South by Southwest may dominate Austin’s music options in March, but it’s inevitably just the beginning of a busy spring season. Here’s an overview of more than 100 notable concerts, festivals and club shows happening before summer officially arrives.
20-23: Old Settler’s Music Festival. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the renowned roots-music festival on the southwest outskirts of town has an especially strong Saturday lineup this year. East Los Angeles greats Los Lobos, Dallas alt-country faves Old 97’s and hometown juggernaut Shinyribs top a day that also features freshly minted Grammy winner Sarah Jarosz of New York via Wimberley, bluegrass legends the Del McCoury Band and indie-twang rising star Nikki Lane, among others. Friday’s lineup includes hometown hero Shakey Graves, mandolin wizard Sam Bush and jam-band groovers Leftover Salmon. There’s more music in the nearby Camp Ben McCulloch on Thursday and Saturday, with campsites available there throughout the fest. We’ll have more on Old Settler’s in the cover story of next week’s Austin360 section. — P.B.
21: Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan at Cedar Park Center
21: Doyle Bramhall II at Mohawk
21: A Thousand Horses at Emo’s
22: Lonestar Crawfish Festival with Josh Abbott at Stubb’s
22: Kawehi at 3Ten. Part singer-songwriter, part electronica one-woman band, this Kansas-via-Hawaii YouTube sensation is touring behind her recent release “Eve,” which she calls “a sci-fi visual album.” In her latest video, she’s walking down a city sidewalk with a drum machine strapped to her torso, a keyboard attached to her arm and a headset mic rigged for her vocals. This is clearly a 21st-century artist. — P.B.
25: Bob Mould, Will Johnson at 3Ten
25: Pierce the Veil, Sum 41 at ACL Live
25: A Perfect Circle at Cedar Park Center
25: Coheed & Cambria, Dear Hunter at Stubb’s
26: Dengue Fever, Red Baraat, Hard Proof at Mohawk. This oddball bill of obscure musical mashups spotlights the wonderful richness of American multiculturalism. L.A.’s Dengue Fever blends Cambodian pop music with psych rock. Brooklyn’s Red Baraat slams Indian Bhangra, hip-hop and NOLA brass into an epic Bollywood party mix, and local crew Hard Proof mixes Afrobeat with jazz and funk. — D.S.S.
26: Little Dragon, Goldlink, Kronika at Stubb’s
26: Tech N9ne at Emo’s
26: Nao at Antone’s. The British singer-songwriter calls her style “wonky funk.” She mixes a throwback R&B sound with futuristic electropop, and when she played Austin City Limits Music Festival last year, she hosted a sizzling dance party throwdown that converted a curious crowd into serious fans. — D.S.S.
26-27: Bill Frisell at Continental Club. Speaking about the spontaneity of live performance vs. the discipline of practice, world-class guitarist Frisell shared some insight when we spoke with him during a South by Southwest appearance to promote a new documentary film about his music. “When you’re really doing the gig, there’s so much more intensity happening,” he said. “It doesn’t always work out that you get it, but you have to deal with it. When you’re practicing, it’s a few steps removed from what the actual music is.” The Continental offers a chance to catch the master up-close in a trio format with drummer Kenny Wollesen and bassist Tony Scherr. — P.B.
27: Peter Cetera at Paramount
27: Wailers at Mohawk
27: Javier Colon at One World Theatre
28: Oddissee and Good Company at Empire. We need to talk about 32-year-old Sudanese-American, D.C. rapper Oddissee in the same breath as Kendrick Lamar. Like his West Coast counterpart, he’s a standard bearer for modern political hip-hop. In a prolific three-year stretch he’s dropped three excellent albums, plus an EP. On the latest, “The Iceberg,” which came out earlier this year, he pushes the space where hip-hop fuses with jazz, icy soul and danceable grooves, and for this tour he’s traveling with a live band. — D.S.S.
28: PJ Harvey at Stubb’s (sold out)
28: State Champs at Emo’s
29: Brandi Carlile at ACL Live (sold out)
29: Alejandro Escovedo, Minus 5 at Paramount. The latest chapter in native Texan Escovedo’s odyssey of a music career has taken him away from Austin to a new home in Dallas, along with a new record that features perhaps the most high-profile backing band he’s ever had. Guitarists Peter Buck of R.E.M. and Kurt Bloch of the Fastbacks wowed the crowd at Escovedo’s “Austin City Limits” taping last fall; they’re back for this show, along with Decemberists drummer John Moen and multi instrumentalist Scott McCaughey, whose ever-entertaining Minus 5 outfit opens. — P.B.
