The Austin Chronicle

Neko Case, the Urban Cultural Fest, and More Crucial Concerts

Live sounds for the week ahead

By Rachel Rascoe, Carys Anderson, Derek Udensi, Miranda Garza, Raoul Hernandez, and Madeline Duncan, March 29, 2024, Music

Madison Baker

Thursday 28, Stubb’s

After Chelsea Cutler’s headline, keep the feelings-fueled melodies going with Austin act Madison Baker’s indoor aftershow. One-third of new self-proclaimed “cult country” trio Next of Kin, Baker strikes the perfect balance between danceable pop beats and soul-baring lyrics. The wordsmith delves into all corners of coming-of-age anxieties, like debilitating uncertainty (“Get It Wrong”) and growing pains (“Day Job”) that’ll leave you teary-eyed on the dance floor. Entrance is free with the wristband from Cutler’s outdoor show. With new songs and a special guest, Baker’s set won’t be one to miss.   – Miranda Garza

Urban Cultural Fest

Friday 29 - Saturday 30, Vic Mathias Shores

Last year, the 2005-founded, family-friendly Urban Music Fest updated its name to loop in all “Afrocentric aspects of culture.” Living up to the rebrand, the event kicks off with a Friday remembrance of Sixth Street bastion Catfish Station (in addition to food and vendors). The Chronicle once wrote that the venue, run by fest co-founder Homer Hill, “held down the heart of Old Pecan with an insider’s range of African-American music, food, and culture.” Houston jazz saxophonist Kyle Turner, Don Diego, Toni Redd, DJ Casanova, and more tribute the hub. Beyond Barbados-born beatbox standard Doug E. Fresh, founder of the Eighties’ Get Fresh Crew, Saturday celebrates the “renewal of R&B” with October London, J. Brown, Bigg Robb, and more. Find tickets at   – Rachel Rascoe

Texas Hold ’Em Beyoncé Mini-Ball/Listening Party

Friday 29, Cheer Up Charlies

Rife with references to house, disco, and ballroom, Renaissance was Beyoncé’s ode to Black queer culture. Long-awaited Act II, officially titled Cowboy Carter, changes course from dance to country, but local House of Lepore still plots a mini-ball on release day. Emceed by Mother Natalie Lepore, the competition features live performances by queens Diamond Dior Davenport and Lucy Fur and beats by Amarji and ScamLikely – plus a full run-through of the new album. Categories: Performance, Runway, Face, Best Dressed, Sex Siren, and Shake that A$$. Lay your cards down, down, down, down.   – Carys Anderson

Brutus, Ghostwoman

Friday 29, Parish

“Rehearsing, failing, trying, rehearse more, losing my voice, asking myself why I kept losing my voice.” So Stefanie Mannaerts described the process of learning to drum and sing at the same time as she does in rousing Belgian post-punks Brutus. Returning here for the first time since that pre-pandemic Levitation preview, the trio spins third LP and mid-lockdown boon Unison Life. Stijn Vanhoegaerden’s crystal-sliver solos slice ’n’ dice with delicious brutality, while bassist Peter Mulders’ muscled low end balances up against Mannaerts’ piercing intonations. Her sweet but fierce delivery raises hairs both honeyed and harrowing – Tanya Donelly taking over Sleater-Kinney. Albertan Evan Uschenko opens as Ghostwoman.   – Raoul Hernandez

Laetitia Sadier

Saturday 30, Parish

2019 blew Stereolab fans’ minds with the Anglo-French pop synthesists’ first tour in over a decade; 2022 landed their exploratory ACL Live return; and now, it’s time for just Laetitia. Originator of the band’s subculture-sensation-making sound alongside Tim Gane, the singer’s airy, inviting vocals and sharp sociopolitical lyrics have extended to solo work for over two decades. Beyond “The Groop,” her February album Rooting for Love pulls together new influences from minimalist composers like Terry Riley and Steve Reich for a sharp-as-ever encapsulation of her deeply developed lounge and Sixties pop perspective. French-American artist Sofia Bolt opens.   – Rachel Rascoe


Saturday 30, Hole in the Wall

In the ever-popular world of dancey indie-pop, scene newcomers Melotheory took a more subdued approach with debut single “Breathe.” Though light flourishes of funky electric guitar punctuate Austin Pedersen’s acoustic strums, Patrick Insull’s melancholy vocals dominate. At the track’s end, even building percussion drops off in a climactic fakeout, fading out when you’d expect a dynamic explosion. Still, Instagram clips of “A World Away” preview an upbeat follow-up. Saturday’s show acts as a release party for the single, rounded out by the pop-punk stylings of Houston quintet East of Eado and the introspective compositions of singer-songwriter Avery Bruce.   – Carys Anderson


