Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week

Spirit Adrift, Austin Reggae Fest, Nilüfer Yanya, Amyl & the Sniffers, and more recommended shows

Spirit Adrift

Spirit Adrift, Duel, Blk Ops

Mohawk, Friday 22

Like a scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Spirit Adrift commander Nathan Garrett and his spouse crash landed in Bastrop on March 1, 2020, after fleeing Arizona and the valley fever that claimed a canine soul mate.

“Our first two years as Texans were surreal,” emailed Garrett last week. “Moving to a new area can be a strange transition even under normal circumstances, so add COVID to that equation and it’s been a bizarre and unprecedented experience. But we love it here. It’s been wonderful reconnecting with nature, the Southern hospitality, and kindness of the people down here, [plus] the endless amount of culture in and around Austin.

“This area has everything I miss about growing up in the South and then some. It really does feel like home.”

An intimate christening inside at Mohawk touches off the astral doom trio’s 25 dates in European backwaters including Glasgow, London, Paris, Oslo, Gothenburg, Eindhoven, and Berlin. Spirit Adrift‘s continental raid follows the 4/20 bulletin of summer splatter 20 Centuries Gone and teaser “Sorcerer’s Fate,” a harmonic thrasher drawing inspiration/obsession from 1977 nail-biter Sorcerer. As with the desperate truck drivers transporting nitroglycerin through a South American jungle in William Friedkin’s lysergic makeover of French indelible The Wages of Fear, the August disc handles another new original and half a dozen ensuing covers with the utmost care: Type O Negative, Pantera, Metallica, Thin Lizzy, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and ZZ Top.

“I love Astro [Record Store],” divulges Garrett of Bastrop living. “It’s the only record store I’ve ever encountered that has a crucial purchase every single time I go in there. Last time, I picked up Black Mountain’s In the Future. I played that album constantly when it came out but never owned the vinyl. I also grabbed a couple Randy Travis records, the two really good ones. That man’s voice is nothing short of a cosmically anointed gift.” – Raoul Hernandez

Austin Reggae Festival

Auditorium Shores, Friday 22-Sunday 24

A generational gathering, a smokey springtime staple, and an annual blessing for the Central Texas Food Bank, Austin Reggae Fest returns after two pandemic scratches. On Friday, all walks of life will recognize the powerful voice of Mykal Rose (6:30pm) from Black Uhuru's 1979 classic "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." Saturday, singers Lutan Fyah (5pm) and Anthony B (8:30pm) bring pure Rasta spirit, with hip-hop-influenced reggae star Kabaka Pyramid (6:30pm) in between. Sunday brings it home with local gold-standard Mau Mau Chaplains (2:15pm), 49-year reggae fusion institution Third World (6pm), and Bob scion Julian Marley (8pm). – Kevin Curtin

David Shabani, Clarence James

Augustine Cocktail Lounge, Saturday 23

A nod to his internationally minded 2021 EP Shabani's Smooth Sounds of the Summer, including the cinematic sheen of "Life's Not Fair," David Shabani works midway through a roving concert run integrating locally sourced hip-hop, R&B, and soul. The weekly series, Shabani's Smooth Sounds of the Southwest, debuts his band the Nu Leopards – promising an hour-and-a-half of upbeat originals toying with samples from Alicia Keys to the Isley Brothers. On Rainey, the maestro invites Clarence James' evolving universe at the wonky edges of jazz-influenced indie rock, including lava-lamp-y March single "I'm Melting." – Rachel Rascoe

Nilüfer Yanya

Antone's, Tuesday 26

Call Londoner Nilüfer Yanya's deep, soulful croon to cracking brokenhearted voice "R&B" at your own peril. The 26-year-old Londoner says she feels more rock than ever, though her voice itself comes in softly over her own delicately strummed Fender, lush like red velvet cupcakes and then light like a sun ray. Fresh from Coachella, the singer-songwriter of Irish, Barbadian, and Turkish heritage makes, depending on the song you grab first, quiet indie-pop with lines of post-punk and shoegaze, drum machine dance-rock, trip-hop here and grunge there. Pain and needling shine through just a touch on her sophomore LP, Painless.– Christina Garcia

Amyl & the Sniffers

Hotel Vegas, Tue. 26 & Wed. 27

Australia's prime modern-day punk exports return to the Eastside's prestigious hipster garage room for two nights, in service of last year's Comfort to Me full-length. The incendiary 13-song, 34-minute release is the byproduct of the young fourpiece's pandemic lockdown in their Melbourne band house. Described by rowdily charismatic singer Amy Taylor as "a Mitsubishi Lancer going slightly over the speed limit in a school zone," Comfort's the most robust recorded representation of the live firepower Austin's lucky to experience intimately. – Tim Stegall

Wet, Zsela

Mohawk, Thursday 28

Mohawk hosts "no genres, just vibes" on Thursday with two genre-bending indie/R&B/pop/mellow-emo acts, Brooklyn-based duo Wet and otherworldly queen Zsela. Now in their 30s, Wet's Kelly Zutrau and Joe Valle have come into all their art-school indie glory with April's EP Letter Blue after Fader named them one of 2015's most promising acts. Zsela is fine arts royalty; her father is Chocolate Genius, her mother is photographer Kate Sterlin, and Tessa Thompson is her half sister. Zsela spent years putting together 2020's ethereal five-track Ache of Victory and lately records fun bops with her father on Instagram.  – Clara Wang

Music Notes

by Derek Udensi

Thursday 21, Moody Amphitheater
Grammy-winning, R&B-singing, electric guitar-slaying Bay Area talent whose mysterious shades induce envy.

Bon Jovi
Saturday 23, Moody Center
The prequel week to the Moody Center’s April 29 “grand opening” rages on with Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bon Jovi. Austin’s supposed first-ever “world-class venue” returns attendees to the Eighties with bad medicine and hopeful prayer.

Brazil Fest 2022
Sunday 24, Haute Spot
Various Austin-based artists with Brazilian ties put on the first Brazil Fest, with a view toward benefiting Cultura Brasil Austin.

Justin Bieber
Wednesday 27, Moody Center
The Canadian pop/R&B boy wonder, still just 28, has evolved from incessantly wailing “baby” in an annoyingly unavoidable high cadence to professing his love for wife Hailey Baldwin – curses and all – on the 2022 Grammys stage. Openers include Jaden Smith.

Update: an earlier version of this story contained a different interview with Spirit Adrift.

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More Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
King Louie, Killah Priest, and indie classical lead our recommended shows

Rachel Rascoe, May 26, 2023

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