29: Trey Anastasio Band at Stubb’s
29: Arijit Singh at Cedar Park Center
29: Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness at Emo’s
29: Miles Davis tribute with Jeff Lofton at Stateside at the Paramount
29: Bruce Robison record release at Antone’s
30: Brandy Clark at Antone’s
1: Pixies at Stubb’s (sold out)
2: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Gary Clark Jr. at Erwin Center. Outside of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, it’s hard to find a still-ticking act that’s more representative of classic American rock ’n’ roll than Petty and his longtime backing crew. They’re celebrating 40 years together with a three-month nationwide jaunt. Austin audiences get a unique-to-the-tour treat: Local guitar star Gary Clark Jr., fresh off a new live album, opens the show. — P.B.
3: Bad Plus at Stateside
4: Leo Kottke at Paramount
4 and 6: New Found Glory, Trash Boat at Mohawk (second night sold out)
5 and 7: Rancho Alegre Conjunto Fest (free shows) at Stubb’s
5: Sword, Croy & the Boys at Mohawk
6: Jmblya at Circuit of the Americas. The biggest turnup in Central Texas gets even bigger with a move to the racetrack. This year’s stacked lineup is led by Chance the Rapper, who just scored a Grammy with an uplifting blend of hip-hop, gospel and soul. From the other end of the rap spectrum, trap pioneer Gucci Mane also gets top billing, and red hot trap stars Migos and Lil Uzi Vert will also put in sets. DJ Steve Aoki will play electro house. Rapidly rising Latina rapper Snow tha Product and soulful rapper Pell help round out a very strong undercard. — D.S.S.
6: iHeartCountry Fest at Erwin Center. Now four years running, this smorgasbord evening marathon concert regularly features many of the most-played acts on mainstream country radio. This year’s lineup includes Jason Aldean, Little Big Town, Dierks Bentley, Brantley Gilbert, Rascal Flatts, Old Dominion, Jake Owen, Darius Rucker, Lady Antebellum, Kelsea Ballerini and the Raging Idiots. A new addition in 2016 that returns this year is a free afternoon “Daytime Village” show on the Erwin Center’s north box office plaza with a half-dozen country upstarts including Jon Pardi. — P.B.
READ MORE: Review of the 2016 iHeartCountry Fest
6: New Pornographers at Stubb’s
6-7: 40th annual Pecan Street Festival on East Sixth Street
7: Robin Trower at One World Theatre
9: Kings of Leon, Deerhunter at Austin360 Amphitheater
9: Hamilton Leithauser at Mohawk
10: Mitski at Mohawk. As she builds “Your Best American Girl” from a quiet confessional into a declaration of independence that soars on a grandiose swell of sound, so go the hopes of each of us who failed to find a place within the confines of Norman Rockwell’s white picket fence America. The sting of failure reclaimed as triumph is a glorious thing, and certainly worth experiencing live. — D.S.S.
10: Amy Rigby at Townsend
10-11: The XX at ACL Live (both nights sold out)
12: Tycho at Stubb’s
12: Chevelle, Aeges at Emo’s
12: Suzanna Choffel album release at 3Ten
13: Index Fest with Local Natives, Frenship, Grizfolk, more at Statesman parking lot
13-14: Brian Wilson does Pet Sounds at ACL Live. These are billed as “the final performances” of Wilson doing the Beach Boys’ most acclaimed album, though we subscribe to the never-say-never axiom when it comes to such pronouncements. Still, Austin is lucky to have another shot at this tour, which was supposed to be part of last year’s Levitation Fest that got canceled by stormy weather. The first night is sold out, but limited tickets were still available for the second night at press time. — P.B.
READ MORE: Our 2015 interview with Brian Wilson
16: La Santa Cecilia, Atomix at Paramount
17: Thurston Moore Group at Mohawk
18: B-52’s at ACL Live
18: Real Friends at Mohawk
18: Jonathan Edwards at One World Theatre
19: Conor Oberst at ACL Live
19: Catfish & the Bottlemen, July Talk at Stubb’s. Those who caught the Bottlemen’s afternoon set on one of ACL Fest’s big stages last fall may well come back for another outdoor blast of loud and hard rock ‘n’ roll. An extraordinarily tight ensemble, the Welsh band also puts on a high-energy live show, with riveting frontman Van McCann at the center of the sonic maelstrom. — P.B.
