Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week

Riverboat Gamblers, USA/Mexico, Damian Garcia Quintet, Honky-Tonk Holidaze, and more recommended shows for your week

Witches Exist On the Patio

Hotel Vegas, Thursday 15

The blasphemous depravity soon to befoul the Hotel Vegas patio would make an 18th century Puritan blush – dancing, singing, laughing. They knew it all along: Witches Exist. The new fourpiece noisegaze band will rendezvous for the final 2022 installment of the free outdoor show series that the cherished venue has hosted every Thursday, 9:30pm, with preceding bands in this concert sequence being Water Damage and Castle Club. Fronted by audio production starchild Jackson Baker, Witches' late-November single "Double Homicide" swelters in a shoegaze haze dipped in electronic garnish. Live, Derek Ivy reigns over melancholic drum beats, while guitarist Jimmy Mercado spins a soundscape of dreamy, eclectic riffs off their August singles bundle entitled Fertilizer. Principal Baker steers the melodic helm with synth and eerie vocals atop the hypnotic bass of Anthony Day, both former members of the now disbanded group DiceHouse. Following the free early show, Magic Rockers of Texas celebrate a new single indoors with fellow underground establishments Being Dead, Van Mary, and Pelvis Wrestley.  – Mars Salazar

Open Mike Eagle

The Ballroom, Friday 9

"I'm gettin' too old. My first album title might've been too bold." The sharper Open Mike Eagle's rhymes, the deeper wounds gouge into his psyche. That creative tension – steadily mounting across a decade of Unapologetic Art Rap, title of that debut LP – forms the hella meta bedrock for the L.A.-based multihyphenate's terrific new record, a tape called component system with the auto reverse. Across haunted, crackling sound loops like disintegrating cassettes, the never-wearier Eagle examines the toll of a career built on brilliantly tearing himself down. Openers are longtime associates from his hometown Chicago, Serengeti and Video Dave.  – Julian Towers

Riverboat Gamblers 7-Inch Release

The 13th Floor, Friday 9

Fitting, Austin's longtime greatest punk band chose Jake Garcia and Nick Yaklin's newly relocated venture at 711 Red River to launch their new single. After all, Riverboat Gamblers ruled the space's longtime occupant, Beerland. Alongside Trail of Dead spinoff Band of Bastards, Magic Rockers of Texas, and Dregs, the group celebrates the first two originals they've released since COVID. "Two Little Hearts" offers a "trashed-out R'n'R" ode to guitarist Ian MacDougall's cats, while "Denton" is a widescreen ode to the band's hometown, masking nostalgia in big major chords.  – Tim Stegall


The Parlor, Saturday 10

"At what point does sound become music?" wondered the Chronicle 10 months ago. "USA/Mexico, apparently." Guitar mangler Craig Clouse, bass immolator Nate Cross, and Butthole Surfers basher King Coffey's third LP wasted its predecessors. Del Rio distresses sonic clamor to the point of dissipation, disintegration – disappearance. "Soft Taco" cooks 13 minutes of crackling static shot through with Colby Brinkman's shrieks of the damned like some underworld Yule log. Experimental noise-niks Blank Hellscape, No Wave truncheon Dead Space, and Philly axe nonconformist Bill Nace pile on the toppings at this OG pizza Parlor reminiscent of Cave Club, Cavity Club, and Emo's bills of yore.  – Raoul Hernandez

Maddie and the Deadnames

Mohawk, Sunday 11

Girls' night out? More like grrrls' night out when San Marcos' and Austin's femme-fronted punk acts share a Mohawk stage. Summoned from 30 minutes south, Maddie and the Deadnames stir up rowdy roots guitar hooks and booming vocals on their self-titled August EP. Opener "Underground" shreds thumping blues, while standout "Dust" cycles serpentine riffs and howls. Skate punk quintet the Pinky Rings preserve the riot with a thrashing taste of "Potential Spam." Transy Warhol wields artsy post-punk sensibilities à la the B-52s, while the Dead Coats kick off with 2021 surf-grunge twist Big Wish.  – Kriss Conklin

Honky-Tonk Holidaze

Sagebrush, Sunday 11 & Monday 12

If you fed a supercomputer "A Charlie Brown Christmas," every South Park holiday special, footage of Rocky Horror Picture Show midnight screenings, and the New Testament, then blew copious bong hits into the circuitry, it'd churn out a script with half the humorous heart of Honky-Tonk Holidaze. The 11-years-running musical, written/directed by Wild Bill Ogden and performed by a cast of Austin musicians, tells the story of a divorced, magic dust-addicted Santa trying to save Christmas from Krampus, cops, and atheist children. Tacky holiday outfits encouraged at the two 7pm showings.  – Kevin Curtin

Damian Garcia Quintet

Monks Jazz, Sunday 11

If you've watched a Monks show, chances are Damian Garcia manned the 88s. One of many great pianists in town (how is Austin not considered a hub for jazz piano?), Garcia's versatility reflects his education: He studied everywhere from Texas A&M (Kingsville) and Texas State to Berklee and the University of North Texas, graduating from the latter's prestigious jazz studies program. His ability to gracefully navigate the balance between spotlighting his talent and supporting the band makes him the in-demand performer he is. Not as common as his side work, Garcia's leader dates deserve attention.  – Michael Toland

DJ Diesel

Emo's, Thursday 8

When gargantuan basketball hall-of-famer Shaquille O'Neal isn't rubbing his four NBA championship rings in Charles Barkley's face, he progresses in his side quest as an EDM DJ.


Swan Dive, Saturday 10

KindKeith highlights a nonbinary celebration doubling as a benefit for injured bartender Randi Welch.

Ja Rule & Ashanti

H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Sunday 11

The two New Yorkers set up shop on top 40 radio stations throughout 2002 and 2003, thanks to a successful spark lit by matching the nascent R&B singer's hypnotic hooks with the thug personas of her Murder Inc. Records labelmates. In recent years, Ja Rule has perhaps conceded that running back timeless, multi-platinum duets such as "Mesmerize" and "Always on Time" earns more praise than helping promote the farcical Fyre Fest. Support includes Juvenile, Lloyd, and Trina.

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