The Best Concerts in Houston This Week: August Alsina, Better Than Ezra, KISS, etc.

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August Alsina Warehouse Live, August 29

This show has already sold out, so time to hit up the "secondary market." But August Alsina is that hot, no thanks to rumors that he's now dating Nicki Minaj. She's definitely a fan of the New Orleans-bred singer's "No Love" single, because she appears on the now-viral remix. That's nothing new for Alsina, 21 years old and part of the YouTube generation of artists whose record deals are a direct result of their homemade videos; or at least the number of views those videos have accrued.

After two well-received volumes of his The Product mixtape, Alsina is now on the Def Jam roster and in April released his full-length LP, Testimony, leading with his hit duet with rapper Trinidad James, "I Luv This Shit."

Better Than Ezra House of Blues, August 29

Almost everyone remembers Better Than Ezra from "Good," their 1995 hit that helped beat back rock's tide of post-grunge gloom and opened the door for similar guitar-pop bands like Matchbox 20, Fastball and Vertical Horizon. But while "Good" may be the headline, Kevin Griffin's Louisiana trio has enjoyed a successful career as a working band ever since,

Besides staying on the road and adult-contemporary radio, Ezra releases a new album every so often; next month's All Together Now will be their first in five years. Whether due to the band's cheerful tunes or its relative proximity, Houston has developed into Ezra's biggest market outside their hometown of New Orleans. With Baby Bee.

KISS, Def Leppard Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, August 31

If there's a better summer arena/amphitheater tour by aging glam-rockers out there somewhere, it hasn't surfaced yet -- and we're quickly running out of summer. Neither KISS nor Def Leppard hardly needs an introduction, and fans know they'll be getting plenty of pyro, a few power-ballad singalongs, and dozens of riffs that have stood the test of time, whether you were weaned on "Strutter" or "Pour Some Sugar On Me."

Historically, both bands rank in the very top tier of balancing metal sleaze with pop-song smarts, and over-the-top stage productions that are the essence of stadium-rock excess. If somehow you've never seen either one (or even both) in concert yet, you totally should.

Kentucky Headhunters Dosey Doe, August 31

It seems like another lifetime ago that the Kentucky Headhunters were among Nashville's leading rabble-rousers, but it's still easy enough to detect a shot or two of the quartet's bourbon in latter-day stars from Florida Georgia Line to Cadillac Three. Formed in Edmonton, Ky. (midway between Music City and Louisville), the Headhunters date back to an actual shack in the rolling Appalachian hills in the late '60s, but the band as we know them now truly arrived with 1989's Grammy-winning Pickin' On Nashville.

Unapologetically aligning themselves with both the ZZ Top/Skynyrd Southern-rock camp and the Charlie Daniels/Hank Jr. outlaw-country school, the Headhunters set a course on that album they have followed to this day with heavy touring and occasional LPs such as 2011's Dixie Lullabies.

More shows on the next page.

Jared Blake: Former Voice singer aims to follow in Eric Church's bootsteps -- but oddly enough for Nashville these days, is also standing up for sobriety. New single "Stomp" is awfully catchy. (Firehouse Saloon, August 29)

Maze feat. Frankie Beverly, Patti LaBelle, Ruben Studdard: Grown folks' night out; look sharp. (Toyota Center, August 30)

We Were Wolves: Punishing, QOTSA-esque local rockers -- who we still think are slightly metal -- have a cool new video out in "Space Whip." Free show. (Warehouse Live Green Room, August 30)

The Hunger: Free show by the owner's band, one of the most underrated Houston groups of the past 30 years. Discuss. (Scout Bar, August 31)

No Flex Zone: Official afterparty for the Prairie View/TSU Labor Day Classic with DJs ALO, Tat Tat, Wall and Rai P. (Warehouse Live Ballroom, August 31)

Happy Labor Day: Enjoy your Monday...you've earned it!


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