Bruno Mars and Britney Spears will play Formula 1 weekend

It’s Britney and Bruno.

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 12: Recording artist Bruno Mars performs onstage during The 59th GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NARAS)

Circuit of the Americas announced Wednesday morning that Bruno Mars and Britney Spears are this year’s headliners for Formula 1 weekend. Mars will play the COTA Super Stage on Saturday, Oct. 20, after qualifying rounds, and Spears will be the big Sunday, Oct. 21, headliner after the race.

Mars sweeps into Austin at the tail end of his “24K Magic World Tour” supporting the 2016 album of the same name. The album cleaned up at the Grammy Awards this year, winning four trophies, including Album of the Year . The single “Uptown Funk” won Record of the Year.

After the COTA show, Mars will fly home to close out the tour with a four-night stand in Los Angeles.

Worth noting, our favorite Instagram sensation/rap superstar, Cardi B is supporting Mars on the fall leg of his tour which includes a stop in Dallas on Oct. 14-15. She hasn’t been announced as a performer on the COTA show, but we’re crossing our fingers for a special guest appearance. Cardi B plays Jmblya at COTA next month.

Britney Spears, who just launched a new lifestyle brand, hits Austin after spending the better part of the year on her “Piece of Me” tour, a roadshow version of her popular Las Vegas act.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at for the whole weekend of racing and music, which is Oct. 19-21.


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Could Beyonce play ACL Fest? What about Janelle Monae?

Tameca Jones leads all-star benefit for family of first Austin bombing victim

Janet Jackson will play Austin again in July

Sharon Jones dies after battle with pancreatic cancer

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings performed in concert at the Austin360 Amphitheater on May 17, 2016. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings performed in concert at the Austin360 Amphitheater on May 17, 2016. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

Powerful soul singer Sharon Jones has died, according to a statement from her publicist:

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings perform at ACL Live at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday, February 26, 2014. Sharon Jones less than two months after completing her six-month course of chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer has returned to the stage. Photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez / American-Statesman
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings perform at ACL Live at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday, February 26, 2014. Sharon Jones less than two months after completing her six-month course of chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer has returned to the stage. Photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez / American-Statesman

We are deeply saddened to announce that Sharon Jones has passed away after a heroic battle against pancreatic cancer. She was surrounded by her loved ones, including the Dap-Kings. 

Thank you for your prayers and thoughts during this difficult time. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the following organizations:

– The Lustgarten Foundation

– James Brown Family Foundation

– Little Kids Rock

Additional memorial details will follow soon.

Jones and her band the Dap-Kings played frequently in Austin, including a May opening set for Hall & Oates at the Austin360 Amphitheater.

The documentary “Miss Sharon Jones,” which chronicles her first round of cancer treatment, premiered at South by Southwest in March and is available on streaming services. Here’s our recent review from writer Matt Shiverdecker:

“Miss Sharon Jones!”: The increasingly successful career of soul singer Sharon Jones was put on pause in 2013 after a stage 2 pancreatic cancer diagnosis sidelined the release of a finished album and put the future with her band, the Dap-Kings, in jeopardy. Academy Award-winning documentarian Barbara Kopple (“Harlan County USA”) chronicles this difficult period in Sharon’s life and career with an unflinching eye. Jones is not afraid of being seen as vulnerable and her humanity shines through in every moment. We watch her flinch during a chemo session, but we also get to see her shout with sheer joy when she gets the news that her band has been booked to perform on “Ellen.” If you’re somehow not familiar with the music, this film is going to turn you into a true believer. (Cable and digital VOD)

Read a 2014 interview with Sharon Jones here … We Want Sharon: Jones and the Dap Kings are back on stage after her cancer treatment

Plenty of free things to do during SXSW

Thao Nguyen of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down performs on the first day of Austin City Limits,  October 4, 2013.  Erika Rich / AUSTIN-AMERICAN STATESMAN
Thao Nguyen of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down performs on the first day of Austin City Limits, October 4, 2013. Erika Rich / AUSTIN-AMERICAN STATESMAN

Side events aren’t the only free options during South by Southwest (although check out our searchable list). The fest also offers free events, including shows at Auditorium Shores, which start Thursday. Here’s a release from the fest running down their free options, including the all-ages Lady Bird Lake shows:


Thursday, March 17
Gates Open at 3:00PM4:00PM – Carson McHone
5:00PM – Parker Millsap
6:00PM – Brian Fallon
7:00PM -Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
8:00PM – Deftones (please note the new headlining act)

Friday, March 18
Gates Open at 3:00PM

5:00PM – Tijuana Panthers
6:00PM – Beach Slang
7:00PM – Wolfmother
8:00PM – Coheed and Cambria

Saturday, March 19
Gates Open at 12:00PM

2:00PM – X Alfonso Y La Flota
3:00PM – Kelvis Ochoa
4:00PM – 3BallMTY
5:00PM – División Minúscula
6:00PM – Systema Solar
7:00PM – Grupo Fantasma
8:00PM – Intocable

The Outdoor Stage is open to the public with free SXSW Guest Pass. Visit for more information. SXSW Badge and Wristband holders do not need a Guest Pass to attend. 

