Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week

Kendrick Lamar, Brandi Carlile, Red Young, Chucky Blk, and more recommended shows

Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week

Kendrick Lamar

Moody Center, Thursday 21

In May, hip-hop's long-absent guiding conscience returned. Though our decaying world expected salvation, the messianic MC rose bearing an evasive, eremitic double LP that offered no overarching political comment, no rap-along anthems, no solutions to our societal woes, but, instead … lyrics about therapeutic water fasts and the hollow comfort of luxury cars? Had Kendrick's poetic eye finally shifted downward from America's streets to his millionaire's naval? Oh God … is he rapping about cancel culture?

How shortsighted we were. Kendrick Lamar understands the stakes perfectly. He won acclaim with a series of albums that vividly rendered the reality of his surroundings, but the empathetic acuity of his reportage quickly became mistaken for the faultlessness of his personhood. Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers is the turning away, the Yeezus, the In Utero – the standoffish swerve that emphasizes Kendrick's fragile, difficult humanity to save his unparalleled artistry. Sure, it's upsetting to hear the voice of a generation echoing around in his own head – fixated on his trauma rather than ours – but it's also unmistakably honest, and isn't that what we all come to Kendrick for?

Well, maybe not. Recent festival set lists suggest that the Big Steppers tour will go heavy on old favorites. Taken at face value, you could read this as a musician cowing to public opinion, quickly moving past his "flop" era. But I disagree; this is confidence. He knows Mr. Morale has done its job and recontextualized his music forever. Kendrick Lamar is not, has not been, will not be "your savior." – Julian Towers

Brandi Carlile, Lucius

Moody Amphitheater, Friday 15

Since her multiple-Grammy-garnering 2018 LP, By the Way, I Forgive You, Brandi Carlile has written an autobiography, created the female supergroup the Highwomen, and celebrated Joni Mitchell and Tanya Tucker to a new generation, producing the latter's Grammy-winning comeback. Still, last year's seventh LP, In These Silent Days, delivers the highlight of the past five years, weaving touches of Mitchell and Tucker into Carlile's powerfully torching ballads and deeply personal narratives facing off with doubt and defiance. Electro-pop quintet Lucius opens, grooving new Second Nature, before taping their Austin City Limits debut on Sunday. – Doug Freeman

Wild Pleasures, Temple of Love

Lost Well, Saturday 16

Take two parts nostalgic Sunset Strip sleaze and one part modern metal sensibilities, mix well, and you have a shot through the heart: Wild Pleasures, pure party rock for the people. Including former members from local bad boys Widower and Ladykiller, quite the buzz has built up around their upcoming debut performance. To add to the anticipation, the reclusive Temple of Love opens things up. With members from Destroyer of Light, Witchcryer, and Mothership, their brand of dark rock is a must-see. The infamous DJ Devilwoman masters the ceremonies and there's even a glam-metal cocktail menu crafted just for the party. – Robert Penson

Red Young's Tenor Madness

Elephant Room, Saturday 16

A longtime favorite in ATX jazz circles, keyboardist Red Young has such an amazing résumé it's a wonder he doesn't live in a mansion in the Hollywood Hills: studio and touring work with Eric Burdon, Marcia Ball, Amos Lee, Joan Armatrading, and others; contributions to TV shows including Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the films In the Line of Fire and Indecent Proposal; plus appearances on Austin City Limits and Rockpalast. Tenor Madness recalls the frenetic era of saxophonists like Johnny Griffin and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis gleefully cutting heads, with drums and Young's organ as foundational support.
– Michael Toland

Blues on the Green

Zilker Park, Tuesday 19 – Wednesday 20

Homegrown radio takes care of its own. KUTX's spring concert series Rock the Park, which returns in September, proved a kiddie- palooza for Central Austin. In between, Austin City Limits Radio stages a prelude to ACL Fest with its annual Zilker convergences. Last month's Grupo Fantasma Latin revue reiterated local hunger for communal music worship. Back-to-back romps in the Great Lawn this week ought to satiate the state capital. Shinyribs' modern "Mr. Bojangles" boogie welcomes the Otis Redding-style funk of Tomar & the FCs and big-voiced singer-songwriter Scott Strickland on Tuesday, while Black Joe Lewis unleashes raunchy blues rock on hump day with the soul stylings of Mélat and Spanish bewitchment of Angélica Rahe. Word! – Raoul Hernandez

Austin Con Uvalde

Antone's, Thursday 21

It's been seven weeks since an 18-year-old with a semi-automatic rifle murdered 19 children and two teachers, while wounding 17 others, at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. With tears and trauma persisting, Austin's Latinx music community raises funds for survivors and victims. Count on the classy king of ATX Tejano Ruben Ramos, aka El Gato Negro; a collaboration between two Austin institutions, Vallejo and Del Castillo; plus cumbia captain Kiko Villamizar, soulful Latin-pop stylist Lesly Reynaga, and more. – Kevin Curtin

Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week

Chucky Blk

Sunday 17, Cheer Up Charlies

Slick-rhyming, quick-witted emcee with a penchant for rattling off words and sentiments alike within tight spaces opens for fellow talented local rapper Blakchyl. – Derek Udensi

Kimarie Sky

Thursday 14, Monks Jazz Club

Vocalist teams up with a string quartet for a special tribute set paying homage to Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon. – Derek Udensi

Lenny Tavárez

Saturday 16, Club Miami ATX

Puerto Rican reggaeton artist formerly of Dyland & Lenny. – Derek Udensi


Tuesday 19, Circuit of the Americas

San Francisco rock band whose career-revitalizing 2009 single "Hey, Soul Sister" ran rampant across American media for the better part of a year. "Hey, hey, hey, hey," certainly left a stain on the brain. Jewel ("You Were Meant for Me") opens. – Derek Udensi

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More Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
El Tule’s Final Show and More Crucial Concerts This Week
El Tule’s Final Show and More Crucial Concerts This Week
Catch Lucinda Williams, Escuela Grind, or Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold

Raoul Hernandez, Jan. 19, 2024

A.L. West at a Bookstore, and More Crucial Concerts This Week
A.L. West at a Bookstore, and More Crucial Concerts This Week
Stop by Stalefish’s album release or Jonathan Toubin’s Soul Clap

Carys Anderson, Jan. 12, 2024

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