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Live music in Austin: Moody Center opens with two night of John Mayer

Singer-songwriter John Mayer played San Antonio during his 2019 world tour. On his latest trip through Texas, he'll be the first artist to play the new Moody Center.

Here are our top live music options in the Austin area for April 14-20.

Thursday

Wolf Alice, Charlie Hickey at Emo’s

English alt-rockers Wolf Alice are bigger in their home country than here, having won the U.K.’s coveted Mercury Prize for their 2018 sophomore album, “Visions of a Life.” But they continue to gain ground with last year’s “Blue Weekend,” which they’ve featured on a monthlong U.S. tour that wraps up with three Texas dates this weekend. Opening is indie-pop singer-songwriter Charlie Hickey, recently in town for South by Southwest. He will release his full-length debut, “Nervous at Night,” next month on Phoebe Bridgers’ Saddest Factory label. $30-$35. 7 p.m. doors. emosaustin.com. — P.B.

Charlie Hickey was just here for South by Southwest, and on Thursday, he'll open for Wolf Alice.

Genesis Owusu at Antone’s

On his excellent 2021 album, “Smiling With No Teeth,” the Ghanaian/Australian standout emerges as a mad scientist of styles, combining silky R&B, anxiety-ridden rap and menacing electronics in a dizzying mix of paranoid outings and dangerous love songs. Owusu told the Nashville Scene that his backing ensemble for this tour is more like a theatrical troupe than a band. “They’re hype men, backup dancers, sometimes backup vocalists and to a very loose degree, actors. We’re elevating the visual side of the album. We get to express motifs and metaphors visually,” he said. Austin's Mike Melinoe opens. $18. 8 p.m. antonesnightclub.com. — D.S.S.

Friday-Saturday

Heartless Bastards at Antone’s

Erika Wennerstrom’s rock & roll band is red hot, and deservedly so: Last year’s “A Beautiful Life” has widely been recognized as the best album of this Austin-via-Ohio band’s career. Over the past few weeks, they’ve won band of the year at the Austin Music Awards, opened for Willie Nelson and played one of the big Auditorium Shores shows during SXSW. Now comes this two-night stand at one of Austin’s most historic music venues. Star Parks open Friday; Shooks open Saturday. $28-$30. 8 p.m. antonesnightclub.com. — P.B.

Heartless Bastards play the outdoor stage at Lady Bird Lake during the South by Southwest Music Festival in March. The band kicks off a two-night stand at Antone's on Friday.

Saturday

Golden Hornet’s 'MXTX A Cross Border Exchange' at Waterloo Park

Born in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, MXTX is a sweeping project that brings together artists from Texas and Mexico. Golden Hornet’s Graham Reynolds worked alongside Peligrosa co-founder Orión García, arts entrepreneur Coka Treviño (from Monterrey, Mexico) and Mexico City-based composer and conductor Felipe Pérez Santiago to curate an open-source audio sample library. They solicited contributions of song snippets from 40 artists on both sides of the border. Then, a group of DJs, producers and composers used samples from the library to spur the creation of original compositions. The project bridges “two very different ways to make music,” Reynolds said in a promotional video. “Then we extended that to working with Mexican artists and Texan artists, two communities becoming one community and making an artistic statement together.” The album “MXTX A Cross Border Exchange,” a thrilling joy-ride through ornately orchestrated soundscapes, reverberates with a reminder of the beauty in unity. The show is part of Fusebox Festival. It is free and open to the public. (Reservations encouraged.)  7 p.m. fuseboxfestival.com  — D.S.S. 

Tuesday-Wednesday

Sarah Jarosz at 04 Center

Born in Austin and raised in Wimberley, Jarosz now calls Nashville home after an extended stretch in the Northeast. Not many artists have won five Grammys by the time they’re 30 (four for her own records, one as part of the acoustic supergroup I’m With Her). She’ll play two nights at this converted church venue, with a show the next night (April 21) at Gruene Hall in New Braunfels. Taylor Ashton opens. $38-$68. 7 p.m. 04center.com. — P.B.

Wednesday

J Balvin at H-E-B Center

The Colombian heartthrob and international music chart-destroyer needs no introduction. He’s elevated the status of Spanish-language pop around the globe with a catalog of ubiquitous hits that includes collabs with the likes of Dua Lipa, Bad Bunny and Daddy Yankee. He just smashed a Grammy Awards performance with Maria Becarra and dropped a pair of Ed Sheeran collabs that work way better than they should. Also, this is the second night of the tour and an international stoner holiday, so you know this show will be smokin’. $74 and up. hebcenter.com. — D.S.S. 

John Mayer at Moody Center

Guitar star Mayer is a major talent in his own right; he’s won seven Grammys and sold tens of millions of records. But the big news for this two-night stand (there’s a second show on April 21) is that it marks the first shows at the University of Texas’ new arena, replacing the 45-year-old Erwin Center. Mayer has some tangential Austin connections; he got his first record deal after playing SXSW in 2001, and in 2015, he gave the induction speech for Stevie Ray Vaughan’s entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Expect a focus on songs from last year’s “Sob Rock,” his eighth album. Yebba opens. $69-$604. 7:30 p.m. moodycenteratx.com. — P.B.