Walter’s Downtown, July 26
Snail’s-pace rap everyone knows, but one of Houston’s other great musical gifts is the snide, sultry punk rock of groups like Fatal Flying Guilloteens, Weird Party, Snooty Garbagemen and Secret Prostitutes, among others. Incredibly, a handful of alumni from all of the above have been making music together under the name Poizon for nearly two years, though drummer Josh Wolf’s move to New Orleans circumscribed their plans for a spell; he’s much closer at hand in Austin nowadays. Recorded in late 2015 and early 2016, Poizon’s debut, Church Is Poizon, is at last out this month on Austin’s Twistworthy Records. Available on vinyl and MP3 via Bandcamp, the ten-song LP strikes a not-so-delicate balance between primo garage clatter and primal post-punk howling, spiking tracks like “Bayou Waterbed,” “Cool Mom” and “Mouthy” with more than enough acid wit and randy riffs to subvert your next genteel gathering into salacious police-blotter fodder. With Xetas and Criminal Itch.
Revention Music Center, July 28
All hit songs aren't created equal. For 19-year-old Khalid Robinson, "Location" went from SoundCloud buzzmaker to national smash hit all thanks to Kylie Jenner's Snapchat. It isn't all thanks to her, though. The El Paso native translated his newfound fame and success into a solid, '80s pop-centric debut album in American Teen and, finally, his own headlining show. When Khalid came in May on the undercard for Travis Scott's Birds Eye View tour, he had one major song that the crowd knew and would eat up. Through the course of his 40-minute set, he let his voice, a soft yet powerful tenor, rise and shake for records such as "Shot Down" and his debut's title track. He can't help but be joyous and excited for the future. Less than a year ago, he was graduating from high school. Now he can call Los Angeles his primary residence, has a solid feature with Future on Calvin Harris's latest album and knocked an award-show performance out of the park on live TV. How's that for teenage optimism? BRANDON CALDWELL
HANK WILLIAMS JR.
Smart Financial Centre, July 28
Hank Williams Jr. has now outlived his father by 39 years, plenty long enough for him to become country music's most irascible elder statesman, more or less picking up where Waylon Jennings left off. Though the social context has changed quite a bit since the late '70s, the 68-year-old Williams seems happy enough to serve as a sort of mentor to latter-day outlaws like Eric Church and Chris Stapleton; if their politics don't quite line up with his, that's not something Bocephus is ever going to lose a whole lot of sleep over. The facts are Williams still commands a bigger audience than probably any of his peers, what peers he has left, and the records he still makes – last year's It's About Time, to name the latest – are still loaded with his signature swagger as he swerves between a grin and a snarl. With Lewis Brice.
ROCK BABY ROCK IT
Continental Club, July 28-29
Pairing the scorching Houston weather with rockabilly’s top names, Rock Baby Rock It is a local tradition with flames along the sides. This weekend’s extravaganza marks Rock Baby’s 17th edition, making it one year older than its host (the first year was at the Fabulous Satellite Lounge). For this year’s piece de resistance, Friday night Edgar “Big E” Salazar has invited the surviving members of storied Mexican ‘60s rockers Los Johnny Jets. Singer Oscar Hernandez and drummer Raúl Galván will be joined onstage by Raúl’s son Felipe’s beloved H-Town vatos rudos Los Skarnales, with Monterrey’s El Tomcat y Los Rock n’ Roll Combo on hand to open. Saturday showcases historic Texas soul with legendary San Antonio Chicano singer Rudy Tee Gonzales & King Pelican, the pond-crossing appeal of British-born Rockin’ Lloyd Tripp and his Austin-based Zip Guns, plus Houston’s Luxurious Panthers, ex-Houstonians the Octanes and a pair of Rock Baby first-timers, Austin’s Colton Turner and Dallas’s The Left Eye Jumper. If Friday can’t come soon enough, Thursday night’s Rock Baby-themed record hop at the Big Top Lounge would make a fine-table-setter.
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BLUE ÖYSTER CULT
White Oak Music Hall, July 29
Blue Öyster Cult are probably best known to casual fans for their hit singles "(Don't Fear) the Reaper," "Godzilla" and "Burnin' for You," which remain in heavy rotation on classic-rock radio today. Historically they’ve been labeled a metal band, yet their music encompasses so much more, with elements of progressive and psychedelic rock mixed in with the hard stuff. Their sound is unique and not easily categorized; many songs are downright strange and weird, in a good way. Founding members lead guitarist Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser and lead vocalist Eric Bloom just keep on trucking after numerous lineup changes; in a more just world, BÖC would be playing sold-out arenas and record an album of new material like their musical peers Black Sabbath did before retirement. Then again, it is nice for BÖC fans to see the band play intimate venues on this current trek and not have to pay an arm and a leg for the pleasure. With Mothership. DAVID ROZYCKI
VANS WARPED TOUR
NRG Park, July 30
When the Touring Summer Festival Wars ended, there was only one fest left standing: The Vans Warped Tour. Some touring fests became traditional, non-moving celebrations, others disappeared completely, but somehow the people behind Warped have managed to keep the wheels rolling. This year will look a little different from most, because while the nostalgia (Save Ferris, The Ataris) and modern (Neck Deep, Memphis May Fire) bands you expect to see are still on the bill, this is one of the heaviest lineups the fest has ever run. Hatebreed and GWAR on the concrete at NRG Park? Stay hydrated and watch out for flying elbows; it's going to be a wild day. Gates open at 11 a.m. CORY GARCIA