House DJs Moon Boots (Saturday) and Claude VonStroke (Sunday) top the lineup for the inaugural Piknic Électronik at Auditorium Shores on Oct. 27-28.
Also on the bill for the “picnic in the park” electronic music event are Tensnake, Breezah and DJ Mel who will play on Saturday and Solardo, Brett Johnson and DJ Girlfriend on Sunday.
The original Piknic Électronik is a summer concert series in Montreal that aims to be the opposite of an all-night rave. The event was founded in 2003 by a group of electronic music enthusiasts who hoped to make the genre more accessible “by bringing it out in broad daylight.” Organizers have staged Piknic Électronik events around the world, but this will be the first Piknic on U.S. soil.
The event is family friendly. Kids 10 and younger are free, and there will be a Petite Piknic area with special children’s programming.
Curated food selections from Central Market are available for pre-order, and there will be food trucks on site.
The new Austin trio Nobody’s Girl grew partly from the roots of the Kerrville Folk Festival, where Betty Soo, Grace Pettis and Rebecca Loebe had been past winners of the fest’s New Folk Competition. Earlier this year, they teamed up to perform a set there together, after spending the winter writing and recording material for a debut record.
That disc, a seven-song EP titled “Waterline,” comes out Friday, Sept. 28, supplementing original tunes with fellow Austin singer-songwriter Raina Rose’s “Bluebonnets” and a cover of Blondie’s “Call Me.” Recording with renowned producer/keyboardist Michael Ramos for the new label Lucky Hound, they worked with a major-league backing crew: guitarist David Grissom, bassist Glenn Fukunaga, drummer J.J. Johnson and pedal steel player Ricky Ray Jackson.
The result isn’t as folk-oriented as you might suspect from those Kerrville connections. “Waterline” probably fits under the broad Americana umbrella, but this feels like pop music at its core, with electric instrumentation prominent in the arrangements.
The opening track “What’ll I Do” (which gets an acoustic reprise at the end of the disc) got an early release a few months ago. It exemplifies the trio’s exuberant sound built around soaring three-part harmonies. The same is true for the EP’s title track, which features a video that we’re premiering on Austin360. Here’s “Waterline”:
When you buy a concert ticket in the upper deck of the Erwin Center on the far end of the arena, it’s a given that you’ll be a long way from the action. Just being in the room is good enough if you really love the band, but you’re prepared for the performers to look pretty small from way back there.
So fans of Fall Out Boy who were in those seats must have been delighted when the Chicago rockers introduced an ingenious gimmick midway through their Sunday night show. First, drummer Andy Hurley and guitarist Joe Trohman set up on a platform at the end of a long runway that extended from the stage. Then suddenly singer Patrick Stump and bassist Pete Wentz appeared on another platform even further out, all the way at the other end of the arena.
As the band launched into their 2005 hit “Dance, Dance,” those faraway fans suddenly found themselves with quite a close-up view. Then the platforms gradually rose from suspended cables. By the time the band segued into “Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)” from their new album “Mania,” Stump and Wentz’s stage had elevated all the way up to mezzanine level. Those nosebleed-seat purchases now seemed like a steal.
That was the high point (literally and figuratively) of a stage production that sometimes seemed to be the star of the show. With seven albums and a slew of hit singles across a two-decade career, Fall Out Boy has been one of America’s most prominent rock bands of the 2000s. Even so, at times their musical performance almost seemed to be the canvas upon which some incredibly creative production designers created a spectacle of pop entertainment.
Consider the video component. Behind the band, a huge screen displayed ever-changing thematic visuals for each song. A giant squid thrashed about in footage that accompanied “The Phoenix,” followed by majestic mountain scenes for “Irresistible.” Pixar-quality animation told a story behind “Immortals,” giving way to amusing scenes of giant muppet-like animal creatures playing instruments in a make-believe ensemble called the Rockafire Explosion as the band blasted through the opening track on its new album.
Then there was the song with zillions of emojis twirling in the background. Plus those action bits from the viral video game “Fortnite” for the early fave “Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy.” And, naturally, scenes from various Uma Thurman films when they played their song titled “Uma Thurman.” Plenty more examples could be cited — the Princess Diana historical footage when they played “Champion,” anyone? — but you get the idea.
Oh, and the pyrotechnics: Lots of showering sparks and bomb-like blasts, plus bursts of fire including one stream that shot out from the headstock of Wentz’s bass on a couple of songs. Lest we forget the two dudes dressed in giant llama-like costumes who came out to toss T-shirts into the crowd while the band was making its way back to the main stage from the platforms.
