The top ten touring shows coming to Austin in May

The weather is not yet unbearable, but these artists are bringing heat to Austin.

May 5: Jmblya at Circuit of the Americas. Once again, local hip-hop promotion powerhouse Scoremore has produced a stellar lineup for their annual turn up. Emotional rapper/singer J. Cole leads a bill that includes a powerhouse second tier featuring Young Thug (a last minute swap for Cardi B) and Migos. Kevin Gates, Playboi Carti, Bun B and Trae tha Truth will also be in the house. Festival organizers say they have taken steps to deal with heat and dehydration, the biggest problems from last year’s festival. They promise expanded water filling stations, more bars and food vendors, and shade structures in the field. $89. 2 p.m. gates. 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd. jmblya.com. — D.S.S.

RELATED: Scoremore’s Jmblya taps into youth movement

Keith Urban performs onstage during the 2016 iHeartCountry Festival at the Erwin Center on April 30, 2016. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

May 5: iHeartCountry Festival at Erwin Center. This is the fifth year that the radio conglomerate has invited some of the most-played acts on its country stations to Austin for short sets that add up to a four-hours-plus bash at the city’s largest indoor music venue. On the bill this time: Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Dustin Lynch, Cole Swindell, Maren Morris, Sugarland, Luke Combs, Billy Currington, Dan + Shay, Jon Pardi and Brett Young. $20-$400. 7 p.m. 1701 Red River St. uterwincenter.com. — P.B.

10: Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons at Bass Concert Hall. From 1960s hits with the Four Seasons to a major comeback thanks to the 1970s musical-turned-movie musical “Grease” to a late-career revival with the Broadway smash “Jersey Boys,” Valli has stretched what might have been a short window as a star of rock’s early years into a lifetime of pop stardom. At 83, he’s now an elder statesman dealing mostly in nostalgia, but the songs have a timeless appeal. $45.50-$139.50. 8 p.m. 2350 Robert Dedman Drive. texasperformingarts.org. — P.B.

 

17: Khalid at HEB Center at Cedar Park. Still young, but much less dumb and broke than he was a couple years ago, the 20-year-old honorary Texan, who found fame as a high school student in El Paso, was one of the biggest artists to play SXSW this year. Backed by a full band and a cheer squad, he delivered a radiant performance with effortless vocal prowess. $49-$59. 8 p.m. 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park. hebcenter.com. — D.S.S.

SXSW review: In Khalid’s utopia all are welcome

18: The Championship Tour with Kendrick Lamar, Sza at Austin360 Amphitheater. Kendrick Lamar is arguably the most important rapper alive right now. He makes sonically complex, lyrically dense music that still moves the masses. Powerful works like “We Gon’ Be Alright” remind even the most cynical among us that sometimes a song can change the world. This tour presents not just Lamar, but the whole Top Dawg Entertainment crew including first lady Sza, whose stunning 2017 release “Ctrl” was one of the strongest R&B albums of the year. The bill also includes Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock and more. $35-$125. 7:30 p.m. 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd. austin360amphitheater.com. — D.S.S.

RELATED: Kendrick Lamar brings his healing energy to Austin

 

18-19: Nada Surf at 3Ten. The beloved New York indie-pop band’s career has now reached the point where other artists are doing tribute records of their songs: Check out “Standing at the Gates,” released earlier this year and featuring contributions from Aimee Mann, Ed Harcourt, the Texas Gentlemen and others. Hear the real thing at this two-night stand; the first night sold out early, but tickets were still available for night two at press time. $20-$25. 8 p.m. 310 Willie Nelson Blvd. 3tenaustin.com. — P.B.

19-20: Emmylou Harris at Paramount Theatre. It was no surprise when the Grammys gave a lifetime achievement award to Harris this year, given that she’d already won more than a dozen of them in a variety of categories across a stellar five-decade career. At 70, she’s still making great music that pushes outward on the boundaries of country, shining especially in recent years through collaborations with Rodney Crowell, Mark Knopfler and others. Too big for just one show at the Paramount, she’ll play two nights. $40-$90. 8 p.m. 713 Congress Ave. austintheatre.org. — P.B.

May 25: Sa-Roc at Empire Control Room. The self-described Goddess MC from the Rhymesayers crew, tackles heavy themes like spiritual evolution and social injustice with powerful lyricism laid over soulful grooves. Her new single “Forever” is the flip-side of Beyonce’s “Flawless,” a self-love anthem that refuses to deny the struggle. She opens up about eating disorders, and episodes of self-harm and encourages the listener to never let the scars stop you from shining bright. $10-$15. 9 p.m. doors. 606 E. Seventh St. empireatx.com –D.S.S.

