Curtis McMurtry McGonigel's Mucky Duck, August 8
It should come as no great shock that Curtis McMurty has the same kind of wicked gift as his father James and grandfather Larry; his words leave nasty welts. The Austin singer-songwriter has not yet reached 25 years of age, but the noir Americana of his brand-new LP Respectable Enemy -- seek it out on Bandcamp, not iTunes -- is the kind of gallery of not-so-noble adventurers ("Whiskey Sweats"), psychically scarred veterans ("Foxhole") and skeevy potential stalkers ("Eleanor's House") you might otherwise find in a Cormac McCarthy book or Coen brothers film.
The 11 songs' low-key acoustic arrangements are sometimes tastefully enhanced with strings and horns, but even that can't lessen the sting of knife-twisting lyrics such as "If you knew me at all, you wouldn't love me so much" or "We made love and you asked me to hurt you/ I wish I could say I refused." With Jimmy LaFave. CHRIS GRAY
Houston Whatever Fest "EaDo Party Park" (aka Warehouse Live), August 9 & 10
Clearly inspired by Austin's Fun Fun Fun Fest, this two-day festival operates under the assumption that adding comedy to a music festival not only makes it funnier, it makes it better. Affordable enough that most fans can afford to risk a few acts they don't know that well (two-day passes start at $55), Whatever Fest will be laid out between BBVA Compass Stadium and Warehouse Live, a small patch of the so-called EaDo district that these days is easily one of Houston's busiest nightlife clusters.
To go with a long list of local bands, the lineup assembles some two dozen acts that should hit twenty- and thirtysomethings in one musical sweet spot or another, be they fans of alt-rock, punk, indie, electronica or, and why not, the Rebirth Brass Band. Other top names include MuteMath, Blonde Redhead, Helmet, Andrew WK, the Dwarves, and DJ sets by Passion Pit and Neon Indian, along with a clutch of comedians such as Bob Biggerstaff, Lisa Friedrich and Sam Demaris. Many them, in fact, owe their burgeoning success to the Tuesday open-mikes right there at Warehouse Live. See houstonwhateverfest.com for ticket information and more details. CHRIS GRAY
Tim McGraw Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, August 9
How much do fans love Tim McGraw? Enough to threaten him with a lawsuit after he allegedly slapped a female fan who was clawing at him during a concert last month near Atlanta. That probably hurt, given McGraw's chiseled physique, but it's probably not the first time the 44-year-old country singer has driven an admirer to the brink of mania at one of his shows, either.
Although some of the more regrettable traits of the recent "bro-country" fad can be laid squarely at McGraw's doorstep, his 20-year career has been a lot more than 12-packs and Daisy Dukes; his keen interest in Southern soul music and knack for crossover ballads like "Live Like You Were Dying" are just two reasons McGraw has outlasted and outsold just about every other hat-wearing star who cut his teeth in the mid-'90s. Due next month, McGraw's 13th studio album, Sundown Heaven Town, has already produced another Top 20 hit in "Meanwhile Back at Mama's," his latest duet with wife Faith Hill. With Cassadee Pope and Kip Moore. CHRIS GRAY
7 Seconds Walters Downtown, August 9
As heroic elders of the 1980s posicore genre, 7 Seconds replaced hardcore punk's sheer bellicosity with tuneful melodies and a stalwart sense of hope. Beginning as skinheads forming a community in Reno, they soon became stalwarts of a West Coast second-wave insurrection as their tunes evolved from terse straight-edge pleas to increasingly pop-tinged singalongs steering punks towards unity, justice and tolerance, and more.
In the late 1980s, as punk often became mired in gang wars and ultraviolence, 7 Seconds sought softer musical traits, but they never fled the scene or became sloths. Re-energized since late-'90s return to form Good to Go, the band continues showing punk's potential to guide spirits, not just sweaty bodies, on new album Leave a Light On. Watch for an interview with 7 Seconds founder Kevin Seconds online this week. With the Copyrights, the Turnaways and Some Nerve; don't miss Rocks Off's conversation with Seconds from Thursday. DAVID ENSMINGER
More shows on the next page.
Marco Antonio Solis Toyota Center, August 10
Duality is part of the mystique that surrounds Mexican crooner and composer Marco Antonio Solis, whose resonant voice can extract a few tears from even the most macho of hombres. He is at the same time rugged and refined, soft-spoken and operatic, and romantic with just a touch of deviousness, skills that have allowed the former lead singer of Latin-pop powerhouse Los Bukis to sell more than 20 million records throughout his 35-year career, including 2013's Gracias Por Estar Aqui ("Thanks For Being Here"). With each one, Solis delivers songs of love and heartbreak, gazing deep into his soul to provide the emotional fuel that kindles the lustful flames of amor. MARCO TORRES
FIVE MORE SHOWS WORTH CONSIDERING
Lil Jon DJ Set: What?! Okay! Atlanta crunk icon turns down for no man. (Bayou Music Center, August 8)
H-Town's Next Up: Great bill of local rappers on the rise Doeman, De'Wayne Jackson, Onehunnidt and Stoppa. (Warehouse Live, August 8)
Wanda Jackson: The one and only "Queen of Rockabilly" is having a party, and you're invited. (Continental Club, August 8)
Billy Block Birthday/Benefit: Cancer-battling Houston native whose credits number Billy Joe Shaver, B.W. Stevenson and Townes Van Zandt (among a ton of others) returns from Nashville to celebrate with friends like Rock Romano, John Evans, the New Jack Hippies, Jack Saunders and lots more. (Dan Electro's Guitar Bar, August 10)
Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Fest: Lord have mercy; headliners include Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, Asking Alexandria, etc.. Here's a full rundown. (Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, August 10)
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