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Hot Summer Nights has a free show for you

Staff Writer
Austin 360
Mobley headlines a Hot Summer Nights show Saturday at the Mohawk outdoor. [JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

Hot Summer Nights returns to the Red River Cultural District with four nights of free (mostly) local music at some of Austin's most celebrated music venues. The event, which kicks off July 25, builds on the success of Free Week, the popular mini-fest that's been keeping the district hopping during the first week in January for over 15 years. Hot Summer Nights transforms another traditionally slow time for touring acts into a midsummer musical feast with venues serving up a smorgasbord of sounds to satisfy all musical tastes. 

This is a fantastic opportunity for Austin music die-hards and novices alike to get out and explore, to find your new favorite local band or support an old fave.

From soulful crooners to raging rockers, there's something for everyone. Here are a few top-notch options:

If you like indie tunes with sharp lyricism and sweeping melodies:

Thursday:Marmalakes, Glaze, Star Parks, Astragal at Cheer Up Charlies. Expressive indie-rockers Marmalakes promise to play new songs from their pending sophomore release at this gig, but they will surely also mix in songs from their excellent 2018 release “Please Don’t Stop.” Post-punk trio Glaze, gauzy pop outfit Star Parks, who also have a new album on the way, and dream pop band Astragal round out the bill. 9 p.m. 900 Red River St.

If you need a big, bad, booty-licious shakedown: 

Friday:Vockah Redu, Chris Conde, Kady Rain at Empire Garage. Start working on your twerk game, because NOLA bounce artist Vockah Redu has released a debut album, “Coming Back Hard, Vol. 1,” that is a buoyant block party of rhythm and chants crafted to rock your body into a sweaty mess of exhilaration and self-love. San Antonio’s avant-garde rapper Chris Conde will perform songs from his recent release “Growing Up Gay,” and promising local popster Kady Rain will also be in the house. 8 p.m. doors. 606 E. Seventh St.

If you’re looking for Austin’s next big thing:

Friday:Mobley, Mélat, TC Superstar, Torino Black at Mohawk outdoor. After years stunning audiences across the country with his arena-ready indie-pop anthems, Mobley signed with Last Gang Records, home to Metric, Death From Above 1979 and Crystal Castles, in June. He celebrated with a sold-out party at Cheer Up Charlies and heads out on a Texas tour after this date. Continuing her rise, R&B standout Mélat just dropped a dreamy new collection, “After All: Episode One,” that might be her strongest work to date, and new wave outfit TC Superstar, who have been winning fans in Austin with their choreographed synth-pop dance party for the last year or so, just wrapped an extensive two-month tour. 8 p.m. 912 Red River St.

RELATED: Mobley's pop packs a powerful punch

If you want to revisit an old fave:

Saturday: And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Moving Panoramas, more at Stubb’s outdoor. Austin post-hardcore heavies Trail of Dead lead the bill for the HSN showcase presented by Modern Outsider Records and Friends. The band has been touring the world this year celebrating the 20th anniversary of their 1999 album, “Madonna,” by playing it in its entirety. They also teased a new release, their 10th studio album, coming later this year. The group arrives in Austin off a run of sold-out Brazilian dates. Shoegaze specialists Moving Panoramas, indie-pop outfit Caroline Says, Bright Light Social Hour’s Curtis Roush and If Climbing round out the bill. 7 p.m. 801 Red River St.

If you’re ready for a raucous rock ‘n’ roll send-off:

Saturday:Sailor Poon, Fleshlights, TV's Daniel at Barracuda. Sadly, “Never See Snow,” the solid platter of hooky, guitar-driven garage rock that un-Google-able punk-and-roll outfit Flesh Lights dropped early this year will likely be the band’s last release. According to a Facebook post from the group, bassist Jeremy Steen is leaving to further his education, and this will be their final gig. We expect them to go out in a Viking funeral of fiery riffs. Bawdy bar busters Sailor Poon will also be on hand with unhinged stage antics and furious noise. 8 p.m. 611 E. Seventh St.

RELATED: Sailor Poon is brash, bold and hilarious

If you're in the mood for an easy summer jam:

Saturday:Sir Woman, Mamafesta, Bourgeois Mystics at Mohawk outdoor. “I’ve always personally connected most with funk/soul/R&B and gospel, but I’ve never made any music like that before,” Wild Child frontwoman Kelsey Wilson writes on the website for her new solo project, Sir Woman. She began writing songs on tour as “an outlet for me to work through my own (expletive) going on,” but when she went into the studio, she realized she needed to “share the love,” she says, an outlet to explore funk, gospel and R&B, music she says she’s always felt most personally connected with. The first single, “Highroad,” is a sunny empowerment jam with ‘70s inflections and a whole lot of heart. Mamafesta and Bourgeois Mystics will also bring the feel-good grooves to make you move. 8 p.m. 912 Red River St.

RELATED: Free summer music in Austin



Major Major Major, Coattails play the outdoor stage at Empire Garage

Megafauna, Billy King and the Bad, Bad, Bad at Empire Control Room

Holy Wave, Wrongbird, Cosmico at Stubb’s indoor

Sour Bridges, Harvest Thieves at Mohawk indoor

Dry Season, Human Circuit at Scratchouse

Dossey, Saint Loretto, Dream Data, Feeves at Swan Dive

Single Lash, the Nimbus, Weird Wolves, more at Elysium


Palm Daze, Midcentury, Emme at Mohawk indoor

Henry + the Invisibles at Stubb’s indoor

Otis the Destroyer, Big Bill, Nevil, Black Basements, Semihelix at Barracuda

Think No Think, The Oysters + More at Empire Control Room

Indoor Creature, Mamahawk, Nané, Chillbill, Subtle Motion at Swan Dive

Obsolete Machines, Young Tongue and more at Scratchouse

Pinkish Black, Knifight, Grivo, more at Elysium


Magna Carda, Torre Blake at Mohawk indoor

Shivery Shakes at Stubb’s indoor

BLOOD, Being Dead, Tyler Jordan & the Negative Space at Barracuda

Spirit Ghost, Sasha & the Valentines at Cheer Up Charlies

The Well, Duel, Mountain of Smoke at Empire Garage

Peelander-Z, Duderonomy at Empire Control Room

Nolan Potter's Nightmare Band, The Millbrook Estates, King Country Cosmic Chaos, Trace of Lime at Swan Dive

Froot, Nonc3nts, Double Dope, more at Scratchouse


Thor & Friends, Dry Guy, Rocket 808, Dirt Pile at Barracuda

Lou Rebecca, Zayland, Joaqu.n, Compact Disco Crew at Cheer Up Charlies

Bishops, Ben Buck, Teddy the Legacy at Empire Control Room

DJ Pumpkin Spice, I Am Minimus at Elysium