A Pickin’ Party, a Big Squeeze, and Mother’s Day Music Are This Week's Crucial Concerts

Some recommended sounds for your week

The Wonder Women of Country (l-r): Kelly Willis, Melissa Carper, and Brennen Leigh (Photo by Lyza Renee)

Old Settler’s Spring Pickin’ Party

Thursday 9 - Sunday 12, Dale, Texas

While the Old Settler’s Music Festival sorts itself out with a planned 2025 return and sale of their current festival grounds, the 145-acre ranch in Dale hosts a slimmed-down Spring Pickin’ Party of local favorites. The three-day campout congregates around a single stage, with Friday celebrating the return of Uncle Lucius’ soulful country sound alongside Kalu & the Electric Joint and Hot Club of Cowtown. Saturday springs the eclectic grooves of songwriter Keller Williams and mighty Tomar & the FCs, as well as a reunion of the South Austin Jug Band, while Sunday wraps with new supergroup trio Wonder Women of Country.   – Doug Freeman

Optic Sink, Borzoi

Friday 10, Hotel Vegas

Unlike the gristly noise of hometown rioters Borzoi, Memphis-based Optic Sink takes its post-punk lilt in a different direction. Fizzing synths and dynamic basslines build the New Wave soundscape of the threepiece’s 2023 LP Glass Blocks, with vocalist Natalie Hoffmann’s loose drone meandering around. Its gothic electricity contrasts the frontwoman’s more traditional punk outfit NOTS and similarly cuts a sharp synthetic line through Borzoi’s harsh fuzz. No Wave screechers Wet Dip and spacey post-rockers Guiding Light open, a quadruple-billing of unfaltering buzz without concern for stiff genre classifications.   – Laiken Neumann


Saturday 11, the Ballroom

Year two of this music-market extravaganza – presented by women and nonbinary-led bookers Howdy Gals and local screenprinters Goody Bag – levels up from six artists to nine. Featuring Pelvis Wrestley’s shimmering queer pop, Never’s minimalist post-punk, and Alexalone’s dynamic noise-rock, plus Glaze, Ritual, Haha Laughing, S.P.A., Proun, and DJ Vonne, the sonic showcase presents a who’s-who of Austin alternative. Meanwhile, live screenprinting, a vendor market, zine swap, and free tote bags (for early birds) lend an interactive flair. Goody!   – Carys Anderson

Photo by Jana Birchum

Jon Dee Graham Benefits

Saturday 11, Hole in the Wall; Sunday 12, Meanwhile Brewing Co

As songwriting powerhouse and True Believers veteran Jon Dee Graham recovers from spinal surgery, a group of pals will convene to lend a hand at two separate benefits. Hole in the Wall’s Saturday slate is jam-packed with Graham’s friends and longtime collaborators – Alejandro Escovedo, James McMurtry, Jack Ingram, and many more – from the afternoon ’til bar close. And a free show at Meanwhile Brewing Sunday has a bill of eight “mini-acts” including Matt Giles and Andrew Duplantis pulling double duty from the day before. Music heals, but friends and donations don’t hurt either.   – Abby Johnston

The Big Squeeze Showcase

Saturday 11, Bullock Texas State History Museum

Never know who you’ll run into at a homegrown touchstone like the Bullock’s yearly pachanga. A decade ago, as parents of a yearling, my wife and myself joined a sea of families from across the state rooting and hootin’ for Texas prodigies burning up temporary stages. Accordionists of all ages, shapes, and sizes squeeze – for free – inside and out of the massive history temple, this year with Rodrigo Gonzales, Jayden Bucio, Adiel Vazquez, Alyssa Villarreal, Ruby Acosta, and many more. That long-ago spring, we ran into the daughter of an exclusive bilingual day care couple and our two-year wait turned to two months.   – Raoul Hernandez

The Point Record Release

Saturday 11, C-Boy’s Heart & Soul

If my Spotify were “wrapped” today, the Point’s “Leaving” might chart as my most-played song of 2024. It’s a magical, two-chord, tropical soul groove where the Hammond organ of Joe Roddy and electric guitar of Jack Montesinos speak back-and-forth, taking turns blowing their tops, without ever abandoning the highlife riff. Another pre-album single, “Mrs. Kind Eyes,” lands a cupid arrow of dub with bedroom pop sensibilities. Together, they grip intrigue for the young trio’s new record Maldito Animal – crystallizing the raw live sound of 2022 standout Berto’s Banquet. The platter’s producer, Beto Martinez, joins release festivities with his Peruvian-inspired groove unit Money Chicha.   – Kevin Curtin


Sunday 12, Antone’s Nightclub

With a stage name befitting contemporary fan culture, Bbymutha – real-life mother of four – stands tall as one of the Southern rap scene’s brightest big shots. The Chattanooga-born crowd-pleaser burst into popularity with moody 2017 single “Rules,” a piano-twinged rallying call praised by the likes of SZA and Bjork. Recently released LP sleep paralysis sees the hip-hop innovator continue to evolve from her SoundCloud roots, venturing into trippier shades of production and continuing to sharpen her already-lethal pen game. Drum ’n’ bass standout “piss!” may well boost the beatrider into icon territory. Mother, indeed.   – Genevieve Wood

