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Houston Concert Watch 7/3: Chicago and More

Chicago onstage at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in 2017
Chicago onstage at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in 2017
Photo by Bob Ruggiero

Happy Fourth of July, everyone. While many of us will be heading out of town for some much-needed time in a body of water somewhere, just as many Houstonians will remain in the Bayou City this weekend, hopefully near a pool and within reach of a hot dog. For those of you staying in town, we've complied a list of the best music in the Bayou City between today and next Tuesday, highlighting an iconic classic rock outfit, a revered guitarist, a seasoned R&B crooner, a Houston-based oddball rapper, some indie rock acts and a pair of ska legends. Keep scrolling for the specifics.

Pick of the Week: Chicago
Smart Financial Centre – 07.03

For 52 years now, Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane and James Pankow have served as the backbone of Chicago, the rock band named for the city in which it was formed. Originally the Chicago Transit Authority, the group has sold more than 100 million records worldwide over a career spanning 24 studio albums, picking up 10 Grammy nominations along the way. (Alas, they've only won once.) Aided by a revolving door of touring members - which is kind of the norm for classic acts these days - the original trio will visit Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land tonight for an evening of politically-driven, jazz-infused rock ballads.

The Best of the Rest:

Ne-Yo
Arena Theater – 07.05

Before fans clamored to hear mumble rappers bemoan how terribly they treat their paramours, there was Ne-Yo. The Arkansas-born, Nevada-raised singer cut his teeth writing tracks for other artists - notably "Let Me Love You" by Mario and "Irreplaceable" by Beyonce - before making a name for himself in 2016 with his breakthrough debut, In My Own Words. Thirteen years later, his star doesn't shine as brightly as it once did, but his reputation as a standup guy and standout performer precedes him. Also, "So Sick" remains one of the most meta, anti-love songs of the past quarter decade. Fans will get the chance to him perform it live this Friday at Arena Theater.

Devin The Dude
Scout Bar – 07.06
Despite being a critically-acclaimed rapper, Devin the Dude has not experienced much mainstream success. His peculiar flow has landed him guest appearances alongside the likes of Ice Cube, Too $hort, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Jay-Z - never mind just about every Houston rapper you've ever heard of - but the respect of his peers just hasn't resulted in album sales. That's unfortunate for the Michigan-born transpalnt, but the silver lining - for fans, anyway - is that Devin remains an approachable figure in the Houston hip hop scene. He performs at Scout Bar in Clear Lake this Saturday, and fans of lyrically-driven hip hop should celebrate the opportunity to see and hear this oddball up close and personal.

Santana, The Doobie Brothers
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion – 07.07

Santana has been performing for half a century. In that time, he's released an album - either with his band or as a solo act - just about every year and a half, proving that there's not enough acid in the world to slow down the iconic Mexican American guitarist. While some of us are still reeling from his show at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo earlier this year, those who wanted a little more than RodeoHouston's time constraints would allow will get their due this Sunday when the 71-year-old will performs with The Doobie Brothers at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

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Young The Giant, Fitz And The Tantrums
White Oak Music Hall – 07.07

Young The Giant have joined forces with Fitz And The Tantrums, both from California, to bring a heavy dose of indie pop and neo soul to White Oak Music Hall this Sunday. While The Tantrums haven't released a proper album since their 2016 self-titled outing, which received mixed reviews, a steady stream of singles has fans clamoring for their next record. Young The Giant, meanwhile, is still on tour in support of last year's Mirror Master, a personal endeavor following the politically-driven Home Of The Strange. Despite some recent missteps, both outfits remain beloved in the indie scene, and their performances this weekend should be chock-full of well-known hits, including "Cough Syrup" and "Moneygrabber."

Reel Big Fish, The Aquabats
White Oak Music Hall – 07.09
When Reel Big Fish and The Aquabats announced their co-headlining tour, RBF frontman Aaron Barrett told fans, "Come out and party like it's 1997," and there's something to be said about that level of self-awareness. The two Orange County ska outfits hit kicked off their two-and-a-half week tour in Pittsburgh yesterday, and they'll visit White Oak Music Hall next Tuesday. It's a short-lived pairing of two mainstays of a genre that hasn't held its appeal in recent years, but if past ska concerts serve as any indication, their performances will be as energetic as that of any chart-topping pop star, minus the outlandish stage designs.

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