Mini Music Fests Abound in This Week's Crucial Concerts

Country, hip-hop, pop, and more shows worth the cover

Tanya Tucker (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Cattle Country Music Festival

Friday 12 - Sunday 14, The Boot, Gonzales

The Boot ranch outside of Gonzales kicks off its first Cattle Country Music Festival with a stacked lineup anchored by Texas stars. Koe Wetzel leads Friday with his country and alternative rock blend, setting up a Saturday with new Country Music HOFer Tanya Tucker preambling red-dirt superstars Whiskey Myers and the Randy Rogers Band. Sunday aptly delivers Eric Church, along with Austin’s Yellowstone breakout Shane Smith & the Saints. The downcard runs deep though, including Colbie Caillat, the War & Treaty, and William Beckmann (Saturday) plus William Clark Green, Hailey Whitters, and Tanner Usrey (Sunday). Come and take it.   – Doug Freeman

Chief Cleopatra (Photo by John Anderson)

Zilker Brewing Co. Ninth Anniversary

Friday 12 - Sunday 14, Zilker Brewing Co.

Zilker Brewing Co. celebrates nine years of busting barley with jam-packed festivities including local eats and a near-endless array of ales. Twangy country collective the Lonesome Heroes will put a Southern spin on Friday’s festivities with their honky-tonk ballads. Saturday expects a slew of live talent including psychedelic threepiece DAYEATER, vibrant genre-fusing sisters the Tiarras, and New Age art-rockers the Cuckoos. Soul-rock wordsmith Chief Cleopatra joins the lineup, along with the funk-fueled sonic improv deconstructions of Butter & Jam. Spend Sunday with the family and your choice of activities including arcade games, face painting, and balloon art.   – Miranda Garza

Texas Community Music Festival

Friday 12 - Sunday 21, Central Market North

More than a simple weekend fest, this smorgasbord of live ensembles lays out your April calendar with 10 days of free, family-friendly music at one beloved Austin patio: outside the Central Market on North Lamar. Presented by the Austin Civic Wind Ensemble since 2006, this event’s ethos is all in the no-stone-unturned names: Try Armadillo Swing Band, ACC Jazz Ensemble I, Girl Scout Harp Ensemble, Austin Banjo Club, Kat’s Porch Jam, the Skylarks, or Blowcomotion. Friday kicks off the 17th edition with a night of Austin blues under singer-songwriter Woot Talley’s band and the horn-fueled Rhythm Congress.   – Rachel Rascoe


Saturday 13, Mohawk

Swimming in a sea of Latinismo during the now annual Besame Mucho festival at Circuit of the Americas in February, I fired off a telepathic salvo to Aterciopelados. Enanitos Verdes spanned decades of alt-roc, Molotov bounced decades of rap-roc, and Cafe Tacuba pulsed decades of roc en español. Yet where were Julieta Venegas, Juana Molina, and Ely Guerra? Argentina’s answer to Stereolab finally beams principals Andrea Echeverri y Héctor Buitrago back here. Pandemic mitigation Tropiplop preserves Echeverri’s androgynous intonation, an inscrutable tenor blipping with feminine quips – never artificial or anything other than intrinsic. Colombian brass mob Superfónicos opens, so gracias a Dios Mohawk’s got no roof.   – Raoul Hernandez

Thelonious Love (Photo by Austin Mensch)

ATX Queer Music Fest

Saturday 13, Knomad Bar

Launched in 2022 by drummer and Technicolor Booking lead Genesis Vasquez, ATX Queer Music Fest returns with continuously impressive genre diversity. At this week’s free showcase, offerings include Thelonious Love, who spits cheeky bars about petty exes and his unmatched grind over bouncy bass; MVVN, whose breezy indie-pop recalls Aughts-era dance rock; and Vasquez’s own Female Gallery, pairing classic post-punk basslines with psychedelic guitar riffs. Bluegrass picker Montana Sand, Puerto Rican rapper Stephy Lee, alt-soul quintet Telefaze, plus Lavender Scare, Tommietee, and Calmer Seas, round out the bill. Taste – err, hear – the rainbow.   – Carys Anderson

