Angie Stone, with Anthony Hamilton

By now, you'd think Angie Stone and Jill Scott would be embroiled in the same kind of she-said, she-said drama Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan can't stop getting themselves into. You'd think that the music media would declare that there's a rabid rivalry between the neo-soul divas, a blood feud with the ears of black America as the stakes.

Hell, there probably is. But fortunately, Stone and Scott aren't quite that high-profile yet. Vibe and black music scribes like Touré of Rolling Stone or Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times aren't spinning compare-and-contrast Biggie vs. Tupac-style articles on the ladies. Yet. Sure, Scott's latest, Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds, Vol. 2, had been highly anticipated, and Stone's latest, Stone Love, was released a month before Scott's. But who wants to talk about them when Usher could drop another tune about how he did Chilli wrong any moment now! That's the shit that's top priority, folks! Anyway, Stone is on tour now with Anthony Hamilton, one of the half-dozen-or-so guest stars (including Snoop Dogg, Floetry and Miss "Clean Up Woman" herself, Betty Wright) who appear on Stone's album -- a joyful, retro trip down to Funkytown if there ever was one. -- Craig D. Lindsey

Friday, October 8, at H-Town Arena Theatre, 7326 Southwest Freeway, 713-988-1020.

DJ Adam Freeland

Although Adam Freeland has been widely described as a breakbeat pioneer, the ideal point of entry might as well be track one on his newest studio release, Now and Them. This is because, unlike some dance music, "We Want Your Soul" engages your brain as much as your feet.

An androidlike female pulls you down her rabbit hole and robotically ticks off her laundry list: "Tell us / Your habits / Your facts / Your fears / Give us / Your address / Your shoe size / Your years." With this, Freeland offers ready-made anti-Bush indictments while maintaining a shadow of ambiguity. The song, like the album, is full of Irvine Welsh fury and nightmarishly good pop, and the messages he has encoded make it all the more danceable. Booty-shaking is the way out of this Orwellian nightmare world; it is the bright light in his tunnel of sociopolitical darkness.

Elsewhere, Freeland pulls in diverse contributors. Some are more effective than others. The hip-hop excursions are not entirely welcome, and even when he falls back on his bread and butter, breaks, it's at its best when served up with a dollop of Dalí. With any luck, Freeland will keep it surreal when he spins through Houston this Saturday. And since 2401 has the "Rock the Vote" thing going on, escapism is no excuse. -- Michael Serazio

Saturday, October 9, at 2401 San Jacinto, 2401 San Jacinto, 713-759-9606.

Gibby Haynes and His Problem, with Heroine Sheiks and the Fakers

Back when simple-minded slogans like "Just Say No" inspired more laughter than allegiance, the Butthole Surfers charged head-first into the dilated eye of the storm, conjuring nightmares of Nancy Reagan breast-feeding the pope with her hair on fire. Ah, the early days, when a live Surfers set guaranteed strobe lights, performance art and probably some medical film about goiters or penile reconstruction. Later, after rehab, Surfers front man Gibby Haynes lost a few steps as he embraced bubblegum psychedelia, put out back-to-back duds like Weird Revolution and Electriclarryland and simply cashed his checks. Things have gotten a little better since. On his solo debut, Gibby Haynes and His Problem, the six-foot-five former college hoops star gets under your skin for different reasons, opting for tales of diaper-clad Kaisers or Superman and Dan Rather flying at the speed of light. Yeah, the Gibster still relies on heavily sedated "Gibbytronix" and even breaks out the bullhorn more than he probably needs to, but cut him some slack: He grew up in the Lone Star State, where swaggering is just called walkin'.

The Heroine Sheiks dwell somewhere in the miasma between post-punk, no wave and alt-metal. Thankfully, the band isn't relegated to the shadows of front man Shannon Selberg's flashy madman persona. When he was singer for the Cows, Selberg could always be counted on to do things like take the stage wearing nothing but strategically placed mounds of shaving cream, and 14 years of the Cows' manic energy has now been dumped into the Sheiks, which also includes former Swans/Foetus guitarist Norman Westberg. -- John La Briola and Saby Reyes-Kulkarni

Friday, October 8, at Rudyard's, 2010 Waugh Drive, 713-521-0521.

The Allman Brothers Band with Lynyrd Skynyrd

If J.R.R. Tolkien were a music journalist, these acts would be the Two Towers on the plains of Southern Rocklandia. Touring together for the first time ever, they've both got plenty of gold-standard songs, tragic history and grizzled survivor status. But the 2004 editions of these bands couldn't be farther apart in a contemporary musical sense. Skynyrd -- down to two classic members (guitarist Gary Rossington and keyboardist Billy Powell) almost plays like a tribute band as they mechanically churn out the hits. And though their last studio record, Vicious Cycle, spawned a minor hit with "Red, White, and Blue," their new material simply pales, both musically and lyrically, in comparison to the older stuff.

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