Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week

This week's recommended shows include mini-fests celebrating rockin' girls, Latinx talent, and Christmas shopping

Shelley King, returning this Sunday, at ACB 2021 (Photo by Jennifer M. Ramos)

Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

Palmer Events Center, Saturday 17 – Friday 23

Twelve months ago, the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar faced the same reality as planet Earth. "I booked the 10 days and then we determined it wasn't time yet to have performances inside," recalls talent procurer Nancy Coplin. "To keep everyone safe, we moved the show outdoors and shortened it to three days. We had some of Austin's best bundle up and play outside: Jackie Venson, Shinyribs, Carolyn Wonderland with Shelley King."

Rain couldn't short-circuit a vintage Stax/Volt soul jolt from Tomar & the FCs, but weather won't play into the 2022 ACB, which moves back inside for a week at three performances a day. Henri Herbert's piano genius, Gina Chavez's Latinx revolution, CJ Chenier's Mardi Gras, Sir Woman's glam Woodstock, Ray Wylie Hubbard's troubadour Texicana, Kelly Willis' country sovereignty – Austin music's past, present, and future manifest over seven days. And the shopping, fuhgeddaboudit. "The music," posits Coplin, "has made us as much a music festival as a great art show."   – Raoul Hernandez

Texas Gentlemen, Croy & the Boys

Sagebrush, Friday 16

The Texas Gentlemen have spent a good chunk of life on the road with big-name acts – think George Strait, Leon Bridges, Kris Kristofferson. Between tour dates with Ryan Bingham, the Dallas country collective hits Sagebrush for an increasingly rare turn as headliners. The Gentlemen made their name as a nimble backing band, but the band's high-octane, electric compositions move to center stage effortlessly. Their ability to master and rein tones across genre makes for an eclectic show, landing them squarely in the category of chaotic good. Local trash-talkin' country crooners Croy & the Boys join the Gentlemen.
– Abby Johnston

Girls Rock Austin’s Festive Fest

Feels So Good, Saturday 17

"Empowering girls, trans and gender non-conforming youth through music, mentorship & self-care," reads the creed of local nonprofit Girls Rock Austin, who are hosting their annual Festive Fest fundraiser at Feels So Good. Celebrating 2022 landmarks like becoming the first nonprofit to partner with the Moody Center and providing over 250,000 meals to families facing food insecurity through their Operation Lunch Box program, the organization's lineup of queer artists and allies includes Peelander-Z – a Power Rangers-esque pop-rock group from the Z area of the planet Peelander. Sibling quartet We Don't Ride Llamas extends angsty rock vibes following December single "The Flies." Kady Rain brings a rainbow aesthetic to the stage, along with queer art rockers Transy Warhol and Carrie Fussell of disbanded psychedelic collective Calliope Musicals. The fest will also host Femme Boy creator Caleb De Casper as a special guest speaker on LGBTQIA rights.  – Mars Salazar

¡Eso Es!

Mohawk, Saturday 17

After a two-year COVID hiatus, ¡Eso Es!, brainchild of booking wizards Resound Presents, returns to Mohawk for its second-ever iteration. The day festival – or "big ass fiesta," as promised by the poster – celebrates Latinx talent, culture, and cuisine from across the state and beyond. Panamanian singer Sofía Valdés brings her pensive brand of pop to the event's headlining slot, joined by R&B crooner Victor Internet, Dallas indie act Ariel & the Culture, self-proclaimed "borderland babies" Estereomance, and San Antonio's Andria Rose. Local talent is well-represented, too, with sets from former Chronicle cover gracers Luna Luna's own Danny Bonilla and rap artist HiMarcus. The only thing better than a bigass fiesta is a free bigass fiesta. Attendees are encouraged to make a $5 donation to local nonprofit Latinitas, which empowers young women across Central Texas through media and technology education.  – Genevieve Wood

Ostraca, .gif from god, Votive

Chess Club, Tuesday 20

Should we throw a Santa hat over our miseries and pantomime jolly cheer through endless Christmas carols? No-ho-ho. To truly purge that holiday-time stress from your bleeding lungs, let the wailing wind carry you to this uncommonly eclectic emoviolence showcase. Whereas you'll want to immediately protect your neck from .gif from god's ice-skate-sharp razor riffage, the post-screamo of Ostraca is more like a sonic sleigh ride careening out of control, reaching chilly devastation after a steady build. But for a real sky-filling, rabid-reindeer apocalypse, local upstarts Votive best tap into the seasonal spirit.  – Julian Towers

Ephraim Owens Quartet

Monks Jazz, Thursday 22

Ephraim Owens' brilliant trumpet-playing graces shows and records by a ridiculously eclectic gaggle of performers, from Patty Griffin and Jimmie Vaughan to the Tedeschi Trucks Band and Okkervil River – even Mumford & Sons. But the Dallas native and near-30-year Austin resident reigns supreme leading his ever-evolving jazz ensembles, longtime staples of the Elephant Room, Parker Jazz Club, and, of course, Monks. Indeed, he's been a fixture of the latter, as both leader and sideperson, since it started. A set by his hard- and post-bop quartet is always a treat.  – Michael Toland

Daddy Yankee

Moody Center, Thursday 15

Reggaeton icon responsible for anthems such as "Gasolina" and "Con Calma" enters the final stretch of what he brands as his farewell world tour. – Derek Udensi

David Archuleta

Antone's, Monday 19

The 2008 American Idol runner-up throws a holiday-themed concert. – Derek Udensi

The Pre-Roll

Flamingo Cantina, Tuesday 20

The "Who Want Smoke?" edition of J Soulja and DJ Napalm's open mic showcase/networking event features several Central Texas rappers vying to earn a spot in the Smoke Out Tournament, set to begin next month. That winner will earn a spot at the Smoke Out's official show at South by Southwest 2023. Locals participating include P Killa, Kina Love, and KC Thankthetrees. – Derek Udensi

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