Fifth Harmony/R5 Bayou Music Center, August 3/4
As the back-to-school countdown enters the home stretch, this week provides Houston-area teens two opportunities to see two of their recent pop crushes in person before the first bell rings. First up is Fifth Harmony, the five-piece all-girl group (including San Antonio native Ally Brooke Hernandez) whose made-for-TV origins on the U.S. version of The X Factor — placing third in the 2012 season — have, after some old-fashioned wall-to-wall touring, translated into real-world success; “Worth It (feat. Kid Ink),” their breakout single from 2015 debut album Reflections, sits at No. 12 and is climbing the Billboard Hot 100 as the group arrives in Houston. The screams will return the next night for R5, the pop-rock family band anchored by Disney Channel star Ross Lynch, who won Best Band and the “Show Stopper” award at the 2014 Radio Disney Music Awards, and debuted in Billboard's Top 10 last month with second album Sometime Last Night.
Good Old War House of Blues (Bronze Peacock Room), August 4
Pennsylvania folk-rockers Keith Goodwin and Dan Schwartz are the musical gears behind Good Old War, a band that combines synthesizers and dance beats with smart lyrics on its fourth album, Broken Into Better Shape. The single from the album, “Tell Me What You Want,” is a magnetic force field of radio-friendly harmonies and adorable lovers’ angst. Goodwin and Schwartz have reunited with original drummer for their first major tour in almost three years. This could be one of the hottest tickets in town this week. With Elliot Root and Pete Hill. (WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH)
Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis Main Street Crossing, August 5
The recent split between Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton might have robbed country music of its next great husband-and-wife duet act, except that their mutual output as an actual couple was so underwhelming it was all but nonexistent. No such problem for Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis, the so-called “First Couple of Texas Country” whose career as a duo kicked into another gear after nearly two decades of marriage with 2013’s Cheater’s Game and last year’s Our Year. In May they released a new single, a cover of Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter’s 1981 duet “Storms Never Last,” and embarked on a summer tour dubbed “Songs In the Key of Strife,” their tribute to the great country duos of yore. Tomball is the last stop, so expect stuffed with Conway & Loretta, George & Tammy, Johnny & June, Kenny & Dolly, and maybe even a little Bruce & Kelly while they’re at it.
Moji, INZI Nightingale Room, August 6
The cozy Nightingale Room is quickly becoming one of downtown’s hottest bars, thanks in no small part to its weekly no-cover concert series. Bands set up on the balcony so there’s never a bad seat, and a succession of Houston favorites (plus an Austin ringer or two) have made it a top Thursday-night destination for local-music lovers. This week presents a perfect opportunity for latecomers to check it out, pairing two of the area’s most compelling new female voices. Spring-based singer-songwriter INZI’s intimate alterna-pop has shades of both Disney and Tori Amos on her brand-new album Exist, which displays a practiced maturity well beyond her 19 years. Year-old trio Moji, meanwhile, swirls layers of mystery and intrigue into its hybrid of jazz, rock and soul, permitting Moji Abiola’s vocals to both anchor and soar above the music, good enough to score the trio three HPMA nominations. Good night to bring a date.
Outcry Tour 2015 Toyota Center, August 6
The prospect of winning over new fans have long made package tours attractive to artists, and the realm of Christian music is no different. With the rallying cry “Louder Together,” the Outcry tour aims to uplift as it entertains by blending some of the hottest acts in Christian music with some of some of its most popular inspirational speakers. Headlining is Hillsong UNITED, the group of praise musicians that grew out of the Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia, and turned into a Christian-music juggernaut — their 2013 single “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100, and “Touch the Sky,” the lead single from this year’s Empires album, is currently on top of iTunes’ Christian & Gospel chart. Also on this stop of the tour are Dove Award-winning Dallas worship leader Kari Jobe; Bethel Music, the northern California-based collective behind new album Without Words: Synesthesia; Lauren Daigle, a young singer from Lafayette, La.; Trip Lee, the rapper and author behind the “Built to Brag” movement; and more. See outcrytour.com for a full lineup.
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