Back for its fifth year, the San Antonio Music Showcase returns to the St. Mary's Strip (as well as a handful of venues not that far from our live music district) for a night of some of the best local talent the city has to offer. It's hard not to be more than a little stoked to have one locals-only blowout night, and with 75+ bands slated to slay 19 venues, we're not fucking around here. From experimental harsh noise and psych rock, to country, blues, hardcore and hip-hop, the ever-blossoming landscape of our music scene continues to impress the hell out of us and we're excited to show y'all some of the dopest artists who have been in the game for a minute or have been recently making a buzz here in the Alamo City. All you'll need to set off on an epic exploration of the local music scene is $5 at the door or a $10 wristband (available at all participating locations), which grants you access to all 19 venues (some of which allow minors). $5-$10, 7pm, various locations, Saturday, September 30. For more information and to purchase wristbands, visit sanantoniomusicshowcase.com.
Singer-Songwriters at Cullum's Attagirl
There's something about a singer-songwriter spiel that — when done correctly — can strike a resonating chord in the human soul. Cullum's Attagirl will welcome a host of artists slated to showcase their songwriting chops, including Ila Minori, who, with her baby-soft voice and dreamy beach-grunge backings, tackles the melancholy themes of life and love. She sings of loss and loneliness, punctuating her powerful lyricism with riffs so clean you'd never realize you're on the verge of an emotional revelation. If you're a lost soul hopelessly wandering through the limbo states of life, maybe listening to Minori's "Sara" will help you find your way again. Also on the bill is Jared Putnam, Los de Esta Noche, and This is Where Two Oceans Meet, a one-man band that uses a floor-tom and guitar-loops to conjure echoing post-rock that mimics the lilting motions of an unyielding sea. Cullum's Attagirl, 726 E. Mistletoe Ave., (210) 437-4263.
Latin, Tejano, Conjunto at The Squeezebox
The Squeezebox is aptly named for its ability to churn out some of the best tunes in San Anto. With either a cocktail or a cerveza in hand (or both, who's stopping you?), you too can get down to the lineup slated to perform during this year's San Antonio Music Showcase. According to lead singer/guitarist Pablo Mancias, The Indigenauts are a "group of empowered musicians who celebrate [their] indigenous heritage, learn from the experiences/knowledge of [their] ancestors, and navigate this modern world with a true sense of self." Their new-age Latino rock fusions give off such chill vibes, it'll be a long time before you can stop thinking about those heartfelt string solos and reggae beats. And if you want to dance, Boca Negra's Latin/fusion combos will provide some fast-paced rhythms you can really shake to. With Friends of Sound, Chulita Vinyl Club. The Squeezebox, 2806 N. St. Mary's St., facebook.com/thesqueezebox.
Folk/Folk Rock at Jandro's Patio Garden
Nestled in the bosom of the Strip's musical corridor and catty-corner to Limelight lies Jandro's Garden Patio, an unsuspecting bar/venue that'll be home for this year's folk/folk rock showcase. Among the acoustic folk duo Midwest Armadillo and the singer-songwriter lulls of Laura Maria, is The Josh Glenn Experiment, who has a cover of Nina Simone's "Feeling Good" that might be the best cover of any song ever covered by anyone ... ever. Seriously though. It's soulful, curious and perfectly translates the spirit in which the song was written — an uneasy feat for your average singer-songwriter, which Josh Glenn most certainly isn't. Acoustic guitar strums, percussive guitar taps, and clever riffing braid into themselves as Glenn's show usually involves him building his songs live using loop pedals, making for an engrossing experience. Jandros Patio Garden, 2623 N. St. Mary's St., facebook.com/jandrostx.
