Six Must-Attend Events: March 14–March 20
The state's top offerings, from going hog wild in Bandera to foot-stompin' blues in Austin.
A Saint’s Music
Progressive rock is an arty, bombastic, concept-heavy hybrid purveyed mostly by manly bands, including pioneers like Pink Floyd, Rush, and Yes and contemporaries like Tool and the Mars Volta. That is until the Dallas singer-songwriter Annie Clark broke off from the Polyphonic Spree and began her own kaleidoscopic musical journey as St. Vincent in 2006. Her new, self-titled album—which she will perform for a hometown crowd on Friday—pushes the parameters of the genre, creating a futuristic dance floor with ferocious guitars and robotic synthesizers. “I wanted to make a party record you could play at a funeral,” Clark said in a statement. She went on to explain that the songs are groove-oriented yet with emotionally intelligent lyrics. Clark began writing the album—already hailed by critics as one of the year’s best—36 hours after completing the “Love This Giant” tour, her collaborative effort with David Byrne. The influence of the Talking Heads’s “True Stories” is apparent in St. Vincent’s first song, “Rattlesnake,” about the time Clark encountered a snake in West Texas while naked.
House of Blues, March 14, 9 p.m., ilovestvincent.com
Pigs in a Poke
The prevalence of wild hogs in Texas has created various opportunities for outdoor sporting enthusiasts. Some rent helicopters and hunt the hogs from the sky. Others, like the participants in the Wild Hog Explosion, wrestle with the hairy beasts during an event called Catch. The rules are simple: enter the ring, where a hog awaits, and, with your partner, try to catch it faster than any other team. Hogs can weigh up to 85 pounds and are liable to bite, gash, and even topple contestants. But don’t be scared; there is even a sixty-years-and-older group (though with three to a team). If that old bum knee acts up and precludes you from entering, there are still plenty of ways to get hog wild. A barbecue cook-off will offer pork served any number of ways, and Bacon Bingo, in which guesses are made on where a hog will relieve itself on a life-size “board” on the ground.
Mansfield Park, March 15, 9 a.m., wildhogexplosion.com
One’s first foray into whiskey drinking is often in adulterated form, as a cocktail. Bourbon and Coke is a favorite in college fraternities. Eventually, some evolve beyond these years of palate refinement and prefer bourbon neat, on the rocks, or with a splash of water—or perhaps move on to other whiskies, like single malt scotch. Such aficionados will be interested in the inaugural Houston Whiskey Festival on Saturday at the Julia Ideson Building, a restored Spanish Renaissance structure that houses the Houston Metropolitan Research Center. There will be more than sixty whiskey brands to sample, from Alabama, Kentucky, and Texas as well as Canada and Scotland, along with information sessions, cigars, live music, and other fine liquor tastings.
Julia Ideson Building, March 15, 6 p.m., houstonwhiskeyfestival.com
In the Hot Seat
A seated bluesman is among a special breed. B.B. King does not necessarily sit, guitar in hand, because he wants to, but because he has to, on account of life’s hardships. It centers him. Scott H. Biram of Austin is another such bluesman. In 2003 the car Biram was driving collided with an eighteen-wheeler, resulting in numerous injuries. Today it’s more comfortable for Biram to sit when exorcising his demons. With his ’59 Gibson in hand, homemade foot-stomp board, and vintage ribbon microphone, Biram will make a stop at home in support of his newest album, “Nothin’ But Blood.”
Red 7, March 19, 9 p.m., scottbiram.com
Art Student for a Day
Good art and good architecture are often in the eye of the beholder, and at the One Day University event, on Wednesday, Rick Brettell, the Dallas Morning News art critic, and Mark Lamster, the News’s architecture critic, will shift students’ attention to the pieces and places in Big D where their sharp eyes have lately been focused.
The Venue at 400 North Ervay, March 19, 6:30 p.m., onedayu.com
The Hip-Hop Cowboys Spring Rodeo, a day of competition and live zydeco, blues, and gospel music, straddles the saddle of old and new African-American culture, with nods to Bose Ikard and William Pickett, both early Texas cowboys, during festivities presided over by David Mann, the event’s emcee and a regular actor in the productions of Tyler Perry, the director.
Mesquite Arena, March 15, 7 p.m., hiphopcowboy.com