This week in Austin music: Billy Joel at COTA, the Sword and Octopus project at Levitation
Here are our top picks among live music options in the Austin area for Oct. 21-27.
Psychedelic Furs at Emo’s. You could sense back in the 1980s that although the Furs’ sound and style was very much of its new wave era, some of the songs were so good that they’d stand the test of time. That’s definitely true for “The Ghost in You,” which got new life through inclusion in the Netflix series “Stranger Things,” and “Love My Way,” which was used in the 2017 Oscar-nominated film “Call Me By Your Name.” Last year, they released “Made of Rain,” their first album of new material in 29 years. Royston Langdon opens. $35-38. 8 p.m. emosaustin.com. — P.B.
Watkins Family Hour at 04 Center. Siblings Sara and Sean Watkins have been playing music all their lives, starting as pre-teens in the string band Nickel Creek with mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile. They started doing “Watkins Family Hour” shows at a Los Angeles club in 2002, and it took on a life of its own, eventually leading to a 2015 self-titled album. Last year they followed it up with “Brother Sister.” Courtney Hartman opens. $26-$54. 8 p.m. 04center.com. — P.B.
Return of the Lost Gonzo Band at Gruene Hall. If you heard the late Jerry Jeff Walker when he was first kicking up dust around Austin in the 1970s, most likely you heard the Lost Gonzo Band as his backing crew. Gonzo bandmates Gary P. Nunn, Bob Livingston, John Inmon and Freddie Steady have reunited for a series of shows, beginning with this one at one of Texas’ oldest dancehalls. The Gonzos also helped shape the music of Austin’s cosmic-cowboy era through their work with Michael Murphey, Steven Fromholz and others. Another of Nunn’s groups, the Sons of the Bunkhouse Band, will open. $35. 8 p.m. New Braunfels. gruenehall.thundertix.com. — P.B.
Formula One U.S. Grand Prix concerts at Circuit of the Americas. You know what pairs well with fast cars driving in a circle around a track? Rock & roll, baby. If you’re going to the races, your ticket includes entry to the post-race concert events. The track’s Super Stage will present a trio of high-profile acts starting with rock duo Twenty One Pilots on Friday, followed by pop icon and "Piano Man" Billy Joel on Saturday and funk legends Kool & the Gang on Sunday. But don’t sleep on the daytime stages scattered around the track on Saturday and Sunday. You can take a break from the races and enjoy everything from the Austin Polka Band to Mobley’s soaring pop, Brownout’s explosive psych funk and the best Selena tribute band in Texas, Bidi Bidi Banda. Check circuitoftheamericas.com for schedules and ticket information. — D.S.S.
Austin Lounge Lizards 40th anniversary at 04 Center. Launched four decades ago when guitarist-mandolinist Conrad Deisler and guitarist Hank Card moved to Austin to attend law school at the University of Texas, the Lounge Lizards quickly became a fixture on the Austin folk-music scene with their humorous, acoustic-based songs. Co-founding multi-instrumentalist Tom Pittman, who left the group in 2011, and former bassist Mike Stevens will make special appearances, as will mandolinists Todd Jagger and Paul Glasse (and possibly fiddler Darcie Deaville). The current lineup also includes Tim Wilson on fiddle and mandolin plus Kirk Williams on bass. $20-$40 (livestream $10). 8 p.m. 2701 S. Lamar Blvd. 04center.com. — P.B.
Julien Baker at Stubb’s. Tennessee indie-rocker Baker blew us away in 2017 at Emo's with searing songs about addiction, God and sexuality. She had to bow out of a Paramount Theatre date with collaborator Lucy Dacus a couple years ago. Since then, she's put out the excellent album "Little Oblivions," and you're gonna want to catch her this time. Dehd opens. $22-$122. 7 p.m. doors. stubbsaustin.com. — E.W.
Levitation. This year’s edition of the homegrown indie festival once known as Austin Psych Fest features a diverse set of boundary-pushing artists. The festival is structured as a series of individually ticketed club shows in the Red River Cultural District and East Austin. The event kicks off on Wednesday with a hard-rocking throwdown at Empire Garage headlined by the Sword. On Oct. 28, psychedelic soul outfit Chicano Batman plays Stubb’s, Boy Harsher and No Joy are at Empire, Fuzz is at the Mohawk, Octopus Project is at Scholz Garten and Post Animal is at Hotel Vegas. The party continues through Halloween with performances from host band the Black Angels, funk innovator Thundercat, expressive indie-rocker Japanese Breakfast and Tuareg outfit Tinariwen, who brought the desert blues of Mali to the Western world. Check levitation.fm for ticket information and set times. — D.S.S.