Top 20 Concerts: From Kanye to Brahms, with tons of locals in between
Published: December 30, 2013
San Antonio Symphony • Brahms Fest • Feb 15 • Majestic Theater
Two minutes into the opening swells of Brahms’ Concerto for Violin and Cello, violinist Vadim Gluzman strode to front center stage, clearly deep in some sort of trance. The orchestra subsided, and on cue Gluzman unleashed a breathtaking 15-minutes of soloing, both pyrotechnic and passionate. The classical world needs more rock stars like this guy.
Lonely Horse - My Desert Son EP Release Party • March 22 • Hi Tones
Primal is the cliché word I always seem to land on when trying to describe Lonely Horse, and I think this show may be to blame. A perfect storm of place, crowd and artist, it was a transfixing experience watching one of SA’s most powerful acts so completely in its element.
Brent Watkins Trio • Sound of the Trio • June 11 • Empire Theater
Showmanship is a sorely lacking trait in jazz shows, particularly in a genre that sometimes needs a bit of context and flair to connect beyond a diehard audience. Watkins’ “Sound of the Trio” tribute performance to pianist Oscar Peterson was as fine a case of jazz showmanship and top-level musicianship as I’ve seen this year.
Fishermen • June 15 • The Ten Eleven
The Fishermen project has been a long time in the works for singer/guitarist Edwin J. Stephens. This year is when everything seemed to coalesce, specifically at this incredible set. The undisputed highlight was when the band debuted the incredible “Fall,” which Stephens apparently scribbled out on his notepad earlier that day.
Marcus Rubio and the Slomo Drags • July 3 • 502 Bar
A double homecoming show of sorts, this bill featured the new project from long-time Cartographers leader Jackson Albracht, the Slomo Drags, along with a rare performance by now-LA resident Marcus Rubio, debuting a handful of new songs. Both acts brought it on home with fantastic showings.
Third Root • ‘Mind Elevation’ Mixtape Release and MLK Kickoff • Jan 20 • Limelight Music + Drinks
It’s not many acts that could throw an MLK party with grace. But then no musical act in town is better suited to carry Dr. King’s message forward than Third Root. Armed with the new mixtape Mind Elevation, Easy Lee and Mex Step delivered a stone-cold classic set, packed with plenty of guest appearances and some of their most lucid rhymes to date.
Christian McBride • Feb 9 • Jo Long Theater
Between Kenny Barron, Ronnie Laws and Terri Hendrix, the Carver did a helluva job bringing some great jazz to town this year. But they topped themselves with Christian McBride, who brought along his Inside Straight Quintet for this massively swinging show. Incredible as McBride and the band were, the real star turned out to be young vibraphonist Warren Wolf, who dominated the stage with his forceful, melodic presence.
Gary Clark Jr. • Maverick Music Festival • March 23 • Maverick Plaza
It’s about time SA got a festival that had its act together, and from the logistics, lineup, sound and venue, Maverick nailed it. It also featured a bona fide star in Gary Clark Jr. The blues wonder took no time in spellbinding the sold-out crowd, channeling equal parts Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix and Shuggie Otis throughout his blazing set.