Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Fest, Eastside Kings Festival, HAAM Day, Vein.fm, Monte Warden & the Dangerous Few, and more
By Kevin Curtin, Raoul Hernandez, Doug Freeman, Julian Towers, Robert Penson, Michael Toland, Mars Salazar, and Derek Udensi, Fri., Sept. 9, 2022
Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival w/ Luna Luna, TC Superstar, Mama Duke, KindKeith, and McPullish
Far Out Lounge, Sunday 11
What do music and hot sauce have in common? They both cause your body to release endorphins. Those brain chemicals are linked to killing pain, elevating your state of mind, and decreasing the negative impacts of stress. You can cool your mood with a double dose of dopamine this Sunday at the Chronicle's 32nd annual Hot Sauce Festival.
Soundtracking this year's capsaicin celebration, which runs from 3 to 9pm and fundraises for the Central Texas Food Bank, are a pair of hometown pop headliners. TC Superstar's deep-voiced, indie- leaning synthwave combines with creative choreography for a display so irresistibly exuberant you might not notice Connor McCampbell singing against consumerism and life's mundanity. Their dance party commences just before Luna Luna, whose groovy, swoony sound – fusing contemporary R&B with synth-pop – has transcended Texas ears to grow a national streaming presence. Founded as a solo effort from Colombia-born songwriter Kavvi, the bilingual band quickly evolved with the addition of charismatic keyboardist/co-singer Danny Bonilla – though drummer Kaylin Martinez emerged as a fan favorite at their packed August appearance at Empire.
Earlier in the day, recent Chronicle cover star Mama Duke scorches tongues with her hip-hop lyricism that spans braggadocious raps and "sad girl shit," while KindKieth flexes instrumentally with jazz- studied, beat-oriented R&B that's compositionally dense, sonically melty, and introspective. Between sets, bona fide pepperhead McPullish DJs dubby sounds from around the globe. – Kevin Curtin
Eastside Kings FestivalAntone's/Austin Vintage Guitar Shop/12th & Chicon/Justine's, Friday 9 – Sunday 11
Eastside Kings Festival's 10th anniversary might intimidate you. Opening Friday at Antone's, while afterpartying Tuesday at Justine's, the blues explosion localizes outdoors at 12th and Chicon on Saturday and Sunday for a $25 wristband each day. Discovering Austin anew or reconnecting historically aligns with the ungentrified vitality of ESK.
"I could never answer that question: 'What keeps you doing this?' I get that a lot about [my label] Dialtone Records," checks in one-man preservationist Eddie Stout. "It's very cool to have music pouring out into the streets and seeing cats having fun."
Local treasures such as Hill Country bluesman Johnny Nicholas, veteran crooner Soul Man Sam, and harp dynamo Birdlegg lay the foundation. Gulf Coast soul siren Crystal Thomas and guitarist Gypsy Mitchell of Dallas psychedelic spiritualists the Relatives then expand regionally. Guitar Slim Junior, whose papa (1926-1959) set the stage for Jimi Hendrix, ventures ESK into the Bayou State and beyond.
Stout further recommends:
- Stan Mosley: "Like Wilson Pickett, super cool."
- Lucious Spiller: "Dragging the bottom to come up with some low-down blues, his uncle was Magic Sam."
- Tail Dragger: "Nobody except Lil' Jimmy Reed can be this good, Chicago blues style. Howlin' Wolf gave him his name."
- Bloodest Saxophone: "Japan's royal crown apple juice-jump, swing, blues, in the pocket and tight. Only show in the USA and not to be missed." – Raoul Hernandez
HAAM DayCitywide, Tuesday 13
The Health Alliance for Austin Musicians keeps our Central Texas artists in tune, and HAAM Day lets musicians and the community return support to the nonprofit, with over 50 businesses donating proceeds of sales and more than 100 artists playing citywide.
This year's main event takes over the Moody Amphitheater in Waterloo Park with a full-day showcase and free food and drink from local vendors. Lesly Reynaga sounds the 6am alarm with her intoxicating dance grooves before returning with a full band in the afternoon. Other highlights in the park throughout the day include Jon Dee Graham's gruff poetic punch, the smooth funk of D-Madness, Andrew Cashen's indie revival croon, and headlining sets from Riders Against the Storm and Bob Schneider.
Elsewhere around town, PNC locations offer bank busking anchored by Vanessa Lively, Terry Klein, Scott Collins, Kris Schultz, and Joe Blanda, while H-E-Bs dish Jitterbug Vipers, Nita Chawla, and Gus Miller. AUS even serenades departures with Michael Fracasso, Cat Clemmons III, and more.
Carolyn Wonderland and Shelley King serve both lunch and dinner (at the Willie statue at noon and Continental Club at 6:30), and Guerro's chips in with a loaded showcase of Cari Hutson, Kathryn Legendre & Brian Broussard, and Jonathan Tyler. Yeti's flagship chills with Daniel Fears, Jo James, and Erica Michelle.
