This is a good weekend to be broke. Not only is the Westheimer Block Party tomorrow afternoon, but Sunday brings Rice Radio's 17th annual Outdoor Show at the university's Intramural Fields 2 and 3, somewhere near the business school. Brooklyn indie-rockers Parts and Labor headline an otherwise local bill that offers an excellent cross-section of KTRU fare: experimental grooves from Social Insects and :::KAI/ROS:::, jazz courtesy of the Taylor/Dove/Cogburn trio, the Joy Division-ish chill of Balaclavas, beats and rhymes from Nosaprise and bleeps and blips by electronic knob-twiddlers Dead PA. Children's performer Rachel Buchman gets things started at noon, making this an underground-music afternoon the whole family can enjoy.
Tonight, Austin songwriting saint Alejandro Escovedo sets aside the emotional garment-rending of his string-dominated previous few albums to preview June's Real Animal at the Continental Club. Reconnecting with his punk-rock roots in San Francisco's the Nuns, Escovedo wrote Animal's title song about Iggy Pop and enlisted David Bowie and T. Rex veteran Tony Visconti to produce. The Umbrella Man opens... Pennsylvania-spawned Warped Tour alumni The Starting Line stop by Meridian with Bayside, Four Year Strong and Steel Train... The Scenario posse at G.R.A.B. wishes a hip-hop happy birthday (and preemptive 420 celebration, because it's never too early, you know) to host Karina Nistal, with music from Tha BBC, DJ Madsounds and special guest Jeff Cmo... Meat Puppets-like local duo Papermoons set up shop at Walter's opening for Seattle emo veterans Unwed Sailor.
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Saturday, Austin's grandiose ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, L.A. tribal noise artistes Health and Houston's Spain Colored Orange - who are supposed to have a new album out soon - top off Free Press Houston's post-block party block party at Numbers... Jesse Dayton twangs Goode's Armadillo Palace... Warehouse Live gets tatted up with Mushroomhead, Hate Eternal, Soilent Green, Pinhed, Skeleton Witch and several other sons of Slipknot... Power-blues holy terrors Amplified Heat return to Rudyard's with Scorpion Child in tow... NASA goes biker for the Outlaw Music Festival/Bay Area Rally at Johnson Space Center, with Billy Joe Shaver on hand to demonstrate proper self-defense techniques... And if you somehow missed the rodeo last month, you get a second (albeit smaller) chance at this weekend's Galveston County Fair & Rodeo at Jack Brooks Park in Hitchcock. Texas country whippersnappers Mark McKinney and Eli Young Band do the musical honors tonight, Austin-based Joe Ely lovers Reckless Kelly tomorrow. - Chris Gray