Mother’s Day Concert

Sunday 12, the Capitol

Hope for good weather and enjoy sweet tunes with a sweet view of the Capitol. Austin Symphonic Band is giving mothers a free music festival, and there is absolutely something for everyone. Their selections include classic Sousa marches, Texas flavors from Frank Ticheli, and the jazzy sounds of Gershwin. ASB’s thought of a backup plan just in case a storm hits (St. Martin’s Lutheran Church), so there’s no excuse for missing a melodic Mother’s Day.   – Cat McCarrey

Paul Cornish Trio

Tuesday 14, Monks Jazz

L.A.-based pianist Paul Cornish has built up quite the CV since coming up through Houston’s prestigious High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. After studying at the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz at UCLA, it’s no wonder sessions and sideperson work with the likes of Joshua Redman, Louis Cole, Terrace Martin, Mark Guiliana, Snoh Aalegra, Thumpasaurus, and HAIM followed. He was also commissioned by the Apollo Chamber Players to write a piece for the Houston Library System’s centennial. His No Pressure tour with bassist Jermaine Paul and drummer Jonathan Pinson marks his first jaunt as a leader.   – Michael Toland


Thursday 16, Parish

If you’re a fan of Earl Sweatshirt circa 2018’s Some Rap Songs through top-tier 2023 rap album VOIR DIRE, you’re probably a fan of MIKE by default. The Brooklyn-based rapper has mastered the art of delivering emotion-filled rhymes with a deceptively languid flow over sample-filled, muddy beats. He followed up two 2023 projects (Burning Desire and a collaboration with the Alchemist and Wiki titled Faith Is a Rock) with the March release Pinball. A collaborative tape with Brooklyn producer Tony Seltzer, Pinball features cameos from Sweatshirt, fellow Brooklyn native Jay Critch, and Tony Shhnow.   – Derek Udensi

Mon Laferte

Thursday 16, Moody Amphitheater

“[Demonstrating] a dancer’s precision, she moved across the stage clutching a golden microphone, singing like a Latin Björk-burlesque hybrid,” observed the Chronicle from the mainstage of ACL Fest 2018. “Each movement timed out thrillingly, lending even pedestrian moves a huge payoff.” True dat – es cierto – because Chilean transmission Norma Monserrat Bustamante Laferte proved an instant revelation: hypnotic, seductive, provocative. Last year’s typically converting Autopoiética spilled a cornucopia of instruments (brass, woodwinds, accordions) and sounds: trip-hop tempos, digital chops, Auto-Tune. Femme fatale one moment, wronged the next – digital disco to torch traditionals – Mon Laferte’s effortlessly avant-garde and futuristically traditional. Ximena Sariñana opens.   – Raoul Hernandez

Monte Warden & the Dangerous Few Record Release

Thursday 16, Parker Jazz Club
Friday 17, Waterloo Records

Austin’s beloved Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few have been holding down a monthly Thursday night slot at Parker Jazz Club for at least a couple of years at this point. Continuing to hone their rootsy Great American Songbook style of original tunes, the group brings it all home on second album Jackpot!, dedicated to the club that gave them a home. Warden and company will be signing copies of the self-released LP at Waterloo Records, which has racked up plenty of sales of his projects over the decades. The signing follows already sold-out release show at Parker.   – Michael Toland

21 Savage (Photo by Sue Kwon)

Music Notes

by Derek Udensi


Friday 10, Empire Garage

Bubbling Dallas rapper tours in support of new release Mundo.

H-Town Throwdown

Saturday 11, Round Rock Amp

Numerous stars of Aughts Houston hip-hop return to Round Rock for what’s quickly becoming an annual tradition at the 2-year-old amphitheatre. Performers for the third edition of the H-Town Throwdown include Paul Wall, Slim Thug, and Z-Ro.

Jacob Collier

Sunday 12, Moody Amphitheater

Grammy Award-winning Londoner continues his tour on the heels of the fourth volume in his Djesse album series.

21 Savage

Tuesday 14, Circuit of the Americas

Though there’s an explosive civil war currently unfolding in mainstream rap pitting two of the Atlanta-based rapper’s closest collaborators – Drake (Her Loss) and Metro Boomin (Savage Mode and Savage Mode II) – on opposing sides, 21 Savage has remained mum on the matter so far. His nationwide tour is in support of January chart-topper american dream, which features top-five hit “redrum.” Rapid-fire rhymer JID (“Surround Sound”), Nardo Wick (“Who Want Smoke??”), and 21 Lil Harold offer support.

Vibe Vault

Wednesday 15, Parish

Celebrate Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with performances from AAPI artists such as BettySoo, Nagavalli, and Sangeeta Kaur.

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