Robert Plant Presents the Sensational Space Shifters Bayou Music Center, June 21
Robert Plant's new project is already on the short list of most awkwardly named bands to visit Houston this year. (Does it have to be "Robert Plant Presents"?) Still, the recent Austin transplant gets a pass because, well, it's Robert Plant on a theater tour. His Web site promises the tour touches every aspect of Plant's distinguished career, and a YouTube teaser shows the group absolutely on fire on "Black Dog."
Plant's new ensemble of expert instrumentalists features everything from a master of the ritti (one-string African violin) and ex-member of psychedelic Britpoppers Cast, but the most interesting player (perhaps) is John Baggott, a former member of Massive Attack and one of the originators of the dusky Bristol-spawned '90s sound known as "trip-hop." CHRIS GRAY
Industry Nite Ayva Center (9371 Richmond), June 22
Even with Houston's considerable African immigrant population, concerts by African artists remain rare outside iFest and the odd SPA event. That alone makes Saturday's show sponsored by Spinlet, a San Francisco-based company that offers digital distribution to emerging West African talent - mostly Nigerians here - worth checking out.
Heading up this tour is Tuface Idibia (better known as 2Face), a former member of the Plantashun Boyz who has become a popular hip-hop/R&B singer in his own right. Joining him is Ice Prince, who was recently called "Nigeria's hottest rapper" for his dancehall-ish style; D'Prince, younger brother of producer/songwriter/music-biz mogul Don Jazzy; and Seyi Shey, now on her own after a tenure in UK soul-pop group From Above. CHRIS GRAY
Bret Michaels Nutty Jerry's, June 22
Ironically, Bret Michaels' stint as front man for '80s glam-rock band Poison is probably one of the lesser-known roles he's played as a celebrity at this point. In his post-Poison years, he's become much more than the guy busting out "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." Today Michaels is virtual one-man reality-TV network thanks to Rock of Love -- the single most successful reality show in VH1's history -- its on-the-road counterpart Rock of Love Bus, Celebrity Apprentice and now Rock My RV, where the rocker plays interior designer on one of the Travel Channel's hottest new shows.
But Michaels keeps his own wheels rolling in concert too, touring with his solo band and resurrecting hits like "Nothing but a Good Time" and the more recent Miley Cyrus-assisted tune "Nothing to Love." ANGELICA LEICHT
MDC Walters, June 23
Legendary hardcore act MDC is an essential group in punk-rock history. Starting in Austin as the Stains before relocating to San Francisco and then Portland, MDC (or "Millions of Dead Cops") has made a name for itself as one of the rawest, most politically charged bands in a genre crowded with them, owing to landmark tracks like "John Wayne Was a Nazi."
Credited with influencing nearly every punk band to follow in their wake, MDC has earned nods by guys like NOFX and even They Might Be Giants. With Verbal Abuse, In Defence, H.R.A. and Some Nerve. ANGELICA LEICHT
ELEVEN MORE SHOWS YOU MIGHT CONSIDER By Chris Gray
Twin Shadow: Grizzly Bear-connected chillwaver smooths out the weekend. (Fitzgerald's, June 21)
Bow Wow Wow, Gene Loves Jezebel: Whole lotta lust going on up north -- "I Want Candy," "Desire" and more (Concert Pub North, June 21)
Casey Donahew Band: Burleson-based Texas Country clan pushing recent release Standoff. (Big Texas Spring, June 21)
Change In the Game: Documentary tracking the changes in Atlanta's indie hip-hop scene features post-screening Q&A with director Will Feagins, Jr and artists Phene, YaNi and Yamin, who will perform during the afterparty at Walters. See here for tickets. (Domy Books, 7:30 p.m. June 21)
Pitbull, Ke$ha: If you've missed out on pop radio the past couple of years, catch up in one afternoon. (Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, June 22)
PXNDX, Making Movies, Parrcos, Kahlua, Paulette, La Skandaloza: Big bilingual-rock bill. (House of Blues, June 22)
The Uncluded, Hamell on Trial: Anti-folk/indie-rap teamup of Kimya Dawson and Aesop Rock, plus acoustic anachist. (Fitzgerald's, June 22)
Cheap Trick: "Surrender" to the Illinois power-pop maestros one more time; maybe Rick Nielsen will flip you a guitar pick. (Arena Theatre, June 22)
Nothing More, thelastplaceyoulook: Double bill of Grade-A, industrial-strength local alt-rock. (Scout Bar, June 22)
Webb Wilder: Whip-smart singer-songwriter has been a surfy thorn in Nashville's side for some 25 years now. (McGonigel's Mucky Duck, June 23)
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