Lucero's sound is soaked in whiskey and heartache.
Lucero's sound is soaked in whiskey and heartache.
Photo by Jamie Harmon/Courtesy of ATO Records

Shows of the Week: Salty Country-Punk From America's Capital of Soul

White Oak Music Hall, September 11
Hailing from a city known for its blues and barbecue, Lucero just might be Memphis' saltiest export. For nearly 20 years, the group has blended country and punk rock to form a unique and emotive sound, with Ben Nichols' raspy vocals serving as the backbone of every tune. Soaked in whiskey and heartache, Nichols' lyrics serve as a comfort and perhaps a warning to the downtrodden. Over the last decade, the band the band has added a bit of polish and production via brass and piano while maintaining its signature grit. Lucero's last album, 2015's All A Man Should Do, saw Nichols baring his soul in his signature self-deprecating way. Notably, on "I Woke Up in New Orleans," the front man sings of wanting to return home and change his ways while lamenting that it's probably a little too late to change the path he chose all those years ago. MATTHEW KEEVER

House of Blues, September 12
At some point in their 25-year history, Modest Mouse became a household name. The peculiar yet iconic group were darlings in indie-rock circles for years before breaking into the mainstream with 2004's Good News For People Who Love Bad News, much to the chagrin of many early fans. Despite their enduring career, Modest Mouse boasts a mere six studio albums to its name. But the band's parsimonious approach to recording and touring may have played a part in keeping their name in high demand. Modest Mouse last visited Houston in June of last year, when front man Isaac Brock referred to Houston as "essentially a FEMA camp." Coupled with a number of odd choices for their set list, the band wasn't too warmly received. This go-round, moved to House of Blues due to hurricane-related damages at Revention Music Center, we hope Brock makes a few more crowd-pleasing choices for his set list and keeps his mouth shut about the flooding. MATTHEW KEEVER

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White Oak Music Hall, September 15
After 2011 breakout LP We Are All Where We Belong, Austin favorites Quiet Company quickly caught on around the region with a dramatic, sometimes symphonic brand of modern rock characterized by metaphysical lyrics and cathartic concerts of ear-splitting intensity. Subsequent albums Dead Man On My Back and Transgressor bloomed the band’s fan base further still even as musicianhood exacted its toll on their personal lives. On last month’s six-song EP Your Husband, The Ghost, front man Taylor Muse bravely mines his recent divorce on six tracks whose typically hyper-specific titles — “We Should Go to Counseling,” “Oh, the Humanity!” — resonate with dark humor and grim resignation. Musically, meanwhile, Quiet Company remain in their creative prime. CHRIS GRAY

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, September 16
Hard to believe, but Zac Brown Band has been a thing on the mainstream country scene for nearly a decade now. Thanks to smash hits like “Chicken Fried,” “Colder Weather” and “Sweet Annie,” ZBB has notched four platinum albums among radio hits aplenty. And as good as the band sounds on record, their live show is where ZBB truly shines. The band’s natural talent, coupled with its longevity and familiarity, creates one of the more in-sync and up-tempo shows you’ll find in country music today. The band is touring to support of their latest album, Welcome Home, which was released in May. With Darrell Scott. CLINT HALE

Warehouse Live (Studio), September 17
A decade ago, Slim Thug and Z-Ro being good friends, much less partners in rhyme, seemed far-fetched. Yet here they are, nearly three years removed from when “Summertime" captured the hearts and minds of Houston radio enthusiasts, as well did purported A King and A Boss album. That being said, Ro and Slim are institutions, Houston stars who grew from their individual neighborhoods (Slim from the Northside, Ro from Ridgemont) into regional stars. Ro may be retired from recording albums, he says, but he can tour hereafter on his catalog like the Rolling Stones or Paul McCartney. Neither Ro nor Slim has to prove anything to anyone anymore. They're in that cushioned career spot where all of the jewels have been laid and all they have to do is collect. In a way, Slim's transition to full-rounded prosperity rapper has made him and Ro the perfect duo for one another. Both will tell you exactly how it is, and both will tell you that at the end of the day, survival is the most important thing. Early show; doors open at 3:30 p.m. BRANDON CALDWELL

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