The Best Concerts In Houston This Week

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Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Fitzgerald's, January 21

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion has been back preaching the blues gospel and garage wail for three years now, since reissuing their catalog to rave reviews and excitement from fans young and old. The trio -- Jon Spencer, Judah Bauer and Russell Simins -- has become easily one of the most influential groups of the '90s, to say nothing of Spencer's work with Pussy Galore and Boss Hog. The JSBX broke down doors for the likes of the Black Keys, Eagles of Death Metal, and most anything Jack White has touched since MTV first aired the clip for "Wail" in 1996. With Weird Party. CRAIG HLAVATY


The Blues Is Always No. 1 for Jon Spencer

Jeff Mangum Wortham Center (Cullen Theatre), January 21

For indie-rock fans, particularly aficionados of '90s lo-fi, an in-the-flesh audience with Jeff Mangum is something akin to a chance to pet a unicorn. With a loose collection of associates known as Neutral Milk Hotel, the Louisiana native made two albums, 1996's Avery Island and 1998's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, using little more than an acoustic guitar, a slight drone, a lingering heartache and a lot of fantastical imagery.

Aeroplane in particular struck a chord with fans, thanks to its dream-haunting melodies that have been often imitated but never duplicated. Mangum effectively disappeared from sight shortly after its release and sporadically returned to the stage about five years ago; this outing that brings him to the Wortham Monday may be the first full-scale proper tour of his career. Understandably, the show is sold out. CHRIS GRAY

Underoath House of Blues, January 23

One of the biggest bands to come from the Christian metal scene, Florida's Underoath is calling it a career after seven albums and 15 years of work. But they're giving fans one last tour before they split up, and taking some of their favorite buddy bands along for the ride. The members have termed the ending of their time together as "heartbreaking," but have all admitted it was time to move on to something new.

To commemorate the end, last year the group released the career retrospective Anthology: 1999-2013, which included two new cuts to go with a slew of hits and fan faves. With mewithoutYou, As Cities Burn and Letlive. CRAIG HLAVATY

Nashville Pussy Walters, January 24

Nashville Pussy is a somewhat unusual name for a family band, but they've been steered by singer Blaine Cartwright and lead-guitarist wife Ruyter Suys -- named the No. 2 female rocker of all time by VH1's That Metal Show not long ago -- since the Atlanta hard-rock quartet formed in 1996. The group's six studio albums, including 1999 debut Let Them Eat Pussy and 2002's Say Something Nasty, are filthy with R-rated ZZ Top-style boogie-rock that plays up their adoration of the bearded ones even further on 2009's From Hell to Texas. With the Drunks and Donkey Punch. CHRIS GRAY

Zappa Plays Zappa House of Blues, January 24

Led by the late Frank Zappa's son oldest Dweezil, who inherited some of his father's guitar skill, Zappa Plays Zappa is the preeminent traveling Zappa tribute show going. It's also Dweezil's love letter to his father's body of work, which has only grown more mythic since Frank passed away in 1993. Most tours come with a special guest or two, and sometimes former Papa Zappa sidemen come along for the ride. Last year bassist Scott Thunes, a Zappa band member through the '80s, joined Dweezil and company. CRAIG HLAVATY

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