SXSW Music Gear Expo will take place in the Austin Convention Center in  Exhibit Hall 4 opening on March 17 from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. and again on March 17-19 from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m and open to the public with a free SXSW Guest Pass. The Music Gear Expo offers a unique opportunity to connect with thousands of musicians and gear enthusiasts from all over the world. New for this year, The Les Paul Big Sound Experience, a traveling museum featuring interactive exhibits will bring the father of the electric guitar’s rich musical history to life. Also included at the Stompbox Exhibit, the Shred Shed, and the Synth Space.

Flatstock 53 – Presented by the American Poster Institute (API), Flatstock 53 will display the works of the world’s top gig poster artists. The show runs March 17 from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. and March 18 -19 from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. in the Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 4, Level 1 and will feature posters of varying styles, colors and techniques for sale by the talented artists who created them. Open to all badge types. Open to the public with free SXSW Guest Pass. Available at



SXSW: Deftones will replace Ray LaMontagne as Thursday headliner at Auditorium Shores

Ray LaMontagne was scheduled to be the headliner at the first of this year’s free Auditorium Shores shows during South by Southwest. The fest just announced that LaMontagne was dropping out because of illness.

From the fest:

It is regrettable for us to report that Ray LaMontagne has to cancel his performance on the SXSW Outdoor Stage due to illness. He was scheduled to perform tomorrow, Thursday, March 17, at the SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake.

While we are disappointed by this turn of events, we are beyond excited to announce that alternative rock band Deftones will be performing in place of Ray LaMontagne tomorrow night at 8:00PM. The band is stopping in Austin while on tour in support of their upcoming eighth studio album Gore, which is set to be released on April 8.

In addition to Deftones, the full lineup still includes Thao and The Get Down Stay Down, Brian Fallon, Parker Millsap, and Carson McHone. Visit the SXSW Outdoor Stage webpage for more information.

This showcase is free and open to the public with a Guest Pass; sign up online and add it to your SXSW GO app.

The SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake will also be open to Music and Platinum badge-holders, as well as Showcasing Artist wristband-holders, who will have access to our Registrant Hospitality Area at the Lady Bird Lake Stage.

Journey, Doobie Brothers tour headed to Austin360 Amphitheater

Doobie Brothers
Doobie Brothers

The 2016 concert announcements keep rolling in. On Monday, Rihanna announced her tour, including a March 4 show at the Erwin Center. On Tuesday, the Austin360 Amphitheater announced that Journey and the Doobie Brothers joint tour includes a May 18 show at the Austin venue.

Tickets ($37.50-$135, plus fees) for the “San Francisco Fest 2016” show go on sale at 10 a.m. Dec. 5 at,, or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats rock ‘Austin City Limits’ taping

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats recorded an episode for “Austin City Limits” on Sunday, Nov. 22. Photo by Scott Newton. Courtesy of KLRU-TV

Regular Statesman contributor John T. Davis shares this report from Sunday night:

There are those of us to whom a visit to the Stax Records museum in Memphis is like unto a pilgrimage to the Sistine Chapel. Those of us to whom the unvarnished and powerful horn-and-B-3-organ-propelled sound of Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave, Carla Thomas and Otis Redding will sound ever and effortlessly cool and cutting edge. Those of us who regard “Knock On Wood” as a viable alternative to the national anthem.

For us, the accelerated rise to hip-dom of the Denver-based bar band Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats is akin to balm from Gilead. Rateliff & Co. have been burning up the concert trail and late-night talk show circuit behind the August release of their self-titled debut album (Rateliff has earlier releases as a solo artist). Sunday night they brought the show to ACL Live as part of “Austin City Limits” 41st season.

Fueled by a rocket-powered three-piece horn section, an afterburner of a B-3 organ and Rateliff’s own scorching tenor voice, the band rocked through a set that had the crowd head-bopping and hip-shaking from the first notes of their opening “I Need Never Get Old.”

Though Rateliff penned all the songs on the band’s latest album, their sound owes a debt to those who came before, particularly the artists of the Stax/Volt canon, the Band and the mid-period Van Morrison (listen to Rateliff’s “I’ve Been Failing” and Morrison’s “Youth of 1000 Summers” back to back and tell me I’m lyin’).

