This year was an amazing year in music across all genres in Austin and cities nearby. For icon and pop lovers- JLO, Cher, Backstreet Boys, and Billy Joel were epic productions with big fan sing-alongs and the artists looked and sounded great. We covered every genre from country (Tim McGraw, Lyle Lovett, Brett Young, Kacey Musgraves) to hip hop (Wu Tang Clan, Lil Uzi Vert, TI) to Emo (Blink 182).
For indie lovers, Imagine Dragons, The Killers, Kaleo, Flaming Lips, The B52’s, Kurt Vile, The Cure, Nick Cave, Vampire Weekend, Hozier, Smashing Pumpkins/Noel Gallagher, and The Raconteurs jammed big time.
For true rockers, The Rolling Stones, Sting, Jeff Beck, The Who, Eric Clapton, Dead and Co., Paul McCartney, Todd Rundgren, Zakk Wylde, Warren Haynes’ Gov’t Mule, and Lenny Kravitz were huge highlights as these legends don’t often tour and rarely do you see so many rock icons tour in the same year.
We covered huge festivals this year including ACL Fest (Lizzo, Billie Eilish, GNR, , Crossroads Guitar Fest, KAABOO (Avett Brothers, Lionel Richie, TI), SXSW, Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion and Outlaw festival, Levitation Fest, iheart Country Music Festival, Superbowl’s Big Night (Foo Fighters), Koke Fest, and Old Settler’s Fest.
The most unique and interesting shows by far included: Jake Shimabukuro, Nick Cave, and Claypool Lennon Delirium. The best show for a local Austin artist goes far-and-away to Black Pumas who sold out 3 nights in a row at iconic venue Mohawk.
Here is our list for the top concerts of the year: (if you want to see more photos just click on the link to the photo gallery for each show)
This film and music legend gave one of the best shows- seemingly brought her Vegas act to Texas-and not only does she look and sound amazing but the production and the constant costume changes (every few songs) and the nostalgia for Mama Mia and Sonny and Cher make our best of list.
Lizzo’s ACL Fest
Although she didn’t headline, Lizzo was by far the highlight and had to take up an additional stage to broadcast to the massive crowd. There was no getting up close to hear hit “Juice”.
A funny and unique blend of hard rock and comedy, Jack Black put on a super fun show at ACL Live in Austin. A bit raunchy for kids, but entertaining.
Wu Tang Clan
These hip-hop legends were a hot ticket in Austin and their show was an epic throwback to these rap trailblazers.
(photo Scott Newton/KLRU)
Jack and the boys put on a ridiculously cool and memorable show for their KLRU taping for Austin City Limits-just nights before playing the festival at Zilker park. This is a must-see show if you’ve never seen these guys.
(photo Michael Amico)
Lopez’ It’s My Party tour was a true production. The party celebrated her 50th bday and included epic costume changes, moving stages, and pyro. No other show had more.
Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Music fest
The highly anticipated Eric Clapton music festival returned to Texas after many years. This show is special as it’s only held every 6 years and includes the best guitar legends like Jeff Beck, Peter Frampton, Clapton, and more.
Mai was one of the most buzzed shows of 2019. She is young and soulful and we’ll be seeing a lot more of Ella.
Rachael Ray Party at SXSW
Ray’s party is always the bucket list item in Austin each year during SXSW at iconic Stubb’s Amphitheater. This year included JS Ondara, Lukas Nelson, Salt and Pepa, Mike D, Bleachers…
This music legend still tours frequently but it was a very unique show at Houston’s rodeo early in the year. His guitar skills blow us away every time.
Lenny hasn’t toured hear in awhile so it was a great treat to catch him for a huge stadium show.
One of the coolest shows in her hometown- we included this release party in our best of because she is one of the best things of 2019. Solange gallery
Local band makes big- nominated for Grammy’s- this show is a must see for any music lover.
These rockers haven’t been touring much lately so we were floored to get to cover this awesome show in Atlanta for part of Superbowl 2019. Foo put on a ridiculous show that will not be forgotten.
One of the coolest and most intimate shows we have ever seen. Cave shared deeply personal stories and emotions to help others.
What can we see. There’s no way Paul is not making this list. His show was nonstop music from this legend and the mere presence of this Beatle was memorable.
Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion
From legend Mavis Staples to Foo guitarist Chris Shiflett, this party goes down near Austin at Willie’s family ranch during SXSW and is a very small gathering that takes place in saloons and churches.
We covered his last tour too and Mayer never disappoints. He’s not just pop, he’s a great guitarist (and Clapton brought him to his guitar fest to prove it).
Not only was this lineup cool, but each could have headlined individual sold out tours. Non-stop action from Cage’s frontman make it a total surprise- you never know what he’s going to do next.
Dead and Co.
John Mayer hits our list twice due to his great work partnering with Bob Weir and the gang. Although yes we agree, nothing can replace Jerry.
Claypool Lennon Delirium
One of the most unique and cool collabs around today combines hard rock/metal Les Claypool from Primus paired with Sean Lennon. Feels like you’re on shrooms even if you’re not.
Twenty One Pilots
From cars on fire to a fan-suspended drum kit, this show was a spectacle and an amazing visual production all night long.
The Stones are back and make our top spot on the list. Hands down the best and coolest high-energy show of the year. After a brief rest to recover from a heart procedure, Mick and the boys put on a performance that made you scratch your head that these guys are in their 70’s.
See all our photos and concert reviews on our site Austin 101 Magazine