Being a music fan sometimes means making hard choices. On any given night, especially in the peak summer touring season, a fan might have several worthy picks of where to plunk down their hard earned dollars in the name of top-tier entertainment.
This will be the case this week, with a huge slate of massive shows with some of the biggest bands in the world playing in Houston, in what is arguably the strongest week of 2019.
Thankfully, CultureMap is here to help you make the right decision as you search for the best concert experience. Take notes.
CultureMap's biggest, best, and most notable live shows of the week are as follows:
Queen at Toyota Center
Yes, for purists, this is Queen in name only. How could it be the real thing when Freddy Mercury, arguably the best frontman in the history of music, has been dead since 1991? But for those who still love the excellent and extensive catalog of the British band, this is a must-see show and probably as close to as any younger Queen fan will get to seeing the mega-selling group (300 million albums and counting). Two of the classic Queen line-up, guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor are now joined by the similarly flamboyant Adam Lambert, a former American Idol contestant who finished as a runner-up in 2009.
Lambert, who has sold millions of albums on his own merit, does an admirable job echoing the spirit of Mercury with an impressive set of pipes and the theatrical costumes that would make the former singer proud. And of course, there are all the classic hits that only seem to be revived every generation, most recently thanks to the Academy Award-winning biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, named after one of the band's most beloved songs. Whether it's the one-two punch of "We Will Rock You" and "We are the Champions," the soul-bearing "Somebody to Love," or straight-up funk of "Another One Bites the Dust," Queen is set to turn Toyota Center into the biggest karaoke bar — in a good way.
Queen is at Toyota Center, located at 1510 Polk St., on Wednesday, July 24. Tickets start at $49.50, plus service fees. Doors open at 6:30 pm.
The Regrettes at House of Blues
Part riot-grrl, part '60s girl-group, with a dash of pop and grunge thrown in for good measure, the L.A.-based The Regrettes are a band on the rise, signed to a major label, and all before they can legally drink. That's following a well received debut album, Feel Your Feelings Fool!, and a tour ahead of their new album, How Do You Love?, out this August and featuring great first single "I Dare You".
The impressive part is how fully realized their sound is despite their age. But their fresh-faced feminism is just what rock music needs more of these days, and their catchy, concise tales of female empowerment are delivered with enough melody and bravado to make this band one to watch.
The Regrettes headline the Bronze Peacock Room at House of Blues, located at 1204 Caroline St., on Wednesday, July 24. Tickets start at $15, plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.
Shawn Mendes at Toyota Center
It's hard to imagine a better start to a career than that of Canadian pop heartthrob Shawn Mendes. Discovered in the most Millennial way possible (on the Vine app), Mendes quickly signed a major deal and has since released three No. 1 albums, becoming the first performer to have four No. 1 singles on the Adult Pop Songs chart before the age of 20, including "Stitches," "Treat You Better," "There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back," and "In My Blood."
Still only 20 years old and living in a time when a man and his acoustic guitar is all one needs to sell out huge shows (we see you, Ed Sheeran), word is Mendes is working on his fourth album, but he's still riding high after releasing his third, self-titled, album in 2018, packing arenas with screaming young fans in the process. Parents, bring your earplugs.
Shawn Mendes performs at Toyota Center, located at 1510 Polk St., on Thursday, July 25. Special guest Alessia Cara also appears. Tickets start at $29.50, plus service fees. Doors open at 6:30 pm.
CultureMap show of the week: The Rolling Stones
Almost 60 years in the game and Mick, Keith, Ronnie, and Charlie are still going strong on yet another world-beating stadium jaunt with the The Rolling Stones No Filter Tour in another case of Boomers refusing to hand the torch over to the younger generation. But why should they? They are still the biggest band on planet Earth. And despite being well into their 70s, their latest string of shows are receiving rave reviews following a postponement after Mick Jagger needed emergency heart surgery.
