Shoulders Continental Club, June 27
Shoulders are a thinking man's party band, mostly because "thinking" is an excellent word to rhyme with "drinking." Long before Gogol Bordello, the Tom Waits-besotted rockers all but had the gypsy-alternative market cornered back in the early '90s, when albums like Trashman Shoes made them legitimate rock stars in France.
Shortly thereafter, Shoulders went on semi-hiatus until a couple of years ago, when the Austin quartet reunited and set about making comeback album Another Round. Released in late 2013 and filled to the brim with titles such as "Drunk Spins the World" and "Drunk as Hell," the record staggers very little while working up a most comfortable buzz. This Friday-night pairing with notorious rabble-rouser Mojo Nixon and his Toadliquors could mean a lot of folks miss the farmer's market come Saturday morning, though. CHRIS GRAY
Goo Goo Dolls Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, June 27
It seems like the Goo Goo Dolls have carved out a pretty decent niche. Best known for mid-'90s hits like "Slide" and "Name," the rockers haven't quite been able to repeat that success over the past decade or so, but have managed to skirt being labeled a nostalgia act all the same.
Perhaps it's the lack of headline-grabbing antics from lead singer Johnny Rzeznik, or perhaps it's just that the songs on the band's breakthrough album, 1995's A Boy Named Goo, are solid enough to have real staying power. This time around, the Dolls are bringing rock crooner Daughtry and the sentimental Plain White T's on tour as an added bonus. ANGELICA LEICHT
Houston LGBT Pride Festival Montrose & Commonwealth, June 28 (1-7 p.m.)
The culmination of Pride Week, the Bayou City's biggest LGBT festival is far and away one of Houston's rowdiest and most life-affirming single-day parties of the year, if not the grandaddy of them all. Plus it's free. Now in its 36th year, Pride has a clutch of corporate and community sponsors that has helped it grow into the biggest event of its kind in the South, and one of the biggest in the nation.
Names of the afternoon entertainers at Saturday's festival were a little tough to track down this year, but trust us, music will be all over the place, right up until the official afterparty at South Beach featuring Dirty Pop, DJ Drew G and performers Phi Phi O'Hara and Jiggly Caliente. Hope you're ready to party; see pridehouston.org for details. CHRIS GRAY
Young Thug Warehouse Live, June 28
Young Thug may be a relatively new name on the rap scene -- his breakthrough mixtape, 1017 Young Thug, only dropped in 2013 -- but he's managed to climb his way to some major name recognition anyway. His original, neck-breaking flow grabbed critics' attention the moment mentor Gucci Mane pushed him onto the scene, drawing accolades from Pitchfork, Rolling Stone and Complex, among others.
Of course, collaborating with other big-name artists like Maceo ("Picacho") and the red-hot Rich Homie Quan certainly helped to keep things hyped up, but Young Thug's wicked wordplay has earned him a name all by himself. Working with the likes of Wocka Flocka Flame is just icing on the cake. ANGELICA LEICHT
John Egan McGonigel's Mucky Duck, June 28
Give John Egan credit for taking chances. The longtime solo Houston bluesman's new album, Amulet, is in some respects the polar opposite of its 2012 predecessor, Phantoms. Besides bringing in a few side musicians and respected Americana producer R.S. Field (Billy Joe Shaver, Webb Wilder),
Egan has expanded his songwriting reach to include Latin-tinged jazz and melancholy pop, showing he's less reliant on his Resonator guitar's unforgiving tone but comfortable keeping the instrument as his anchor. The end result is a softer mood than Phantoms, whose songs sometimes showed visibly bared teeth, but Amulet's overall disquieting feel suggests Egan has done little to ward off the same tormentors who were after him last time. Watch for a review of Amulet elsewhere today on Rocks Off. CHRIS GRAY
More shows on the next page.
Whiskey Myers House of Blues, June 28
If Whiskey Myers were any more '70s, they'd be stuck in a gas line somewhere. The Tyler five-piece look like they just walked off an early Allman Brothers album-cover shoot, and sound about like that too. The seven-year-old band have been around long enough to build up a good-size following in their home state, but now they're in the middle of a bona fide breakthrough thanks to third LP Early Morning Shakes -- the kind of album that recently inspired The Wall Street Journal to dub them "Led Zeppelin set in northeast Texas."
Loaded with Southern-rock swagger, sly humor, and perhaps even a couple of country-radio hits in the making ("Dogwood"), the record recalls early Kings of Leon, except Whiskey Myers sounds like they're having a lot more fun. If you need a second opinion, stick around Shakes long enough to take in their caddish cover of David Allan Coe's "Time Off For Bad Behavior." CHRIS GRAY
FOUR MORE SHOWS WORTH CONSIDERING By Chris Gray
The Dan Band: The foulmouthed white-bread scamps from The Hangover and Old School are one of the funniest cover bands you'll ever see. (House of Blues, June 27)
Dokken, Warrant, Firehouse: Thanks to Blackhorse Limo, this three-band '80s metal onslaught is absolutely free with RSVP. (Warehouse Live, June 27)
Swans: Evil genius M. Gira's long-running NYC noise-rock legends' latest album To Be Kind actually debuted at No. 37 on the Billboard 200. Well played. (Fitzgerald's, June 28)
The Fray: Denver pop-rockers behind "How to Save a Life" and new album Helios come calling. (Bayou Music Center, June 29)
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