The Five Best Concerts In Houston This Week: Doughbeezy, Peter Murphy, Steve Martin, etc.

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Photos courtesy of South Central Music
John Egan
The Big Easy, July 28

Give John Egan credit for taking chances. The longtime solo Houston bluesman's new album, Amulet, is in some respects the polar opposite of its 2012 predecessor, Phantoms. Besides bringing in a few side musicians and respected Americana producer R.S. Field (Billy Joe Shaver, Webb Wilder), Egan has expanded his songwriting reach to include Latin-tinged jazz and melancholy pop, showing he's less reliant on his Resonator guitar's unforgiving tone but comfortable keeping the instrument as his anchor.

The end result is a softer mood than Phantoms, whose songs sometimes showed visibly bared teeth, but Amulet's overall disquieting feel suggests Egan has done little to ward off the same tormentors who were after him last time. CHRIS GRAY

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South Mouth: Alt-Country Firebrand Robbie Fulks Returns

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courtesy of Bloodshot Records
Robbie Fulks has something to say about Nashville: "Fuck this town"
It's been interesting to watch the career transformation of Robbie Fulks.

The Chicago picker and writer grabbed some notoriety -- and a decent alt-country cult following -- after his frustrations with trying to "make it" in Nashville in the mid-'90s led to his did-he-really-say-that tune, "Fuck This Town."

The entire No Depression nation screamed a big "Hell, yes" to Fulks' wry observations on his 1997 album South Mouth.


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The 10 Best Concerts in Houston This Weekend: Rock Baby Rock It, Craig Kinsey, Bri Bagwell and More

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Love Dominique
Warehouse Live (Green Room), July 25

Local diva Love Dominique's 2013 EP Wicked Heart did well in two unsigned-talent contests sponsored by Billboard and the Grammys, but her eponymous full-length album (available now) makes a more proper introduction. Its 11 electronically-guided tunes set a sexy mood begging for long nights of candlelight, bubble baths, satin nighties and other kinds of lovers' play, while a few songs are so chilled out they almost qualify as ambient music.

Still, bedroom jams like "Slow Grind" and "Feels Good" push right up on the PG-13/R line but rein in the dirty talk (barely), while more up-tempo fare like "If It Ain't Us" and "Park and Ride" seem destined for long life on Majic 102-like stations. Overall, Love Dominique makes a satisfyingly seductive near-debut that still leaves plenty of room for Houston's latest hometown R&B ingenue to mature.

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The Five Best Shows in Houston This Week: Wrestlers, John Legend, Rock Baby Rock It, etc.

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Photo by Jasmine Lee Richardson
DJ Sun
The Flat, July 21

On last year's One Hundred -- amazingly, his first-ever full-length release -- DJ Sun pours his 20-plus-year career as one of Houston's most in-demand DJs into a seamless work that never lulls, never lags and maintains an unshakably mellow groove throughout. Its intricately laid-back latticework should come as no surprise to anyone lucky enough to have met the man and easily made it one of 2013's standout Houston albums.

Among his multitude of weekly gigs, Sun's long-running "Rocksteady Mondays" residency at the Flat, where he is now managing partner, is probably the most chill environment to glimpse this true turntable craftsman at work. CHRIS GRAY

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The 10 Best Concerts in Houston This Weekend: Jay Z & Beyoncé, Invincible Czars, New Mercies

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Photo by Robin Harper
Jay Z & Beyonce
Minute Maid Park, July 18

So far one of the biggest blockbuster tours of 2014, with a top ticket price of $251 to match, has not been a disappointment in terms of drama. Jay Z's elevator brawl with sister-in-law Solange made a fitting prologue, and then came Beyonce's recent onstage insinuations of her husband/partner's possible infidelity via some new lyrics to her B'Day song "Resentment."

