Live music in Austin: Machine Gun Kelly, Mavericks, Kishi Bashi, Herb Alpert and more
Here are our top live music options in the Austin area for June 2-8.
Thursday: Ray Prim, Natalie Price at Long Center Lawn
The second weekly installment of the Long Center’s seasonal “Drop-In” series highlighting local artists features self-described “singer-soulwriter” Prim, whose prolific output over the past decade has included almost 20 releases (counting full albums, EPs, live records and archival content from his former band 7 Stones). Indie/Americana artist Price, recently announced as a Black Fret grant finalist for 2022, opens the 8 p.m. show. Free with RSVP at longcenter.org.
Friday-Saturday: The Mavericks En Español at ACL Live
The Mavericks arose from Florida in the 1990s as a country band, but they were always destined to be more than that. Spectacular singer Raul Malo and his bandmates wove in elements of Latin, jazz and other styles along the way, winning a Grammy for 2017’s “Brand New Day.” But 2020’s “En Español” was a breakthrough, the group’s first all-Spanish album. They’ll focus on that material at this concert, which brings them back to the room where they taped the “Austin City Limits” TV show without an audience during the pandemic. Maggie Rose opens. $32-$50. 8 p.m. acl-live.com.
Saturday: The Suffers at Mohawk
When we caught up with the Houston band’s vocal powerhouse, Kam Franklin, during SXSW, she said she used the pandemic break as a boot camp to build her already-formidable skills. As the band charges into their second decade, she believes “this is the tightest we've ever been,” she said, “and the most connected that we've ever been. We are ready to show a healthier, more energetic, more free version of the band.” This party celebrates the release of the band’s third studio album, “It Starts With Love,” which comes out on June 3. mohawkaustin.com. — D.S.S.
Saturday-Sunday: Willis Alan Ramsey at Saxon Pub
“What was wrong with the first one?” That’s long been Ramsey’s stock answer for those asking why he’s never released another album beyond his 1972 self-titled debut. What once was a mild curiosity has now become an epic tale of absentia: This year marks a half-century since that landmark album changed the face of Texas songwriting. Almost all of its 11 songs were recorded by other artists over the decades, from Jimmy Buffett to Shawn Colvin to Jimmie Dale Gilmore to the Captain & Tennille. Ramsey, who grew up in Dallas, lived in Austin when the album came out; he still visits every now and then, playing those old favorites plus some he’s written more recently but hasn’t released. There’s two chances to catch him at the Saxon this weekend, at 8 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday. $20-$35. thesaxonpub.com.
Sunday: Jim Messina at Haute Spot
A key figure in the golden era of SoCal folk-rock circa 1970s, Messina did time in the influential bands Buffalo Springfield and Poco before co-founding the duo Loggins & Messina. His partner, Kenny Loggins, became a bigger star in a subsequent solo career, but Messina also continued to make music over the decades. He’s released several solo albums, most recently 2017’s “In the Groove,” while working as a songwriter, engineer and producer in the Nashville area. $25-$40. hautespotvenue.com.
Monday: Kishi Bashi at Mohawk
The singer-songwriter and violinist, aka Kaoru Ishibashi, was in Austin during SXSW for the world premiere of his new documentary “Omoiyari,” a meditation on World War II-era internment camps that unfolds as a powerful exploration of his Japanese American heritage. Ishibashi just released a 10-year anniversary edition of “151a,” the debut full-length that launched his solo career. He celebrates by playing a track-by-track setlist of the whole album. Tall Tall Trees open. $25. 6:30 p.m. mohawkaustin.com.
Monday: 'Monday Night Supper Club' at El Mercado Backstage
After a decade of “Mystery Monday” shows at this classic Tex-Mex joint, Christine Albert presciently ended the series in early March of 2020, right before the pandemic shut everything down for a long stretch. Around a year ago, local singer-songwriters Ben Jones, Barbara Nesbitt and Pat Byrne hatched plans for a new series at the venue, but COVID-19 spikes and other issues delayed its launch. Now it’s finally here, and the first guest of “Monday Night Supper Club” will fittingly be Albert herself, symbolically passing the torch. $10. 7 p.m. elmercadorestaurant.com.
Wednesday: Herb Alpert & Lani Hall at Paramount Theatre
Still touring at age 87, Alpert has led a legendary life, from his 1960s instrumental hits leading the Tijuana Brass band to co-founding the influential label A&M Records with Jerry Moss. He’s won eight Grammys (plus a lifetime achievement award) and a Tony; was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006; and received the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama in 2013. He’s worked often over the decades with his wife, singer Lani Hall; she’ll join him for this concert. Tickets to the originally scheduled Jan. 27 date will be honored. $35-$55. 8 p.m. austintheatre.org.
Wednesday: Machine Gun Kelly at Moody Center
"What is an MGK again?" I asked. "A force of nature or a natural disaster," Eric Webb, Team 360's fearless leader and foremost expert on the rapping bad boy turned Hot Topic rocker, replied. In a must-read Austin360 review from Austin City Limits Music Festival 2021, Webb smacked back the detractors who question MGK's authenticity, branding Colson Baker's stage mayhem as "pop-punk pop art."
"Long, lanky, lethargically lively — I'm so sorry to tell the haters, but the man is a rock star," Webb wrote. $25-$296. moodycenteratx.com.