May 26: Red Baraat at 3Ten. NOLA brass band meets Bollywood dance party in the best only-in-America sonic mashup you can ask for. $20. 8:30 p.m. 310 Willie Nelson Blvd. 3tenaustin.com. — D.S.S.

May 27: Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers at Austin360 Amphitheater. The death of Walter Becker last year means that Steely Dan is now steered only by co-founder Donald Fagen. But the songs they wrote together are a lasting legacy, and Fagen’s distinctive vocals are central enough to the band’s big hits that longtime fans likely will want to be there. The Doobies are sort of the flip side of the equation, missing showcase singer Michael McDonald; but the group had racked up hits before he’d joined the band, and they’ve proven plenty capable of pulling off a quality opening set  on previous Austin visits in recent years. $35-$149.50. 7:30 p.m. 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd. austin360amphitheater.com. — P.B.

1: The Darkness, Diarrhea Planet at Emo’s

1: The Distillers at Mohawk outdoors (sold out)

2: Jack White at Austin360 Amphitheater

2: Lloyd Cole at 3Ten.

RELATED: Jack White, cell phones and the art of capturing a moment

2: Mansionair, Mikky Ekko at Parish

2: Kiefer Sutherland, Rick Brantley at Antone’s

2: Tune-Yards, My Brightest Diamond at Emo’s

2: Rogue Wave at Empire Control Room

2: Bing & Ruth at Central Presbyterian Church

3: Greta Van Fleet at Stubb’s outdoor (sold out)

3: Devin the Dude at Empire Control Room

3: Kathy Mattea with Bill Cooley at One World Theatre

3: Walter Trout, Lance Lopez at Antone’s

4: Afghan Whigs, Built to Spill, Ed Harcourt at Emo’s

4: Madeleine Peyroux at One World Theatre

4: Madison Beer at Parish

4: Fu Manchu at Barracuda

4-5: Superchunk at 3Ten

5: Lyle Lovett & his Large Band at ACL Live

5: Cinco de Mayo 2018 at Fiesta Gardens

5: Punk in Drublic with NOFX, Bad Religion, Interrupters, Mad Caddies, Bad Cop Bad Cop, Last Gang, more at American-Statesman parking lot

5: Led Zeppelin 2 at Emo’s

5: Autograf at Empire Garage

5: Will Johnson at Mohawk indoor

6: Echosmith, Score, Jena Rose at Emo’s

7: Hayley Kiyoko at Emo’s

8: Gordon Lightfoot at ACL Live

8: King Tuff at Barracuda

9: Andrew McMahon & the Wilderness, Allen Stone, Zac Clark, Bob Oxblood at Scoot Inn (sold out)

9: Franz Ferdinand at Emo’s

9: Parker Millsap at Parish

9: Of Montreal at Mohawk

9: Sofi Tucker at Vulcan Gas Company

10: Babymetal at ACL Live

10: Metalachi, Money Chicha at Scoot Inn

10: Nav at Emo’s

10: Helmet, Prong at Mohawk outdoor

10: Mike Farris & the Roseland Rhythm Revue at Antone’s

10: David Wilcox at One World Theatre

11-13: Finding Euphoria Festival with Gramatik, Hippie Sabotage and G Jones at Carson Creek Ranch.

11: Primus, Mastodon, All Them Witches at Austin360 Amphitheater

11: Blood, Sweat & Tears at One World Theatre

11: Todrick Hall at Emo’s

11: Travis Greene at Scoot Inn

11: Dweezil Zappa at Mohawk outdoor

11: Shemekia Copeland at Antone’s

11: Skizzy Mars at Empire Control Room

12: Dr. Dog, Son Little at ACL Live

12: Gipsy Kings at Paramount Theatre

12: Webb Wilder at Cactus Cafe

12: Shinyribs at Scoot Inn

12: Kid Koala’s Vinyl Vaudeville Floor Kids Edition at 3Ten

12: Party Thieves at Empire Control Room

14: Courtney Barnett at Saengerrunde Hall (sold out)

14: Blue October at Mohawk (sold out)

15: Dirty Projectors at Mohawk outdoor

15: Apocalyptica Plays Metallica by Four Cellos at Emo’s

15: American Pleasure Club f.k.a. Teen Suicide at Mohawk outdoor

16: Kenny Chesney, Old Dominion at Austin360 Amphitheater

16: Pond at Mohawk outdoor

16: Joe Pug at 3Ten.