The irony is that behind the razzle-dazzle, musically Fall Out Boy remains a pretty basic, straight-ahead four-piece guitar-drums-bass rock band. Stump is a powerful and tuneful singer, a perfect delivery vehicle for Wentz’s often angst-ridden lyrics. Shirtless and heavily tattooed Hurley attracts attention behind the drum kit; Trohman is less flashy but carries a lot of the musical weight on his shoulders with his guitar leads.
Their fans are hard-core devotees. Though the Erwin Center was a bit short of full for this show, maybe 75 percent of capacity for its south-stage setup, almost all in the house stood for the entire 90-minute set, and many sang along loudly throughout the evening. Fall Out Boy hadn’t played Austin in more than three years, and their last Erwin Center appearance was more than a decade ago. For their faithful followers, clearly it was worth the wait.
Two opening acts made for a longer-than-usual concert evening. In the middle slot, Machine Gun Kelly was somewhat hit-and-miss, trying hard to rev up the crowd with his energetic performance but never really getting the entire arena fully engaged. His music’s pretty different from the headliner, drawing heavily on rap music. A late-set highlight had a local connection: Kelly’s recent hit “Bad Things” cribs its catchy chorus from “Out of My Head,” a 1999 top-20 hit for Austin band Fastball. (Expect to hear it again at ACL Fest from Camila Cabello, whose supporting vocal was delivered via prerecorded track during Kelly’s performance.)
Opening act Nothing, Nowhere was different yet again, a heavily dramatic emo band from New England that has released three records since 2015. Leader Joe Mulherin charged through dark songs such as “Hopes Up” (as in, “I don’t want to get my hopes up”) and “Nevermore,” advising the crowd that “If you struggle with mental illness, keep fighting and stay positive.” Music seems to have been the right outlet for his own battle. His band may never reach mass-headliner status, but as an opener on a three-band bill, they held their own.
Monday: “Lazy Lester Forever” tribute at Antone’s. Among the many old-school greats who’ve played Austin’s home of the blues over the decades, Louisiana’s Lazy Lester was certainly one of the most beloved. Lester (born Leslie Johnson in 1933) died in August, but his spirit lives on in the musicians from here who held him dear, many of whom will take part in this heartfelt salute. Performers include Lou Ann Barton, Sue Foley, Derek O’Brien, Denny Freeman, Mike Morgan, Ted Roddy, Greg Izor, Eve Monsees, Mike Buck, Jay Moeller, Speedy Sparks and Grady Pinkerton. $12. 6:30 p.m. 305 E. Fifth St. antonesnightclub.com. — P.B.
Monday: Alejandro Escovedo y Don Antonio at Continental Club. The only thing certain about former Austinite Escovedo’s music is that he’ll always be reaching for new territory somewhere on the horizon. With “The Crossing,” released last week on Yep Roc Records, he teamed with the renowned Italian band for a concept album about two immigrants on the Texas border, drawing from his own family experience (his father immigrated from Mexico as a young child). Also appearing on the album are two Detroit proto-punk legends, the MC5’s Wayne Kramer and the Stooges’ James Williamson. Escovedo has played the Continental countless times in his four-decade career, but this one promises to be something new and different. $10. 10 p.m. 1315 S. Congress Ave. continentalclub.com. — P.B.
Tuesday-Wednesday: Nick Lowe, Jimmie Vaughan at Antone’s. Billed in full as “Nick Lowe’s Quality Rock & Roll Revue featuring Los Straitjackets,” this show teams the legendary British songwriter with the ace Nashville instrumental ensemble for a night that’s certain to deliver on its humblebrag. As a writer, performer and producer, Lowe has left marks on popular music that few have matched across a career spanning five decades. The icing on the cake is an opening set from hometown hero Vaughan, playing with his trio featuring B3 player Mike Flanigin and drummer George Rains. $35-$40. 8 p.m. antonesnightclub.com. — P.B.
Thursday: Kali Uchis at Stubb’s outdoor. The Colombian American singer-songwriter’s debut full-length, “Isolation” is the perfect summer album. It’s a dreamy mix of R&B, hip-hop and sunny tropicalia that conjures sexy pool parties, fruity cocktails and the hair-whipping exhilaration of beachside cruising in a convertible. Gabriel Garzon-Montano opens. $33-$39.95. 7 p.m. doors. 801 Red River St. stubbsaustin.com. — D.S.S.
