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Live music in Austin: From free SXSW shows to concerts by Gunna, Jason Isbell, more

For those who don’t have a South by Southwest badge or wristband, here are our top picks among live music options in the Austin area for March 17-23. 

Thursday-Saturday

SXSW public concerts at Auditorium Shores and Waterloo Park. You don’t need no stinkin’ badges for this pair of SXSW-presented three-night runs. The Auditorium Shores series of free concerts, a longstanding SXSW tradition, go from 5 to 10 p.m., beginning Thursday with an all-Austin bill of Golden Dawn Arkestra, Heartless Bastards, Trail of Dead, Kalu & the Electric Joint and Croy & the Boys. Friday’s rock lineup includes Sammy Hagar & the Circle, the Warning, the Dumes and Jane & the Jungle. Saturday’s bill features Houndmouth, Mt. Joy and Susannah Joffe. The ticketed Waterloo Park shows begin at 7 p.m. and are $95 each for Young Thug and Gunna on Thursday, Kygo with Frank Walker and Forester on Friday, and Shawn Mendez with Sebastián Yatra on Saturday. waterloogreenway.org and sxsw.com. — P.B.

More:Do SXSW 2022 like a local: A guide to free parties in Austin, no badge needed

Rapper Gunna plays a ticketed show at Waterloo Park on Thursday.

Thursday-Saturday

South by San Jose at Jo's Coffee parking lot. Look, you can stumble into any parking lot around town and hear music this week. Heck, we've got a whole guide to free parties and events at austin360.com. But the 21st edition of this favorite local event continues an ongoing tradition of presenting some of the hottest acts at the fest in a laid-back, free setting. Thursday's lineup includes BLACKSTARKIDS and Ezra Furman. Friday will feature Houndmouth, Seratones and Calder Allen, with Black Lips, Heartless Bastards, A Giant Dog and Los Bitchos among the artists who play Saturday. Shows kick off at noon daily. sanjosehotel.com. — D.S.S.

Thursday-Sunday

Lucy's Fried Chicken Revival at Lucy's South Congress. Celebrating its 10th anniversary of free SXSW day parties, this event we once dubbed "Lucy's in the Southby with Chicken" has a stellar lineup this year. After a Wednesday start with Darden Smith, Western Youth, Nuevo and others, the Revival rolls on Thursday with Shinyribs, Ramsay Midwood, Tomar & the FCs and more. Friday's highlights include Dream Syndicate, the John Doe Folk Trio and Henri Herbert, while Saturday rocks big-time with Chuck Prophet, Continental Drifters, Blue Mountain and more. Sunday winds down with the Waco Brothers, Guthrie Girls, Hilary York and more. Noon to 7 p.m. daily. lucysfriedchicken.com. — P.B.

Jason Isbell plays a ticketed show at Willie Nelson's ranch in Spicewood on Friday.

Friday-Sunday

Jason Isbell/Shakey Graves/Willie Nelson at Luck TX. Nelson’s ranch in Spicewood just west of Austin has ramped up its concert offerings this spring in what looks to be a move to make the property with the Old West movie set a semi-regular outdoor music venue. Friday features Americana star Isbell, whose latest release, “Georgia Blue,” is a collection of covers by Georgia bands that he promised he’d make if the state voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, which it did. ($65, 7 p.m., Danielle Ponder opens.) Saturday brings Austin indie great Graves, who hasn’t put out a new record since 2018 but got a lot of attention last year for the 10th-anniversary reissue of his debut album “Roll the Bones.” ($45, 7 p.m., Jimmie Dale Gilmore and S.G. Goodman open.) Sunday, Luck’s benevolent landlord takes the stage himself, kicking off a “residency” of sorts that will also include shows on March 26 and April 2. Opening this first show are Heartless Bastards, Lily Meola and Tami Neilson. ($59.50, 6:30 p.m.) luckpresents.com. — P.B.

More:These are the artists you need to know at SXSW Music Festival 2022 in Austin

Mt Joy in on the bill for the Saturday free showcase at Auditorium Shores.

Sunday

Buddy Guy at ACL Live. Originally booked for May 2020, this concert with the living-legend Chicago bluesman finally arrives after an extended pandemic delay. Guy never fails to entertain, often taking strolls through the crowd with his cordless guitar to play up-close for a few lucky fans. At 85, he’s won just about every award you can think of, including eight Grammys and a National Medal of the Arts. He’s kept making records, too, with eight since the turn of the century including 2008’s “The Blues Is Alive and Well.” Indeed it is, when Buddy comes to town. $49.50-$79.50. 8 p.m. Colin James opens. acl-live.com. — P.B.

Judas Priest, Queensryche at HEB Center. Like local Western swing faves Asleep at the Wheel, Judas Priest – yes, their proto-heavy-metal music is very different – got rolling around 1970 and was looking forward to a 50th-anniversary tour when the pandemic arrived. Finally they’re back out on the road, and with even more reason to celebrate, as the band is among this year’s nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. No slouch of an opening act is Queensryche, who in the late 1980s were the biggest thing to come out of Seattle since Heart, just before the grunge wave crested. $49.50-$89.50. 7:30 p.m. hebcenter.com. — P.B.

Alejandro Escovedo and friends at Continental Club. A sort of unofficial closing party not affiliated with SXSW, this traditional show went on hiatus when Escovedo moved to Dallas in 2016. But now he’s back in the Austin area, and he’s resuming this marathon show, a benefit for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. The lineup includes Kevn Kinney, Elias Haslanger, Deezie Brown, Mariachi Las Coronelas with Patricia Vonne and more. $20. 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. continentalclub.com. — P.B.

More:On the ranch again? Willie Nelson adds three shows at his Luck TX property near Austin

Tuesday

Joywave at Scoot Inn. The Rochester, N.Y., outfit broke big in 2013 with “Dangerous” a collaboration with electronica act Big Wave. Since then, they’ve released four albums, including last month’s “Cleanse,” documenting a dance-friendly indie-pop sound that they’ve often augmented with visually inventive videos. Almost Monday opens. 6 p.m. doors. $25-$30. scootinnaustin.com. — P.B.