DRIVIN' N' CRYIN'
Satellite Bar, July 21
Like Dash Rip Rock, BoDeans, the Jayhawks, and a few others, Atlanta’s Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ belongs to that class of roots-rock bands formed in the mid-‘80s that never quite broke all the way through to the mainstream (outside a stray hit single or two) but continue reaping the rewards of longevity nonetheless. Drawing equally from the jangling power-pop of Big Star and wooly hard rock of their ancestors in Lynyrd Skynyrd, Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ released a handful of late-‘80s/early-‘90s albums, including Mystery Road, Fly Me Courageous and Smoke, that unfortunately were overshadowed at the time (grunge and all that), but today stand out as fine examples of pure, increasingly timeless American rock and roll. The band continues to be led by Kevn Kinney (sic) and Tim Nielsen, and recently added former Jason & the Scorchers guitarist Warner E. Hodges in time for this 30th-anniversary tour that pulls into Houston Thursday. With Ruckus and duneTX.
ROCK BABY ROCK IT 16
Continental Club/Big Top Lounge, July 21-23
As hot as Houston can be in mid-July, Rock Baby Rock It is always hotter. Approaching its sixteenth edition, this three-day extravaganza of music, hot rods and vintage threads brings top national and even international names in rockabilly together with some of the leading talents from Houston’s own backyard. This year’s Saturday-night headliners are Southern California’s Vicky Tafoya & the Big Beat and Linda Gail Lewis, younger sister of Jerry Lee, whose credits include the hit 1969 country duet with her brother, “Together,” and You Win Again, a 2000 duets album with Van Morrison. Other names to watch for this year are Chicago’s Three Blue Teardrops, Orlando’s the WildTones, and the “thrashy-tonk” of San Francisco’s Huntinanny; Houston and Texas are, of course, well-represented by the Broken Spokes, the Octanes, Phantom Royals and ex-High Noon cat Shaun Young. If you only sample Houston’s lively rockabilly culture once a year, Rock Baby Rock It is easily the time to do it.
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, July 23
Few artists have the crossover appeal that Armando Christian Pérez holds. As a hungry, determined rapper who began his career in the early 2000s, he continued the Miami Bass tradition of South Florida that was pioneered by Luther Campbell, and later adopted the high-energy production and lifestyle of crunk from Atlanta's Lil Jon. A witty and succinct lyricist, Pitbull’s mighty tongue pleased the Spanglish eardrums of the rap and reggaeton world, and earned him a reputation as both a down-to-Earth homeboy and a notorious ladies’ man. Over the years, his evolution from oversized basketball jerseys to custom-tailored Armani suits has earned him the nickname Mr. Worldwide, the true most interesting man in the world. Thanks to his countless guest verses for the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Usher, Enrique Iglesias, and many other pop superstars, it seems like every track featuring Pitbull becomes an instant hit. Joining him for his Houston stop are bachata crooner Prince Royce and local booth-pimp DJ Playboy. MARCO TORRES
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House of Blues, July 23
Second son of reggae icon Bob, Stephen “Ragga” Marley apprenticed in older brother Ziggy’s Melody Makers for several years until becoming one of the genre’s top producers and solo artists in his own right. Now 44, Stephen had already won two Grammys for producing younger brother Damien’s albums Halfway Tree and Welcome to Jamrock before taking another one with his 2007 solo debut, Mind Control. He’s since also won in 2010 for Mind Control: Acoustic and 2012 for the sprawling Revelation Part 1: The Root of Life, which traces reggae’s roots in Africa with the help of guests like Wale, Buju Banton, both of his brothers, and even the cast of Broadway’s Fela! Five years in the making and due in stores the day before Marley returns to Houston, Part 2 highlights reggae’s powerful influence on contemporary hip-hop and R&B with an equally glittering cast of guest stars including Wyclef Jean, Waka Flocka Flame, Bounty Killer, Dead Prez, Rakim and many more. With Jo Mersa Marley, Rica Newell, Ranoy Gordon, Rochelle Bradshaw and Nicholas Laraque.
STEVE MILLER BAND
Revention Music Center, July 23
After his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this past spring, Steve Miller gave a scathing interview with Rolling Stone in which “gangsters” and “crooks” were among the nicer words he used. His comments may have been shocking to those who only know him from mellow ‘70s megahits like “The Joker” and “Jet Airliner,” but Miller — a onetime classmate of ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill at Dallas’ Woodrow Wilson High School — is also an old bluesman from way back, and can be as salty as they come. (Obviously.) Unlike many classic-rock artists of his vintage, this time through the 72-year-old guitarist and singer is touring behind a new album, this year’s Wide River, and while the new songs are hardly a radical departure from Miller’s familiar sound, they’re no reason to hit the restroom lines either. After so many visits to the Woodlands Pavilion in recent years co-headlining bills with the likes of Journey, the prospect of seeing Miller in Revention’s relatively intimate surroundings sounds extra enticing. With Pecos Hank.