The ticket giveaway for the Gary Clark Jr. Austin City Limits taping ends at noon on Friday. After that, tickets will be extremely tough to come by for the free Monday night performance—Clark’s fourth ACL appearance and second as a featured act. There’s a slight chance that one or two single seats will be up for grabs at the box office prior to set time. But it will most definitely be worth a try considering it will probably be the first time that Clark—the Grammy-winning neo-bluesman who began honing his wicked electric-guitar chops as a teenager at the Austin club Antone’s—previews songs from his sophomore album, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, out September 11. Since the 2012 release of his major label debut, Blak and Blu, Clark has ascended like a rocket: He’s engaged to a supermodel, with whom he had a son, Zion, earlier this year; he’s earned praise from his contemporaries, such as Alicia Keys, Jay Z, and Pharrell Williams; and he’s scored coveted slots opening for the Rolling Stones and playing at the White House for President Barack Obama, who called him “the future.” With the release of The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, Clark is poised to become a bonafide rock god. Chances are good that Clark will bust out some new tunes from the album, which he made at Austin’s Arlyn Studios. It’s an autobiographical work stressing “faith and hope,” epitomized by the first single, “The Healing,” a soulful slow-burn about music as a savior. Even if you get to the box office on the night of the taping only to find that you’re out of luck, you’re not devoid of options: simply pull out your smartphone and live-stream the show on the Austin City Limits YouTube channel.
Austin City Limits Live, August 24, 8 p.m., acltv.com
The Past and the Present
Alvaro Del Norte, the accordionist and lead singer of the San Antonio norteña punk band Piñata Protest, spent his high school years listening to the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” and Nirvana’s “Aneurysm” despite the influence of his conservative Catholic family, who considered rock music to be satanic. Still, as he mentioned during a May interview on NPR’s “Alt.Latino” program, he never forgot the music he heard as a young kid, in particular Los Tigres del Norte’s song “La Jaula de Oro” (“The Golden Cage”). It’s about being an undocumented immigrant in the U.S. and achieving the American Dream financially but still feeling trapped. “My dad played it over and over,” Del Norte told NPR. “It was like his song. There’s a break during that song where the dad, in Spanish, asks his son, ‘Son, do you want to go back to Mexico?’ And his son replies, in English, ‘Whatcha talking about, Dad? I don’t want to go back to Mexico. No way, Dad.’ That song, it’s weird, it was written almost, like, for us.” As can be witnessed on Friday at the Guadalupe Theater, during the Do210 Takeover, Piñata Protest melds norteña, in part comprised of the German- and Czech-inflected polkas and waltzes of Northern Mexico and South Texas, with the fury of the Ramones and Nirvana. The result is wholly original roots rock—bajo sexto and electric guitar!—that manages to share many characteristics with the other two bands on a bill that includes art, food and drink, and cultural bonding. Money Chicha, whose members play in the Austin acts Grupo Fantasma, Spanish Gold, Ocote Soul Sounds, and Brownout, and Grupo Frackaso, a San Antonio power trio specializing in cumbia and thrash, update their parents’ and grandparents’ music with youthful pizzazz.
Guadalupe Theater, August 21, 8 p.m., guadalupeculturalarts.org
Slide the City has the potential to be really awesome or really lame. Organizers of this wet and wild affair, which takes place at multiple cities throughout the country this summer, will roll out one thousand feet of slick vinyl, essentially a gigantic slip-and-slide, in Dallas, for people to ride for a seven-hour stretch (BYOT, or bring your own tube). A major complaint of past iterations of the event is that there wasn’t enough of an incline for the slip-and-slide to produce consistent results. Traffic jams ensued. “The slide is flat?” said one commentator on a YouTube video of the Slide the City event in Boise. “So I guess I need to push myself forward everytime?” “More like scoot thru the city,” said another. But Dallas is not Boise, and after a cursory search on Google Maps’ earth view, it appears that North Hampton Road has a nice little slope to it and will probably produce a better ride than any backyard slip-and-slide. Plus, it won’t affect your water bill.
2212 North Hampton Road, August 22, 12 p.m., slidethecity.com
Large and In Charge
People will always argue about the best entry point for Klein native Lyle Lovett’s music, a discography that spans thirty years. A strong case can be made for the 1999 album Live in Texas. That’s when listeners were able to fully grasp the immense potential of Lovett’s Large Band, who first appeared on his 1989 studio album Lyle Lovett and His Large Band. This orchestra of Lovett’s swells to more than a dozen players—often dressed in cocktail attire, playing horns and strings and singing backup—and can sometimes evoke the swing of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. Lovett doesn’t jam with his Large Band a lot on the road, making the performance on Sunday at Bass Hall quite an opportunity. It’s the final date—and only Texas date—of Lovett’s tour with the group, and then he goes back into singer-songwriter mode, on a tour with John Hiatt.
Bass Hall, August 23, 6:30 p.m., lylelovett.com
Pages That Pop
At the seventh annual East Texas Book Fest, two days of celebrating a hundred authors and their commitment to libraries and literacy, one can learn about heralded books that pop out from the pack, like Dallas writer Ben Fountain’s novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Austin writer Antonio Ruiz-Camacho’s short story collection Barefoot Dogs, or Houston writer Chris Tomlinson’s memoir Tomlinson Hill. But one can also learn how to make books that pop out, with a workshop on pop-up books conducted by master paper engineer Bruce Foster.
Harvey Convention Center, August 21 and 22, etxbookfest.org
Now that Cuba is open for business to Americans who enjoy smoking fine cigars, listening to Buena Vista Social Club, and reading The Old Man and the Sea, the research must begin for a potential vacation there. Start with the closing weekend of the exhibit “Vida Cubana,” featuring images by the Dallas photographer R.P. Washburne, who roamed the streets of Cuba during two trips in 2000, when Castro still reigned, as well as one in 2011.
Sun to Moon Gallery, August 21 and 22, suntomoon.com