Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Blues on the Green, Puscifer, Brennen Leigh, Ghost Wolves, and more recommended shows
By Maya Wray, Kevin Curtin, Christina Garcia, Tim Stegall, Rachel Rascoe, and Doug Freeman, Fri., June 10, 2022
Bass Concert Hall, Wednesday 15
"It's been six years since Puscifer's toured. Six years. I've gotten COVID four times. Four. I'm fine."
So states Maynard James Keenan following a week of jet-lag recovery from Tool's European tour. The frontman joins rehearsal for Puscifer's long-awaited Existential Reckoning tour, kicking off June 9 in Las Vegas. The art-rock trio's fourth studio album takes a deep dive into society's treacherous value of entertainment over information.
"A lot of the stuff on the record was reflective of things that preceded the pandemic," he explains. "Surely some of that stuff seeped in, but for the most part, those observations are just my perception of the world as it progresses. That's kind of what we do as artists."
"Bedlamite," the final track on 2020's Existential Reckoning, graciously offers us a hopeful note: "Remarkable resilience through calamity/ It's gonna be all right."
"It's a pendulum, these changes we go through … that's why we think it might never end," says Keenan. "But we are part of this marvel, and that balance will be struck."
The singer looks forward to his return to Austin, a familiar haunt from his days stationed at Ft. Hood.
"I would imagine if I were to explore more of the sprawl, it might seem different," he acknowledges. "I know that there's better coffee now than there used to be back in 1985." – Maya Wray
Check out the full Q&A here.
Brennen LeighWaterloo Records, Friday 10, 5pm
Stateside at the Paramount, Saturday 11
The lyrics of Brennen Leigh's "Obsessed With the West" deserve to be inscribed on a metal plaque at a Texas natural monument … maybe Guadalupe Peak: "Her buzzing cicadas, her chalky white rocks/ Her high dancing grasses, her black buzzard flocks." That anthemic title track stands as an outlier on the former Austinite's latest collection, a 12-song collaboration with Asleep at the Wheel that finds her exquisitely polishing Western swing songcraft including a Texas Playboys tribute: "If Tommy Duncan's Voice Was Booze." – Kevin Curtin
Mayan WarriorConcourse Project, Saturday 11
From enormous playa parties at Burning Man, the Mayan Warrior sound crew celebrates their 10-year anniversary in Austin on the first of four rave stops. "Full art car" means the Mexico City crew's massive float of a soundstage with Mayan and Huichol-inspired art will welcome fellow practitioners of psychedelic spiritualism. Artist names are embargoed, but we can tease the house and techno DJ lineup: a Berlin-based, Tel Aviv-born purveyor of disco halal; a Greek-born champion of darker, progressive music economy; a resident Mayan Warrior and experience designer of indie leanings; and a young Anjunadeep influencer from Istanbul. – Chrstina Garcia
Ghost Wolves, Joe Ben ExperimentABGB, Saturday 11
Been a minute since we heard from Carley and Jonny Wolf, aka blues/garage/trash/punk duo Ghost Wolves. Going by April's spaghetti-Western-in-miniature video for "Pieces of 8," their music's been wrapped in a gothic buzz, bolstered by the Ennio Morricone-esque sonics. New LP Never Die hits Friday with a show the next day at ABGB. Meanwhile, the Joe Ben Experiment opens his scientific laboratory of spacey synths and alternative guitar stylings. – Tim Stegall
Blues on the GreenZilker Park, Tuesday 14 – Wednesday 15
After a shortened 2021 calendar due to COVID-19, ACL Radio's much-loved outdoor concert tradition Blues on the Green resurrects two gigs intended for last summer. On Tuesday, the totally free season kicks off with Sir Woman, Zach Person, and Sneaky Peaches & the Fuzz, also introducing an earlier 7pm start. The next night, Austin's Grammy-winning, funk-infused, cumbia orchestra Grupo Fantasma hosts a crazily expanded revue-style rundown with the Colombian Gaita All-Stars. The encyclopedic swirl of locally made Latin, psychedelic, and hip-hop influences brings in Money Chicha, Gina Chavez, Third Root, Kalu James, Alex Marrero, Tomar Williams, and Trevor Nealon – as well as El Paso's Amalia Mondragón, who has recorded with Chicha/Black Pumas' Adrian Quesada. – Rachel Rascoe
Joshua Ray Walker, Sarah Shook & the DisarmersAntone's, Thursday 16
With a smooth neo-trad twang atop a mix of hard-driving bar-band hooks and sharp ballads, Joshua Ray Walker has finally popped above the country underground. The Dallas big man laid a triptych of stellar albums over the past three years, with 2021's See You Next Time especially impressing as Walker expanded range with the suave, funked-up soul of "Sexy After Dark," surprising amidst the album's bleeding fiddles and Tex-Mex touches. North Carolina's Sarah Shook also sharpens her biting country-punk sound with this year's third platter, Nightroamer, while Mississippi native Aaron Vance cuts country blues to start. – Doug Freeman