DiscoTex at ABC Kite Fest

Sunday 14, Zilker Park

We understand the dissonance cogitating in your head: Yes, the ABC Kite Fest is the ultimate springtime celebration, but where are the chart-topping disco hits from the Seventies? This year, you get the full experience. DiscoTex, the “ultimate ABBA cover band,” will take the Zilker Park stage at 11:30am for a 40-minute set as the kites zag through the sky. [Editor’s Note: For folks more interested in kites than classic Seventies hits, the festival starts at 10:30am with tons of all-ages activities in addition to the kite contest and showcase. Pets are welcome, too, and they and kiddos can enjoy a special activity area.]   – Brant Bingamon

Austin Symphonic Band’s Old, New, Borrowed, Blue

Sunday 14, Luis “Chico” Portillo Performing Arts Center

As its name suggests, the next concert from the Official Band of the city of Austin celebrates classical music old and new. The 90-plus-piece woodwind and brass collective, led by Music Director Kyle Glaser, plots performances of Hailstork’s “New Wade’n Water,” Biebl’s “Ave Maria,” and Ticheli’s “Blue Shades”; more special, they’ll debut “Hill Country Festival,” Clifton Jones’ tribute to longtime Assistant Conductor Bill Haehnel, and “(Delusions of) Grandeur,” written by the band’s Young Composers’ Contest winner Christopher Lowry. The UNT grad will accept his award from the organization at the show.   – Carys Anderson

Courtesy of Kamaiyah


Sunday 14, Parish

For Oakland emcee Kamaiyah, bounce-drenched new album Another Summer Night is nothing short of a victory lap. After landing in XXL’s highly coveted 2017 Freshman Class and appearing on fellow West Coast tastemaker YG’s lavish banger “Why You Always Hatin?” alongside Drake, the stars seemed aligned in her favor. Instead, the years that followed were dominated by label mismanagement, delayed project releases, and constant roadblocks. So the artist broke away from Interscope and 4Hunnid to found her independent GRND.WRK imprint, where she’s now championing the next generation’s underground wave – and carving out her own lane as one of the Bay Area’s finest.   – Elizabeth Braaten

Photo by Ricardo Gomes


Sunday 14 - Monday 15, Moody Center

Do you like to boogie-woogie? Now recovered from a 2023 bacterial infection, the Queen of Pop returns to complete her previously postponed Celebration Tour. As Madge’s first live retrospective, the show pulls from all corners of her 40-year career. Recent set lists reveal classics “Material Girl” and “Vogue” remain live staples, while the artist has also revived long-omitted deep cuts like “Live to Tell” and “Die Another Day.” I’m most pumped for Y2K banger “Music,” which the tireless singer once paired live, at 43 years old, with 15 jump squats. Still groundbreaking decades later, the choreo recently inspired a TikTok fitness challenge.   – Carys Anderson

Ari Hoenig Trio

Tuesday 16, Parker Jazz Club

Philadelphia-born/Brooklyn-based Ari Hoenig established himself early on as a drummer to watch. His dedication to both polyrhythmic exploration and drumming as co-lead of the music, rather than mere timekeeping, has made him a savvy leader, respected educator, and a side person par excellence with artists as diverse as veteran ivory-tickler Kenny Werner, Cameroon-born multi-instrumentalist Richard Bona, and French piano powerhouse Jean-Michel Pilc. As demonstrated on most recent album Golden Treasures, the drummer’s trio with pianist Gadi Lehavi and bassist Ben Tiberio plays with empathy, communication, and a commitment to experimentation without losing track of melody and groove.   – Michael Toland

Courtesy of Emperor X

Emperor X

Tuesday 16, The Coral Snake

If Daniel Johnston had suffered from Red Bull addiction, the ensuing aural chaos might’ve sounded something like freak-folk patron saint Emperor X. The brainchild of Jacksonville-bred nomad Chad Matheny, the project combines glitchy tape looping with the verbose songwriter’s nasal charm. Prismatic 2011 bender Western Teleport stands out as a strange and beautiful vision that could only come from the mind of a Berliner by way of Florida. Opener KindKeith provides virtuosic piano support with ultra-danceable recent drop “Can You Trust Me?”, while shoegazey DIYers Middle Mass round out the bill with a potent dose of melodic post-punk.   – Genevieve Wood

