Shows of the Week: The Outlaw Country Show of the Summer, If Not the Year

Steve Earle at Cactus Music, May 2011
Steve Earle at Cactus Music, May 2011
Photo by Jason Wolter
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House of Blues, July 3
Steve Earle’s famous quote about Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan and cowboy boots has endured long enough for the world to realize he’s a pretty damn good songwriter in his own right — even though that was true even before he helped usher in Nashville’s “Great Credibility Scare” with 1986’s Guitar Town. Several albums and even more lifetimes later, the San Antonio-raised Earle, 62, has actually jumped back to Warner Bros. on the brand-new So You Wannabe an Outlaw? after a long spell on partially Houston-based New West. Still, Outlaw is very much of a piece with recent albums Townes (2011) and Terraplane Blues (2015), all of which find Earle re-examining the fertile (if unforgiving) musical ground from which he sprang. Aficionados will want to splurge for the Deluxe Edition, which tacks on songs by compatriots/inspirations Willie Nelson (who also guests on the title track), Billy Joe Shaver, and Waylon Jennings. Good choices, too, perhaps ripe for an encore Monday — “Ain’t No God In Mexico,” “Local Memory,” “Sister’s Coming Home/Down at the Corner Beer Joint” and “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?” CHRIS GRAY

Miller Outdoor Theatre, July 3
Start rehearsing the dance moves to “Y.M.C.A.,” because The Village People are bringing the disco love to Miller Outdoor Theatre. Originally formed in 1977, the group has produced unforgettable dance music for women and Macho Men alike, earning a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame between Liberace and Betty Grable. They were also recognized by Guinness World Records for the world’s largest “Y.M.C.A.” dance event, which took place at a Sun Bowl appearance in 2008. Eric Anzalone, better known as “The Biker,” says it’s a start-to-finish blast. “We are a party band. We’ve always been a party band. Some people refer to us as one of the original boy bands.” Costumes encouraged, so dress up as your favorite Village Person and relive all the memories with fellow fans. After all, it takes a village, people. Free show; starts at 8:30 p.m. SAM BYRD

Toyota Center, July 6
Few in the world of modern popular music have thought as big as Roger Waters, and fewer still have had the resources to make those thoughts a reality. This is true of his stage shows, obviously, The Wall Tour being so massive it made Kanye's mountain look like a molehill, but it's also true of the subject matter he tackles. It's hard to believe the same group that released “Seamus” also released Animals and The Final Cut, but Roger Waters had a vision, and in the process wrote songs that are scarily relevant to the world today. It seems only fitting in the age of Trump that he's back with his first new album in 25 years, a record that shows he still has a fire inside him, one that's burned solidly since millions heard the words “but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.” The release of Is This the Life We Really Want? means it's time for Waters to hit the road again for another live-music spectacular, visiting some markets for perhaps the final time. And he'll do it the way he's done it for so long now, speaking truth to power, whether the songs are brand-new or decades old. CORY GARCIA

Jones Plaza, July 7 (6 p.m.)
There's nothing in this world quite like a Big Freedia show, and no one quite like Big Freedia. For almost two decades, the bold, brassy bounce queen has brought her signature style of New Orleans dance hip-hop to the world. With an assist from Beyoncé, who featured Freedia on the earth-shattering Lemonade single "Formation," the artist has elevated her profile and her reach, and with it, a budget to put on a spectacular show. Freedia's songs are fast and frenetic, loaded with beats that make the whole crowd bump and shake; her performances are hot, sexy and, most important, liberated. There's no judgment at a Big Freedia show. It doesn't matter what your body is shaped like, the way your skin is colored. or whether or not the clothes you are wearing match the gender you were assigned at birth. Big Freedia creates a safe space for all of her fans to have a fun, free, booty-shaking good time. With DanRue & NicknPattiWhack and Monsta Wit Da Fade. KATIE SULLIVAN

Revention Music Center, July 9
Originally the lead guitarist for Metallica, Dave Mustaine was fired in 1983 because of his substance-abuse issues and his inability to play nice with the rest of the band. Fortunately — both for the California native and for fans of metal — he didn't waste any time before starting another group that would go on to enjoy more than three decades of success. He eventually sobered up and found God too, much to the chagrin of some of his fans. Megadeth developed into one of the most iconic thrash-metal acts alongside Slayer, Anthrax and, indeed, Metallica. The band has sold more than 50 million records worldwide and, following a brief hiatus in the early 2000s, has since released six albums, including last year's Grammy-winning Dystopia. Now Mustaine's fellow thrash-metal pioneers will visit Revention Music Center less than a month removed from Metallica's concert at NRG Stadium. With Meshuggah, TesseracT and Lillake; doors open at 5:30 p.m. MATTHEW KEEVER

White Oak Music Hall, July 9
Ska music isn't in vogue anymore, but Reel Big Fish doesn't seem to care. Twenty years removed from their biggest hit, "Sell Out," the California punk rockers are continuing down the same path that led to their relevance, current trends be damned. It has been five years since they last released an album, and they're touring because...because why not? Horns, uptempo punk and fun lyricism should be enough to get fans to show up on a Sunday night, especially since RBF hasn't visited the Bayou City since 2015 anyway. With the Expendables and The Queers. MATTHEW KEEVER

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