It's hard to say how much longer we'll get to see one of the best rock bands to ever strut on a stage, so this will be a party to remember with a setlist that will be wall-to-wall hits and fan favorites, including the timeless "Street Fighting Man," "Paint It Black," "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," and "Jumpin' Jack Flash."
The Rolling Stones fill NRG Stadium, located at 8825 Kirby Dr., on Saturday, July 27. Tickets start at $123, plus service fees, and parking is $30. Show starts at 7:30 pm.
Blue October at White Oak Music Hall
Hometown alt-rock band Blue October makes their requite hometown appearance, this time on the lawn at White Oak Music Hall. This time they'll be bringing friends (Ben Kweller is a must-catch) as part of the Houston Music and Arts Festival, which includes shows outside as well as inside, because thank God for air conditioning. The "Hate Me," "Into the Ocean," "Dirt Room," and "Say It" band will be the main draw, but there are plenty of local artists to discover. Will one of them be the next Blue October? Head to WOMH this weekend to find out.
Houston's Music and Arts Festival Featuring Blue October goes down on the White Oak Music Hall lawn, located at 2915 N. Main St., on Saturday, July 27. Robert DeLong, Ben Kweller, Morgxn, The Band Hennessy, Doug Westcott, Hold On Hollywood, Deep Ella, Solitude Endeavor, Christian Sparks & The Beatnik Bandits also appear. Tickets start at $39.50, plus fees. Gates open at 2 pm.
Third Eye Blind and Jimmy Eat World
This would have been a monster show 20 years ago, when both bands were at or close to their peak cultural clout. But nostalgia sells these days, meaning a decent crowd should be at Cynthia Woods this weekend to see Third Eye Blind and Jimmy Eat World revisit their earlier glory. San Francisco-based Third Eye Blind made it big in a post-grunge world with their self-titled debut album, which produced a string of friendly radio staples, including "Semi-Charmed Life," "How's It Going to Be," and "Jumper."
They sold more than 12 million albums worldwide but were never able to live up to the success of their debut as the music landscape shifted. Originally associated with the emo-rock genre for their heartfelt lyrics, Jimmy Eat World, separated themselves from their peers with the 2001 platinum album Bleed American, a straight-ahead, alt-rock affair that produced the band's most recognizable and still-great hit, "The Middle."
Third Eye Blind and Jimmy Eat World are at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, located at 2005 Lake Robbins Dr. in The Woodlands, on Saturday, July 27. Ra Ra Riot open. Tickets start at $19.50, plus fees. Gates open at 5:30 pm.
CultureMap recommends: Beck, Spoon, and Cage the Elephant at Cynthia Woods
Sunday might be the day to make a trek out to The Woodlands in what could be the strongest bill of the summer, one that wouldn't look out of place at any major summer festival. After a better-than-expected headline set at last year's, now-defunct In Bloom Festival, Beck returns with his raucous live show, having become one of the better performers around, thanks to the strength of a long and varied songbook including songs such as "Loser," "Devil's Haircut," "Where It's At," and 2017's vibrant "Colors."
He'll be joined by Austin's best band in the Britt Daniel-led outfit Spoon, celebrating nearly 25 years of consistently amazing work with their first greatest hits package, Everything Hits at Once: The Best of Spoon, out on Friday, so expect a hits-heavy set with killer tracks "I Turn My Camera On," "You Got Yr Cherry Bomb," and "The Way We Get By." Cage the Elephant quickly rose from their humble Bowling Green, Kentucky, beginnings to become one of the biggest bands going, with major radio hits "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked," "Cigarette Daydreams," and "Come a Little Closer," picking up where the similarly Southern-fried Kings of Leon left off.
Beck, Spoon, and Cage the Elephant all perform at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, located at 2005 Lake Robbins Dr. in The Woodlands, on Sunday, July 28. Wild Belle also plays. Tickets start at $29.50, plus fees. Gates open at 4:30 pm.