The Austin Chronicle

Walker Lukens’ The Last Walt and More Crucial Concerts This Week

From Explosions in the Sky to CAPYAC’s Far Out Fest

By Kevin Curtin, Julian Towers, Raoul Hernandez, Rachel Rascoe, Elizabeth Braaten, Michael Toland, and Derek Udensi, December 15, 2023, Music

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.

The Last Walt

Paramount Theatre, Friday 15

Let's clear up any confusion about the Last Walt by discussing what it's not:

- It's NOT a Last Waltz tribute show. The title's a joke about organizer Walker Lukens being forever mis-billed as Walter. No songs by the Band will be performed.

- Despite it being a sprawling December theatre show, there's NO holiday tie-in. "I hate Christmas music," reveals Lukens. "And it's degrading to make musicians play it."

- It's NOT a release show for Lukens' excellent new album Accessible Beauty. "I don't really care about playing my music," he explains. "That's why I'm doing a massive variety show."

Do expect magic, comedy, performance art, a preposterous host named Jeph, and a revue of acts like Shakey Graves, Jess Williamson, Kam Franklin, and Fat Tony doing special, one-off performances. – Kevin Curtin

Howdy Gals Sixth Anniversary

Mohawk, Friday 15

In December 2017, the women- and nonbinary-led booking group Howdy Gals put on its first show ever. Six years and countless gigs later, they're celebrating with a Mohawk birthday blowout featuring vendors, a raffle, and bands across both the venue's stages. Nationally regarded West Hartford, Conn., transplants Sarah & the Sundays headline the festivities with their breezy indie surf rock. Other highlights include uplifting heartland rockers Good Looks, synth-dance flash mob TC Superstar, wonky retro-poppers Redbud, shuttling shoegazers Glaze, and Tim O'Brien (bandleader for experimental Philly-via-Austin act Blood). Indoor Creature, Madison Baker, and Farmer's Daughter round out the bill. – Julian Towers

Explosions in the Sky

ACL Live at the Moody Theater, Saturday 16

When you're born on the Fourth of July like post-rock Roman candles Explosions in the Sky, a homegrown December tour launch repeats Christmas. Nearly two dozen dates currently closing in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Hong Kong next spring, the End tour sold out its ACL Live opener but behold the second coming, knuckles on all those guitars now cracked and warmed up. The dunes fronting the instrumental quartet's 13th overall long-player, End, capture the cosmonauts' quest for ringing emotional resonance. "Ten Billion People" teams, midpoint "Peace or Quiet" erupts, and closer "It's Never Going to Stop" persists. – Raoul Hernandez

Far Out Fest w/ CAPYAC

The Far Out Lounge, Saturday 16

In undeniable discomakers CAPYAC and sprightly indie rockers Mamalarky, two Austin-launched operations return from their Los Angeles incubation for this 10-band party, just like we always hope they will. Inspired by the lost (or copied) Hieronymus Bosch painting "Concert in the Egg," CAPYAC headlines eight hours of continuous music and says, "Costumes of an eggy nature are highly encouraged." Other ovular invitees are prior Panic! at the Disco tourmate Max Frost, modern soul establishment Madison McFerrin, and Austin bedroom R&B warper Clarence James. – Rachel Rascoe

Jarhead Fertilizer

The 13th Floor, Sunday 17

From hardcore surf punks Drain and alt-metal melodics Narrow Head to German krautrock dealmakers Faust and English noise almighties Godflesh, Oblivion Access 2023 scorched Earth (at Central Presbyterian Church) same as June in Austin's climate-changed reality. Formerly Austin Terror Fest, the festival brand programs monstrous heavyosity in Maryland bulldozer Jarhead Fertilizer. Last week's sophomore release CARCERAL WARFARE exhorts subsonic death metal, refreshingly low-end in today's universe of screaming insanity. Full of Hell drummer Dave Bland's lyrical centralization around his late father's incarceration plumbs sonic and psychic depths. Fargo DM fourpiece Phobophilic supports. – Raoul Hernandez

The Backroom Rumors, Emma Ogier

Mohawk, Monday 18

Houston alt-rock newcomers the Backroom Rumors take the stage after assembling earlier this year. With a bright, shoegaze-forward sound, the trio began making waves in Space City's DIY community with a promising string of singles. With a co-sign from folk titan Maggie Rogers already under her belt, 19-year-old Houston-raised singer-songwriter Emma Ogier opens. Packing appearances from mellow local rock outfit GOOD., who recently released "Lie to Me," and fresh-faced Austin jazz fusion foursome Mockjaw, this lineup boasts some of the state's most auspicious young talent. – Elizabeth Braaten

Tommy Howard, Sarah Sharp

Elephant Room, Thursday 21

One of the finest six-stringers in Austin, Tommy Howard has walked a varied path from straight-ahead jazz to hip-hop. Years standing onstage with Dr. James Polk as a longtime member of Church on Monday no doubt contributed to Howard forming his own guitar & organ group, so add an expertise with soul jazz to his résumé. Local horn gods Andre Hayward and Gene Centeno join Howard for this performance. Also sharing the stage will be singer-songwriter Sarah Sharp, prepping new songs and holding down her regular weekly Elephant Room residency, now shifted from Tuesdays to Thursdays. – Michael Toland

Music Notes

by Derek Udensi

Alisa Amador

Parish, Friday 15

Folky, bilingual singer-songwriter who won NPR's 2022 Tiny Desk Contest. Boston-based band Couch headlines.

jackie the robot

The Coral Snake, Saturday 16

Jackie Venson continues this weekly December residency as her electronic music alter ego before beginning 2024 with another residency at Antone's Nightclub.

NOOK Turner Fest

Come & Take It Live, Sunday 17

Since the turn of the century, the Jump on It co-founder has embodied the word "hustle" with a growth mindset centered around utilizing music as a tool for community-building. His latest creation is a mini festival celebrating his forthcoming studio album, appropriately titled The Hustle. He's not just promoting his first LP since the 2010s: VIP tickets come with a "NOOK Turner Box" containing cologne, The Hustle, and other goodies. Beaumont's Big Jade hosts; local rapper LHF Lil Ke performs.

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