Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Chris Conde and Third Root, Bully, Robert Ellis, Lil Baby and Lil Durk, Molly Burch, and Pulkingham Layne
By Clara Wang, Carys Anderson, Doug Freeman, Morgan-Taylor Thomas, Abby Johnston, and Michael Toland, Fri., Sept. 17, 2021
Chris Conde, Third Root
The Little Darlin’, Saturday 18
In April, San Antonio-raised, ATX-based queer rapper Chris Conde released Engulfed in the Marvelous Decay, an album that retained the aggression of their previous work while exploring more melodic and ethereal spaces.
"This record is about continuing to thrive, despite all of the negativity that surrounds us," says Conde. "It's about acknowledging our humanity then learning how to heal and grow as a community."
At long last, Saturday brings a release show. The party features performances from Texas hip-hop knowledge bearers Third Root and a DJ set from Isis Payne. Entry's free, but a donation to the SIMS Foundation snags you a raffle ticket to win CBD treats from LGBTQ-, BIPOC-, and women-owned brand Maryjae. The SIMS Foundation provides mental health and substance abuse support to musicians and music industry workers in Austin.
The event follows last week's release of Conde's "Summertime Heat" music video. Over a cumbia cut produced by El Dusty, the fun-filled video is a festive celebration of LGBTQIA and Mexican American culture. The feel-good clip's packed with cameos from local favorites like Caleb De Casper, Jeff Smith of Hickoids, Thomas Valles and Audrey Campbell of Pleasure Venom, and Chronicle Music Editor Kevin Curtin, portraying a cranky Westlake pool owner in a rainbow Speedo. – Clara Wang
Bully, Lightning BugMohawk, Friday 17
Anyone can play guitar, but Alicia Bognanno keeps the basics interesting. The Nashville artist stays close to the tried-and-true sounds of Nineties alt-rock, but Bully stands out from a sea of grunge torchbearers with syrupy hooks and a Tommy Pickles roar. 2015's Feels Like went heavy on this breakneck sweetness, and 2017's Losing slowed in an equally arresting depression. Last year's Sugaregg, however, offered a triumphant return to the light and pummels with an even greater strength, a firecracker streak of hard-hitting drums and ringing feedback. On tour with lush New York indie rockers Lightning Bug, the zeitgeists of decades past are jolted back to life. – Carys Anderson
Robert Ellis, Nick Garza's Get AlongCentral Machine Works, Friday 17
Eclectic balladeer Robert Ellis' most recent incarnation manifested as the Texas Piano Man, 2019's delightfully recontouring and wry sprawl of Seventies-infused piano-pop and country rock – Harry Nilsson spun through Leon Russell. The once-local songwriter has since transferred his services to North Texas, plotting the next career turn while taking up producing and starting his own label, Niles City Records. Ellis returns to town with a new band for a free Friday unwinder outside of Central Machine Works, with rising ATX outfit Nick Garza's Get Along opening on the heels of their excellent low-crooning, twangy new single, "Another Bloody Morning." – Doug Freeman
Lil Baby, Lil DurkCircuit of the Americas, Friday 17
Fresh off their collaborative LP The Voice of Heroes, Lil Baby and Lil Durk's Back Outside Tour lets them seduce a crowd 23 times. Frequent features for rap star Drake, the duo establishes their own cohesive sound – controlled, poetic, and fierce. Standing as the only female on the bill, special guest Coi Leray shows off her jagged flow full of cheeky lyrics, reminding fans why women reign. Rylo Rodriguez and Bankroll Freddie bring smoothness, power, and soul, rounding out a stacked lineup. A crew this hot punches through the patterns of rap, forcing everyone to tune in. – Morgan-Taylor Thomas
Molly Burch, Christelle BofaleMohawk, Saturday 18
Nearly two months after the release of her third album, Romantic Images, Molly Burch is hitting the road, but not before a hometown send-off that breaks her out of small rooms at the start of her career and places her on Mohawk's main stage. The singer-songwriter, whose punched-up Patsy Cline vocals have entranced since her 2017 debut, leans further into dream-pop than the quieter reflections displayed on previous work – likely thanks to husband/wife producer duo Alaina Moore and Pat Riley of the band Tennis. Joining Burch is fellow Austin-based singer-songwriter Christelle Bofale. – Abby Johnston
Pulkingham Layne Album ReleaseParker Jazz Club, Saturday 18
David Pulkingham and Darin Layne have slung strings for Alejandro Escovedo, Patty Griffin, Left of Sunday Afternoon, Chrysta Bell, and more, but their guitar duo is special. An outgrowth of the band Crying Monkeys, Pulkingham Layne performs classics and originals in the Brazilian style choro, a sophisticated blend of flamenco, samba, and classical music, as delivered on their third LP, D Shack. The technique on display makes this vinyl release showcase crack for guitar nerds, but the beauty of the melodies should please those not hip to sixteenth-eighth-sixteenth rhythms. Show begins at 6pm. – Michael Toland