Thursday: Hinds at North Door. This day’s music options present a “Sophie’s Choice” for lovers of ladies who rock, simplified only slightly by the fact that Liz Phair’s show at the Mohawk is sold out. But if you’re looking for something grimier than Kali Uchis’ sultry grooves, the stripped down garage rock from this Spanish girl band might be just the ticket. $16-$18. 8 p.m. 502 Brushy St. ndvenue.com. — D.S.S.
Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators, Eric Tessmer at Stubb’s outdoor
Thrice at Emo’s
Black Heart Saints at Stubb’s indoor
Death Bells, Narrow Head at Barracuda
Michael Mordecai’s Jazz Jam live recording at Elephant Room
Nic Armstrong & the Thieves, Marfa Crush, Teddys at Hotel Vegas
Island, Rusty Dusty at Stubb’s indoor
Ephraim Owens, James McMurtry at Continental Gallery
Mike Stinson, Whitney Rose at Continental Club
Alice Spencer at Townsend
Durawa, John Inmon at El Mercado Backstage
Betty Soo at Geraldine’s
Tribal Seeds, Iya Terra at Scoot Inn
James McMurtry, Jon Dee Graham, William Harries Graham at Continental Club
Jeff Plankenhorn & Chris Gage at El Mercado Backstage
Sons of an Illustrious Father at Stubb’s indoor
The Wine Down with Blackillac at 3Ten
Malford Milligan, Wagoneers at Saxon Pub
Texas Radio Live with Paper Moon Shiners, Cowboys & Indians at Guero’s
Liz Phair, Speedy Ortiz at Mohawk outdoor (sold out)
Watsky, Feed the Birds, Chukwudi Hodge at Scoot Inn
Bonerama at Antone’s
Stick Men at One World Theatre
Adult, Plack Blague, K23 at Barracuda
Quaker City Nighthawks, Scott H. Biram at C-Boy’s
Croy & the Boys, Rosie & the Ramblers, Bob Appel at White Horse
Bonnie Whitmore, Monte Warden & the Dangerous Few at Continental Gallery
It’s still two weeks before Paul McCartney arrives in town for the first of two concerts in Zilker Park as part of the Austin City Limits Music Festival, but the Barton Hills Choir is ready: They’ll be tackling the ambitious side two medley of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” as part of their annual performances on the festival’s Austin Kiddie Limits stage.
The video above features a run through the suite of songs that many consider to be McCartney’s masterwork as an artist. The choir’s vocalists get support from teacher/ringleader Gavin Tabone plus band members Andy Harn, Don Cento and Jake Perlman.
The choir, featuring students from Barton Hills Elementary School, has been a hit at past fests, often tailoring its repertoire to well-known artists performing at the event. Tabone says focusing on McCartney this year was an easy call: “I’ve been playing and listening to that since I was a child, so it makes me very happy to share my love of that amazing work with my kids.”
They’ll also be working in something by David Byrne, who’s performing both weekends at the festival in addition to an Oct. 10 show at Bass Concert Hall. Set times for the two Barton Hills Choir performances at ACL Fest are 12:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, and 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13.
It’s been a media-blitz week for Willie Nelson supporting his new album “My Way,” a collection of songs widely associated with Frank Sinatra. After a Tuesday appearance on ABC’s “The View,” he visited Stephen Colbert for “The Late Show” on CBS Wednesday night.
Before performing “Summer Wind,” Nelson invited Colbert out of his studio and onto his bus on 53rd Street in Manhattan. They made small talk about old photos and the new album (and, inevitably, marijuana), but they also touched upon the rally Nelson is playing next weekend at Auditorium Shores to support U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke.
Addressing the controversy that arose in the wake of the rally announcement, Colbert asked Nelson, “Do you get shook up by people saying they’re going to boycott your music?”
Willie’s answer: “Naw, not really. You know, it’s their prerogative. I might not like their music either, you know, so I don’t hold any grudges against people.”
Nelson also cleared up some confusion about a statement in last week’s press release announcing the rally would be “the first public concert Nelson has held for a political candidate.” Nelson mentioned he’d played shows in the past for Dennis Kucinich, Ross Perot and even country singer Tex Ritter, a Republican who lost a 1970 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Tennessee.
Past political events Nelson played, however, involved ticketed fundraisers, Nelson’s publicist Elaine Schock clarified Friday, whereas the Sept. 29 rally is a free event open to the public.
In Nelson’s appearance on “The View,” Schock reported that when he was asked about the controversy regarding the rally, his response was simply, “We’re not happy until they’re not happy.”
One interesting bit of trivia that arose from the Colbert interview segment: Willie apparently was not familiar with legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Someone ought to get those two in a room together and see what happens.