17: Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang at ACL Live

17: Rainbow Kitten Surprise at Stubb’s (sold out)

17: Karla Bonoff at One World Theatre

17: Frenship at Parish

17 :Runaway June at 3Ten

18: Koe Wetzel at Scoot Inn

18: Jimmy Eat World at Stubb’s outdoor

18: ZZ Ward at Emo’s

18: Geographer at Parish

18: MC Chris at Barracuda

18: Ginuwine at Empire

19: X Ambassadors at Stubb’s outdoor

19: Kat Edmonson at ACL Live

19: Tritonal at Emo’s

19: Kimbra, Son Lux at Mohawk outdoor

20: Anvil at Barracuda

20: Less Than Jake, Face to Face at Mohawk outdoor

20: Trashcan Sinatras at 3Ten

20: Brian Culbertson at One World Theatre

21: Tash Sultana at Stubb’s

22: Dave Matthews Band at Austin360 Amphitheater

22: David Crosby & Friends at Paramount Theatre

22: Smokepurpp at Mohawk outdoor

22: Amber Mark at Mohawk indoor

23: Peter Hook & the Light at Mohawk outdoor

24: Hot Snakes at Mohawk outdoor

25: Joe Bonamassa at ACL Live (sold out)

25: Galactic at Mohawk outdoor

25: Chief Keef at Empire

26-27: Lone Star Jam at Travis County Exposition Center

26: David Bromberg Quintet at One World Theatre

26: DDG at Empire

26: Okkervil River at Mohawk outdoor

27: Peanut Butter Wolf at Mohawk indoor

29: Midge Ure solo at 3Ten

30: Shilpa Ray at Sidewinder

31: Josh Garrels, Strahan at Emo’s

31: Nightmares on Wax at Mohawk outdoor

31: Richard Buckner at Cactus Cafe

Ty Segall, Parquet Courts play it loud and loose as Levitation opens

Over the past 12 months while outdoor clubs along Red River Street have enjoyed a trial period of later weekend noise curfews as a tactic to increase bar business, Austin city staff closely monitored noise levels in surrounding neighborhoods and kept a close eye on any increase in complaints of loud music.

With no statistically significant uptick in noise disturbances to report and economic data showing modest increases in ticket sales and bar tabs – both a plus for Austin musicians – on Thursday the City Council voted to make the later weekend concerts permanent.

In this file photo, Parquet Courts performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2013. The band played Thursday as part of Levitation Fest’s opening night. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

In a fun bit of circumstance Thursday also happened to be the day that indie guitar hero Ty Segall wound up on the calendar at Stubb’s and delivered a majestically ear-shredding set so intense and just plain loud it’d be hard to imagine the folks up in Hyde Park didn’t get at least a little rumble and opportunity to head bang, if they were so moved. No word on whether the city’s 311 call center saw a spike on Thursday, but let’s all be grateful the later noise curfews are here to stay.

Wonkiness and wisecracks aside, the Segall/Parquet Courts double bill that was one of the opening volleys of Levitation Fest 2018 was as dynamic and energizing a touring show as you’re likely to have seen in Austin this year.

BACKGROUND: How Levitation organizers — and the fest — came back after 2016’s cancellation

After a raucous opening set from local punks A Giant Dog – themselves afforded a spot in front of a sold-out crowd because of the later noise curfew providing an hour more of show time – New York quartet Parquet Courts spent an hour displaying the many hues of post-punk they’ve become adept in since their formation in 2010.

A key to their success is an absolutely enormous bass and bottom end sound in nearly all of their material, making it danceable and somehow more personal than most of the spiky and jagged sounds favored by bands who trace their influences back to Pavement, Modern Lovers and Gang Of Four.

The more aggressive, almost hardcore leanings of the band’s newer material has clearly bled into some of their back catalog as well, with an early, extended run through “Ducking & Dodging” turned up in volume and vocal intensity as a pit of roughly 50 crowd members churned and jostled in front of singer Andrew Savage as he barked out a small epic poem’s worth of lyrics.

With stylistic turns aplenty – a two-song suite featuring an Omnichord synthesizer turned things slow and trancelike near the end – the set was an example of the variety crowds can enjoy with Levitation Fest expanding its scope from its beginnings as Austin Psych Fest.

