Welcome to mid-August, Austin! With the kiddos going back to school and parents scrambling for last minute supplies, it may feel like the end of summer is here (despite the 105-degree weather). Whether you’re prepping for the school year or dreading the uptick in traffic that high school car lines cause, there’s plenty of live music to help you through.
This weekend, we recommended an experimental art/rock duo’s album release show, a yearly festival of hip hop togetherness, and a shock rock innovator turned adopted son of Austin. Keep cool and listen local!
Friday, Aug. 16
Cross Record album release w/Lomelda
A swirling melange of breathy lyrics and haunting melodies dripping with raw, emotional power, Cross Record demands attention and interpretation. The auditory brainchild of wife/husband Emily Cross and Dan Duszynski, the duo masterfully generates tension, dread, and beauty through a quilt of minimalist percussion, guitar lines, and intense vocals.
Their new self-titled record expands this sound even farther. From the unsettling electronic ASMR vibe of “What Is Your Wish?” to the profanity-laced head nodder “The Fly,” the album challenges and intrigues with every song.
My personal favorite is “Face Smashed, Drooling,” a somber, uncomfortable funeral dirge that flaps and flits like a leather bound butterfly. Expect an evening of intense, reflective music from one of Austin’s most expressive acts.
Saturday, Aug. 17
RAS Day w/Riders Against the Storm, Lavelle White, Leikei47, Madison McFerrin, more
@ Empire Control Room and Garage (606 E. 7th St.) – 5 p.m. – Tickets
Austin’s reigning king and queen of socially-conscious hip hop bring good vibes and sensational music to Empire Garage this Saturday. A yearly celebration of music, art, and diversity, RAS Day brings people together in a way that feels inclusive, natural, and welcoming.
And this year’s lineup is on point. While the only local flavor is Austin soul queen Miss Lavelle White and the festival founders, the out-of-towners are incredible. Come for the a cappella soul of Madison McFerrin, stay up late for the art house hip hop of Leikeli47.
Fun fact: RAS Day 2016 was my son’s first live show. He was three months old. I have a lot of heart for this festival, but not nearly as much as Riders Against the Storm has for this fine city.
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
@ One-2-One Bar (1509 S. Lamar Blvd.) – 8 p.m. – Tickets
Most know him for the 1968 novelty hit “Fire,” while some recognize him as the father of modern shock rock. Most fail to realize he’s lived in Austin for decades and continues to make music today.
While his modern sound is a far cry from the darkly-inspired soul from the ’60s, this year’s “Gypsy Voodoo” is a 10-song blend of surf rock, pyscho-circus theatrics, and electronic-dipped soul/funk. And damn it all, his four-octave voice is still on point.
At the age of 77, Arthur Brown continues to tour, perform, and amaze. Take this opportunity to experience the man who everyone from Marilyn Manson to Peter Gabriel cites as a major inspiration. And yes, I’m sure he’ll wear his trademark flaming metal hat.
Fun fact #2: In the fall of 1968, “Fire” climbed to number two on the Billboard chart. What kept Mr. Brown from number one? A little song called “Hey Jude.” Who would have thought.
@BillTuckerTSP wants to know:
Where will you be going for live music in Austin this weekend?