Notions, YUNG MO$H

Wednesday 17, Come & Take It Live

Like a mini, subgenre-swiveled version of the crazy pile-on $uicideboy$ lineup Austin saw at the Moody Center last year, five artists in the trap metal realm align for their Planet of the A.P.E. Tour across Texas. Austin-based band Notions, fixtures of Riverside’s Come & Take It, continue their exploration of cloud rap and nu-metalcore – reenvisioning early Slipknot and Korn influence under current R&B sensibilities. Cincinnati rap rocker Yung Mo$h co-headlines, while Dizasterpiece, HateWaker, the After Dark Society, and Release the Captive add to the sinister bill.   – Rachel Rascoe

The Tortured Poets Department Listening and Smoke Sesh

Thursday 18, MARYJAE Social Club

Dropping seven albums in four years just wasn’t enough for newly christened billionaire Taylor Swift. Her new album The Tortured Poets Department arrives late Thursday night, and to revel in the excess, Local Queer ATX and MARYJAE Social Club have partnered up to throw a listening party with weed. The 21+ event will include cannabis-infused drinks and pre-rolls. Dancing starts at 9pm, and the album drops at 11pm. Tickets are, fittingly, $13.   – Maggie Q. Thompson

Water Damage Album Release

Thursday 18, Hotel Vegas

Three years after the release of debut album Repeater, experimental droners Water Damage welcome In E to their discography. The supergroup – of Thor Harris of Thor & Friends, George Dishner of Spray Paint, and Mike Kanin of Black Eyes, among many others – melds industrial noise rock with textured distortion. See the three lyricless arrangements of prior Repeater, which offered one 22-minute epic of electric reverberation, sharp accents at every turn, and a rhythmic, static-soaked climatic closer. Electronic rockers Blank Hellscape, experimental multi-instrumentalist and Water Damage member More Eaze, and alternative quartet Fire Boys join the night.   – Miranda Garza

Amplify Live With Ben Kweller, Kalu & the Electric Joint

Thursday 18, Scoot Inn

Impossibly fraught politically, 2024 recently closed out its first quarter. COVID’s charitable trickle-down finally trickled out. Seventeen years in, Amplify Austin of the “I Live Here I Give Here” tagline helped grow homegrown giving to the tune of $80 million-plus last month. Grunge popster Ben Kweller also gave – at the Austin Music Awards closing out February. Unveiling the first Zev Award in honor of his late son, Dripping Springs’ famed ginger dug a deeper tie to Austin. He headlines singsong electricity alongside Nigerian soul rocker-turned-Austin mainstay Kalu James and long, tall Texan roots crooners THEBROSFRESH. I rock here, I dock here.   – Raoul Hernandez

Urban Heat (Photo by John Anderson)

Music Notes

by Derek Udensi


Thursday 11, the Marc

Though River Fest – returning after a years-long hiatus – is exclusive to current students of Texas State University, event headliner Tyga (“Rack City”) will perform an afterparty set at the Marc that’s open to the public. Remaining general admission tickets start at $40.

Tim McGraw

Thursday 11, Moody Center

Country music staple tours in support of his 16th full-length effort, Standing Room Only.

Speaker Bump Fest

Saturday 13, the Far Out

Ben Buck turns his city of Austin recognized “Ben Buck Day” into a hip-hop festival thrown via the Speaker Bump promotion he runs. The 2024 Austin Music Award winner for Best Hip-Hop invites New York City’s Homeboy Sandman, Los Angeles’ Vel Nine, Chicago’s the Palmer Squares, and more to join him for the occasion. You can also catch Buck the night before at Flamingo Cantina when he performs with Nick Cruz and Jamar Equality. The trio released their debut collaborative project, Low Brow Purist, last month.

Urban Heat

Wednesday 17, Mohawk

Jonathan Horstmann and company wrap the final leg of their tour with a supporting set for headlining Brownsville duo Twin Tribes.

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