At various points throughout his 90-minute set, Segall hued a bit closer to straight psychedelic rock, but any languid and trippy moments were soon to be swallowed up by a tornado of violent and noisy guitar. Acclaimed as one of the most talented and adventurous songwriters of recent indie rock vintage, it was at times hard to fathom how Segall makes a coherent, unified sound in songs where layered melodies and Brian Wilson-esque pop hooks lead into a vortex of guitar distortion and feedback.

MORE FEST NEWS: Young Thug will replace Cardi B on Jmblya lineup in Austin

That contrast was on constant display Thursday but hearing the pristine beauty of “My Lady’s On Fire” braced against the noise-rock alto sax squawks and guitar shredding of “Can’t Talk To You” a few minutes later was a lesson in how performers can enrapture an audience by being willing to try anything creatively.

By the time Segall and his bandmates edged up to their close at 11 p.m. there wasn’t much sonic territory from the rock music canon that hadn’t been explored. As an indicator of what might be in store for the rest of the festival weekend, the show set an extremely high bar for the rest of the Levitation roster to try to reach.

Queens of the Stone Age start loud and then turn up the volume at Austin show

For most the past 20 years Josh Homme has managed to cultivate one of the more consistent and readily identifiable sonic imprints in modern rock music. While he shifted creative gears with occasional side projects such as Them Crooked Vultures or a recent collaboration with Iggy Pop, Homme’s main gig as lead singer/guitarist of Queens of the Stone Age finds him and his bandmates locked into a brand of hard rock where their guitars slither and grind far more often than they rumble and pummel.

Troy Van Leeuwen, guitarist for Queens of the Stone Age, performs at the Austin360 Amphitheater on April 24, 2018, in Austin, Texas. ANA RAMIREZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

That sound was on full volume display Tuesday night at Austin360 Amphitheater, despite an often frustrating sound mix in portions of the venue not directly in line with the stage. But the real fun came later in the evening, when the band’s encore saw Homme shifting into the heavier sounds of his time with stoner metal pioneers Kyuss, which he helped found in the early ‘90s with long-dismissed former QotSA bassist Nick Oliveri.

Returning to the stage after roughly 90 minutes that saw the band venturing all over its catalog, Homme introduced the song “Regular John” as being the first song played at the band’s first show at Emo’s 21 years ago. Whether that is true or not – online concert archives don’t show the band playing Austin in 1997 or 1998 – it was a nice bit of myth-making as a way to ground the three-song finale in a far heavier and aggressive sound that showed the contrast and growth the band has managed over the course of its career.

The earlier portion of the two-hour performance was grounded in what has become the band’s signature sound, with Homme delivering bad boy come-on’s on songs such as “You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar But I Feel Like A Millionaire,” “The Evil Has Landed” and other material from the recent album “Villains.”

GALLERY: More photos from Queens of the Stone Age

Such consistency is admirable but can turn into a wash after too long without a creative roundabout.

The John Theodore drum solo on early years highlight “No One Knows” was a nice detour, and the confessional, soulful tone with an extended crowd singalong outro on “Make It Wit Chu” felt like the most revealing portion of the night. One does wonder if a fun mid-set run through the drug reference-laden “Feel Good Hit Of The Summer” – admittedly a quick goof of a song, but one that does its job very well – would have been a savvy move.

In all it was a thoroughly professional, consummate performance. Just one where the more revealing changes of pace and odes to the band’s earlier stylings provided some very welcome contrast.

Josh Homme, singer and guitarist for Queens of the Stone Age, performs at the Austin360 Amphitheater on April 24, 2018, in Austin, Texas. ANA RAMIREZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

MORE STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE

No spoilers: Our review of “Avengers: Infinity War”

Review: Perfume Genius bends over backward for queer triumph at Emo’s

COTA weekend: Details on this year’s big headliners

It’s a Deal: We will follow wherever the Breeders want to go

There’s a decent argument to be made that Kim Deal has had one of the most free range, “do what I want, when I want” careers in music.

The Breeders perform Saturday, April 21, at Emo’s in Austin. Kyser Lough/For American-Statesman

From a late ‘80s/early ‘90s string of classic records with the Pixies to soon after finding fame at the height of MTV’s infatuation with college/indie/alternative rock – that thanks to out-of-nowhere hit single ”Cannonball” with the Breeders – Deal has spent much of the past 20 years proudly and weirdly going her own way.

That could mean fans would be given sporadic, odd side projects such as the Amps, a Breeders record at completely unpredictable intervals, or the occasional Pixies reunion that was good for nostalgia and shoring up its members’ bank accounts.

