Bottle Rockets, Marshall Crenshaw Continental Club, August 22
The pride of Festus, Mo., the Bottle Rockets would be the best band you've never heard of except, if you've ever subscribed to either No Depression magazine or the Bloodshot Records mailing list, you've absolutely heard of them and know exactly why they're so damn good. Ex-Uncle Tupelo roadie and satellite member Brian Henneman started the Bottle Rockets when the former band started going down the tubes; overall his bunch was less Black Flag-influenced than the Tupelo guys, but the Bottle Rockets' similar combination of classic country, Southern rock and indie attitude made them a cornerstone of the burgeoning alt-country scene.
Simple music-business malfeasance kept the band from climbing much higher on the ladder of success, but they persevered and last year Bloodshot Records reissued those first two albums, 1993's Bottle Rockets and '94's The Brooklyn Side, in a deluxe edition with demos and everything. So good guys don't always finish last after all, and joining them on this rare Southwestern tour is power-pop Ph.D. Marshall Crenshaw, whose first-rate catalog goes a lot deeper than his lone Top 40 hit, 1982's "Someday, Someway." CHRIS GRAY
One Direction NRG Stadium, August 22
We hope the people in charge of Reliant Stadium have checked its structural integrity, because One Direction's upcoming show there is going to be earth-shakingly loud. It's true: the biggest boy band on the planet is now touring stadiums, bringing their catchy songs and perfect(ly messy) hair to even bigger crowds. After selling out the Woodlands Pavilion and Toyota Center locally, there was nowhere else to go; if they get any bigger they're going to have to start renting out parks and hoping for the best.
They're back again with 5 Seconds of Summer, who are becoming a powerhouse in their own right and already have a return gig booked next year up at the Pavilion. If this is your thing, then enjoy the new golden age of insanely popular boy bands. Just consider packing some earplugs. CORY GARCIA
Rudyard's 36th Anniversary Rudyard's, August 22 & August 23
In August 1978, moviegoers laughed at National Lampoon's Animal House but the Grease soundtrack ruled the pop charts, the Stones had a No. 1 single with "Miss You," Devo debuted with Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! and a cozy bar soon to be known as "Montrose's Living Room" opened in Houston. Today a lot has changed, including the location, but Rudz has been arguably the inner loop's best small live-music venue for as long as anyone can remember, and this weekend has again asked some of its favorite local acts to help blow out one more candle on the birthday cake.
On Friday Houston's preeminent latter-day shoegazers, PuraPharm, headline a spacey bill over work-in-progress thelastplaceyoulook (now with added electronica), College Station lo-fi revivalists the Ex-Optimists and post-punk crew Dead Mineral. Saturday is a wham-bam smorgasbord of some of Rudz's rudest garage-punk-metal regulars in the Velostacks, the Guillotines, Supergrave and Hog Leg -- plus one whopper of a Sunday hangover, we bet. Happy anniversary, Rudz! CHRIS GRAY
Shooter Jennings Redneck Country Club, August 23
Every inch his father Waylon's son, Shooter Jennings has spent the past decade or so as the proudest renegade in country music, even if his actual music hasn't always been all that country. But after a sketchy period that found him venturing into left-field psychedelic rock (2010's Black Ribbons featured narration by Stephen King), Jennings has been slowly working his way back into the fold -- on his own terms, naturally -- on his last two albums, Family Man and The Other Life.
Now on George Jones tribute EP Don't Wait Up (For George), his original tribute to his idol and longtime friend, "Don't Wait Up (I'm Playin' Possum)," rests comfortably alongside Jennings' distinctive takes on Possum classics "She Thinks I Still Care," "If Drinkin' Don't Kill Me (Her Memory Will)" and "The Door." With Waymore's Outlaws. CHRIS GRAY
More shows on the next page.
Garfunkel & Oates House of Blues, August 23
The plight of the second banana is something that has gone almost completely undocumented in pop-music history. Since everybody is looking out for No. 1, why would it be? Now Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci are speaking up for betas everywhere as Garfunkel & Oates, a hilarious folk-pop duo whose songs are not nearly as innocuous as they sound. (Album titles such as Slippery When Moist and All Over Your Face offer a small clue.)
Joining forces in 2009, the pair of Big Bang Theory alumni are in the middle of a breakout year thanks to their eponymous weekly half-hour IFC series, which places G&O in any number of awkward social situations they inevitably make much worse. Now the duo have stepped off screen and on tour, so expect a mirthful evening recounting the carnal pleasures of go-kart racing, pulling the "Fade Away" instead of breaking up with someone, and offering up a kind word for the one percent. Hey, somebody's gotta do it, right? CHRIS GRAY
Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder Dosey Doe, August 24
Ricky Skaggs is so accomplished that his decade as one of country music's biggest hit-makers of the '80s ("Highway 40 Blues," "Don't Cheat In Your Hometown") counts as a career detour. Now 60, the native of Cordell, Ky., inherited his credentials as America's bluegrass patriarch not just from Bill Monroe, whom Skaggs impressed with his mandolin skills at age six, but also by appearing on legendary duo Flatt & Scruggs' TV show at seven and joining the Stanley Brothers' band as a young man.
Since 1997, Skaggs' own group Kentucky Thunder has been the finest finishing school for high-lonesome music in all the land, racking up an astonishing 12 Grammy nominations and seven wins (until Steve Martin's band came along, basically) while establishing his Skaggs Family Records as the first name in bluegrass. Last year he released a fun collaboration with pop-rock keyboard whiz Bruce Hornsby, Cluck Ol' Hen. CHRIS GRAY
FOUR OTHER SHOWS WORTH CONSIDERING By Chris Gray
OneRepublic: Ryan Tedder's Colorado pop-rockers have probably heard all the One Direction jokes they can stand, thanks. (Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, August 22)
Salute to 1988: "Suedehead," "Stigmata," "Pigs In Zen," and all your other favorite alternative hits from 26 years ago. (Numbers, August 22)
BLSHS, Children of Pop, Roger Sellers, Guess Genes, etc.: Some of the latest indie and electro-pop from Houston and Austin. (Fitzgerald's, August 22)
Shout Out Tour: Those teen screams at NRG Park won't die out after Friday, thanks to Mindless Behavior, Bow Wow, OMG Girlz, Jacob Latimore, and more. (NRG Arena, August 23)
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
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