Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
King Louie, Killah Priest, and indie classical lead our recommended shows
By Rachel Rascoe, Julian Towers, Michael Toland, Laiken Neumann, Raoul Hernandez, Wayne Lim, Carys Anderson, and Derek Udensi, Fri., May 26, 2023
Crashing in With King Louie’s 10th AnniversaryVolstead Lounge, Friday 26
Austinites in search of a remixed, internationally informed good time have maintained a weekly go-to since 2013: Crashing In With King Louie. An influential force in the city's now-familiar integration of cumbia, hip-hop, house, and more, the DJ packs a dance floor with genre-spanning selections. Maestro of the Friday residency messages: "'Crashing in' started around the time that many Red River District venues were shutting down due to sound ordinance restrictions and rising rent prices. Heading east of I-35 felt like the right move and Volstead would soon become home." The Madrid-born and Mexico-raised DJ, also of the cross-border collective Peligrosa, adds: "What was once a monthly party soon turned into a weekly bash heading into year two. A pivotal moment ... occurred when Major Lazer announced at ACL that the after-party was at Volstead. That night was unforgettable and set the bar for what is now the hottest Friday night party on the Eastside." Supernova (Pangea Sound), Orya, and RUUex add to the 7pm to 2am special. – Rachel Rascoe
Killah Priest’s Heavy Mental 25th Anniversary TourFlamingo Cantina, Saturday 27
Learning that a rapper is a "Wu-Tang Clan affiliate" is not the criterion of unassailable quality that its pedigree might suggest. I know at least one hip-hop fan who refers to forgotten artists like Deadly Venoms and GP Wu as "RZA's weed carriers." But even were it not measured against such paltry competition, Killah Priest's Heavy Mental – the consensus greatest Wu affiliate album of all time – would still go down as a landmark worth mounting a 25th anniversary tour for. Even if it was a bit of a cheat code to re-include "B.I.B.L.E (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth)," Priest's classic contribution to GZA's Liquid Swords, the album remains a dense, dark, heady brew. And don't sleep on the Brooklyn MC's 12(!) released albums this decade – a prolific burst of material more ambitious and experimental than anything released by an actual Clan member in two decades. DJ Notion, ChiClopz, Cooley Fly, Bubs Rubino, Big Nothing, Frederick Boom, and more support. – Julian Towers
Rich Harney Jazz FestivalFirst Presbyterian Church, Friday 26 – Saturday 27
Pianist/composer Rich Harney left a significant void in the local jazz circle when he unexpectedly passed in 2020. His old friend and partner Alex Coke fills it with an inaugural festival at First Presbyterian, at which Harney was a fixture every Sunday morning. Friday night includes frequent Harney co-conspirator Beth Ullman and her quintet, NYC pianist Suzzan Craig, and Harney mentee Elias Haslanger's quintet. Saturday brings pianist Andy Weyl and his trio, an encore performance from Craig, and organizer Coke's 5tet. Harney's books and records will also be for sale. – Michael Toland
Here Be MonstersButterfly Bar, Saturday 27
While several of its 15 featured artists sound like they'd be brash metal bands by name (Invoke, Convergence, VAMP), Here Be Monsters promises a mammoth showcase of Austin's indie classical exports, hosted by contemporary sound highlighters Tetractys New Music. A deep appreciation for the Lone Star State is a common thread; alongside chamber collective Montopolis' subtle twang and Golden Hornet's Western big band stylings, they've both released projects dedicated to Texas nature (not to mention composer Nathan Felix's rumbling piano ode to the state's skies). Here, at a five-hour KMFA 89.5-sponsored patio display, be the monsters that lurk in the background of Austin's music scene, quietly crafting visceral arrangements. – Laiken Neumann
SIMS Foundation Feel Good FestivalFar Out Lounge, Saturday 27 – Sunday 28
Arthritis, hepatitis, lupus, and osteoporosis all count May as their cognizance moment, but Austin lifesaver the SIMS Foundation underlines the end of spring as Mental Health Awareness Month. Almost 30, the local substance abuse recovery org, musician-born from namesake Sims Ellison, fundraises and builds community through its initial two-day concert convergence. Latin supergroups Money Chicha and Caramelo Haze headline Saturday as Dani Neff's guitar mania via Megafauna supports. Sunday stages a Marley vs. Dylan hootenanny pitting the likes of Kalu James and Courtney Santana against Tony Kamel, Suzanna Choffel, Cory Reinisch, and more. Every dollar spent could save the life of a favorite local musician. – Raoul Hernandez
The AquadollsMohawk, Sunday 28
Last seen thrashing out at ACL Fest 2022, L.A.'s Aquadolls return with a sound they dub "mermaid rock and roll" – a signature mesh of punk angst, surf harmonies, and garage-rock distortion – on a headlining tour ahead of their upcoming album, Charmed. The trio's unapologetically riotous energy erupts through pre-release anthem "Burn Baby Burn," as lead singer Melissa Brooks insists: "Your lesson must be learned or I'm gonna make you burn." – Wayne Lim
Sludge, System Exclusive, Lauren LakisChess Club, Thursday 1
Sludge cut surf rock riffs with the bratty intonation of Molly Masson, who smirks in "Greg Abbott's Maxi Pad" – "I wake up every morning and I sprinkle fetuses into my Cinnamon Toast Crunch." Pasadena's System Exclusive dole out more melodic synth-pop, but they're not afraid to get weird, either: Recent single "Party All the Time" offers a faithful rendition of Eddie Murphy's novelty classic, bolstered with an army-march edge. L.A. transplant Lauren Lakis, meanwhile, envelops her ethereal croon in moody shoegaze. – Carys Anderson
Music Notesby Derek Udensi
The Drop-InLong Center Lawn, Thursday 25
ACL Radio and the Long Center start off their free, weekly summer series in a big way with Alejandro Escovedo.
Bourgeois MysticsParish, Friday 26
Tomorrow's show doubles as an album release party and farewell event for the eclectic group entering an indefinite hiatus. Recent singles – previewing upcoming album Gentrification of Planet Earth – mix a pot of various sounds ranging from funk to rap rock flows ("Abortable Housing").
Last Tuesdays w/ Talib KweliSuperstition, Tuesday 30
The residency benefiting DAWA Fund takes place at its new Riverside home for the second consecutive month.
Imaginary StereoFeels So Good, Thursday 1
The semi-monthly showcase of local beatmakers, electronic music producers, and visual projectionists moves to FSG, following four recent editions at dadaLab. June's show features Cuadroped, Low Pressure Salesman, Long Tongue, and Emskiii.