This Week’s Best Concerts | Houston Press

In the world of marketing, brand extension refers to the use of an existing brand name on a new product. The latest example is the Weiner Pop aka the Cold Dog, a frozen popsicle-like creation with a mustard swirl that (allegedly) tastes like a frankfurter, all thanks to those giddy geniuses at Oscar Mayer. According to a press release, the Cold Dog offers “both refreshing and smokey umami notes.” I regret to inform you that this delicacy is, at this point, only available in select markets, and Houston is not one of them. However, there are plenty of great concerts this week to take your mind off this regional inequity.

Steve Earle has long been accorded a place of honor in the pantheon of singer-songwriters, but locals of a certain age might remember Earle as a Townes Van Zandt acolyte who came to Houston during the ‘70s in pusuit of his dreams. It was, as Willie Nelson would say, “rough and rocky travelling” for a few years, but since that stretch, Earle has been busy, releasing a number of acclaimed albums that have only added to his stature. Meanwhile, he has been active on the political front, serving as an advocate for causes close to him (e.g. abolition of the death penalty and support for people with autism). Earle and his kick-ass band the Dukes will be at the Heights Theater tonight, with the Whitmore Sisters opening.

Kid Cudi has explored much of the show biz terrain during his career. He has achieved success as a rapper (two Grammys, 22 million records sold), acted in films (Don’t Look Up), appeared on television (“Westworld”), and – brave man! – maintained an on-again, off-again bromance with Kanye West. Amidst all this activity (where does he find the time?), Cudi’s To the Moon tour will roll into Houston on Thursday for a gig at Toyota Center.

Much like Nickelback, Imagine Dragons is a band that was never popular with critics, but a band that has sold a ton of records and concert tickets. With a sound that often veers more toward pop than rock, filled with catchy hooks and sing-along choruses, it is easy to see why the group has established such a devoted following. Imagine Dragons will play Thursday at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, touring behind their most recent album, Mercury – Act 2. It will be interesting to see how long it takes ultra-buff lead singer Dan Reynolds to rip his shirt off and start flexing. I’m not a gambling man, but my bet is on 10 minutes. If that.

Anyone who listens to country music is – whether they know it or not – beholden to George Jones, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, et al. These were the artists who laid the foundation and codified the style. Johnny Falstaff is hip to all this, and that’s why he has spent so many years nurturing honky-tonk music, keeping it alive, thriving, and – perhaps most important – fun. Don’t miss Falstaff at the Mucky Duck on Friday. You don’t have to wear a western-cut suit and a bolo tie to this show, but everyone will approve if you do.

Five Finger Death Punch got its name from the title of the 1972 kung fu classic Five Fingers of Death and the “Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique” referenced in Quentin Tarantino’s film Kill Bill, Vol. 2. In keeping with the menacing moniker, the band – alternately known as 5FDP or FFDP – cranks out a crunching, powerful sound, as evinced on their most recent album AfterLife, which just debuted in the number one slot on Billboard’s Hard Rock Album chart. To be on the safe side, keep a watchful eye out for Black Mamba at the show this Friday at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. Tarantino fans will understand.

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