Or it could all just be an act, part of the couple's carefully constructed bad-girl/boy personas for this "On the Run" summer outing. At the very least, Minute Maid Park should make a fine venue (as stadiums go) to catch two of the millennium's biggest pop stars at the peak of their considerable powers, with the added benefit of the Houston media going absolutely haywire with Beyonce sightings anytime the Beyhive's queen is back in her hometown.

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The Five Best Shows in Houston This Week: Rakim, Lady Gaga, the Neighbourhood, etc.

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Photo courtesy of South Central Music
John Egan
The Big Easy, July 14

Give John Egan credit for taking chances. The longtime solo Houston bluesman's new album, Amulet, is in some respects the polar opposite of its 2012 predecessor, Phantoms. Besides bringing in a few side musicians and respected Americana producer R.S. Field (Billy Joe Shaver, Webb Wilder),

Egan has expanded his songwriting reach to include Latin-tinged jazz and melancholy pop, showing he's less reliant on his Resonator guitar's unforgiving tone but comfortable keeping the instrument as his anchor. The end result is a softer mood than Phantoms, whose songs sometimes showed visibly bared teeth, but Amulet's overall disquieting feel suggests Egan has done little to ward off the same tormentors who were after him last time. CHRIS GRAY

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The 10 Best Shows in Houston This Weekend: Zomboy, JT, Ian Moore, Sheryl Crow, etc.

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Zomboy
Stereo Live, July 11

One thing you learn seeing Zomboy is that he doesn't play around when it comes to trying to crush your body with waves of bass. The man born Joshua Jenkin starts things off intense and it pretty much stays that way the entire time; forget zombies and ordinary monsters, we're talking kaiju-level sonic destruction. It's a noisy, chaotic, wild, but ultimately entertaining experience.

Whether you're the type to dance until your feet give out or just want to stand around and simply survive the onslaught, Zomboy will give you a lot to love. Just consider bringing earplugs; your hearing loss won't come back from the dead. With Cookie Monsta and Eptic. CORY GARCIA

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An Easy Guide to The Box's 97.9 The Concert

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Secret shows in Houston don't always stay that way. It's also not a secret that 97.9 The Box has been making quite certain its focus on local rappers is heard vociferously.

Last year, the first edition of 97.9 The Concert featured a number of who's who in the local rap community. Propain, he of the 2013 Mixtape of the Year and all-around Houston star down to the twang, headlined along with BeatKing. The second, taking place Thursday at presumed location House of Blues, has the distinction of being just as diverse with a few new wrinkles added in. (Follow #BoxPopUpShop for ticket locations.)

There are numerous artists on the bill, some recognizable, some you may possibly be hard-pressed to pick out of a police lineup. That's where I come in.


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Queen's Best Deep Cuts, Album by Album

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Photos by Neil Preston/Courtesy of Live Nation
Adam Lambert (left) and Brian May at opening night of Queen's 2014 tour in Chicago
Just about this time last year, I wound up reading the article "10 Classic Albums We Happen To Hate" right here on Rocks Off. Being a classic-rock enthusiast and having seen various lists like this before, I looked forward to what my now-colleagues would have to say about some legendary albums. I was rather impressed to see some artists that I despise on there, as most critics I've read would have never put U2 or Springsteen on a list of anything overrated.

Also appearing were albums by KISS, The Who and Queen -- three artists that I'm very fond of but am accustomed to seeing on lists such as this one due to many past criticisms; some true, some false. What I didn't expect was a comment in regards to Queen as a band that I've never forgotten: that they were the most overrated classic-rock act and that nobody gave a shit about any of their albums other than their greatest hits.

Well, not only could I form a posse of my friends to disagree with that statement, but also a posse of highly regarded artists such as Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Elton John, Foo Fighters and David Bowie, among many others.


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The Five Best Concerts in Houston This Week: Queen & Adam Lambert, New Edition, etc.

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Photo courtesy of Free Radicals
Free Radicals
AvantGarden, July 7

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

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