NRG Stadium, March 7
Miranda Lambert’s fifth rodeo appearance comes at the midpoint of a couple of pretty neat career milestones. Last month she received a Platinum certification for 2014’s aptly named Platinum, which spawned the hits “Little Red Wagon,” “Automatic” and the fiery “Somethin’ Bad,” a No. 1 duet with one of Lambert’s few real rivals at the top of Nashville’s female totem pole, Carrie Underwood. Next month she’s up for three ACM awards, including Entertainer of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year. Seeing how she won three at last year’s ceremony, including Album of the Year for Platinum — not to mention her recent split with ol' what's-his-name — Lambert ought to be in a pretty good mood to put on a rockin’ performance for her fellow Texans.
House of Blues, March 9
The curious thing about Fetty Wap is that he even managed to make it this far. Normally goofy, hard-boiled rap acts are only asked to merely be that. But last year saw a mammoth breakthrough for the New Jersey rapper/singer, one where he scored four Top 10 singles to become the first artist to do that in a single year in quite some time. Wednesday marks his first proper Houston show, and seeing how he's dominated the radio ever since "Trap Queen" broke big, he's aiming to serenade his fans and have fun — even with that croaky singing voice that's made him a star. BRANDON CALDWELL
Roologic Launch Party
House of Blues (Bronze Peacock Room), March 10
Roologic Records is a Houston-based label/collective that hopes mingling musicians and visual artists will help stimulate those creative juices. Judging by the lineup of Roologic’s launch party, it’s already a force to be reckoned with — this thing is stacked, top-heavy with two of Houston’s tightest live units. That would be Space Villains*, the intergalactic trio whose toolkit includes 3-D acid jazz and bone-crunching hard rock; and Def Perception, the six-piece that combines rapping and scratching with old-school funk, peanut butter and chocolate-style. Also on board are local MCs Kyle Hubbard, who made a triumphant return from self-imposed exile to Arkansas with last year’s Majestic Hotel; Genesis Blu, who dropped the soulful, positivity-filled #3Peace mixtape on New Year’s Day; and Dirty & Nasty, the veteran duo that is real dirty and nasty, on top of being funny as hell. For those in search of a hefty cross-section of funkadelic H-Town talent, looking here is only (Roo)logical.
Rudyard's, March 11
Less than a year old, Frog Hair is a rock project that combines two beloved veteran Houston shredders and song savants, Scott Ayers of the legendary Pain Teens and Michael Haaga of Pasadena metal powerhouse deadhorse. The result is an interesting melding of two like-minded noise-rockers who just so happen to have a jones for hooky pop tunes too. Frog Hair’s September 2015 release of five Bandcamp demos revealed that sly old dog Haaga is back to the tricks he tried with his post-DH assemblage The Plus Minus Show, one of the most interesting Houston records of the past decade, although tunes like “She Came To Go” takes both men to post-industrial sonic planets few of us will ever visit. The band has been playing out more lately, and who knows where this thing could go? With Lick Lick, OddKnee and Luna Lunacy. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH
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8th Wonder Bash
8th Wonder Brewery, March 12
8th Wonder Brewery pretty much fits the bill for what every budding local enterprise should be: friendly folks, Houston proud, tasty product. Add great taste in music, because the East End warehouse/tap room also has a great rep for throwing awesome anniversary parties. If you haven’t already had the pleasure, Saturday’s third 8th Wonder Bash — dubbed “A Celebr8ion of Beer” — is a great place to start. Headlining is the great Black Joe Lewis, the kinetic R&B shouter who has been relatively quiet since 2013’s Electric Slave, but has lately been using his gig at Austin’s Nomad Bar to see how some new stuff hangs together live…so watch out. Nipping at Lewis’s heels is NOLA’s Hot 8 Brass Band, so you know what that means; plus, Austin blue-eyed soul outfit Walker Lukens & the Side Arms; “H-Town to L.A.” MC Fat Tony; superb local world-beat/folk troupe Say Girl Say; the mystic jazz of Khruangbin; and suds aplenty. Rain or shine; see 8thwonderbrew.com for details.
Revention Music Center, March 13
Any Future fan knows the moment for Atlanta's hottest rapper to take center stage arrived last March. By all accounts, he was moving back into releasing tons and tons of free music to the public; by the time 56 Nights, a project built around the very scary and real notion that his DJ was locked up in a Dubai prison for more than two months, was released, Future couldn't be ignored anymore. He manifests hits by crafting R&B-style hooks around a slurred staccato delivery, using party music as a form of self-therapy and release. After 56 Nights and the hit “March Madness,” the rapper released his third proper album, DS2, and a joint effort with Drake, What a Time to Be Alive. Just before February, he dropped a mixtape (Purple Reign) and another album (EVOL). In the non-Kendrick, non-Drake rap landscape, Future is the hottest of them all — a stylistic father figure who is being copied every day, and whose live show has evolved with him. What was once simple call-and-response has evolved into a wash of bodies all singing the praises of Freebandz Baptist. With Ty Dolla $ign and Lil Donald. BRANDON CALDWELL