- Josh Glenn Experiment, Photo by Ismael Rodriguez
Beatmaker at Paper Tiger (Courtyard)
Featuring skilled producers like Jknodic, Diego Bernal, and Ernest Gonzales, Paper Tiger's courtyard is bound to bump some silky beats for this year's beatmaker showcase. Jknodic's production is oozing with the subdued, downtempo subtleties of early '90s East Coast creatives. Throw in an MF Doom verse or two, and these loops would cleanly settle in with the classics. However, if you're in the mood for something with a little more electronic grit, the beats produced by Diego Bernal and Ernest Gonzales might be up to speed. While both artists may cultivate synth undertones in their work, don't get their sounds twisted. Bernal's tracks carry a funky R&B vibe, while Gonzales smooths out his beats with chill melodies and sultry techno energies. Paper Tiger (courtyard), 2410 N. St. Mary's St., papertigersatx.com.
Metal at Limelight
Hosted by Limelight — which has had a steady regimen of metal bands passing through its doors since its revamping in 2015 — will be this year's metal showcase with some of the heaviest acts ensuring San Antonio stays "Metal City USA." Included on this bill are Cursus, a two-piece doom-metal outfit that writes slow and brooding metal that invokes imagery of viking ships riding over the waves through a magnificent storm. Also on the bill is Aurorean, a deathcore outfit that really stands out with surprise transitions, swing-heavy grooves and a vocalist who can nail a high-pitched banshee scream better than most. The showcase is rounded out with post-metal four-piece Percocet and Nahaya, a melodic metail outfit that elegantly fuses European death metal with American thrash for an extreme blend that's sophisticated and heavy yet still palatable to metal listeners that haven't yet ventured off the path that Hot Topic paved for them. Limelight, 2718 N. St. Mary's St., limelightsatx.com.
Industrial/Dark Electronic/Noise at Web House
Held at the notorious Web House, which has remained at its current location at Blanco and Ashby for the last few years, after stints on both ends of the St. Mary's Strip, the industrial/dark electronic/noise showcase is perfectly at home at this beloved dive. Carried forward by Dane Rousay's intricate drum chops (practically a movement all their own), Freebiez manage to blend experimental indie, garage rock with noise and sometimes collapsing time signatures all while retaining a hint of poppiness. It's fucking weird, but not so esoteric as to sound daunting to a non-experimental music listener. Also on the lineup is harsh noise/power electronics artist Wolf Party, whose ability to control and manipulate sound using an array of guitar pedals and miscellaneous electronic gear is a testament to the deliberate intention of the sounds he produces. With the KMFDM-sounding vibes of Nine Two Five and Mutant, who explores the post-apocalyptic fabric of vintage sci-fi and cyber-punk through the sampling of VHS tapes and analog keyboard sounds, Web House is slated to house a web of the oddest sounds in SA. Web House, 320 Blanco Road, facebook.com/web.house.satx.
Band Merch Market at Hi-Tones
In something of a double feature, the second edition of Band Merch Night — a regularly occurring, one-stop pop-up market that features goods from a varying host of SA acts — will go down this Saturday as a part of the behemoth SA Music Showcase. Thus, attendees will have the opportunity to support a host of local bands (including Femina-X, Dirty Genez, Levees, Tera Ferna, and more) by buying their merchandise, as well as catching the rowdy pop-punk stylings of Lloronas, the soulful indie pop of Booty Feet and Elnuh, a surfy, dream-garage outfit fronted by Elena Lopez, whose tracks sometimes have melancholy vibes despite the poppy vocal melodies that punctuate her songs. Hi-Tones, 621 E. Dewey Pl., hitonessa.com.
Hardcore at Paper Tiger (Main Room)
Much like how hip-hop shows are a regular occurrence at Paper Tiger, the hardcore community has made a home in the venue since its days as The White Rabbit, so it only makes sense for the main room to host this year's hardcore showcase. As metalcore's popularity began to peak in the early 2000s, With All Sincerity were becoming an indestructible force in San Antonio. And for good reason. With back-of-the-throat screams that soared over dissonant guitar breaks in the vein of bands like Norma Jean and From Autumn to Ashes, the band is a true collage of chaotic hardcore punk and death metal known for packing the back room at The White Rabbit full of kids thrashing in moshpits. Also on the bill is straightforward hardcore act Deadweight, posi-hardcore group FTP and Executioner, which combines thrash metal with old-school hardcore vocals for a sound similar to bands like Walls of Jericho and Figure Four. For an opportunity to relive an era when The White Rabbit covered all things metal and hardcore, don't miss a chance to do it on the holiest of grounds for the genre. Paper Tiger, 2410 N. St. Mary's St., papertigersatx.com.
