Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week

Big Bill, CupcakKe, Echo & the Bunnymen, Blxst, Boris, and more live shows to fill your evenings

Big Bill

Big Bill’s Bill Ball

Swan Dive, Saturday 20

If Big Bill were from Bristol, Brighton, or London, NME would've long ago run articles effusively praising their peculiar strain of punk and proclaiming them the next-big-thing. That is to say, the Austin quartet, est. 2011, was ahead of the curve on the more recent UK sensation of quirky punk with dissonant guitar and interesting talk-singing vocalists sharing cross-eyed ruminations about life. Of course, Big Bill's palpably weirder than much of that scene.

On Public Freakout Compilation, the group's first album since 2017 and best overall work, BB still inhabits that mode here and there – notably the pummeling avian metaphor "Hawk" – but hits their highest peaks with diversified sounds. The unusually patient "Picture" resembles an apocalyptic Velvet Underground, while "Almost Everybody" is an alt-y nugget of post-grunge power-pop that would've contended as a single on Weezer's Blue Album.

The band, whose gleefully abnormal sound early on approximated SpongeBob singing for the Dead Milkmen and who have since honed their stage-diving act so pointedly that civilian clothes won't do (their stage getups could be criminal wardrobe from the Sixties Batman show), now freak out with the stacked two-stage Bill Ball. All ballin': left-brain psych goofballs Being Dead, Masani Camacho-fronted punk trio Pussy Gillette, American dream dissector Chucky BLK, garage-y post-punk patriarchy-squishers Sailor Poon, introspective lyricist Khxnid!, and art-pop cranium-crackers Calliope Musicals. – Kevin Curtin

Exploded Drawing 56

Austin Cinemaker Space, Friday 19

Any event in its 56th iteration intermixing electronic music must be doing something right. Exploded Drawing returns with Black Pumas keyboardist JaRon Marshall – continuing tranquil instrumental hip-hop with bite-sized summer singles like "Good Vibes" – and influential Los Angeles sampling pioneer Samiyam. The latter Aughts breakout rose from Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label to work with the likes of Earl Sweatshirt, and is not to be confused spellingwise with lineup mate Saliyah – an ethereally in-the-club Austin native who recently made a splash in NYC. Further locally based talents include guitarist Honey Son's looped R&B/ambient interplay and bassist Cuadroped's nostalgic production voyages. Playfully bombastic Brownsville pop innovator B11ce also joins the party. All ages and $5, as always. – Rachel Rascoe

CupcakKe at Austin Pride

Fiesta Gardens, Saturday 20

After six raunchy albums squirting absurdist sex raps, Chicago's CupcakKe revealed that she is – *gasp* – a virgin via Twitter last week. Whether the 25-year-old later claims a hack or stands by her freak nasty lyrics as all slut theory and no praxis, CupcakKe has also shown full-throated support for the LGBTQ+ community in her music and is a three-time returning performer for Austin's 30th annual Pride celebration, which, after two years off, should reach climactic highs of joy. Organizers promise drag queen storytime, games, rides, and more before a Downtown evening parade. – Christina Garcia

Echo & the Bunnymen

ACL Live at the Moody Theater, Saturday 20

Widescreen psych rockers Echo & the Bunnymen maintain one of the most substantial catalogs in the UK's extraordinary contributions to the cause of rock & roll, boasting as many albums post-original breakup as during the band's heyday – all of them worth the effort. Latest LP The Stars, the Ocean & the Moon contains reworked versions of Bunnymen classics like "Bring On the Dancing Horses" and "The Killing Moon," no doubt serving as inspiration for this tour, dubbed "Celebrating 40 Years of Magical Songs." Few bands of their vintage still bring the rock as passionately. San Diego indie rockers Cayucas open. – Michael Toland

Blxst, Buddy

Emo's, Tuesday 23

Writer Yousef Srour from Passion of the Weiss perfectly describes Blxst's omniscient melodic narratives: "Blxst is an evocative storyteller and Los Angeles is his muse." Born and raised in South Central L.A., the artist (pronounced "blast") spins cathartic tales regarding the perils of both street life and failed Hollywood dreams in April's 13-track EP Before You Go. The 29-year-old writer of "Chosen" (ft. Ty Dollar Sign and Tyga) shares the stage with fellow West Coast phenomenon Buddy. Between the two of them they've collaborated with pretty much every relevant next-gen California artist ... all in the last five years. – Clara Wang

Boris, Nothing

Empire Control Room & Garage, Thursday 25

Ever stood over the Boris merch table? Looks like the 81 Tower Records that still remain in Japan. This turn, plunk down for the Heavy Rocks record, the Tokyo trio's series of metallic bangers begun in 2002 and now rising once again with a leopard-print snarl. If punk grenade "My Name Is Blank," detonating like the Stooges attempting Led Zeppelin's "Communication Breakdown," doesn't sell this tour, the video will: drum deity Atsuo Mizuno menacing kabuki corpse paint, Takeshi Ohtani manhandling his double-neck blaster, and Wata (Mizuno Yoko) melting fans like sand since 1992 with her radioactive stare. Philly shoegazers Nothing open. – Raoul Hernandez

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More Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
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