Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Molly Burch, Arooj Aftab, and Mobley lead our recommended shows
By Laiken Neumann, Kevin Curtin, Michael Toland, Raoul Hernandez, Austin Powell, and Derek Udensi, Fri., Sept. 29, 2023
Molly BurchWaterloo Records & Mohawk, Friday 29
Molly Burch has found her way home again. After relocating to her hometown of Los Angeles at the beginning of the year, she's kicking off her U.S. tour in her former residence and refitting the Mohawk on the release date of her fourth album, Daydreamer. The indie-pop starlet's ever-unabashed songwriting veers away from the soulful, guitar-steady ballads of her early records and beyond the snappy direction of 2021's Romantic Images – also produced by Wild Nothing's Jack Tatum. Bright synths lay a backbone on lead single "Physical," wearing Japanese city-pop inspirations on a sleeve of modernity. The nostalgia isn't without explanation; rereading her diary entries from age 13 motivated her upcoming LP. Her return, then, feels cosmic, debuting songs that toy with an early teenage self in the city that once incubated her adulthood and her music. Percussionist/polymath Thor Harris subs in for another Austin expat, Christelle Bofale, who misses the first shows of the tour due to illness, while Van Mary carries the torch here and at other Texas dates. – Laiken Neumann
River Revival Music Festival w/ The Black AngelsNew Braunfels, Thursday 28 – Sunday 1
There's a clear headliner at the River Revival Music Festival every year, and it's the river. Attendees spend the weekend tubing, swimming, rope-swinging, and lounging in a particularly beautiful bend of the mighty Guadalupe. But there's also a stellar headliner with Texas psych rock standard-bearers the Black Angels, whose echoing drones comprise their own sonic estuary. The weekend flows with Austin talent like Urban Heat, Tomar & the FCs, Night Drive, Sheverb, and the Tiarras, but also tube-in for L.A./Denton psychers Pearl Earl and vibrant Nashville garage twosome Volk. Tickets include free meals and camping for the hungry and tired river rats. – Kevin Curtin
Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, Shahzad IsmailyBass Concert Hall, Friday 29
With Pakistani singer Arooj Aftab (the first Pakistani musician to win a Grammy), Indian American jazz pianist Vijay Iyer (a MacArthur fellow), and Pakistani American multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily (a member of Aftab's band and of Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog), it'd be easy to put this remarkable collaboration in a convenient global music box. But one listen to Love in Exile makes clear that this band exists in its own elevated sphere, where minimalist classical music, jazz improvisation, ambient atmosphere, and Aftab's sublime voice create something distinct not only from each member's catalog, but from that of contemporary music itself. This is their only Texas date, so act accordingly.
– Michael Toland
Mobley's A Deconstructed ConcertOriginator Studios, Saturday 30
In line with pandemic EP pairing Young & Dying in the Occident Supreme (2021) and Cry Havoc! (2022), Mobley's new worktape bears meditative body movers and sing-alongs. An audio documentary of both soul-stoppers, the 23-track cassette strips back the studio bomp of his big-delivery anthems to the everyday genius of unfettered creativity. Natural, instinctual, immediate, worktape stills with side-A closer "Lost Boys / Occidental Death (sound check recording)," which flutters like an alt-demo for an R&B standard like "Little Wing." Stageless, PA-less, with each patron given headphones to tune in to multiple live mixes, A Deconstructed Concert merges performer, audience, and collaborators Urban Heat.
– Raoul Hernandez
Grupo Fantasma: ¡Mujeres Adelante! A Celebration of Latina VoicesParamount Theatre, Saturday 30
Renacimiento – renaissance. LatinATX blooms show by show lately. Reports from Adrian Quesada's Long Center extravaganza recently describe a near festival of sorts. His former mother ship, Grupo Fantasma – mostly pulled here from the badlands of millennial Laredo – align with the guitarist's Boleros Psicodélicos in throwing a noche de las señoras. Carrie Rodriguez, Lisa Morales, Emilie Basez, Kate Robberson, the Tiarras, y más front the local Latin orchestra, a powerhouse rhythm and brass juggernaut since día numero uno. Quesada's Jaguar Sound set at Antone's first annual blues festival at the Moody Amphitheater this summer prompts something of a no-brainer, perhaps: time for a first annual Grupo Fantasma festival. – Raoul Hernandez
BalmorheaThe Paramount Theatre, Thursday 5
If you missed Balmorhea's sold-out performance at the Paramount in December 2021, here's a rare second chance. The band – now split between Austin and L.A. – returns in support of this year's splendid Pendant World (Deutsche Grammophon). While lineups and themes have evolved considerably since Balmorhea first emerged locally in 2007, the core has always revolved around the intimacy of multi-instrumentalists Rob Lowe and Michael A. Muller, who weave beautiful instrumental suites that can soundtrack just about any occasion. The duo's eighth studio LP may be more somber and sophisticated, but Balmorhea remains as compelling as ever. Toronto saxophonist Joseph Shabason opens.
– Austin Powell
Austin Record ConventionPalmer Event Center, Friday 29 – Sunday 1
As August dissipated one of the hottest months on record in ATX, Hole in the Wall's front room filled to welcome Nathan Hanners' bar combo. Daddy Doug Hanners sat front and center, surrounded by decades of fellow music-rabid locals. Forty-two years of putting on the Austin Record Convention buys you at least that. The father-son combo stages what amounts to a century's worth of pop culture: endless new and used vinyl, cassettes, CDs, books, posters, T-shirts, and more in two enormous ballrooms. And at this twice-annual museum, you can exit with whatever your wallet agrees to. Hanners' band nailed it, too.
– Raoul Hernandez
Music Notesby Derek Udensi
MalumaH-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Friday 29
An impressive Friday of shows rolls on as the Colombian reggaeton star tours in support of latest album Don Juan.
Corinne Bailey RaeParamount Theatre, Friday 29
The British singer-songwriter responsible for undefeated mood booster "Put Your Records On" released her new album, Black Rainbows, two weeks ago.
DAWA Fourth AnniversaryThe Pershing, Friday 29
Riders Against the Storm's Jonathan "Chaka" Mahone founded the DAWA (Diversity Awareness & Wellness in Action) Fund with an intent to provide direct financial aid to what he refers to as BIPOC "community frontliners." Since 2019, DAWA has distributed nearly $250,000 in funds and opened a no-cost production studio for creatives of color. Performers for the organization's fourth birthday party include rapper J Soulja, R&B artists Moody Bank$ and Alesia Lani, and DJ Chorizo Funk.