- Kree23, Photo by @vanessacupcake23
Hip-Hop at Paper Tiger (Small Room)
Paper Tiger's small room will be the bungalow for a variety of rappers, producers and MCs. Among these are rapper/producer Dillon O'Con who performs under his initials D.R.O. His latest single "Light Privilege" (stylized "light privilege") sounds like the psychedelic trap beats A$AP Rocky is known for rapping over, matched with the inward-dialogue-lyricism of alternative rappers like Aesop Rock. Also on the bill is Kree Villegas (better known as Kree23), who has become a pretty well-known name within the slam poetry and rap community in South Texas. Donning long dreadlocks and rapping with the ferocity of a seasoned lyricist, Villegas' style and delivery is reminiscent of the early '90s work from Sage Francis and Atmosphere's Slug. Bouncy and abstract, but still landing in the pocket, Villegas' flow is certainly influenced by her early '90s predecessors — but at only 23 years old, she's able to manifest something young and fresh within the craft. Rounded out by the sultry crooning of R&B singer AMEA, the trap aesthetics of Grimy Kidz and Tactics and bass/house/trap DJ and producer Color Blogg, this showcase is the perfect glimpse into the world of SA's burgeoning hip-hop community. Paper Tiger, 2410 N. St. Mary's St., papertigersatx.com.
Punk at Rumble
Armed with frozen daiquiri machines and classic cocktails that won't destroy your wallet, Rumble, which opened in early 2016, arrived on the St. Mary's Strip with automatic chill points. For this year's San Antonio Music Showcase, the bar will be home to all things punk rock and feature bands like Pinko, Blank Side, American Swine and Social Trauma. A mashup of raw intensity and ferocious shredding, Pinko's sound is smart, groovy and sure-as-shit not metalcore, despite the traces of hardcore punk that punctuate the music. Consisting of members from The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, Sohns and Ghost Police, it's not a surprise that their music is intense and chaotic. American Swine is reminiscent of the quirkiness of early System Of A Down (if you can't appreciate those first two System Of A Down records GTFO, ya tragic hipsters). Combine that with traditional hardcore and you've got a recipe for punk rock that's unlike any band playing shows in SA. With the destructive powerviolence of Blank Side along with Social Trauma, which combines everything from hardcore to grind, this particular showcase is shaping up to be pretty rowdy, bruh. Rumble, 2410 N. St. Mary's St., facebook.com/rumblesatx.
Garage/Psych at Ventura
While having out-of-body moments through psychedelic drugs may be a fun way to pass the time, you don't need to be on mushrooms to appreciate True Indigo's whimsical overtones and fuzzy guitars. Their slow-burn music, punctuated by faraway vocals and gradual build-ups, is the perfect soundtrack to have a mental revelation to, if you're into that sort of thing. Included in the garage/psych lineup at Ventura is local proto-freakbeat act Sunjammer. The band's here-and-there references to Indian music are a callback to classic acid-rock elements, where incorporating sounds from Eastern cultures is pretty much the standard for all authentic psych-muck outfits. With the interstellar soundscapes of Nuclear Juarez and the Beach Boys-influenced vocals that comb through Micro Missle Attack's music, if you're a fan of all things psychedelic, you're not gonna wanna miss this one. Ventura, 1011 Avenue B, venturasatx.com.
