The Austin Chronicle

Crucial Free Week Concerts

Grab your mask and hit some gratis live shows

By Rachel Rascoe, Michael Toland, Julian Towers, Raoul Hernandez, Mars Salazar, and Kevin Curtin, December 31, 2021, Music

Free Week

Per tradition, the fiscal year of Austin music launches with a run of shows priced $0.00. Pay that generosity forward by discovering your new favorite band and buying merch. Here are some picks from the first six nights of the elongated nine-day Free "Week."

Dâm-Funk, the Vapor Caves, Austin Boogie Crew

Mohawk, Saturday 1

A standout out-of-town addition to the no-cost concert bonanza, Resound Presents rings in legendary Los Angeles producer Dâm-Funk. All in the name, the prolific boogie ambassador epitomizes modern funk – from defining mid-Nineties hip-hop instrumentation to Stones Throw-supported solo artistry, including revelatory anthology revisits like 2010's Adolescent Funk. The rest of the evening pinpoints Austin upholders of the genre: electro-funk-influenced duo Vapor Caves, combining vocalist Yadira Brown and producer BoomBaptist, and record collective Austin Boogie Crew, devoted to "soulful, synth-heavy, club-friendly" sounds. – Rachel Rascoe

Eagle Claw, Rickshaw Billie's Burger Patrol, Ungrieved

Mohawk, Monday 3

Free Week's not only a chance to check out new faces, but also a good time to check in with old favorites. Instru-metal destroyers Eagle Claw consistently slay, answering the question, "What would happen if Metallica shut the hell up and just played?" on latest album Vallis. Eight-string guitar fanatics Rickshaw Billie's Burger Patrol continue celebrating the release of last year's full-length debut Burger Babes...From Outer Space! with grungy groove doom. Death metal flag-wavers Ungrieved, starring Gary Rosas of Mala Suerte, crush skulls first. – Michael Toland

Robert Ellis, Georgia Parker

Mohawk, Tuesday 4

2015 Disney Pixar film Inside Out documents a kid in transition and the emotions that rule her: joy, sadness, anger, fear, disgust. Find all five indoors and outside in an Americana stacking at Mohawk for Free Week. Western swing focal point in Big Cedar Fever, inside opener Georgia Parker sings pure joy, whereas ATX-native headliner Willy McGee's big, deep country baritone remains fearsome. Southwestern spine-chillers Altamesa retain a mean streak (anger) of supernatural roots noir. Outside, singer, guitarist, and piano man Robert Ellis plinks a melancholy streak throughout his countrypolitan presentation, while Austin outlaws Croy & the Boys stoke disgust for COVID idiocracy. That leaves San Antonio C&W eccentric Garrett T. Capps as Inside Out supporting player "jangles" for his CenTex hullabaloo. – Raoul Hernandez

Frosty Palms, Billy Glitter

Hotel Vegas, Wednesday 5

Projects>bands on hump day with a double-bill of acts that debuted with psychedelically tinged bedroom recordings. Bryan Dalle Molle pours drippy guitar waves into his mellow onepiece Frosty Palms' 2019 EP the arid interval, with ambient lo-fi tones in a homemade sound made for lovers. Nolan Potter's Nightmare Band guitarist William Grover introduces solo project Billy Glitter, with 2021 EP Bored Ranger scoring synth-driven progressions atop electric reverb and other- worldly bravado. – Mars Salazar

Flobama, Zeale

Swan Dive, Thursday 6

Last month, Zeale and Flobama posted a collaborative clip in which the Blackillac emcee rapped over the beatmaker's finger-drumming prowess. Let's hope they link up again at Swan Dive during a lineup that puts the "free" in Free Week: Like Zeale, Ben Buck flows freestyles like the dam of creativity has been pulled wide open. All four performers are handy on the sampler, while CloudChord excels at mixing beat production with slinky, modern, electric guitar stylings.– Kevin Curtin

Mélat, p1nkstar, BluMoon

Mohawk, Thursday 6

Homegrown sources of pop and R&B align in a choose-your-own-adventure of styles, with special guest TBA. Eclectic soul standard Mélat rides classically hued torch song "The Lesson," draped in illustrious vocal layers. Multihyphenate p1nkstar heightened her hot-pink superstar concept with the feature-length 2021 video for "Girls Like Us," highlighting trans artistry and named for one of her propulsive electro-pop tracks. San Marcos-launched act BluMoon offer elegant neo-jazz under Kendra Sells' imaginative vocal lead. Come early for twinkly organic synthesists Felt Out and more.– Rachel Rascoe

[Editor's note: This story has been updated to remove canceled shows.]

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