Here’s the footage of his “Summer Wind” performance:
Western Youth, self-titled. With the recent addition of well-traveled Austin troubadour Graham Weber to their lineup, the roots-rock band formed in 2012 by singer-guitarists Taylor Williams and Matt Gregg plus drummer Brian Bowe has reached another level. Weber, Williams and Gregg all contribute songs here, resulting in an 11-track collection with no weak links. The Weber/Williams co-write “Hangin’ On,” released this summer as a video, is a full-on rocker with a desperate tone to match desperate times. Williams’ “The King Is Gone” has a slower tempo but is no less immediately appealing with its anthemic “Hallelujah” chorus chant. Opener “Dying on the Vine” lyrically explores dark territory but musically bursts forth with beautiful melodicism and the band’s whirlwind three-guitar attack. Gregg, Williams and Weber all contributed to writing “Valerie,” a jangly folk-rocker with majestic three-part harmony. “Lost the War,” a lovelorn ballad near the end of the disc, brings down the tempo and volume, focusing on the duet vocals of Williams and guest Jaimee Harris. Austin’s long been rich with Americana talent, and Western Youth rises near the top of the heap with this impressive set. Release show Sept. 21 at Spider House Ballroom. Here’s the video for “Hangin’ On”:
Jaimee Harris, “Red Rescue.” We wrote at length about Harris for our Austin360 Artist of the Month series in June, when this album initially was set for release before a slight delay. It’s out now on the heels of Harris’s trip last week to Nashville for Americana Fest, where she drew attention from NPR and shared a stage with Rodney Crowell and John Hiatt. Produced by Craig Ross, “Red Rescue” is strong from start to finish, a long-due solo debut from an artist who’s been writing songs since performing in a duo with her father as a teen. The first single “Depressive State” is the immediate standout, a folk-rock tune that bypasses typical verse-chorus structure and features radiant vocal harmonies. “Catch It Now” is a heartfelt solo acoustic gem that could be the theme song of Harris’s life and career up to this point. The title track is almost cinematic, grounded by the thumping rhythms of drummer Jon Greene and bassist Bonnie Whitmore before Brian Patterson’s guitar atmospherics and backing vocals by Ross and the late Jimmy LaFave broaden the scope. “Fake” starts as a quiet confessional — “I’m a fake, you’re starting to notice” — and gradually builds to an emotional breaking point. “Forever,” spiked with pedal steel and guitar runs from Mike Hardwick, captures the high reaches of Harris’s spectacular voice. The scorching “Damn Right” is a full-force rocker that pushes the boundaries of her repertoire, though it feels out-of-place as the opening track. But by the end of the album, when Harris drifts away gently on the piano-based reverie “Where Are You Now,” there’s no doubting “Red Rescue” heralds the arrival of a major new Austin singer-songwriter. Playing Sept. 20 at One-2-One Bar. Here’s an acoustic version of the title track recorded at our Statesman studios in July:
Will Courtney, “Crazy Love” (Super Secret). First coming to attention with the family band Brothers & Sisters a dozen years ago, Courtney is now on his third release under his own name. He seamlessly blends country, folk, rock and indie influences on this set of nine originals plus a cover of Danny Whitten’s “Look at All the Things.” Recorded at his home studio with his Wild Bunch band (guitarist Dan Wilcox, bassist Dave Morgan and drummer Travis Garaffa), “Crazy Love” is a no-nonsense Americana affairs that puts the songs front-and-center, whether the instrumentation is primarily electric (“Too High Now,” the title cut) or acoustic (“Drunk on Your Songs Again,” “When Will I Find My Love”). The next-to-last number, the slightly carnivalesque “Finally,” is a co-write with Courtney’s mother, Grammy-winning gospel singer Cynthia Clawson. Playing Sept. 25 at Hole in the Wall. Here’s the opening track, “Too High Now”:
Jonathon Zemek, “Hillcrest.” Prominent local musicians including Malford Milligan and Guy Forsyth teamed up with former Soul Track Mind leader Zemek in creating this unusual multimedia project that pairs music with a comic book. Written and produced by Zemek and Matt Smith, with comic book art done by Chris Rogers, it’s coming-of-age story that follows the adventures of a young boy whose father is killed at war. Appearing Sept. 21 at Wizard World Austin comic book convention at Austin Convention Center. Here’s a video of Zemek explaining more about the project, along with clips of both the artwork and the music:
Jane Ellen Bryant, “Let Me Be Lost” EP. The five songs here range from dreamy atmospherics (the opener “Take Me As I Am” ) to electronic outbursts (“Attention”) to sparkly soul (“Too Smooth”) to piano balladry (“If I Loved You,” the clear standout here) to melodramatic pop (“Let Me Be Lost”). Bryant, a terrific singer who’s toured with rising Austin pop star Max Frost and contributed vocals to several local acts’ records, seems to still be seeking her identity as a songwriter. Over the years I’ve been most impressed with her as an interpreter of other artists (Stephen Bruton’s “Make That Call” plus Daniel Johnston’s “Peek A Boo” as well as Stephen Stills’ “Helplessly Hoping”), and would love to hear her do a record along those lines at some point. Playing Sept. 22 at Mohawk indoor. Here’s the video for “Attention”:
“Blaze” Original Cast Recording soundtrack (Cinewax/Light in the Attic). Not your typical soundtrack album, this collection of a dozen songs draws primarily from performances as they appear right in the film itself. Musician/actor Ben Dickey, in the title role of ill-fated Austin songwriter Blaze Foley, is the focus here, performing Foley standouts such as “Clay Pigeons,” “Picture Cards” and “Cold Cold World.” There’s also two duets with actress Alia Shawkat (who plays Foley’s wife Sybil Rosen) and a couple of appearances by Hurray for the Riff Raff’s Alynda Segarra (Foley’s sister in the film), including the closing-track rendition of Lucinda Williams’ song “Drunken Angel,” written for Foley. The show-stealer, though, is Charlie Sexton in character as Townes Van Zandt, completely inhabiting the spirit of the Texas legend as he sings Van Zandt’s “Marie.” Here’s that track:
SEPT. 25: Charlie Belle, “Like I Love This” EP, playing Oct. 13 at Whip In.
SEPT. 28: Jerry David DeCicca, “Burning Daylight” (Super Secret).
SEPT. 28: Bright Light Social Hour, “Missing Something” EP, playin Sept. 23 and Sept. 30 at Cheer Up Charlie’s.
SEPT. 28: Nobody’s Girl, “Waterline” EP, release show Sept. 29 at Saxon Pub.
SEPT. 28: Autumn Fakes, “A Sequence of Cheers for Cause and Effect,” release show Sept. 29 at Knomad Bar.
OCT. 5: Molly Burch, “First Flower” (Captured Tracks), playing Oct. 6 at Austin City Limits Music Festival.
OCT. 5: Max Frost, “Gold Rush” (Atlantic), playing Nov. 10 at Scoot Inn.
OCT. 5: Michael Martin Murphey, “Austinology: Alleys of Austin,” playing Dec. 21 at Paramount Theatre.
OCT. 12: Lindsay Beaver, “Tough As Love” (Alligator).
OCT. 12: Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, “Rocket” (Verve Forecast).
OCT. 15: Kevin Welch, “Dust Devil.”
OCT. 19: Kendall Beard, “Here Comes Trouble,” playing Nov. 10 at Lamberts.
OCT. 25: Lesly Reynaga, release show Oct. 25 at One-2-One Bar.
OCT. 26: Carson McHone, “Carousel.”
OCT. 26: Jamie Lin Wilson, “Jumping Over Rocks,” playing Oct. 20 at Sam’s Town Point.
OCT. 26: Isaac Jacob Band, self-titled (Union 28).
NOV. 7: Kate Howard, release show Nov. 7 at One-2-One Bar.
After the Emo’s show, the tour will roll into San Marcos for a free show at Texas State University that will be open to students only.
“The importance of getting involved at this moment in time cannot be overstated. This isn’t only a Get Out The Vote concert,” James said in a press release about the event. “This is a learning moment aimed at college students to motivate them to vote, regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum. Each stop on the tour purposefully takes place in a contested electoral district or state for this important midterm election, where students and young voters have the ability to dramatically affect the outcome of this tremendous moment in history.”
All three-day passes and single-day tickets for weekend one (Oct. 5-7) of Austin City Limits Festival are now sold out.
Friday and Sunday have been sold out for a while, but we’re guessing the slew of ecstaticreviews from Sunday headliner, Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” tour, which hit Madison Square Garden last weekend, pushed the needle on the final day of weekend one.
The soul sensation from Fort Worth posted a photo of himself in a Beto for Senate T-shirt on his official Facebook page. Expressing appropriate reverence for Nelson, Bridges said he was joining the rally in support “of my friend and Texas Senate candidate, Beto O’Rourke.”
“Elections are coming up — so make sure you exercise your right to vote. Texas Forever,” he added.
Nelson and Bridges will share the bill with Joe Ely, Carrie Rodriguez, Tameca Jones, and Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah Nelson.