JD McPherson Continental Club, March 1
Tickets are already getting scarce for one JD McPherson, who is rapidly rising out of obscurity via Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. McPherson came by his bopping R&B/rockabilly sound honestly, by studying vintage labels such as Vee-Jay and Specialty, and then working his love of the Pixies, the Smiths, the Clash, and even Wu-Tang Clan into the fine-print details.
The results will be released on his Rounder debut, Signs & Signifiers, in April. Not long ago the Houston Press happened to be in nearby record shop Sig's Lagoon -- where tickets might still be available -- and owner Tomas Escalante told us, "this will be one of those shows everybody says they were there but only a few people really were." CHRIS GRAY
Drew Ireland Benefit With Venomous Maximus, Weird Party, Fight Pretty, Bowel, Bury The Crown Walters, March 2
Houston native/musician Drew Ireland is currently volunteering in Kryzhopil, a small village in the Ukraine, teaching young kids English as a second language. Ireland is need of updated supplies, and some of his friends here in the Bayou City are putting on a show to help him out. The benefit is headed up by Venomous Maximus and Weird Party, and features reunion sets by Fight Pretty and Bowel, with Bury the Crown added in for good measure.
The cover charge is $10, with all the cash going to Ireland's cause. When the show was initially announced, an outpouring of donations for Ireland's class came from all over Texas, and hopefully Saturday's show will help out some needy kids thousands of miles away. CRAIG HLAVATY
Mike Doughty McGonigel's Mucky Duck, March 2
You all know Mike Doughty as the lead singer of quirky '90s rockers Soul Coughing ("Super Bon Bon," "Circles"), but since 2000 he has been a solid touring solo act, releasing a smattering of electrified folk EPs and full-lengths.
His first solo stab, 1996's Skittish, seems to the template for most of the stuff that cats like Jack Johnson and others would take to the bank. Doughty has songs in the hundreds, so his setlists for any given gig are like snowflakes. Let's hope he plays "Busting Up a Starbucks". CRAIG HLAVATY
Wheel Workers, Jealous Creatures, Second Lovers Fitzgerald's, March 2
Three of Houston's brightest up-and-coming bands join forces with one Wandering Bufalero -- aka local rootsman Dwight Taylor Lee's Houston-focused covers project -- for an excellent local bill. Saturday, Wheel Workers use the occasion to debut Past to Present, which melds the dreaminess of early-'90s Britpop and shoegaze with the electro-laced sincerity of prime '00s indie groups like Death Cab for Cutie, while venturing into rockier waters on "Fine Time" and "Compromise."
Also on the bill are Jealous Creatures, whose ballistic Bazooka is one of the better alt-pop albums to come out of here in some time, and Second Lovers, the folk-rock crew who reached extra bases their first time at bat on last year's Wishers, Dreamers and Liars. CHRIS GRAY
FIVE OTHER SHOWS YOU MIGHT CONSIDER
Mary J. Blige: Never dethroned as the queen of hip-hop soul. Get some. (Reliant Stadium, March 1)
Dale Watson: The unreconstructed Bakersfield throwback (via Austin's Broken Spoke) is always a honky-tonk sure thing. Blanco's, however, is not anymore. (Blanco's, March 1)
DJ Rick Mitchell: All Texas music all night from the former Chronicle critic and iFest director. Happy Texas Independence Day! (Leon's Lounge, March 1)
Coheed and Cambria, Between the Buried and Me, Russian Circles: Black-light alt-rock, serious neo-hardcore and freaky post-rock for your Friday-night fun. (Bayou Music Center, March 1)
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Turisas, Firewind: Finnish and Greek folk-metal? Why not? (Warehouse Live, March 2)