Friday, May 3rd
The Cactus Cafe, 8 pm
Come help the Cactus Cafe celebrate 40 years of great drinks and music this Friday by checking out Brett Dennen. Politically tinged, poetically touched, and endlessly engaging, Dennen is a fantastically original songwriter. I got to catch a set he did a few years back at ACL Fest. Even though the sun was hot and mean, the air was dusty, and the place was crowded, Dennen was getting everybody to party with his chill tunes and responsible party-boy persona. Granted, this Cactus show will be a bit different of an experience. It’ll be downtown with the sun setting and the rain potentially pouring. But don’t let that stop you from going out. If I know anything about Dennen and his songs, they can turn a crummy day slump around easily. It’s almost like they’re designed to do so.
Saturday, May 4th
Barracuda, 9 pm
Straight from Melbourne, Australia, Camp Cope is here now in Austin to rock your brain and touch your sad, sad emo heart. A vicious three-piece from across the world, Camp Cope lures you in with subtle song starts and ends up with a crescendo into noise, emotion, and oblivion. Georgia McDonald rips notes out with a thick accent and a reckless abandon. Of course the group is perfectly suited for a venue like Barracuda, and they should fill the place with a raucous and ready sound. But don’t be mistaken. There’s a good chance this small group with a big sound could really blow up. They hit NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series last year and have made waves at every other place they land. Check them out while they’re here in town. The next time they come to Texas it could be for some crazy fest or overly-priced venue that doubles as a race track or something. Who knows? Better be safe and see ’em now.
Sunday, May 5th
Long Center for the Performing Arts, 2:30 pm
It’s not your typical Sunday recommendation. Usually I stick to writing about Texas singer-songwriters performing midday at some craft brewery. That’s all well and good, but the weather has me paranoid for the weekend (I’m bad at looking at forecasts, but it’s raining now!) so why not make sure you’re inside by heading to the Long Center to check out, oh, I dunno, one of the most famous opera’s of all time, La Boheme. Puccini’s masterpiece may be well over a hundred years old, but it still fits well in today’s modern world. The classic tale of a green bohemians struggling to live and deal with love is pretty timeless. And what better town to tell it in than Austin, arguably one of the bohemian capitals of the world. Check out this opera classic and then go back and watch Rent with your friends and look smart by pointing out all of the references to this 19th century legend. But, like many famous operas, it may be smart to bring along a box of tissues for the ride.