Rodriguez House of Blues, October 23
Had he not fallen victim to slow sales in the early '70s, Detroit-born rocker Rodriguez could have been one of the biggest acts of the decade. After releasing two sturdy, Dylanesque albums, 1970's Cold Fact and Coming From Reality the next year, Rodriguez left rock and roll behind. Little did "Sugar Man" know, but his material would be cultishly beloved in South Africa, where the damning, righteous rock of Cold Fact was flaming the flames against Apartheid. This year's documentary Searching for Sugar Man chronicles Rodriguez's hidden, unlikely superstardom. CRAIG HLAVATY
Blues and Burgers: Back Beat Tribute Discovery Green, October 24
We've pushed Discovery Green's October "Blues and Burgers" concerts a couple of times this month, but hey, we believe in what the Houston Blues Society and Houston Blues Museum are trying to do -- honor the legacy of the most influential record labels to ever call Houston home, and help raise money to find the HBM its own building. Wednesday, Discovery Green's Duke/Peacock tribute concerts conclude with a salute to Don Robey's other imprint, Back Beat Records, which tried to cash in on the lucrative post-British Invasion teen market, and did.
If it had done nothing else, Back Beat would have justified its existence by releasing Roy Head & the Traits' "Treat Her Right," which scaled the pop and R&B charts in 1965 with a blue-eyed soul anthem for the ages. Head, still a house of fire whenever he steps on a stage, heads up Wednesday's lunchtime concert that will also touch on songs by the great Memphis singer O.V. Wright and perhaps Robert Knight's "Everlasting Love," which Carl Carlton took into the Top 10 for Back Beat before it was covered by the likes of U2. Free, 11:30 a.m. CHRIS GRAY
Band of Horses House of Blues, October 24
It's kind of a bummer that the Railroad Revival Tour had to cancel, but at least Houston finally got another Band of Horses show out of it. The Charleston, S.C. group with roots in the Pacific Northwest hasn't been here since 2006, when their Sub Pop debut Everything All the Time set some kind of new benchmark for hirsute, wistful beard-rock. (If you didn't choke up during "The Great Salt Lake" or "The Funeral," you just weren't alive, man.)
Three records later, the Horses have trimmed the beards back a notch or two on the brand-new Mirage Rock, but this batch of songs is just as tailored to listening to under a blanket of stars. And now that they're almost here, local fans are already licking their chops imagining how all that reverb is going to sound on HOB's majestic sound system. CHRIS GRAY
Radney Foster McGonigel's Mucky Duck, October 25
One of the great Texas country records of the '90s -- back when it was just a branch of country music rather than its own tree -- Radney Foster's Del Rio, Texas 1959 has hardly aged a day thanks to wonderful, Rodney Crowell-ish songs such as "Just Call Me Lonesome," "Easier Said Than Done," and "Louisiana Blue." Sadly, despite charting four singles into the country Top 40, it's since gone out of print. (Stupid music buisness.)
When Foster realized its 20th anniversary was coming up this year, he wanted to find a suitable way to mark the occasion without making much of a fuss, so he just decided to recut the whole damn thing live in the studio. "It's awfully hard when you sing 'Nobody Wins' or 'Just Call Me Lonesome' every single night and people don't know where to get it," he told Rocks Off's Eric Woods back in August. Voila -- problem solved. Foster's acoustic recasting should suit Thursday's Mucky Duck show especially. CHRIS GRAY
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Ghostland Observatory Warehouse Live, October 25
Austin's laser-drenched big-beat gods Ghostland Observatory are so popular that they have to play two nights in a row here to pack in all the party people. The duo, producer Thomas Turner and singer Aaron Behrens, have been at it since the mid-'00s, making foggy memories for rock revelers and techno babies. On their first night in Houston, buzzworthy button-pusher Bagheera will be handling opening duties, after slaying crowds at a few afterparties around Austin during ACL. CRAIG HLAVATY