Out on the road in support of the characteristically odd but charming album “All Nerve,” Deal and her bandmates – sister/guitarist Kelley Deal, bassist Josephine Wiggs, drummer Jim Macpherson – took to the stage at Emo’s on Saturday exuding a carefree, shaggy sort of energy that quickly meshed with the crowd who viewed the Deal sisters as heroes who have turned a try-anything spirit into a multi-decade career.

• MORE PHOTOS: The Breeders at Emo’s in Austin

That meant kicking things off with a salvo of standout cuts – “New Year,” “No Aloha,” “Divine Hammer” – from career peak album “Last Splash” within the first 15 minutes, moving a near-capacity crowd into singalong ease while Kelley Deal bended her guitar tones with a slide and joined Kim Deal on vocals that switched from a coo to accusatory angst in a flash.

A few words here about Kim Deal’s voice as a featured instrument: It’s distinct, in the most nontraditional way possible. Breathy and distant yet captivating, Deal succeeds at using her voice as a distinct element of sound and as the means to communicate the many vagaries and joys of this human existence. The question becomes whether the songs she uses them to frame hold up, and occasionally on a mid-set tune like “Safari,” it felt like the band was performing a self-important art piece rather than a thoughtfully recorded song.

The Breeders perform Saturday, April 21, at Emo’s in Austin. Kyser Lough/For American-Statesman

Those moments were spare, thankfully, and on the whole the band’s compact 85-minute set was high on energy, confidence and veteran savvy. So much so that running out “Cannonball” in the home stretch before the encore felt like a perfect move. Why save it for later ? Just have fun.

Watching the band zooming all over its catalog on Saturday night, making creative left turns in their pacing and style almost at random, one gets the feeling that Kim Deal and company feel almost no pressure to live up to anyone’s expectations, which is exactly how they kept the whole room bubbling with effervescent energy the whole night.

After doing her own thing for this long, there’s no reason to change course now.

Set list:
New Year
Wait In The Car
All Nerve
No Aloha
Divine Hammer
Huffer
Glorious
Dawn: Making An Effort
Safari
Drivin’ On 9
Walking With A Killer
Fortunately Gone
S.O.S.
Off You
I Just Wanna Get Along
Cannonball
Happiness Is A Warm Gun (Beatles cover)
Skinhead #2
MetaGoth
Gigantic (Pixies cover)

Encore:
Do You Love Me Now
Nervous Mary
Saints

UPDATE: This post has been updated because the Breeders did do a tour several years ago where they played “Last Splash” from beginning to end, including an Austin show.

MORE ENTERTAINMENT COVERAGE

Music: Old Settler’s spirit shines through in new location

Photos: Tiffany Haddish at Moontower Comedy Festival

Movies: Armie Hammer says he wants to make art, not blockbusters

Six hip-hop shows bringing heat to Austin this spring

Spring in Austin is often warmer than we’d like it to be, but when these artists bring fire we’ll take the heat.

April 29: Joey Bada$$ at Emo’s. The young upstart from Brooklyn, whose arrival on the national scene as a teenager was heralded by 1000 (legitimate) Nas comparisons, is one of the most talented rhyme slingers of his generation. His solid 2017 release, “All Amerikkan Badass,” was a portrait of an artist trying to make sense of a country unable to wrest itself from the grip of the injustice silently entwined in its aspirational origin story. Now 23, and off the cannabis, he’s one of the artists leading hip-hop into a new golden era. $26.50-$28. 7 p.m. doors. 2015 E. Riverside Dr. emosaustin.com  — D.S.S.

May 5 Jmblya at Circuit of the Americas. Once again, local hip-hop promotion powerhouse Scoremore has produced a stellar lineup for their annual turn up. Emotional rapper/singer J. Cole leads a bill that includes a powerhouse second tier featuring Cardi B. and Migos.Kevin Gates, Playboi Carti, Bun B and Trae tha Truth will also be in the house. Festival organizers say they have addressed the biggest problems from last year’s festival, heat and hydration. They promise expanded water filling stations, more bars and food vendors and shade structures in the field. $89. 2 p.m. gates. 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd. jmblya.com   — D.S.S.

RELATED: Scoremore’s Jmblya taps into youth movement

Kendrick Lamar performs on the second weekend of the 2016 Austin City Limits Festival at Zilker Park Oct. 8. 10/08/16 Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

May 18: The Championship Tour with Kendrick Lamar, Sza at Austin360 Amphitheater. Kendrick Lamar is arguably the most important rapper alive right now. He makes sonically complex, lyrically dense music that still moves the masses. Powerful works like “We Gon’ Be Alright” remind even the most cynical among us that sometimes a song can change the world. This tour presents not just Lamar, but the whole Top Dawg Entertainment crew including first lady Sza, whose stunning 2017 release “Ctrl” was one of the strongest R&B albums of the year. The bill also includes Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock and more. Verified resale tickets available. 7:30 p.m. 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd. austin360amphitheater.com. — D.S.S.