Sunday 31, Stubb’s

Season one fan favorite on The Voice and a “Local Legends” title-holder according to Matthew McConaughey, Nakia’s lore is on par with his electric bluesy arrangements. The metallic, nostalgia-charged shreds of “Go on to School” and “Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby” transport audiences back in time in rockabilly retrograde. His fiery instrumentals stay grounded with throaty croons (“Somebody’s Sleeping in My Bed”) and warbling vocals (“Gimme Some of Yours”). Doubling as the unveiling of Nakia’s music video for upbeat classic rock crescendo “Thrill-O-Matic,” the night also features support from synth slinger Pelvis Wrestley and folk dreamscaper Junerise.   – Miranda Garza

Neko Case

Tuesday 2, Paramount Theatre

For three decades, Neko Case has spent her time outside indie rock collective the New Pornographers writing brooding Americana (“I Wish I Was the Moon”) and, occasionally, boisterous rock (“Man”). 2022 compilation Wild Creatures charts that trajectory across 23 tracks, bolstered in the physical release by commentary from David Byrne, Katie Crutchfield, Shirley Manson, Julien Baker, and more. On Tuesday, the singer-songwriter brings her career retrospective to the Paramount Theatre alongside Imaad Wasif, who imbues folk music with his own take on psychedelia.   – Carys Anderson

The Lonesome Heroes

Thursday 4, Far Out Lounge

Reignite your Texas twang with the Lonesome Heroes, stirrers of an Americana- and country-infused psychedelic melting pot. The band’s latest, Seasons Change, takes the scenic route to Western Swing (“Black Coffee & 3 Cigarettes”), serene strums (“Everything’s Been Looking Up”), and honky-tonk ballads (Warm Tears & Honey”). Bandleader Rich Russell brings seering optimism to the album’s raspy, textured vocals. In 10 tracks, the group explores jaunty electric peaks (“Prayer and Gasoline”) and mellow, violin-laden valleys (“Footsteps”). The lap steel strings of Slow Motion Cowboys and the folk rock radiance of Sarah Burton join the night.   – Miranda Garza

Justin Bieber Night

Friday 29, Emo’s Austin

Is it too early to feel nostalgia for Justin Bieber? If it is, I and other Austinite Beliebers don’t care. Though the teen and his iconic swooping bowl cut rose to fame in 2010s, Club 90s is hosting a night full of Bieber fever at Emo’s Austin. Whether you’ve been a fan since “Baby” or prefer his Kid LAROI collab “Stay,” the L.A.-based traveling dance party group promises a night to fulfill the fangirl within. At the same time, Beliebers across North America will be partying in Memphis and Edmonton “like it’s 3012.” Don’t see yourself spending Friday night with the Biebs? Never say never.   – Madeline Duncan

Rock ’n Blaze

Monday 1, Blazer Tag

In the land of Heavy Meddo, vocals are but an ornamental add-on to the quartet’s fuzzy instrumental focal point. On latest EP Atonal Choir File, “Yacht Ribbon Snob” chops Bill Baird’s lyrics into incomprehensible syllables. The bandleader opts for a more traditional hum on the title track, but sludge guitar still supersedes. On April Fools’ Day, the noise rockers play for free at South Austin arcade Blazer Tag alongside shoegazers Prehuman and the inscrutable Luxury Television – who forgo recorded material for an unpredictable, genre-shifting live set.   – Carys Anderson

Music Notes

by Derek Udensi

Alejandro Escovedo

Friday 29, Antone’s

Escovedo celebrates new album Echo Dancing on its release date before going on tour. James Mastro opens.

bar italia

Friday 29, Mohawk

The London-based rock band quickly returns to town after stopping by earlier in the month for the Monster Children showcase during South by Southwest.

Kardinal Bloo

Sunday 31, the Ballroom

Local MC performs his debut album, Birds Rap Too, with support from collaborators YoursTruuly and Chucky Blk.

Margaret Slovak & Chris Maresh

Sunday 31, the Gallery at Chez Zee

Though Chez Zee took a break from hosting live music this month, frequent Friday residency performer Margaret Slovak offers a special Easter duo set with bassist Chris Maresh in the restaurant’s adjoining gallery.

Daymé Arocena

Tuesday 2, Music Recital Hall Room 2.636

The Afro-Cuban singer brings jazz and Latin pop to UT-Austin for the latest edition in the Small Batch series. She released her first album since 2019, Alkemi, last month. Tickets are $15.

Cimarrona La Original Domingueña

Thursday 4, the Ballroom

On what’s billed as a “total pre-eclipse” to next week’s HONK!TX festival, the Costa Rican brass band stars on a lineup also featuring Seattle’s TMB Brass.

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