The First-Ever Austin Women in Jazz Festival and More Crucial Concerts This Week
Plus visiting acts from Burna Boy to Mike Dimes and Dro Kenji
By Rachel Rascoe, Raoul Hernandez, Doug Freeman, Christina Garcia, Elizabeth Braaten, Julian Towers, Kevin Curtin, and Derek Udensi, Fri., Nov. 17, 2023
Looking for the best shows happening in Austin this week? Check out the Chronicle music team’s handpicked “Crucial Concerts” below or in the paper every Thursday. And for our complete listings of upcoming live music events around town, head to Chron Events.
Austin Women in Jazz FestivalElephant Room, Friday 17 Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex, Saturday 18
From "Autumn in New York" to Wayne Shorter's (R.I.P.) "Fall," the Women in Jazz Association's cozy evening at the velvet-wrapped Cactus Cafe last weekend set the season. The concert kicked off a big November continuing this Saturday with the group's first-ever Austin Women in Jazz Festival at Millennium – including soul-and-R&B-infused Jazz in Pink, singer/saxophonist Grace Kelly, and nonprofit founder Pamela Hart. Tickets start at $40. An ensemble of women players among the org, which has been wrangling local lineups since 1994, precedes at the Elephant Room on Friday for $7 admission.
Back at the Cactus, after "Autumn Leaves," Julie Slim rewrote her own French lyrics to Brazilian standard "Summer Samba" while draped in a kaffiyeh. Her eloquent introduction imagined a world without war, and I recalled her warm leadership from my college semester playing in UT's Bereket Middle Eastern Ensemble (which happens to have a concert on Thu., Nov. 16). Drummer Masumi Jones – who offered an on-demand drumroll for vocalist Glenda Davenport – and bassist Jessica Valls held down the cross-generational band, with youngest Dani Kerwood on guitar. Elder stateswoman pianist Peggy Stern clearly ran the show: When Hart wasn't sure of the exact title of a Thelonious Monk arrangement during her turn at the mic, she joked, "I don't know. I just got it from Peggy." – Rachel Rascoe
Creek Show Closing WeekendWaterloo Park, Thursday 16 – Saturday 18
Rechristening Waller Creek anchored by a state-of-the-art, organically integrated concert venue constitutes a Top 10 in Austin music for 2023. From the inaugural Austin Blues Festival back in spring to Nickel Creek's nü grass takedown last month, Creek shows proved enchanted. Closing out a string of eight FREE events, Waterloo Greenway Conservancy pulls a hat trick. Thursday, cumbia ravers Como Las Movies stage a rhythm shakedown with DJ Ella Ella. Ranking house godmother DJ Shani takes Friday prior to country-soul sibs THEBROSFRESH. Saturday, establishing ATX mixer DJ Rapid Ric and Classic Hip-Hop Live rep the genre's 50th anniversary. Fast passes available. – Raoul Hernandez
The Lonesome Heroes Album ReleaseSam's Town Point, Friday 17
Rich Russell and his band of merry rockers load up LP six, Seasons Change, which cuts more subtly than their usual brand of jangled Americana. Apt to the title, the album turns through thoughts of getting older, life on the road, and wild flashes of revelation. Fifteen years in, Russell's voice cuts dustier, his heart a little wearier, but his eyes still glow with wonder. Lasso opens with their supernatural psych-country jams, along with Hayden Butler's cool croon and Ellis Bullard's Piss-Hot Freightlining Country Music. – Doug Freeman
Burna BoyMoody Center, Saturday 18
A decade after breaking out with L.I.F.E., Burna Boy has established himself as the ultimate megastar of not only the Afrobeat genre, but of African music as a whole. Four Grammy nominations, including Best Melodic Rap Performance for a track with 21 Savage, reconfirmed that status last week. The physically chiseled, deep-voiced grandson of journalist and original Fela Kuti manager Benson Idonije has also collab'd with Ed Sheeran, Khalid, Justin Bieber, and most effectively, UK rapper Dave. Footage from his current I Told Them tour sees Burna commanding stadiums with a 10-piece band, plus backup dancers. – Kevin Curtin
Julia GovorClub Eternal, Saturday 18
I'll lose it if one more misguided brownnoser says they can't find great women DJs or producers. Exhibit A: For the banging techno crowd, Abkhazia-born producer Julia Govor may have snuck under the radar, until first tracks placed on labels like Visionquest, Get Physical, and Superfreq put the former MTV Russia host at the top of the pile. She quickly stripped down to the sparsest textures and boosted BPM for high-energy DJ sets. Equally entranced by melodic badlands as abundant technoland layers of shakes, scratches, and ticks, she now releases on her own JUJUKA label. TL;DR: dark, fast. – Christina Garcia
Mike Dimes, Dro KenjiCome & Take It Live, Sunday 19
Burgeoning San Antonio rap phenom Mike Dimes and South Carolina Internet Money signee Dro Kenji bring their much-anticipated joint tour to town. It's been a monster year for the frequent collaborators – Dimes' breath-of-fresh-air June LP, TEXAS BOY, leaned deep into his Southern roots, while Kenji's recently released WISH YOU WERE HERE blends cool hip-hop and punk. With appearances from Atlanta's Sid Shyne and Metro Marrs, Chicago-based Elz the DJ, and more, this show promises a high-octane exhibition for some of the next generation's hottest talent. – Elizabeth Braaten
Algernon CadwalladerMohawk, Wednesday 22
A precise starting point for Midwest emo – the genre's twinkly, indie, not-so-punky strain – has always been subject for music nerd debate. However, no similar mystery surrounds the origins of the 2010s Midwest emo revival. It's attributed entirely to the anxious bounce and scrappy, self-deprecating melancholy of this recently reunited Philadelphia group. Algernon Cadwallader prematurely disbanded in 2012, shortly before their arpeggiated guitars and yelpy, off-key vocals would leap to the forefront of the decade's underground (another emo nostalgia package, the Hotelier/Foxing tour, touches down at the same venue in February). Opener is genre OG Tim Kinsella of Cap'n Jazz. – Julian Towers
Music Notesby Derek Udensi
Karl Denson’s Tiny UniverseEmpire Garage, Friday 17
Saxophonist who performs with the Rolling Stones' touring band leads his own outfit in a rescheduled show from August. Powerful locals Sir Woman and JaRon Marshall support.
Teezo TouchdownMoody Center, Tuesday 21 – Wednesday 22
The 31-year-old Beaumont, Texas, native opens for Travis Scott on the latter's first tour since the 2021 Astroworld Festival tragedy. For his part, Teezo has enjoyed a 2020s ascent: hanging out with Madonna, a feature on Drake's new LP, Taco Bell commercial syncs ("Mood Swings"), and a thoroughly entertaining 2022 ACL Fest showing. The eccentric artist mixes indie rock, hip-hop, and pinches of pop-punk with the looseness of what you may attempt in the shower. There's an ocean of tickets remaining on Ticketmaster for the Thanksgiving Eve show (starting at $51.50) while resale for the Tuesday show has sunk to under $100.
Correction, Nov. 17: An earlier version of this story misstated where Julia Govor was born.