19: Damned, Bellrays at Mohawk
19: Draco Rosa at Paramount
20: Train, O.A.R., Natasha Bedingfield at Austin360 Amphitheater
20: Mastodon at ACL Live
20: Marc Broussard at One World Theatre
20: BJ Barham at Parish
20: Bishop Briggs at Mohawk
20: Black Angels at Stubb’s
21: New Kids on the Block, Paula Abdul, Boyz II Men at Erwin Center
21: Devin the Dude at Empire. Houston’s sing-song, stoner rap champion is still going strong 15 years after somebody had the nerve to take the herb up out his “Doobie Ashtray” (Why’d they do him that way?). On his new album “Acoustic Levitation” that dropped last month, he offers a grown and sexy take on his soulful but hazy vision. — D.S.S.
21: Ambrosia at 3Ten
24: Kehlani at Emo’s (sold out)
24: X at Mohawk
25-June 11: Kerrville Folk Festival. Its reputation is for old-school folk fans, perhaps because it’s been around since 1972, but it’s telling that indie singer-songwriter Anais Mitchell spoke highly of the festival, which helped get her on the map as a winner of its New Folk contest, when she opened for Patty Griffin at ACL Live last week. This year’s top out-of-state draws include Nashville ace Radney Foster, longtime Guy Clark accompanist Verlon Thompson and former Austinite Phoebe Hunt’s band the Gatherers, but the fest also carves out plenty of room for local and regional favorites such as Jimmy LaFave, Los Texmaniacs and the Welch Family with Warren Hood. — P.B.
25: Clint Black at Nutty Brown Amphitheater
27: Ty Segall at Stubb’s
27-28: Lone Star Jam at Travis County Expo Center
28: Pachanga Series with Reik, Tour Des, Amor at ACL Live
28: Wavves at Mohawk
30: Tigers Jaw, Saintseneca at Mohawk
31: Jethro Tull at ACL Live
2: Florida Georgia Line, Nelly, Chris Lane at Austin360 Amphitheater
2: Phoebe Hunt & the Gatherers at Paramount
3: Split Squad, Dressy Bessy at 3Ten
4: Hurray for the Riff Raff, Making Movies at Mohawk
7: Punch Brothers at ACL Live. World-class mandolinist Chris Thile finally got a day job — replacing public radio icon Garrison Keillor as host of “A Prairie Home Companion” — but it’s not like he was going to just call an end to his life as a touring musician. The adventurous Punch Brothers, launched after his formative band Nickel Creek went on hiatus, start at the edges of bluegrass and push out toward classical realms and beyond. — P.B.
7: At the Drive In, Le Butcherettes at Stubb’s
8: Old 97’s, Shooter Jennings at Stubb’s
9-10: Sigur Ros at ACL Live
9: Acoustic Alchemy at One World Theatre
9: Com Truise, Clark at Mohawk
10: Muse, Thirty Seconds to Mars at Austin360 Amphitheater. Muse was epic when the band headlined ACL Fest a few years back. We’re betting their anti-authoritarian, dystopian rock spectacle will have an even deeper resonance this go-round. — D.S.S.
11: Miike Snow, Klangstof at Stubb’s
11: Tripping Daisy at Mohawk
11: Marshall Tucker Band at One World Theatre
12: Norah Jones, Candles at Stubb’s. Austin’s getting Jones at the tail end of an extended worldwide tour to support “Day Breaks,” her sixth solo album, which came out last fall. Jones’ piano-based brand of pop often has leaned toward jazz, so it’s fitting that she dipped into the songbooks of Duke Ellington and Horace Silver on “Day Breaks,” though most of the material is original. (Jones will tape an episode of “Austin City Limits” at ACL Live the night before her Stubb’s show, which is sold out.) — P.B.
12: Bethel Music, Housefires at Cedar Park Center
14: Brit Floyd at ACL Live
15: Spiral Stairs, Moving Panoramas at 3Ten
16: Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison, Dale & Ray at ACL Live
17: Revolution at ACL Live
17: Chicago, Doobie Brothers at Austin360 Amphitheater. These classic-rock hitmakers from the 1970s fit well together on a double bill, in part because both have soldiered on without their most identifiable vocalist. (Chicago’s Peter Cetera plays an Austin solo show on April 27 at the Paramount; the Doobies’ Michael McDonald has played here on his own several times in recent years.) Regardless, fans will get the hits, from “Black Water” to “Colour My World.” — P.B.
READ MORE: Michael McDonald discusses his life in music
17: Jean-Luc Ponty at One World Theatre
20: Gipsy Kings at ACL Live
20: Dispatch: America at Stubb’s