Journey, Steve Miller Band, Tower of Power The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, May 23
Don't. Stop. Believing. Three words that on their own are somewhat unremarkable, but when put together form the foundation of one of rock's best feel good anthems. Journey isn't a one song band by any means, but a song like "Don't Stop Believing" gets special recognition for being pretty damn special. That said, if you don't get a stirring in your chest when "Faithfully" starts up... well... I'd tell you to feel bad but clearly you're incapable of feelings.
Make sure you leave for The Pavilion early, because you're not going to want to miss seeing the opening act, The Steve Miller Band. Don't act for a moment like you've never wanted to hear "The Joker" or "Abracadrabra" live. Yes, they'll be playing "Fly Like an Eagle" and "Take the Money and Run" too, but you know deep down you've always wanted to be the Gangster of Love. CORY GARCIA
Radney Foster, Robert Ellis, Jimmy Lafave McGonigel's Mucky Duck, May 23 & 24
Somewhat like Robert Earl Keen, Radney Foster is a godfather of the Texas country/Red Dirt circuit who still makes records as good as ever, and whose gifts often shine brightest in intimate acoustic settings. That's certainly the case on his brand-new Everything I Should Have Said, where romantic rewards and recriminations alike weigh heavy on songs such as "Hard Light of Day" and "The Man You Want."
Anchoring a cross-generational weekend of top singer-songwriters at the Duck, Friday Foster takes the late spot after former Houstonian Robert Ellis, who just picked up three Americana Music Awards nominations last week behind his album The Lights From the Chemical Plant. Saturday he precedes Jimmy LaFave, the Austin transplant who is one of the truest heirs of fellow Oklahoman Woody Guthrie's populist "This Machine Kills Fascists" tradition. CHRIS GRAY
Super Freestyle Explosion feat. Stevie B Reliant Arena, May 24
If you're going to put on a nostalgia concert you might as well go all in on the talent, which is exactly what the Super Freestyle Explosion has done with epic old-school acts like Stevie B and Lisa Lisa, for starters. Known as the "king of freestyle," Stevie B and his sweet signature hair brought us the Latin-infused dance-pop perfection of late-'80s/early-'90s songs like "Because I Love You (The Postman Song)" and "I Wanna Be The One."
And if you don't remember Lisa Lisa, you're obviously too young to remember when her band Cult Jam was everywhere thanks in part to 1986's big-haired sob song "All Cried Out." As a bonus, they're bringing even more counterparts in tow: Expose, Debbie Deb and Shannon ("Let the Music Play"), who will keep those serious old school jamz going well into the wee hours. ANGELICA LEICHT
Morrissey Ford Arena, May 25
For those of you who don't have a Google alert set up to give you round the clock coverage of Morrissey's existence, here are some things that he's done lately that you might have missed: he joined Twitter; he turned 55; he has a new single; he got up close and personal with a lot of fans in San Jose. All of those are true things that happened... except the Twitter part. That was apparently a fake.
Still, it says a lot about the world's interest in him that the mere idea of him joining Twitter would be a news story. Yes, seeing him in person this tour will require driving out to Beaumont, but come on; you have a three day weekend so you might as well make it the best Sunday Funday ever. CORY GARCIA
Micky & the Motorcars Firehouse Saloon, May 24
Steered by the youngest two brothers of the same Austin-via-Idaho clan that spawned regional stars Reckless Kelly, Micky & the Motorcars share a relentless road-dog ethic and Joe Ely/Steve Earle rockin'-country sensibility, but are hardly a carbon copy. Since debuting in 2003 with the self-released Which Way From Here, the Motorcars have sent a number of songs into the Texas Music Chart's Top 10 and got a sense of their fans' loyalty earlier this year by blowing past their goal of $35,000 to raise more than $45,000 for their next album on Kickstarter. The result, Hearts From Above, is produced by Reckless Kelly front man/older brother Willy Braun (a family first) and due out this summer. With Cody Bryan Band. CHRIS GRAY
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