Soul, R&B and Funk at La Roca
Interested in some of San Antonio's more traditional baby-making music? Then head to La Roca Cantina. Alyson Alonzo, who, dare I say, is at her best when working with other artists' material (see any of her work alongside the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio or recall her past covers of Ginuwine's "Pony," Nina Simone's "Be My Husband" or the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams") is one act to catch – if only to be able to weigh in on the hype swirling around the 30-year-old chanteuse. Also in the mix is San Anto producer Mr. Pidge who fuses elements of East Coast backpack rap with Slick Rick's knack for storytelling and components of black empowerment and back-watching à la Brand Nubian. Locals The Foreign Arm aren't afraid to step outside of the typical tropes of R&B, rounding out their sound with folk instrumentation and layers of smooth harmonies. Voracious, a local quintet whose "Black and Gold" is a swinging jazz-pop number, offer an eclecticism that they share with their SAMS counterparts, perfect for a down-to-earth but stylish spot like La Roca. La Roca, 416 8th St., facebook.com/larocacantina.
Prog Rock/Alt Rock/Grunge at Amp Room
Located in the former Bootleggers, Amp Room serves up relatively eclectic musical offerings ranging from darkwave and goth nights to neo soul and hard rock, but the space will be the home for the alt/prog/grunge lineup for this year's San Antonio Music Showcase. Combining funky-ass bass grooves with post-hardcore in the vein of Circa Survive, Donella Drive might not be riding the bleeding edge of new music, but their high-energy, care-free vibes, and stellar musicianship have been a model that's made them a favorite here in the SA music scene. Rounding out the bill is Remanon, arguably one of the best, if the not the best, prog-rock bands in the Alamo City, along with classic rockers Eden Burning and Fulcrum Lake whose sound lands somewhere in the active-rock arena and would sit appropriately next to bands like A Perfect Circle and Chevelle on a summer blockbuster soundtrack. Amp Room, 2407 N. St. Mary's St., (210) 320-2122, theamproom.com.
- Pink Leche, Photo by Jaime Monzon
Dance/Electronica at La Botánica
Perhaps the queerest bar on St. Mary's, and host to Saturday's dance/electronica showcase, La Botánica has done its best to provide a curandera-themed vegan restaurant and drinkery for all San Antonians, and its history of empowering, eclectic shows, dedication to being a safe space for the marginalized, and outspoken support of progressive politics has cemented its place as one of the most inclusive, fun and exciting nightspots in the city. Included on the bill are former SA residents Calico Club, whose depression-disco borrows a page from the noir-pop of acts like Chromatics, Desire, Kavinsky and Glass Candy. Also on the bill is Dolphin Dilemma, the funky one-man dance band that consists of Verisimilitude's Zachariah Applebaum, whose knack for catchy instrumental riffs is on grand display. Along with Marcus Rubio's latest experimentation and tape loops endeavor, More Eaze, and Pink Leche's brand of booty-bass that's so carefree and rhythmically infectious it could be considered the San Anto equivalent of Big Freedia, La Botánica will feel like home to folks loving all things dancey and digital. La Botánica, 2911 N. St. Mary's St., (210) 716-0702, facebook.com/labotanicasa.
Indie Rock at The Mix
The bands on this bill make music that is not easy to classify into one particular genre. Of course, there's something of a rock grounding to all of them, but from that basic foundation, each of these acts digresses into distinct territory. That this showcase will occur at The Mix, long a mainstay for local shows of all manner, seems fitting. Deer Vibes, probably the most recognizable band on the list for followers of local music, is the primary musical vehicle of gifted singer-songwriter/bandleader Michael Carrillo (you might know him as Mikey Vibe). Deer Vibes' sound, like its personnel and formations, takes different shapes from show to show. Carrillo is blessed/cursed with the monumental task of corralling sometimes as many as 13 band members. That being said, Deer Vibes' performances, at least in part due to frontman Carrillo's talent and easy poise, are always memorable. Joining Deer Vibes on this bill are Macho Peach, offering up glossy yet gritty pop-rock, Extent, playing its experimental and ambient take on progressive rock, and Granite Hands, bringing an instrumental sound that melds jazz and math rock to knotty and satisfying effect. The Mix, 2423 N. St. Mary's St., (210) 735-1313, themix-sa.com.