Those are all noble antecedents and the shadow of their influence detracts not at all from the Night Sweats’ crowd pleasers like “Loot It Here,” “Out On the Weekend,” “Mellow Out” and the foot-stomping, crowd-pleasing climax, “SOB.”

The band’s set wasn’t merely one long soul vamp. They mixed up the tempo with the eerie, jazzy “Shake,” the country flavored ”Wasting Time” and the aggressively rocking “Trying So Hard Not To Know.”

By way of a finale, the band returned for an encore while the crowd was still echoing the choral gospel chant of “SOB” and segued seamlessly into the Band’s “The Shape I’m In.” A nice tip of the hat and a nice way to cap a vibrant and exciting set.

After the show, in a bar across the street, some expatriate fans were recounting tales of seeing Rateliff and his cohorts gigging at local bars in Colorado and marveling at how far the band has come. It’s a great feeling to see the local boy make good.

Updated: This entry was updated to add John T. Davis as the author.

Rihanna will play March 4 in Austin

CBS RADIOs Third Annual We Can Survive 2015
HOLLYWOOD, CA – OCTOBER 24: Recording artist Rihanna performs onstage during CBS RADIOs third annual We Can Survive, presented by Chrysler, at the Hollywood Bowl on October 24, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for CBS Radio Inc.)

Superstar and fashion icon Rihanna announced her “Anti World Tour” on Monday, with a March 4 stop at the Erwin Center (the tour stars Feb. 26 in San Diego).

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, through, at HEB ticket outlets, or by phone at 512-477-6060 or 1-800-982-2386.

If you’re a user of the streaming service Tidal — Rihanna is one of the service’s founders –there’s a presale starting Nov. 30. Check your accounts.


Purity Ring show canceled because of weather; refunds will be issued

C3 Presents just released this statement about the show, which was postponed from Saturday at Stubb’s because of weather:

Due to severe weather, flash flooding and hazardous road conditions, C3/Stubb’s and Purity Ring regret to inform you that the rescheduled show tonight, May 25th at the Austin Music Hall has been cancelled. Local weather authorities are urging people to stay home. 

All ticket orders purchased through Front Gate Tickets will be automatically refunded to the original purchaser. 

