Friday, they're welcoming comrades in arms Otenki, Born Again Virgins (who, sadly, are allegedly breaking up), Runaway Sun and the Soapbox Revolution to help celebrate with copious plastic cups of holiday cheer.
It's been another year of heavy touring for the headliners and adorable sock-monkey mascot Wanker, including a fall run through the Midwest with pals Blue October and devising one of the savviest bits of merch we've seen in a while: "beardkinis." (Look on their Web site.) More recently, the guys premiered the video of the title track for forthcoming EP Rip It Out, their first non-single release since 2009 LP See the Light Inside You. CHRIS GRAY
More shows on the next page.
Eightball & MJG Empire, December 22
Southern rappers in the early '90s virtually had to shout to be heard, and Eightball & MJG spoke louder than most. Originally from Orange Mound, Memphis, the duo formed an alliance with Houston-based Suave House records that resulted in 1993's Comin' Out Hard, one of the touchstone Dirty South albums alongside the Geto Boys' We Can't Be Stopped, UGK's Super Tight and OutKast's Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik.
With burlier beats and a more laid-back attitude than their coastal contemporaries, they turned out a slew of space-age pimp anthems ("Mr. Big," "Top of the World") through 1999 crowning achievement In Our Lifetime, Vol. 1 before eventually landing with Diddy's Bad Boy stable. Today, Eightball & MJG have come back home to the South and T.I.'s Grand Hustle label, which released Ten Toes Down in 2010; they're on a short tour to mark Comin' Out Hard's 20th anniversary. With The Population, Harkore, Kidd the Great and Frankie G Da Mex; tickets through lunaface.com. CHRIS GRAY
SEVEN OTHER SHOWS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER By Chris Gray
Bricks In the Wall: Second Pink Floyd tribute band in as many weeks. (House of Blues, December 20)
Venomous Maximus, War Master: "End of the World Fest II" also features fellow Texas behemoths Pillcrusher, Eagle Claw, Omotai, Blood Royale, Funeral Horse, Bowel and Tron Sack. (Fitzgerald's, December 20)
Flamin' Hellcats, Poor Dumb Bastards, Donkey Punch: Dirty-ass rock and roll. (Rudyard's, December 20)
Soulhat: Beloved drummer Frosty returns behind Austin groove-rockers' kit. (Continental Club, December 20)
Josh Abbott Band: Lubbock-spawned group still has the recent Texas country album to beat in 2012's Small Town Family Dream. (House of Blues, December 21)
Skid Row, Faster Pussycat: Free show, but leather pants mandatory. (Warehouse Live, December 21)
Le$: Steak and shrimp-loving H-town rapper drops his new #GranTurismo tape. (Warehouse Live, December 22)
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