Free Radicals AvantGarden, March 25
Free Radicals is both Nick Cooper's revolving-door ensemble that at any given moment could be playing free jazz or Latin funk, and also Cooper's ongoing testimonial to how much he digs being a member of the Houston music community. He has so much experience at this point that he has very much become a one-man hub of that community.
Last year Cooper brought that same kind of musical civic pride to the Radicals' first album in several years, The Freedom Fence, and then in July watched it win a well-deserved Houston Press Music Award for Local Album of the Year. The group's weekly jam, wherever it may be, is a true local-music institution. These days it happens to be at AvantGarden, a local-music institution of its own, and follows David Dove's They, Who Sound showcase -- still another. CHRIS GRAY
Scott Weiland House of Blues, March 26
Recently relieved of his Stone Temple Pilots duties -- at least as of this writing -- singer Scott Weiland jumps on the road once again as a solo act playing songs from STP's landmark pop-grunge albums Core and Purple, which are and soon will be 20 years old, respectively.
Frankly, Houston has been done dirty by Weiland in the past, whether he was coming on late at Warehouse Live at a 2009 solo gig, or barely surviving a 2010 STP show at the Woodlands that derailed the band's tour for a month and change. Be warned: Weiland is a mixed bag, but when his voice is firing on all cylinders and he's reasonably straight, he's a rock god. Otherwise, have your iPhone ready to take some damning video. CRAIG HLAVATY
Little Joe Washington Boondocks, March 26
Out of a Third Ward blues guitar school that has now graduated to the great beyond Albert Collins, Johnny Clyde Copeland, Johnny Guitar Watson and Joe Guitar Hughes, Little Joe Washington (who also appears on The Freedom Fence) is the last man standing.
And he's hardly standing still: he's also pedaling his Schwinn from gig to gig, Fender strapped to his back, doing things with it you've never heard before and never will again, and then passing his hat around for tips. Free show, though. JOHN NOVA LOMAX
Elton John Toyota Center, March 28
It's been a few years since Sir Elton John has come around these parts solo, after being joined by fellow hitmaker Billy Joel for his past couple of co-headlining trips. This time around, he's feting the fortieth anniversary of his classic single "Rocket Man" from 1972's Honky Chateau, the album that completed the career arc he began with Tumbleweed Connection and continued on Madman Across the Water.
After "Rocket Man," John's career took off and became legendary, as he and collaborator Bernie Taupin began tearing up the charts with single after single of piano-driven pop. John's recent set lists have centered on the most enduring hits you can now hear every five minutes on classic-rock radio, but he has also resurrected chestnuts like Chateau's "Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters" and Madman's "Holiday Inn" for the diehards. CRAIG HLAVATY
Soul Asylum Scout Bar, March 28
Soul Asylum has been touring at a steady clip the past few years, taking advantage of the newfound grunge revival that has already seen plenty of the band's still-living peers reintroducing themselves to fans of all ages. Well, namely the ones that are now pushing 50 and have kids of their own, and more importantly, disposable income.
Part-time New Orleans resident David Pirner is still the captain of the S.S. Soul Asylum, and shepherded tenth studio album Delayed Reaction into stores last year. Now the '90s alt-rockers are readying the release of an as-yet-untitled new disc for release this summer. With Recovery Room, A Thousand Colours and A Midnight in Chicago. CRAIG HLAVATY
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