Ann Wilson of Heart
Thursday, June 1
There’s a video of Ann Wilson from Heart covering Led Zeppelin's “Stairway to Heaven” during the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors that’s emotional and nothing short amazing. Not that Ann Wilson or Heart could be easily forgotten, but the performance was a powerful reminder that Wilson has definitely still got “it” (and when you’re able to make Robert Plant cry with a cover of his own song, you’ve got to be doing something right). Though Heart is on hiatus as of last month (due to Wilson’s husband allegedly assaulting her sister and Heart member Nancy’s 16 year old twins), Wilson is touring solo-ish throughout most of the year...or maybe just until she patches things up with her sister. Joining Wilson on the road will be Heart guitarist Craig Bartock, bassist Andy Stoller (a member of the Ann Wilson Thing) and former Heart drummer Denny Fongheiser. Despite the drama, Wilson is revered as one of the best female rock vocalists, and if her 2012 performance is anything close to how she’ll be when she comes to The Aztec, you’d be silly not to check out this one out. 7pm, $61.50-$81.50, Aztec Theatre, 104 N. St. Mary’s St. —Chris Conde
Friday, June 2
James McMurtry, son of beloved writer Larry McMurtry—best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning, miniseries-inspiring novel Lonesome Dove—is an Americana singer-songwriter with a real chip on his shoulder. His songs, beginning with those on his stellar 1989 debut Too Long in the Wasteland, are exquisite, writerly, and sprawling meditations on American moral (and physical) decay. McMurtry, a Texas boy by birth and by inclination, has released nine studio albums to date, but it’s his latest effort, 2015’s Complicated Game, that solidified his reputation as one of the most penetrating and vital songwriters of his (or any) genre. Filled with wit, emotion, empathetic anguish, and the type of startlingly immediate characterization that you might expect from a celebrated novelist’s son, Complicated Game is at once a nuanced lament and a fiery call to arms. Dig the album and don’t miss your chance to catch the songs live, no doubt accompanied by gems from throughout the man’s career, at the old dancehall in Gruene. $12.00, 7:00pm, Gruene Hall, 1281 Gruene, New Braunfels, (830) 606-1281, gruenehall.com. — James Courtney
The Soul Spot Summer Dance Party
Friday, June 2
This past February marked a seven years since DJs Scuba Steve and JJ Lopez began their vinyl throw-down, The Soul Spot, which now takes place every other Friday at Tucker's Kozy Korner. Scuba Steve has since moved, on but Leonard Trujillo, Matt Vasquez, and Ben Luhrman now join Lopez to provide San Antonio and the iconic east side bar with yesterday's, today's and tomorrow's soul legends, from Marvin Gaye and Jamiroquai to The O'Jays, Gwen McCrae, Luther Vandross and everything in between. “In the 22 years of being in the game, there are certainly more of us,” Lopez told the Current. If it feels like there’s a lot more soul, funk and R&B floating in the air these days, The Soul Spot probably had a lot to do with that. In the words of Lopez, who first got his start at The Cameo theatre in the late ‘90s, “it seems like a good time for soul music.” 9pm, Free, Tucker’s Kozy Korner, 1338 E. Houston St. —CC
Saturday, June 3
Houston isn’t exactly new to the amazing-female-singers game (see Beyonce), so it’s not entirely shocking to that The Suffers, and their remarkable lead woman Kam Franklin, hail from the Bayou City. Formed in 2011, the band started out as a kind of reggae jam band, but after adding a few more members, the group slowly settled into a neo- and modern-soul sound that has garnered them nationwide attention, including spots with David Letterman, the Daily Show, NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series and official showcases at SXSW. And I mean, who can’t relate to these lyrics: “I said I just got paid, and none of my bills are due today, I think it’s gonna be a real good day.” With the rise in modern soul and funk trickling back into the mainstream, it’s not a surprise bands like The Suffers are finally getting the attention they deserve. 8pm, $42.60, Carver Community Cultural Center, 226 N. Hackberry. —CC
Saturday, June 3
An appearance on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert at the tail end of 2014 tossed Making Movies into heavy Spotify indie rotation, and they’ve been riding the wave ever since. Founding band members, Panama-born brothers Enrique and Diego, grew up in Kansas City, Mo. and sought to create a sound that reflected their own varied influences and diversity. The group’s Afro-Latino rhythms meld with bilingual rock (occasionally psychedelic) vocals to create a sound that’s beautifully miscellaneous. (If you haven’t heard them yet, check out “Pendulum Swing.”) Their latest single, “Spinning Out,” dropped on Cinco de Mayo this year and is well worth a listen. Making Movies last shared a stage in San Antonio at 502 Bar to celebrate the release of Migrant Kids’ latest album last year (there is a video somewhere in the land of social media that captures both groups majestically covering of Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U”). During Making Movies’ set, the group memorably transitioned from stage to floor to play a few acoustic tunes in the middle of the crowd. Safe to say Making Movies puts on shows you’ll remember. $10, 8pm, 2410 N St Mary’s St, papertigersat.com. — mkr
Saturday, June 3
On Saturday, singer and multi-instrumentalist Kim Mackenzie, a true unsung gem of the local Americana/roots music scene, who has spent years as a sought after sideman, will release her debut solo album Grace. A talented mandolin and fiddle player, Mackenzie’s debut song set is comprised of four songs by close friends of hers, and seven cover “that you might not recognize.” Produced by the Grammy-winning Joe Reyes (Buttercup, Mitch Webb and the Swindles, and more), Grace is a promising introduction to what Mackenzie is capable of when helming her own project: dynamic Americana with a well-conveyed range of moods and impeccable instrumentation. Reyes and multi-instrumentalist Ray Symczyk will provide backing for Mackenzie at this album release soiree, which also doubles as an art show for Dub Weathersby, the artist who designed Grace’s album art. The event is an all-ages potluck and BYOB affair. Free, 7:30pm, Fishead Design Studion & Microgallery, 1028 N Flores St, (210) 326-3474, fisheadproductions.com. — JC
Monday, June 5
As we all come to learn sooner or later, emotions like anger and alienation can alternately act as wellsprings of despair or vital energy sources, fueling no-bullshit efforts at important change. San Antonio hardcore/punk band Amygdala is a prime example of what it looks/sounds like when the latter happens, when anger and disillusionment become potent fuel for a righteous fire. Surely, the group’s abrasive sound might not be everyone’s sonic cup of tea, but it is perfect vehicle for the band’s anti-colonial, anti-authoritarian, anti-hate, and pro-tolerance message. The group’s powerful, message-based music and the place(s) from which it comes represents a larger renaissance in sound and progressive ideas in the hardcore punk milieu. It’s a remarkable blend of music and thought that forces you to stay awake. As the group screams in their Zapatista-inspired song “Semillas”: “They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds.” With Gouge Away, Havenbrook, Bad Example, Sexy Ray Vision, Medusssa, 7pm, $10, The Land In Between DIY, 527 El Paso St. — James Courtney
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