The dog days of summer aren't over — they've just begun. But as the days heat up, so do the offerings of concerts in the Bayou City.
On the docket: a movie star, a country legend, a beloved Americana cult act, indie-rockers on the rise, and two bands that are much bigger than anyone thought they'd be.
CultureMap's biggest, best, and most notable shows of the week are:
CultureMap show of the week: Hugh Jackman at Toyota Center
What isn't Hugh Jackman good at? A bonafide movie star who won our nerd-leaning hearts as Wolverine, a Tony award-winning theater draw, and by all accounts a great guy and loyal husband, the Australian wunderkind is a modern day renaissance man. (Surely, he has to sport gnarly toe nails, can't hold his booze, or secretly loves Nickelback, right?)
Until the secrets come out, we'll be lining up to give him our hard-earned money, regardless of what he decides to do with his immense talents. We're not sure what the Jacked-man is doing at Toyota Center this Tuesday, but he's on a world tour selling pure charm and probably doing some singing and dancing from his film (Les Miserables, The Greatest Showman) and stage roles (Oklahoma) while he's at it.
Hugh Jackman performs at Toyota Center, located at 1510 Polk St., on Tuesday, June 18. Tickets start at $29.50, plus service fees. Doors open at 6 pm.
Twenty One Pilots at Toyota Center
Somewhere along the way, Twenty One Pilots become one the biggest rock bands in the world. Few acts encapsulate the state of mind of Millennial alt-rock like this Columbus, Ohio, duo comprised of Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun. Their 2015 album Blurryface produced a ton of hits, including "Stressed Out," "Ride," and "Heavydirtysoul," most impressive in a time when streaming makes it nearly impossible to score numerous radio hits from the same album.
That album scored Grammy wins and launched the act to arenas, their Sublime-lite reggae, Gen-X anxiety, and hip-hop beats speaking to a wider audience. They followed that one up with the actually-pretty-good Trench, that went darker and louder, and was all the better for it.
Twenty One Pilots are at Toyota Center, located at 1510 Polk St., on Friday, June 18. Bear Hands opens. Tickets start at $39.50, plus service fees. Doors open at 6 pm.
Son Volt at Heights Theater
Following the breakup with Jeff Tweedy and their cult act Uncle Tupelo in 1994, Jay Farrar made good on that band’s Americana promise with Son Volt. Where Tweedy would concentrate on the indie rock aspects of his former band with Wilco, Farrar embraced the dusky soundscapes of middle America. He’s made a decent career for himself, garnering critical acclaim for his oft-acoustic driven vision. More Willie Nelson than a heavy metal drummer, Farrar's distinct voice is rich and his storytelling is excellent. Son Volt is touring behind this year's Union.
Son Volt play the Heights Theater, located at 339 W 19th St., on Friday, June 18. Old Salt Union opens. Tickets start at $22, plus service fees. Doors open at 7 pm.
Seventy-six years old and still going like the Engergizer bunny, legendary singer-songwriter Ronnie Milsap is back in Houston, not letting declining health over the last few years get in the way of his touring schedule. While he's been on his farewell tour for what seems like a few years now, so this is a great opportunity to see the man who made his name in the rebel days of country before his run comes to an end. His 40 No. 1 country hits, such as "Smoky Mountain Rain," "Lost in the Fifties Tonight," and "It Was Almost Like a Song," make this a worthy night out.
Ronnie Milsap performs at Arena Theatre, located at 7326 Southwest Fwy., on Friday, June 21. Tickets start at $30, plus fees. Show starts at 9 pm.
Shinedown at Cynthia Woods
Another band that has not been affected by the slow death of rock and roll, Shinedown is headed into its Houston appearance on a roll. The Jacksonville, Florida, band's latest album, Attention Attention, is a massive hit, scoring No. 1 on the alternative, rock, and hard rock charts, and going top five on the Top 200 albums in the U.S., based on the strength of that record's singles, "Devil" and "The Human Radio."
Fans of the harder-edged rock that came out of the early 2000s (think Nickelback and 3 Doors Down) will be out for this one. They might not be critical darlings, but they play heavy and loud, something that many groups don't do much of these days.
Shinedown is at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, located at 2005 Lake Robbins Dr. in The Woodlands, on Friday, June 21. Tickets start at $29.50, plus fees. Gates open at 5:30 pm.
CultureMap recommends: Operators at WOMH
Touting one of the best albums of the year in Radiant Dawn, Operators deal in heartfelt, off-kilter melody and straight-ahead rhythm, something lead singer Dan Boeckner perfected in his other, excellent bands, Wolf Parade and the Divine Fits (of which he was joined by Spoon's Britt Daniel, ie. major cred).
In Radiant Dawn, he has a winner, incorporating New Order electronics with his emotional, almost Springsteen-esque lyrics, and a healthy dose of guitar crunch. Listen to crazy good single "Faithless" for proof. Boeckner is a hardened veteran of many tours and knows how to command a stage, making this one a can't miss for indie rock and dance fans.
Operators are at White Oak Music Hall, located at 2915 N. Main Street, on Saturday, June 22. Doomsquad opens. Tickets start at $14, plus fees. Doors open at 8 pm.