Sons of Texas Scout Bar, February 16
An early leader in the race for the Lone Star State's breakout band of 2015, Sons of Texas have come storming not out of one of Texas' big cities but the Rio Grande Valley, as their "Baptized In the Rio Grande" has already become one of the year's most added Active Rock tracks. Drawing liberally from the power-metal grooves dug by fellow Texans Pantera -- and making absolutely no apologies for it -- the upcoming album of the same name (due in March on Razor & Tie) is muscular in just about every aspect, from Mike Morales' vocals to Jes de Hoyos' guitar work and the fraternal rhythm section of Mike and Nick Villarreal. Monday's spot ahead of Houston's Like Monroe and Massachusetts veterans All That Remains is just one of many opportunities Sons of Texas will have this year to prove they can slug it out with rock's big boys.
Michael McDonald Stafford Centre, February 16
Blessed with one of the most instantly recognizable blue-eyed soul voices in history, Michael McDonald is a yacht-rock icon as well as a willing ambassador to the adjoining territories of country, R&B and even hip-hop via the "I Keep Forgettin'" sample in Warren G's "Regulate." Also, his use as an affectionate punchline in The 40-Year Old Virgin ("if I hear 'Yah Mo B There one more time...") shows how deeply that impossibly smooth tenor has permeated our collective unconscious.
The St. Louis native joined the Doobie Brothers after a hitch with Steely Dan, in time to become the architect of some of the soft-rock behemoths' biggest hits like "Takin' It to the Streets" and "What a Fool Believes." His on-and-off estrangement from the group ended again with last year's Southbound, a new album of Doobies classics studded with Nashville stars like Brad Paisley and the Zac Brown Band.
Maroon 5 Toyota Center, February 17
The dreamy and debonair Maroon 5 can make as good a claim to the the title of the 21st century's most successful band as anyone else. Since ruling the airwaves with the multi-format crossover smash "This Love" in early 2004, the L.A. group's brand of easy-on-the-ears but ever-so-slightly edgy pop-soul has been a constant presence on Top 40 radio and pop culture, even moreso since singer Adam Levine assumed one of the judges' chairs on NBC's The Voice in 2011; he's now in his eighth season. The band's latest album is last year's V, which has already turned out another pair of Top 5 winners in "Maps" and "Animals."
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Pete Yorn Fitzgerald's, February 18
Pete Yorn hasn't released an album in almost half a decade (2010's Pete Yorn), so the malleable singer-songwriter is taking this opportunity to reintroduce himself to fans on the most intimate terms possible: just him and a guitar on the "You and Me" acoustic tour. The 40-year-old New Jersey native does have another album on the way, so expect songs from that, as well as selections from his 2001 breakthrough debut Musicforthemorningafter. He won't be hurting for material for the rest of the set either, given his three other LPs and multitude of side projects and one-offs; namely Scarlett Johansson cabaret-duets record Break Up and Yorn's bell-bottomed duo with artist/musician J.D. King, the Olms.
Bobby Whitlock & Coco Carmel McGonigel's Mucky Duck, February 19
Memphis native and current Austinite Bobby Whitlock infused his hometown's trademark soul into a handful of rock's most seminal early-'70s albums, most prominently as Eric Clapton's second in command on Derek & the Dominos' Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, but also George Harrison's All Things Must Pass and (albeit uncredited) the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street. Later in the '70s, Whitlock also made a series of solo albums that saw many greats of the era -- Slowhand included -- return the favor. For the past decade or so Whitlock and wife Coco Carmel have teamed up for a successful rock-cabaret act that prominently features many of his early-'70s classics, as soulful as ever if not more.
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