Imagine Dragons House of Blues, February 12
You've seen the name all over, from Blog A to Blog B, and the haircuts should look mighty familiar. This Las Vegas act has a sound in the same vein as Passion Pit and AWOLNATION, two acts with a veritable stranglehold on the rock dollar these days. Their latest, Night Visions, is all crashing drums, uplifting choruses, and car-commercial quirk. "On Top of the World" could sell a Jetta or soundtrack a high-school graduation. That's called "smart." With Atlas Genius and Nico Vega. CRAIG HLAVATY
Shinyribs Natachee's Supper N' Punch, February 12
Recently featured late-night weekend TV's Texas Music Scene, the Gourds' Kevin Russell brings his barefoot, belly-rubbin', fractured roots music to the the down-home Mid-Main eatery's monthly happy-hour concert series sponsored by KPFT's Lone Star Juke Box. Order seconds. CHRIS GRAY
fun. Bayou Music Center, February 13
Since forming out of the ashes of The Format in 2008, fun. has steadily climbed the indie ranks to become one of the biggest rock bands of the past two years. Melding mid-period Queen, afro-punk, and a healthy dose of bright-eyed power-pop, fun. has managed to convert even the most aggro radio listeners into grinning idiots with singles like "We Are Young" and "Some Nights," the title track off last year's mainstream breakthrough.
We assume that the next stop for fun. is massive festival main stages and that challenging follow-up album, but it's great to see yet another Fueled By Ramen act go worldwide. That emo-indie label has come along way from the Hippos and the Impossibles. With Andrew McMahon. CRAIG HLAVATY
Dustin Welch Under the Volcano, Feburary 13
Son of Americana singer-songwriter Kevin Welch, Dustin Welch currently calls Austin home and is no stranger to Houston. He shares a taste for life's seedy side with Tom Waits, as well as a poet's ear for writing about it.
Wednesday is the release party for his second CD, Tijuana Bible, which Welch says was partially inspired by Joseph Campbell and Keith Richards. (Hey, why not?) He will also introduce it with a Cactus Music in-store at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday; selections from Tijuana Bible are now streaming at www.dustinwelch.com. CHRIS GRAY
Tank House of Blues, February 13
Taking his stage name from his buff physique, the R&B singer-songwriter born Durrell Babbs has developed from contributing a few songs to Dave Hollister's Chicago '85... the Movie album in 2000 into one of the most prolific artists in contemporary soul. His songwriting and production credits include Kelly Rowland, Keyshia Cole, Joe and Jaime Foxx, while boudoir tales like "Don't Give Up" and the less R-Rated "Next Breath" have positioned him as a top crooner as well. Tank's most recent album, last year's This is How I Feel, debuted in the Billboard Top 10 and topped the R&B Albums chart. CHRIS GRAY
Sexual Side Effects Mango's, February 14
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Inspired by X and Chrissie Hynde, the Atlanta-based rockers who were such a hit at last year's Pride Houston festivities make an appropriately amorous Valentine's Day date at Mango's on their "Franken-Tour" with Houston goth-pop chanteuse La Catrin and DJ Damon Allen. CHRIS GRAY