RELATED: Kendrick Lamar brings his healing energy to Austin

May 25: Sa-Roc at Empire Control Room. The self-described Goddess MC from the Rhymesayers crew, tackles heavy themes like spiritual evolution and social injustice with powerful lyricism laid over soulful grooves. Her new single “Forever” is the flip-side of Beyonce’s “Flawless,” a self-love anthem that refuses to deny the struggle. She opens up about eating disorders, and episodes of self-harm and encourages the listener to never let the scars stop you from shining bright. $10-$15. 9 p.m. doors. 606 E. Seventh St. empireatx.com  

May 26: Blackillac at Barracuda. The new hip-hop crew featuring production and vocals from Gary Clark Jr. and bars by Zeale and Phranchyze, debuted in February, but this is a project that’s been waiting to happen for well over a decade, since the three longtime friends were aspiring artists at Austin High. Sonically, the group covers a broad swath of territory, playing a mix of soulful love jams with catchy hooks, bass heavy club-bangers and “blaze one in the air” stoner rallying cries. This performance, part of the Hot Luck food and music festival, will be their first show in Austin with a live band which should take the steady-building hype around the group up to the next level. $15. 8 p.m. doors. 611 E. Seventh St. barracudaaustin.com

RELATED: Blackillac: New hip-hop from Zeale, Phranchyze and Gary Clark Jr. 

June 2: Brownout: Fear of a Brown Planet CD release party at Mohawk. Roughly a year after the 10-piece funk powerhouse hung up their Brown Sabbath-era devil horns and declared themselves “Over the Covers” with an EP of original material, they’re back to reimagining the classics. This time, they take on your favorite Public Enemy jams, songs like “Fight the Power,” “911 is a Joke” and “Don’t Believe the Hype,” with muscular, horn-heavy interpretations that throw down the psychedelic funk vibe you never knew these tracks were missing. Preview the album with this mixtape from DJ Eclipse that mixes PE a capellas with the new chunky grooves. Austin and San Antonio-based hip-hop trio Third Root and cumbia funk crew Superfonicos are also on the bill. $20-$25. 8 p.m. doors. 912 Red River St. mohawkaustin.com

MORE SPRING HIP-HOP SHOWS IN AUSTIN

Daulton Venglar/American-Statesman

April 14 Big K.R.I.T. at Emo’s (sold out)

April 16: Yung Gravy at Stubb’s (moved from the Parish)

April 19 Duckwrth (opening for What’s So Not at Emo’s)

April 24: Lizzo at Stubb’s outdoor (opening for Haim)

INTERVIEW: Lizzo: When women get together ‘the universe conspires with us’

April 27: MC Overlord, Dirty Wormz at Come and Take It Live

May 3: Devin the Dude at Empire Control Room

May 10: Nav at Emo’s

May 10 Bali Baby at Empire Control Room

May 11: Skizzy Mars at Empire Control Room

May 12: Kid Koala’s Vinyl Vaudeville Floor Kids Edition at 3Ten

May 17: Khalid at HEB Center at Cedar Park (no, he’s not a hip-hop artist, but we thought you might want to know)

May 18: MC Chris at Barracuda

May 22: Smokepurpp at Mohawk outdoor

May 25: Chief Keef at Empire Garage

May 27: Questlove DJ set at Mohawk outdoor (part of Hot Luck festival)

May 27: Peanut Butter Wolf at Mohawk indoor (part of Hot Luck festival)

June 7: Flatbush Zombies at Emo’s

June 8: Ugly God at Emo’s

Jared Leto is performing in front of the ‘I love you so much’ mural tonight. No, really.

[cmg_anvato video=”4363192″]

Jared Leto is running, biking and hitch-hiking across the country to promote the new 30 Seconds to Mars album “America” which drops on April 6.

Jared Leto of Thirty Seconds to Mars visits Texas Motor Speedway on his “Mars Across America” journey on April 4, 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

He showed up at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth on Wednesday morning, and according to Twitter, the actor and singer will be in Austin Wednesday and you can catch him at South Congress and West James Street in South Austin at 5 p.m. That’s right in front of the “I love you so much” mural at Jo’s Coffee.

