The Five Best Concerts in Houston This Week: Queen & Adam Lambert, New Edition, etc.
Free Radicals is both Nick Cooper's revolving-door ensemble that at any given moment could be playing free jazz, Latin funk or brass-band music, and also Cooper's ongoing testimonial to how much he digs being a member of the Houston music community. He has so much experience at this point that he has very much become a one-man hub of that community.
In 2012, Cooper brought that same kind of musical civic pride to the Radicals' first albumin several years, The Freedom Fence, and watched it win a well-deserved Houston Press Music Award for Local Album of the Year. The group's weekly jam, wherever it may be, is a true local-music institution. For a while (off and on) it's been at AvantGarden, a local-music institution of its own. CHRIS GRAY
Like Best Coast, the Donkeys are one of those bands that bathes in the abundant California sunshine and it just makes them sad. In ten years, the San Diego-based quartet has crafted four albums brimming with loneliness and melancholy, most recently this year's Ride the Black Wave. (See what we mean?). This music is geared for early-morning surfing runs, late-afternoon bong hits and late-night bonfires (the psych-y "Imperial Beach"). This is some supremely mellow shit, but it's beautiful too. With Iva Dawn and Deep Cvts. CHRIS GRAY
Queen feat. Adam Lambert
Toyota Center, July 9
The living members of Queen have always wanted to stay in the spotlight, it was always just a question of finding the right person to fill the massive shoes Freddie Mercury left behind. Luckily for them, Adam Lambert was picked for American Idol -- auditioning with "Bohemian Rhapsody" naturally -- and the only question was when the tour would actually take place.
Five years later, it's here, and while no one will ever actually replace Freddie Mercury ("icon" isn't even a strong enough word to describe him), Lambert is about as good as we can expect to get while Brian May and Roger Taylor are still alive. For one night at least, we can all be champions once again. CORY GARCIA
More shows on the next page.