Close out with the clubs, especially the powerhouse women of PAACK (Antone's), Kiko Villamizar's cumbia (Geraldine's), p1nkstar's electro-pop (Cheer Up Charlies), and Kydd Jones's provocative beats (Mohawk). Check out the full lineup and see how you can support HAAM at myhaam.org. – Doug Freeman
Vein.fmParish, Saturday 10
You'd think it was enough simply being the hardest, most progressive hardcore group to emerge from the last decade. Boston's Vein.fm had to go ahead, hire a turntablist, and make the music that finally justified the existence of nü metal. I had the pleasure of witnessing the bionic, sample-spliced savagery of their latest material radicalize sensitive emo fans when the band opened for Touché Amoré in March and eagerly await the sure-to-be-infernal pit that opens up for their headlining tour. Rounding out the bill are youth crew revivalists Regulate, feral noise apocalypse from Candy, and, well, Vein.fm again via their techcore side project, Living Weapon. – Julian Towers
FSG x Resound Block PartyFeels So Good, Saturday 10
Screenprinter, designer, and record store Feels So Good teams up with independent promoters Resound for an end-of-summer block party showcasing a menagerie of music from all over the Lone Star State. Headliners include the incisive raps of genre-flexible Houston hip-hop heavyweight Fat Tony, the full sensory performance of music and dance group TC Superstar, and Dallas' soulful Chicano rap collective Chroma. The eclectic art-punk sounds of buzzworthy locals Lord Friday the 13th and Gus Baldwin & the Sketch give the bill the liberal arts college house party vibe we all know and love, while acts like Blue Jean Queen and Rattlesnake Milk bring nostalgic country sounds into new territories. Fort Worth's Clear Acid exudes a Nineties shoegaze sentiment, paired well with Borzoi's often solemn, sometimes scary noise punk. Meanwhile, Strange Lot and Billy Glitter are two of a kind with their retro, raging psychedelic rock. Complimentary drinks amidst an array of food trucks and pop-up vendors ensure the good feelings roll.
– Robert Penson
The Ocean Blue3ten ACL Live, Saturday 10
Beginning in the late Eighties, Hershey, Pennsylvania's Ocean Blue wracked up an impressive score with college rock audiences for a decade via mildly psychedelic jangle-pop nuggets like "Drifting, Falling" and "Between Something and Nothing." Indie rock trends and millennial media oversaturation aside, the band perseveres with original members David Schelzel (vox, guitar) and Bobby Mittan (bass), recording some of its strongest work on 21st-century releases Kings and Queens/Knaves and Thieves and Ultramarine. Tours down Texas way are rare, so fans are advised to get their snorkels ready. Local shoegaze geniuses Blushing, whose Obsessions is one of 2022's best LPs, open. – Michael Toland
Oceans of SlumberCome & Take it Live, Sunday 11
"Sometimes we get to a show – and more so here than overseas – and I'm the only Black person there." So remarked Houston's Cammie Smalls to metal mag Decibel deep in the heart of the pandemic's BLM moment, 2020. Indeed, quick, name another frontwoman of her race in the hard arts. As a matter of fact, the Space City sextet's fifth LP, July's Starlight and Ash, coos and croons far more neo-soul than prog rock. Smalls turns in a tour de force of emotive truth, "The Lighthouse" and "The Hanging Tree" squeezing out Adele-sized pathos rather than Lita Ford-like gut rock. Stunning. – Raoul Hernandez
Winona Forever, the Irons, Foam StarBallroom, Wednesday 14
Looking to get down existential without all the doom and gloom? Take an introspective trip via soft rock and synth-driven melodies with Winona Forever's new single "Butterflies," an ambient indie-pop catharsis evoking the vibe of a Joe Hisaishi soundscape. With no shortage of flair, the Vancouver quartet's discography ranges from lighthearted guitar tones reminiscent of Mac Demarco in "Keep Kool" to fast-paced distorted licks in "Shrek~Chic." Indie folk fivepiece the Irons navigate the human experience atop mellow beats and light harmonies on April's He's About to Blow album, while Foam Star's standout single "High Problems" combines their consistent lyric-driven beat style with distortion-drenched accompaniment. – Mars Salazar
Monte Warden & the Dangerous FewParker Jazz, Thursday 15
Singer and songwriter Monte Warden has enjoyed many lives in the music biz: teenage rockabilly with Whoa! Trigger, country traditionalist with the Wagoneers, Buddy Holly-meets-Hank Williams roots rocker in his solo career, and million-selling songwriter for country acts like Patty Loveless, Travis Tritt, and, as required by law for Lone Star tunesmiths, George Strait. The Austinite's latest incarnation with the Dangerous Few may be his most ambitious: reimagining the style(s) of pre-rock pop music through the lens of a Texas native, dubbed the "Great Americana Songbook" by the wags at Paste. Boasting a self-titled debut of timeless originals co-produced by Tim Palmer (Pearl Jam, U2, Bowie), Warden and the Few hold down every third Thursday at Parker Jazz, bringing a salt-of-the-earth sensibility to the songbook atmosphere. – Michael Toland
The KillersFriday 9, Moody Center
Last year's conceptual studio album, Pressure Machine, marked a well-received stylistic departure for the Las Vegas rock band as frontman Brandon Flowers thought up a folky work primarily based on his upbringings in the tiny rural town of Nephi, Utah. For those unmoved by songs such as "West Hills," concertgoers should still have an opportunity to belt out "Mr. Brightside" with the band who created the sing-along favorite. – Derek Udensi
Los KuradosFriday 9, Flamingo Cantina
The Austin ska party band celebrates 10 years. – Derek Udensi
Jack HarlowSunday 11, Moody Center
The Louisville emcee seemed poised to hold the rap world in his hands before dropping a sophomoric album lacking the charm that made him an internet favorite over the last year. Still, Harlow knows how to put on a solid show and will receive support from Quality Control's City Girls. – Derek Udensi