The 30 Best Concerts In Houston Before Halloween

Photo by Jim Bricker
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Toyota Center, September 25

Hands up, everyone who is shocked that I picked this. One of two first-ballot Rock and Roll Hall of Famers on the fall concert docket are touring behind their strongest album in maybe two and a half decades, Hypnotic Eye, which sails an ornery garage-rock attitude through a few white-rabbit holes; mostly it reveals how much Petty and the boys enjoy jamming together after 40 fruitful years. Expect all the hits and a few cuts you weren't expecting, but don't expect the new stuff to be a license to hit the beer line, either. CHRIS GRAY

The Felice Brothers
Fitzgerald's, September 25

Bluegrass-meets-indie-rockers the Felice Brothers have been churning out album after album for many years now, never really jumping into the spotlight never straying too far from it. Their latest two releases have distanced themselves from the folk-based songs of their previous efforts, a needed direction for them to really progress as a band, but early rompers like "Frankie's Gun" and their on-point cover of Jimmie Rodgers' "T For Texas" are still what really do it for me. JIM BRICKER

Photo by Marco Torres
Marc Anthony
Toyota Center, September 27

"Como cambio de piel (how do I change)?" asks Marco Antonio Muñiz on his latest album, 3.0. Known to the world as Marc Anthony, this international salsa and pop superstar melds his Puerto Rican roots with a street-savvy NYC attitude that has elevated him to one of the most influential and top-selling Latin artists of our generation. His honesty permeates every aspect of his creativity, whether singing pop tracks with amigo Enrique Iglesias, acting in high-profile Hollywood dramas, or acting as an ambassador of salsa and musica tropical from his beloved Puerto Rico. MARCO TORRES

Drake vs. Lil Wayne
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, September 27

Rap tours these days are usually based around monolithic messages like Kanye West's extravagant "Yeezus" tour a year ago, or a reason to gather up a motley crue of performers who all have something to promote at the same time. Drake & Lil Wayne, however, can at least say they're literally attempting to battle one another every single night.

In terms of popularity, they may be 1a and 1b and their joint tour closes a two-month stretch where they're using fan participation to gauge the best man. Considering Lil Wayne is letting everyone know about Tha Carter V and Drake is globetrotting as the most consistent artist in the genre, it'll be hard to pick a winner. BRANDO

Also Picked By: Matthew Keever

Bayou Music Center, October 1

Carlos Santana has been a treasure of American music for more than 40 years and as many albums. Combining blues and rock with Latin-American rhythms, the fiery soul of his guitar enthralls listeners to open both heart and mind to his thrilling sonic experience. His new album, Corazón, is a combination of covers and duets with a constellation of talented Latinos such as Gloria Estefán, Pitbull, Juanes, Romeo Santos, and more, and has already been certified double platinum. MARCO TORRES

A Day to Remember, Bring Me the Horizon
NRG Arena, October 1

It's weird to think that there's a metalcore/pop-punk band big enough to play NRG Arena, and yet A Day to Remember exists. You may not hear them on the radio or see them on TV, but they've won the hearts and minds of a generation of kids who still think that rock music is pretty damn cool.

Add in the British monster that is Bring Me the Horizon and you've got quite possible the best 1-2 punch of scene music Bayou City will see this year. It's like the Warped Tour without all the bands you don't care about and that miserable sun. CORY GARCIA

Sam Smith
House of Blues, October 4

Until the inevitable occurs and Adele returns to change our lives once more, Sam Smith currently rules the land when it comes to downtrodden British pop-soul music. The 22-year-old broke major ground by appearing on Disclosure's "Latch" last year, and his own solo moments have reduced many to tears or wondering about their own status in life.

"Stay With Me" registers as one of the year's most stirring performances based on Smith's vocal range alone, which he has in spades. His first Houston appearance comes in with a penciled can't-miss tag, as he's one of the lone males on the R&B circuit actually singing about love and heartbreak. [Note: this show is already sold out.] BRANDO

Also Picked By: Ivan Guzman

House of Blues, October 3

After 2010's self-titled release was met with a collective shrug and following the departure of long-time bassist/co-founder Carlos Dengler, Interpol looked like it might be down for the count. But after a short hiatus and two solo albums from vocalist Paul Banks, the NYC band regrouped and found enough inspiration to release what might be their best album since 2002 debut Turn on the Bright Lights. The first two singles released from El Pintor were enough to blow Interpol's eponymous release out of the water, and a once-over of the entire record via NPR confirmed these suspicions. [Note: this show has already sold out.] MATTHEW KEEVER

Jimmy Cliff
House of Blues, October 5

Many people know little of reggae beyond Bob Marley, or, more specifically, his still-selling Legend. While Bob's imprint on reggae is undeniable, that world was and continues to be packed with an amazing amount of equally talented singer-songwriters who have been churning out one meaningful tune after another for decades.

Toots Hibbert, Bunny Wailer, Gregory Issacs, Burning Spear, and many other artists have made reggae much more than that one "greatest hits" record that Marley probably never even wanted to release in the first place, but Jimmy Cliff may be the first among equals. As heard on his 2012 album Rebirth, his show will be full of positive vibes and even better people. JIM BRICKER

Beck, Jenny Lewis
Bayou Music Center, October 9

Beck doesn't comes around often, and many of Jenny Lewis' fans thought she'd written off Houston for good after her 2009 appearance here when a talkative crowd forced her to cut a slow song short out of frustration. But thanks to the fact that both are in the Lone Star State for Austin's ACL Festival, we've been granted a second chance from Lewis, and a long-overdue stop from Beck in the same show. These two L.A. acts both have a heavy following, so this show will likely be full of diehard fans. Grab tickets while they're still for sale. ALYSSA DUPREE

Also Picked By: Jim Bricker

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Noelle A. Perry
Noelle A. Perry

Coheed and Cambria! And Nothing More tonight! Anberlin is also playing their final tour. They're playing HoB on October 25.

Sami Marie
Sami Marie

30 Seconds to Mars & Linkin Park next Friday!! :D

Nue Wayv
Nue Wayv

Insane Clown Posse, We Came As Romans, GWAR. Theory of a Deadman, The Gaslight Anthem/Against Me!, Buckcherry, The Pretty Reckless, Fitz and the Tantrums, Children of Bodom, Authority Zero and lots more.

Jeannie LeBlanc Moss
Jeannie LeBlanc Moss

So far on my calendar... Beck, Macy Gray, Iggy Azelea (with the teenager), Mike Watt and we have to choose between J. Roddy Walston & the Business and The Melvin's (both playing 10/30)!!


That new Crowbar has some pretty crushin' riffs.  Sad to see Kirk out of Down, but my lord...

Nina Marie
Nina Marie

So bummed about Sam Smith being sold out :-/

Scott Fuchs
Scott Fuchs

American Aquarium tomorrow night Firehouse Saloon.

Ken Roberts
Ken Roberts

Rodrigo y Gabriela (October 15 at Bayou Music Center) is missing from this list. They're in the running for the the best concert I've ever attended (along with Sigur Rós and Zoë Keating). They're virtuoso guitar players who, unlike others of their ilk, actually create music that is great to listen to in addition to being impressive.

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