He kicked off his “Mars Across America” tour Monday in New York City with an appearance on the Tonight Show.

30 Seconds to Mars plays the Austin360 Amphitheater in July. 

En Vogue’s set and a tribute to Draylen Mason set powerful mood at Austin Urban Music Fest

By Kayleigh Hughes, special to the American-Statesman

The weather could not have been better on Friday night for the musical celebration that went down at Auditorium Shores during Austin’s 13th Urban Music Festival. On a crisp, clear night with a big full moon hanging bright in the sky, families, friends and lovers — our photographer snapped some great photos of a newly engaged couple — gathered to embrace the power of music, browse handmade art and fashion from local entrepreneurs, and, of course, sing and dance to one of America’s greatest girl groups, En Vogue. (Shoutouts to City Council Member Ora Houston and new Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk, who both made appearances onstage.)

En Vogue performs Friday, March 30, at the Austin Urban Music Festival at Auditorium Shores. Photo by Tess Cagle/For American-Statesman

Texas Jazz Explosion rocked it out as the first musicians of the festival’s evening stage show. While every performer in the group had a chance to shine with the kinds of solos and improvisations that make jazz performances so special, flute player Althea Rene stole the show with a presence and star quality I’ve never seen in a flutist.

FROM 2014: Soul Tree Collective trains young R&B musicians for the Austin Urban Music Festival

Singer Vivian Green took the stage next, delivering soulful R&B to a fun and receptive crowd. Green showcased her powerful vocals with songs from throughout her almost two-decade-long career as a performer, pulling out feelings of heartbreak, empowerment, sensual desire and playful nostalgia at various turns. Giving her backup singers plenty of opportunities to highlight their own strong voices, Green fostered an environment of collaboration and sharing, both on the stage and with the audience, who she encouraged to love themselves and had singing and dancing for almost her entire set.

Behind the scenes, the kids of Soul Tree Collective, sharply dressed in all white and glowing with youthful energy after performing onstage earlier in the day, donned pins honoring fellow musician Draylen Mason, who was killed in the recent Austin bombings. The gifted 17-year-old Mason was a bassist in Soul Tree Collective, the Austin nonprofit that supports and trains local young R&B musicians, and his life was honored throughout the evening. The young performers got to speak with the members of En Vogue backstage, even singing a few bars with the iconic group.

Members of Austin’s Soul Tree Collective hang out with En Vogue backstage on Friday, March 30, at the Austin Urban Music Festival. Photo by Tess Cagle/For American-Statesman

And before En Vogue took the stage, the Urban Music Festival took time for a moving tribute to Mason, showing videos and photographs of the remarkable young man and calling for the entire crowd to shine their cell phones and light up the night for him. Looking out at thousands of tiny dots coming together to form a sea of light, you could feel the weight of loss and the equally strong sense of community support that builds love and keeps people close during hard times.

It was a cathartic moment of release when the celebrated headliners finally took the stage, charging immediately into one of their most-loved tracks, “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get it)”. Dressed in cool black ensembles, Terry Ellis, Cindy Herron and Rhona Bennett rocked choreographed dance moves and a vibrant energy that shows just how consistent these musicians have been throughout their remarkable career. During their concise, carefully planned set, the trio delivered hit after hit while taking several moments to speak directly to the crowd.

After the group poured out a performance of “Give It Up Turn It Loose,” Ellis spoke of Mason, requesting a moment of silence and dedicating En Vogue’s show to the memory of the young musician. Then, in what was perhaps the highlight of a night full of them, the musicians burst into an electrifying performance of “Free Your Mind” in honor of Mason.

LOOK BACK: At 10, evolved Urban Music Festival carries on afro-centric vision

Playfully warning that Salt-N-Pepa were not onstage with them tonight and that “you don’t wanna hear us rap,” Ellis provided an introduction for the group’s smart, contemporary arrangement of the beloved single “Whatta Man,” which had the audience dancing, swaying and more than once shouting declarations of love toward the stage.

That evening, the savvy performers of En Vogue brought a celebratory experience to Auditorium Shores, sharing in the joy of the audience as they belted out one of the greatest soul, disco and R&B medleys of all time. From Diana Ross, Cheryl Lynn and Donna Summers to the Emotions, Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin, Ellis, Heron and Bennett held a crackling time-traveling party through some of the best of music history. The kids of Soul Tree Collective, stationed right up front, grooved along with as much passion as audience members from older generations.

Finishing with smash hit “Hold On,” En Vogue took their leave with an elegant choreographed bow and some final dance moves as they left the stage, closing out the night with one final reminder of what music can do for all of us.

