January is traditionally a slow month for touring shows. Let’s call it the calm before the storm — a fantastic time to explore our homegrown music scene, at the Free Week shows that will flourish at downtown clubs this weekend, and beyond. But it’s a momentary lull. Before we know it spring will fling the city back into high gear. Here’s a look at some of the musical entertainment coming up in 2017.
South by Southwest hit a milestone in 2016 with its 30th year, but 2017 is shaping up to be more significant in terms of redefining the event’s boundaries. Music, Film and Interactive have been overlapping for a while, and now that will increase, as SXSW has announced it is “streamlining the conference into one unified event with 24 tracks of programming.”
Exactly what that will look like won’t be entirely clear until schedules go public sometime in February, but partly it will involve allowing Music badgeholders “secondary” access to many more Film and Interactive events (and vice versa).
In addition, the longstanding Music practice of having one marquee keynote speaker is changing to the multiple-keynotes plan that Film and Interactive have used for a while. And unlike recent years when the sole keynote hasn’t been announced until a few weeks or even days before the start of the fest, two of 2017’s music keynotes are already on board, including Chic co-founder Nile Rodgers, who’ll be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.
Other festival prospects for the spring include the Old Settler’s Music Festival, which reaches its own 30-year mark this year, with Los Lobos, Del McCoury, Shakey Graves and dozens more lined up for the April 20-23 event in Driftwood. Euphoria Fest returns to Carson Creek Ranch April 6-9 for the fourth year, with a solid lineup featuring electro-funk duo Chromeo and a live band set from electronic composer Pretty Lights. The EDM fest ups the hip-hop starpower this year with rappers Wiz Khalifa and Young Thug among the top-billed acts. Urban Music Fest plays the smooth-crooning ’90s nostalgia card with Keith Sweat and Tony! Toni! Toné! headlining the event alongside old school soul act the Whispers. UMF is scheduled to coincide with Texas Relays Weekend from March 31 to April 1 at Auditorium Shores. Austin Reggae Fest, the biggest annual fundraiser for Capital Area Food Bank, will also be back at the city center park April 14-16. Pecan Street Festival, the bi-annual art and music fest that features several stages of free local music on Sixth Street, will take place May 6-7.
Tickets are on sale for Jmblya, hip-hop powerhouse, Scoremore’s annual spring turn up. The Austin date has been set for May 6, but the location and lineup have not been announced. Similarly, in mid-December, red dirt country fest Lone Star Jam sent out a save the date notice for Memorial Day Weekend, May 27-28. The fest turns 10 this year, and organizers plan to release more details in January. Psych music celebration Levitation is taking 2017 off after enduring a last-minute weather cancellation last year, but Float Fest, a music and tubing event in San Marcos, will be back for a mid-summer throwdon on July 22-23.
Looking ahead to the fall, the Austin City Limits Music Festival will be back for another two-weekend run in Zilker Park on Oct. 6-8 and Oct. 13-15. And the new east-of-Austin festival Sound on Sound, which had its ups (good lineup and fun location) and downs (weather and transportation problems) in its inaugural year, has already announced Nov. 10-12 dates for its second go-round.
We won’t find out schedules for outdoor venues such as the Austin360 Amphitheater and Statesman Skyline Theater for a few more weeks or months, but here’s a look at some of the big names already booked into arenas, theaters and major clubs in town for 2017:
Erwin Center: Stevie Nicks, March 12; Panic! at the Disco, April 2; Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, May 2; New Kids on the Block, Paula Abdul and Boyz II Men, May 21.
ACL Live: Don Henley, Jan. 14 (sold out); STS9, Jan 27-28; Funky Meters, Feb. 16; Sting, Feb. 19 (sold out); Amos Lee, Feb. 25; Tesla, March 2; Bryan Ferry, March 22; Patty Griffin, April 8; Brian Wilson presents “Pet Sounds,” May 13-14; Sigur Ros, June 9-10.
Stubb’s: Young the Giant, Feb. 10-11; Yonder Mountain String Band, G. Love & Special Sauce, Feb. 17; St. Paul & the Broken Bones, March 31; Passenger, April 6; PJ Harvey, April 28; Trey Anastasio, April 29; Ty Segal, May 27; Norah Jones, June 12.
Paramount Theatre: Terry Allen, Jan. 14; Eric Johnson, Jan. 15; Ameripolitan Music Awards, Feb. 15; Valerie June, Feb. 28; Peter Cetera, April 27; Leo Kottke, May 4.
Emo’s: Rick Astley, Feb. 2; Juicy J, Feb 12; AFI, Feb 14; Devendra Banhart, Feb. 16; Blind Pilot, Feb. 18; Margo Price, March 24; Shovels & Rope, March 30; Orwells, April 6; Kehlani, May 24.
Mohawk: Angel Olsen, Feb. 6-7 (sold out); Against Me!, March 3; Brian Jonestown Massacre, March 8; Foxygen, April 14; the Damned 40th Anniversary, May 19.
Empire Control Room: Purity Ring (DJ set), Jan 21; Cut Chemist, Jan 28; RJD2 (live band), Feb 17; Oddisee & Good Company, April 28.
Bass Concert Hall: DeJohnette - Coltrane - Harrison, Feb. 3; R. Kelly, March 3.
One World Theatre: Karla Bonoff, Feb. 8; Suzanne Vega, Feb. 16; Steep Canyon Rangers, Feb. 19; Kathy Mattea, March 7; Gino Vanelli, March 24-25; Loudon Wainwright III, April 13; Stanley Clarke Band, April 14; Robin Trower, M 7; Jean-Luc Ponty, June 17.
3Ten: Midge Ure Band, Jan. 20; Mike Doughty, Jan. 27; Geoff Tate, Jan. 31; Tift Merritt, Feb. 24; Y&T, April 14.
Parish: Surfer Blood, Feb. 1; Joseph, Feb. 25.
Barracuda: Tacocat, Feb. 18
Sidewinder: Every Time I Die, Feb 14-15; Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, April 21; Dengue Fever, April 26.
Antone’s: Cloud Cult, Jan. 27; Lizzo, Feb. 1; Sara Watkins, Feb. 9; Donavon Frankenreiter and Grant-Lee Phillips, March 4; Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, April 22.
Continental Club: Jim Lauderdale, Jan. 13-14.
Grizzly Hall: D.R.A.M., Feb 2; Isaiah Rashad, Feb. 23
Strange Brew: Steve Forbert, Jan. 13; HillBenders performing “Tommy,” Jan. 27.
Cactus Cafe: John Doe, Feb. 14.
Scoot Inn: Son Volt, March 4.