Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Sean Wheeler, a KVRX house party, the Southside Psychout, and two Hole in the Wall extravaganzas
By Gary Lindsey, Kevin Curtin, Mars Salazar, Michael Toland, and Rachel Rascoe, Fri., March 11, 2022
Sean Wheeler & the Reluctant Messengers
Continental Club, Thursday 10 & Friday 11
You are definitely slacking as a underground music nerd if you haven't drunkenly "whoa-oh-ohhhh'd" along to the rootistic-punk aggression of Throw Rag or been brought to tears by one of the stripped down, heartfelt chorales of Sean Wheeler & Zander Schloss.
Wheeler doesn't need a stage under his feet to be onstage; it just naturally happens whenever he engages you. He thinks, feels, and expresses himself in the same manner that Kerouac wrote On the Road: rapid-fire stream of consciousness, using the microphone as his typewriter and the audience as his paper scroll, continually feeding the story and the soul of all attending.
I won't divulge any details of Wheeler's sins or wayward days – that's his song to sing, but I will guarantee that every ounce of pain encountered in his life, whether self-inflicted or circumstantial, comes through in every note, expression, or lyrical twist of his performances. Having brought more tattooed faces to tears than any prison chaplain or parole board, the strength of his lament is so great that you will long for salvation even if you haven't sinned.
This revelry will only be heightened by an incredible all-star lineup of Austin talent: Emily Gimble, Billy Pitman, Hunt Sales, and Michael Archer are his Reluctant Messengers. – Gary Lindsey
KVRX Presents: A Big Blue KickoffBig Blue, Saturday 12
One of two excellent SXSW-time gigs rolled out by the UT college radio kiddos, this backyard show scribbles a Venn diagram of like-minded indie songcrafters – the type where you can hear the strums and instrumental quirks. On the baroque-pop tip, Lockhart duo Tele Novella wound ravishing, retro-whimsy brilliance on sophomore Merlynn Belle. Their bassist, Jason Chronis, produced underrecognized 2021 standout Solely, sophomore ode of undeniable naturalistic guitarist/vocalist Natalie Jane Hill of Wimberley. Also on the folk-minded end, there's beautifully frayed Keeled Scales soloist Twain, minimalist saw-incorporating wizards Little Mazarn, and honeyed Chicago-via-Louisiana singer Hemlock, to extend the gig's otherwise Central Texan loop. See KVRX social media for the North Campus address, up for $10 presale. – Rachel Rascoe
Hole Lotta HellHole in the Wall, Sunday 13
Tumble into a rock medley that promises nothing but eclectic riffs and fervent howls directed promptly to the eardrums from noon to midnight. A rose-red light pulls you out of Austin's steaming concrete jungle and into the refuge of the Hole, where fellow Tralfamadorians bump the soundscapes of SXSW official artists Shooks, Being Dead, and Half Dream. From the depths of grit and grime, out come strutting the Sad Cell punks in jovial camaraderie formed over their February residency littered with red drink tickets and splintered drumsticks, while Glasshealer emerges to christen with synth-studded overtures on the cusp of their Eastern U.S. tour. For the vagrants and vigilantes seeking refuge from Rambler-engrossed "darties," lean on the variety rock soul Hole sanctuary ... so it goes! – Mars Salazar
Southside PsychoutFar Out Lounge, Wednesday 16
The term "psychedelia" means different things to different people, so the Southside Psychout intends to cast as wide a net as possible. Thus, out of town visitors like Montreal acid rockers Population II, L.A. bedroom popster Sonoda, Philly avant-garage bangers Godcaster, and Canadian nerd rocker Gus Englehorn prepare to explore outer and inner space. The heart of this shindig, though, remains local talent, anchored by psych/prog traditionalists Nolan Potter's Nightmare Band (naturally), alt-psychsters Annabelle Chairlegs, noise rascals Borzoi, and more. Open your third eye, prepare for takeoff, step beyond the green door, and avoid the traditional SXSW Downtown crush at the Far Out Lounge's outdoor stage on South Congress. Doors at noon, no cover, and all ages welcome. – Michael Toland
Ranch X Chicken RanchHole in the Wall, Wednesday 16
Chicken Ranch Records, always doing yeoman's work in the local scene, throws open the doors at the Hole in the Wall for a free all-day, three-stage band bonanza. CRR's flagship fun-loving aliens Peelander-Z (6:15pm) widen smiles with their cartoonishly colorful punk rock and props, while labelmates the Waymores (2:10pm), from Atlanta, combine the bright and brash like June Carter and Johnny Cash, and New Delhi duo Komorebi (4:10pm) materializes blissful moods with their atmospheric electronic compositions bordering on trip-hop. Other visitors to the Ranch include NYC indietronic veterans Plus/Minus (6pm), Nashville thrash & twang couple Volk (6:45pm), and Sub Pop-approved powerhouse soul vocalist Shaina Shepherd (3:45pm). – Kevin Curtin