(Urban Music Fest continues Saturday, with gates at noon and music starting at 3 p.m. Saturday’s headliners: Zapp, Dave Hollister and Johnny Gill. Soul Tree Collective is scheduled to play at 5:15 p.m. followed by a tribute to Draylen Mason at 5:45 p.m.)

• PHOTOS: See more from Friday at Urban Music Fest (including that newly engaged couple)

Rainey Street live music venue, the Blackheart closing in April

The Blackheart, one of the few venues in the Rainey Street district that regularly programs live music, will shutter at the end of April after failing to secure a lease renewal on their property.

English rock band Temples performs at The Blackheart as part of SXSW 2017. (Tamir Kalifa/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

The bar, which has been open since 2012, programmed live music on two stages, a small one indoors and a larger set up on their patio.

Club co-owner Jeremy Murray talked to the Austin Chronicle to break the story. He said the club is planning a big blowout bash at the end of next month.

“You best believe we’re gonna be celebrating whiskey and Austin music until they take the keys away from us, so please come by and see us in the coming month,” club representatives wrote on the venue’s Facebook page.

G-Eazy to play Austin with Lil Uzi Vert, Ty Dolla $ign in August

Rapper G-Eazy announced plans for his new tour on Tuesday and the outing includes an August 9 stop at the Austin360 Amphitheater.

G-Eazy performs at the Austin Music Hall in 2016. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

Along on the ride for this tour are Lil Uzi Vert, Ty Dolla $ign, YBN Nahmir, P-Lo and Murda Beats.

Tickets run from $35-$99.50 and go on sale on Friday, March 23.  More info.

Rae Sremmurd delivers juicy set at SXSW Eardrummers Takeover

[cmg_anvato video=”4344207″]

Rae Sremmurd operates on only two modes: lit and extremely lit. Usually, they stick closer to the second. Closing out the SXSW Eardrummers Takeover at ACL Live on Friday night, which also featured their producer Mike Will Made It showcasing acts from his Eardrummers label, Rae Sremmurd proved they’re pop phenoms in their own right, even if they left the crowd wanting a lot more.

Rae Sremmurd performs during SXSW in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, March 17, 2018. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

A year and a half on, “Black Beatles” is still their crowning achievement, restructuring rock swagger into trap bravado. It easily got the best response from the crowd, which jumped and moshed like rap and rock were never separate to begin with. They even encouraged mosh pits at one point, further dissolving the divide. “T’d Up” proved that “Beatles’” success wasn’t a fluke, that they’ve got bangers for ages. It may not have been quite the revelation “Beatles” was, yet there’s hardly anything else on the radio as catchy.

WANT MORE SXSW? CHECK OUT ALL OUR COVERAGE

Their next record, which is scheduled to release next month, will be a triple album, two-thirds of which will effectively be solo albums, ala Outkast’s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.” Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee did mini solo sets, with the former coming out swinging with the bumping “Brxnks Truck” and the latter displaying a slower, more future R&B sound with “Hurt to Look.” Swae Lee had the slight advantage, if only because “Unforgettable” was one of last year’s biggest hits. (He also had the upper hand on style, with a full orange camo ensemble.) They work so well as a duo because of their differences, with Slim Jxmmi working within the hard trap archetype, albeit a lot flashier, and Swae Lee the more pop-minded of the two.

Rae Sremmurd performs during SXSW in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, March 17, 2018. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Rae Sremmurd’s set was the juiciest morsel that took a bit too long to get to and wasn’t entirely filling, not even making it a half hour. Mike Will Made It struck gold by signing them, and his production set the template for Modern Atlanta, yet the rest of the Eardrummers lineup, featuring Andrea, B.A., and Eearz, didn’t really bring their own styles to the table. Granted, it’s hard to be even half as charismatic as Rae Sremmurd — why not hurry up and give the people what they waited for?

“No Type” didn’t feel like a closer, as it was followed by more Eardrummers and most everyone left rather abruptly. No “No Flex Zone,” the song that set them on their path, and no “Perplexing Pegasus,” the real “Beatles” successor, was disappointing, despite a strong performance otherwise. Mike Will Made It does know how to entertain, though: next to Rae Sremmurd’s set, the crowd ate up him playing Houston rap classics like Lil Troy’s “Wanna Be A Baller” (a cheat code to get any Texas crowd dancing) and Mike Jones’ “Flossin’.” And any night with those and “Black Beatles” is guaranteed to be, at the very least, a night to remember.