Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Paul Cauthen, Bun B, Diplo, Vrywvy, and more recommended shows
By Abby Johnston, Michael Toland, Clara Wang, Rachel Rascoe, Christina Garcia, and Michael Toland, Fri., Sept. 3, 2021
Paul CauthenBuck’s Backyard, Saturday 4
For the past month, "Big Velvet" has been blanketing the nation on tour, stretching between the West and Midwest. But Paul Cauthen, whose impossibly rich baritone earned him that moniker, will interrupt a slew of California tour dates with a Labor Day blowout at Buck's Backyard in Buda.
It's a homecoming show for the Tyler native, who for years hung his Texas-sized hat in Austin. With this swing through, Cauthen has arguably more buzz than ever. He's slicked up his early gospel-fused country that made him a favorite at local venues, adding a glittery rhinestone cowboy crunch that pulsed through 2019's Room 41.
There's something darker, smokier, about Room 41, a mystique and danceable energy that has separated him from the pack of Texas troubadours on relentless touring schedules. Glossy production and textural play took the bones of his 2016 debut, My Gospel, to new heights, pushing the boundaries of his choirboy tendencies to sparkling results.
Still, the good Lord hasn't left Cauthen: He's always given off the air of a man who might knock back a few too many drinks before sliding into the pews Sunday morning; now he just might have ended Saturday night with boots on a disco floor. Bring your lawnchairs to Buck's, but don't plan on using them. – Abby Johnston
The Music of Cole PorterParker Jazz Club, Thursday 2 – Saturday 4
An undoubted musical genius, songwriter Cole Porter contributed so many catchy, witty, and diabolically smart tunes to the Great American Songbook and influenced so many jazz, rock, pop, and Broadway composers that a tribute to his music takes three nights. Joined by singer and spouse Jennifer Johnson, Parker Jazz Club owner and woodwinds master Kris Kimura leads the Parker Jazz Club House Band – pianist Ryan Davis, bassist Ben Triesch, and drummer Jeremy Bruch – in a survey of Porter's indelible catalog. In person and livestreamed. – Michael Toland
Bun B's Backyard BBQFar Out Lounge, Saturday 4
Labor Day weekend signals the end of summer with barbecue and America's last concession to labor unions, so you better celebrate. Houston icon Bun B links up with culinary-minded hip-hop enthusiasts Music on the Menu and ATX & Excellence to present a trill time of food, music, and graffiti. Along with Rollin Smoke BBQ and Diablos' Cookers, Bun's Trill Burger pop-up hits local tastebuds for the first time. The UGK rapper (R.I.P. Pimp C) headlines after sets by Latinx DJ collective Peligrosa and lyricist/activist Olmeca. Purple "drank" (cocktail) by Redeemer on tap. – Clara Wang
VrywvyEmpire, Saturday 4
Just last January, TikTok caught on to a clip of Dallas DJ Vrywvy blending modern reggaeton leads like Bad Bunny, Daddy Yankee, and Jhay Cortez. The low-angled camera catches her colorful manicure's flair on the knobs, while the Mexico City-born transition aficionado sings along, flashing a smile when the crossover hits just right. "DJ Practice" sessions cheerfully hopping between Nineties hip-hop and Aughts R&B have since earned her some 270K devotees. Self-taught on YouTube during her Texas childhood, Vrywvy brings back her roving, self-produced VryLatin party, which sold out Empire over the summer. – Rachel Rascoe
DiploConcourse Project, Saturday 4
"Austin mega-club" has a nice ring. Diplo, man of international production and label tastes, christens the Concourse Project's "soft opening." The Mad Decent label head brings a cadre of producers threatening house music as part of his sublabel/event, Higher Ground, to the highly anticipated debut of the Burleson Road home for RealMusic, a label and promotions power couple pushing untz for over a decade. Moving sound walls, to shift club configuration on demand, are in a state of semi-completion, said RealMusic's co-owner Kelly Gray. It'll be worth deviating from Downtown club land to glimpse one of Austin's largest venues. – Christina Garcia
Primus and the SwordACL Live at the Moody Theater, Thursday 9
Alt-rock's favorite kooky power trio, the mighty (weird) Primus spent part of the early Nineties touring and becoming friends with the recently retired Rush – no surprise, given that its work constituted a fun house mirror image of the Canadian legends' own bass-driven prog metal attack. Now Primus brings its twice-delayed A Tribute to Kings tour to Austin, playing Rush's 1977 opus A Farewell to Kings – probably the band's most challenging album from its iconic Seventies run, despite containing "Closer to the Heart" – in entirety. Austin's own metal kings the Sword emerge from hibernation to open. – Michael Toland