Primal Scream does not disappoint and more notes from Saturday at Levitation

(More from Saturday at Levitation, this time from writer Matt Shiverdecker.)
My favorite thing about Austin Psych Fest (excuse me, Levitation) is the ability to wander around the overlapping sets and take in a little bit of everything. The lineup is always a mixture of artists known and unknown to me, so it’s fun to check out the bands who have come in from far-flung places to play. In years past, they have provided some of my favorite discoveries of the fest (like last year when I fell in love with Boogarins, a band from Brazil).
Heading out to Carson Creek Ranch for Day 2 of Levitation, social media was filled with photos of the muddy festival grounds. Having been out to the ranch several times before, there was a concern that it was going to be difficult to bounce from stage to stage. Walking around turned out to not be quite as bad as anticipated because the muddiest parts of the site had been covered in mulch. This made the entire festival smell like a petting zoo, but did make it easier to avoid large pits of mud.
As reported Friday, festival organizers had to change the way they usually set up the stage plots because of the weather. There’s no question that the safety of all the attendees, musicians and crew is paramount, but the new placement of the Elevation stage (which used to sit at the bottom of a large hill, directly off the water’s edge of Carson Creek) created a fair amount of sound bleed between the stages, which has not been an issue in the past.
On Saturday, I headed straight for Las Robertas, a female-fronted trio from Costa Rica, playing on the Reverberation Stage. The heavy winds during their set caused havoc with the sound, pushing the audio levels to the limit. With ferocious guitar riffs, they tore through tracks from their 2014 album “Days Unmade” and blew me away. Walking over into the Levitation Tent, I wanted to see what Fever The Ghost were all about. Hailing from L.A.’s Silverlake/Echo Park neighborhood, they had three dancers on stage to accompany their set. One of whom was a man in what can only be described as a giant silver vagina suit covered in tinsel like he was a Christmas ornament. It was a bizarre pairing to say the least.
At the Elevation stage, experimental Chinese rockers Chui Wan took the stage. The band had already been forced to cancel the first week of their scheduled North American tour because of visa issues, but they made it onto a plane Friday and made it from Beijing to Austin in the nick of time. No translation was needed for Yan Yulong’s infrequent droney vocals. Their set was complex and diverse, with lots of sonic layers that were often heavy and sometimes even close to funky. Bassist Wi Qion got locked in to bass riffs that occasionally were funky enough to sound as though they were ready to release on a 12” on DFA Records. Just when I thought I knew exactly what to expect from them, a track came up that veered more into the jangle-pop territory of Real Estate. It was an intriguing set.
After some ominous clouds moved through and the threat of more rain seemed unlikely, the evening really kicked into gear. Spindrift, a Los Angeles band with cinematic inspirations, took to the Elevation stage at the magic hour. They started their set in the light and closed it out in the dark. Sonically, their set was a perfect soundtrack to the transition into the evening. With song titles like “Kama Sutra Tiger Attack,” their mostly instrumental tracks ran a broad spectrum from surf rock to the Spaghetti Western scores of Ennio Morricone to gypsy punk and even a hint of occasional operatic vocals for good measure. Everything came into focus once the sun went down and vividly colorful images began to dance across the trees surrounding stage as the band played.
There were lots of comments about drugs (on-stage and off) during the festival, with Spindrift’s leader Kirkpatrick Thomas shouting, “It’s great to be here at Austin Smack Fest.” While that struck me as a little harsh, it’s not hard to see how their music could be enhanced for audience members on mind-altering substances, especially when the flight plan for so many planes landing at ABIA finds them ripping across the sky above as the bands play the fest.
Aggressive instrumental rockers This Will Destroy You (hailing from San Marcos) were up next in the Levitation tent. They were supporting their third full-length album “Another Language” that came out last fall on Suicide Squeeze Records, which the band members dubbed “doomgaze” — a combination of shoegaze and doom metal. They started off their set so softly that I thought I was in the wrong place. The loud-quiet dynamic of their music was, at times, not well-suited for the tent (mostly because the music drifting from the Elevation stage across the way really affected enjoyment of more delicate passages). When the band gets loud however, they really get loud. It’s a punishing wall of sound. Even more so than what Spindrift was up to across the site, This Will Destroy You make music that could perfectly accompany a film, especially a dark thriller.
My most anticipated moment of the day two lineup was still to come. Scottish rockers Primal Scream don’t make it over to the United States very often. In fact, the band’s last Austin appearance was a La Zona Rosa show in 2009. They did play a handful of California dates in 2013 when they released their last album “More Light,” but a scheduled 2014 booking at Levitation was pulled as was the rest of a planned North American tour.
They more than made up for it Saturday night (and have rescheduled most of the shows canceled last year to play over the next two weeks) with their first live performance anywhere in almost a year and a half. Unlike The Jesus and Mary Chain, who were headlining with their classic album “Psychocandy” played in full, Primal Scream tore through their large catalog with a tight set of hits from across their career. Notably skipping over “More Light” entirely, they took to the stage with “Rocks,” from their 1994 album “Give Up But Don’t Give Out.” MTV playlisted the video for this song here in the states and it even cracked the Top 20 at alternative radio, both feats that could never be replicated now.
Levitation treated us to a rare performance from a vital band who gave the crowd a 14-track set that never faltered and relied most heavily on 1999’s “XTRMNTR” and 1991’s acid house classic, “Screamadelica.” Lead singer Bobby Gillespie (who himself was once the drummer for The Jesus and Mary Chain) bounced around stage with loads of energy and sounded in fine form as he traversed the different eras of the band’s history. Guitarist Andrew Innes seemed to be having the most fun with the audience and it was clear that they’re all used to playing massive arena shows overseas leading to the tightest set of the day.
There wasn’t much banter in between songs from Gillespie, but he did dedicate “Country Girl” from the “Riot City Blues” album to Doug Sahm, the Sir Douglas Quintet, and Townes Van Zandt. The only limitation of the night, if there was one, was that the band couldn’t bring all the bells and whistles over here just to do a handful of dates. We had to make due with pre-recorded backing vocals and horn sections for some of the most classic drug-fueled tracks (whereas overseas a gospel choir would have likely swooped in to accompany the band on “Movin’ On Up”). It’s hard to complain about the effort for what we did get, which was magnificent.
Primal Scream, Levitation setlist
“Can’t Go Back”
“Kill All Hippies”
“Burning Wheel”
“Shoot Speed/Kill Light”
“Higher Than The Sun”
“Autobahn 66”
“Swastika Eyes”
“Country Girl”
“Movin’ On Up”

Did the ACL Fest lineup leak early?

The 2015 lineup for the Austin City Limits Music Festival is scheduled to be announced at 6 a.m. Tuesday, with tickets going on sale at 10 a.m. that morning. But late Sunday, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram lit up with a possible leaked version of the lineup. 365 Things Austin might have been the first to notice the live link on the ACL Fest website:

They followed with a link soon picked up by others that went back to the fest website and a lineup presented in their usual style:

The link has stopped working and takes you to an “oops, we’re not finding the page you’re looking for” message.

365 Things Austin and others posted screen grabs taken before the link was broken to Twitter and Instagram:

We’ve left messages with ACL Fest reps to try to confirm whether this was the actual lineup, before we start assembling playlists  ….. check back here at 6 a.m. Tuesday, if not before, for the confirmed acts.