Blues at Bexar Pub
Lonely Horse, which our readers will know as the powerhouse duo of Nick Long and Travis Hildebrand (with occasional assists from others), plays a grungy, spindly brand of blues-infused rock that seems to possess the holy gravity, in sound and sometimes in lyrical content, of a peyote vision quest. Often too, Long's lyrics fit the blues template to a tee: no-good woman done me wrong, I suffer and my suffering is also my heroism. Also on the Bexar Pub-hosted blues bill are Gentlemen Swank and Jason Kane & the Jive which, respectively, play post-blues highly indebted to the delta, and raucous blues-rock with soulful touches. Rounding out the showcase is Harvey McLaughlin, who usually rocks out with his band the Bottomfeeders, playing heavy and frantic garage-punk with a hot rock attitude. With McLaughlin's side project, Harvey McLaughlin and the Caligulettes, he's offering up a sound that's based loosely on some warped piano-cabaret/R&B vision. He told the Current that the newish band's music is "meant to sound like a demonic Ray Charles." Bexar Pub, 114 Brooklyn Ave., (210) 236-7828, facebook.com/bexarpub.
Jazz at Sancho's
The host venue for this year's jazz showcase, Sancho's has, despite the fact that it is largely ruled by patio space, the tucked-away kind of feeling that was a hallmark of old-school jazz clubs. At this show, featuring representations of a few different segments of the sprawling genre, jazz fans and the curious alike are invited to sample some of the finest local practitioners of this great American form. The Spiders, led by local jazz guru and human spark plug Tony Romero, comes in many configurations and, with Romero's guidance, proves adept at everything from swinging jazz featuring upright bass to wild free jazz to funky, groove-oriented stuff. As far as the other two acts on this bill, Hot Sauce, for one, offers up a brand of jazz that traffics heavily in Latin grooves. Meanwhile, the inventive force of nature that is Head Space, makes a kind of jazz that incorporates elements of funk, soul, rock 'n' roll, hip-hop and blues. Sancho's Cantina & Cocina, 628 Jackson St., (210) 320-1840, sanchosmx.com.
- Tony Romero, Courtesy Photo
Country at Burleson Yard Beer Garden
If you're gonna have a real, down-home, country music showcase, you'd be pretty damn hard-pressed to find a more ideal venue than a place with the words "yard," "beer" and "garden" all in its name. And, as it turns out, this cozy yet rather expansive spot, with tons of great outdoor space (and play space for the little ones), lives up to its name. Gracing the Burleson stage for the SA Music Showcase will be Vanessa Lynn Bird, Southtown, Bret Mullins Band, and Claudine Mienhardt. Bird is a pop-country singer-songwriter on the verge of a breakout. Having wrapped up recording, here and in Nashville, for her debut EP, she has dropped her first single, the upbeat and sassy ode to personal freedom "Break Away." Bret Mullins Band's music is, comparatively speaking, rooted in a much more traditional, Texas country sound. If you like Willie and Waylon and the boys, we're betting you'll like his rollin' and ramblin' songs of drinking, traveling and heartache. Also on the bill is the new-school country with an old school twang four-piece Southtown, along with veteran singer-songwriter, Meinhardt, who makes a brand of country that mixes in equal doses of roots-rock and folk. Burleson Yard Beer Garden, 430 Austin St., (210) 354-3001, facebook.com/burlesonuard.
Ska/Reggae at Santa Maria Social Club
A promising newcomer to the St. Mary's Strip, Santa Maria Social Club will host this year's ska/reggae showcase featuring Sons of Sancho, a veteran act on the SA music scene that has always been beloved for the vibrant sense of immediacy that attends its energetic music. Fusing punk rock with funk, soul, dub, and even (a little) hip-hop, and whipping it all to a froth with a ubiquitous and invigorating political consciousness, Sons of Sancho is a must-see live act. Judivan Roots, the most traditional-sounding group on this showcase, pretty faithfully toes the reggae line, right down to lyrics bursting with positivity and admonitions to tune yourself to the world frequency. Lastly, Deep Water Culture makes reggae-rock that is steeped both in the peace and love vibes that are indigenous to the style and the culture of San Antonio. Santa Maria Social Club, 3020 N. St. Mary's St., (210) 833-3666, facebook.com/santamariasocial.