Yes, there is just a month (OK, more like six weeks) until South by Southwest once again brings 2,000-plus bands to Austin. That doesn’t mean February has no music worth hearing. The xx, Mary J. Blige, the Hives, Fun., Wynton Marsalis, Shearwater and more perform in Austin this month. In addition, Austin artists, including Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis, A Giant Dog and the Whiskey Sisters, celebrate the release of new albums.
ACL Live throws a New Orleans party with the Big Easy Blowout featuring the Funky Meters with T Bird and the Breaks (Feb. 9). After quiet British outfit The xx sold out one show at the Second Street venue, they added a second, with Austra (Feb. 11-12). Bob Schneider celebrates Valentine’s Day with the Moonlight Orchestra and special guests (Feb. 14). John Denver: A Rocky Mountain High Concert finds members of the late "Rocky Mountain High" singer’s touring band playing along with his vocals via video (Feb. 21). Last, hip-hop/soul legend Mary J. Blige closes out the month (Feb. 27).
The second-to-last month for the current West Fifth Street location of Antone’s hosts Cory Morrow with Brian Keane (Feb. 1); a Momo’s Night with Wisebird, King Corduroy and Drew Smith’s Lonely Choir (Feb. 6); World Carnival with Suns of Orpheus, Austin Samba School, Morena Soul, Seu Jacinto, McCallum High School Knights (Feb. 9); and Reckless Kelly with Shinyribs, Darren Hoff and the Hard Times (Feb. 15).
Hole in the Wall continues with residencies: The Austin Steamers and Devin Jake (Mondays); Estelline and Dawn and Hawkes (Tuesdays); and The D-Madness Project (Wednesdays). Also playing the Guadalupe Street bar are Slowtrain, The Grizzly Adams Family and Once Per Axis (Feb. 9); and Hickoids and Churchwood (Feb. 16).
Austin band the Flesh Lights recently went out on a national tour with Swedish rock band the Hives; this month they join the band again at Emo’s East with the Act Rights (Feb. 20). Elsewhere in February, Toro y Moi (Feb. 2); Talking Heads Hoot Night (Feb. 15); Neurosis, EYEHATEGOD and Rwake (Feb. 17); Graveyard and the Shrine (Feb. 21); and Breaking Salsa 2013 (Feb. 23).
Shows at One World Theatre include Sweet Honey in the Rock (Feb. 6); Bobby Caldwell (Feb. 15); Dave Mason (Feb. 19) and Monte Montgomery (Feb. 28).
Fun. took the world of pop (and the Grammy nominations) by storm in 2012 on the strength of hits like "We Are Young;" they play Stubb’s with Andrew McMahon (Feb. 12). Other shows at Stubb’s include the Tontons, the Couch and Emily Bell (Feb. 1); Sons of Fathers, Beau Jennings and the Tigers (Feb. 2); G. Love and Special Sauce (Feb. 9); Rebulution with J Boog and Hot Rain (Feb. 21); Young Texans Against Cancer Spice For Life Chili Cookoff with Drew Womack (Feb. 23); Tame Impala with the Growl (Feb. 26); and Dropkick Murphys (Feb. 27).
Prolific Texas rock band Centro-matic are prepping the release of the follow-up to the excellent "Candidate Waltz"; they play Mohawk with Frank Smith and Moonlight Towers (Feb. 1). Girl in a Coma (Feb. 9); Lucero, J. Charles and the Trainrobbers and Cartright (Feb. 15); Unknown Mortal Orchestra with Foxygen and Wampire (Feb. 20); and Jucifer (Feb. 22) also perform.
At Beerland this month: David Israel, Real Live Tigers, Mom Jeans, Poppy Red (Feb. 7); Foreign Mothers with Horse Plus Donkey (Feb. 13); the Best (Feb. 14); OBN IIIs (Feb. 21); and Sabbath Crow, Dickins, Cunto! and Dirty Charlie Band (Feb. 23).
In what undoubtedly will be one of the most popular residencies in Austin this month, Central Texas troubadour Hayes Carll will play weekly at the Cactus Cafe (Tuesdays). Other shows include The Trishas (Feb. 7); Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis (Feb. 22); and Lost and Nameless Orchestra (Mondays).
Austin-based rock band the Young, who released the great 2012 album "Dub Egg," settle down this month for a residency at Hotel Vegas. Broken Gold, When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth and the Zoltars are among several bands that will join them (Fridays). Other shows include Grape St., Growl, Shivery Shakes and Mole People (Feb. 2); Will Cope (Tuesdays); "I Wanna Be Your Dog" benefit for Austin Pets Alive (Feb. 9); The Best (Feb. 11); Rubberneck release party with the Young, A Giant Dog, Spray Paint and D. Watusi (Feb. 15); and Warm Soda (Feb. 25).
Meanwhile, the Continental Club continues with popular residencies from Alejandro Escovedo (Tuesdays) and Jon Dee Graham and James McMurtry (Wednesdays). Longtime band NRBQ plays a two-night stand (Feb. and 8). White Ghost Shivers (Feb. 14); Mother Hips (Feb. 15 and 16); The Whiskey Sisters (album release partly, Feb. 22); and Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis (release party, Feb. 23) also play.
The Paramount hosts renowned trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center (Feb. 6), the John Pizzarelli Quartet (Feb. 13); Suzanne Vega (Feb. 14); and Don Williams (Feb. 21).
The Parish hosts the North Mississippi Allstars with the London Souls (Feb. 2); Black Taxi (Feb. 6); Tift Merritt with David Wax Museum (Feb. 14); Shearwater, Marmalakes and Brass Bed (Feb. 16); He’s My Brother She’s My Sister with Paper Bird and Shakey Graves (Feb. 22); and the Maccabees with Reputante and Gambles (Feb. 23).
Shows at Red 7 this month include Urizen, Random aka Mega Ran, Descendants of Erdrick, Lords of Thunder and Doctor Awkward (Feb. 3); Corrections House, Skycrawler (Feb. 9); and Bobby Jealousy (album release) with Shapes Have Fangs, Bad Lovers and Roky Moon and the Kiss Goodnight (Feb. 14).
Next door at Holy Mountain are Chris Cubas (Mondays); Calm Blue Sea, Residual Kid, Grape St. and Featherface (Feb. 9); Leopold and His Fiction, the Sweet Nuthin’ and Frank Smith (Feb. 13); and Pharaohs, Gangster Rainbow, Tijuana Bible (Feb. 20).
Weekly at the Saxon Pub — the Resentments (Sundays); Lonelyland (Mondays); Bruce Hughes (Tuesdays); Walt Wilkins (Wednesdays); and Patrice Pike (Thursdays). Other shows include Carolyn Wonderland (Feb. 9); Matt the Electrician (Feb. 16); and Nakia (album release, Feb. 22).
Strange Brew coffeehouse continues to emerge as one of Austin’s popular new(er) venues with Jodi Adair and Scrappy Jud Newcomb (Mondays); Will Knaak and Kacy Crowley (Wednesdays); and A is Red and Patricia Vonne (Feb. 15). At the Rattle Inn: Woodsboss (Feb. 1); Shinyribs (Feb. 6); Waylon Jennings Tribute Night with Lucas Hudgins and the First Cousins (Feb. 13); and The Modern Don Juans (Feb. 23).