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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Mushroomhead 2017

with special guests Slop Musket, XIII, Ventana, and Unsaid Fate.

I have been to this venue a couple of times already. I actually went there a few times before it was this particular incarnation. But this night was the first time I walked through the door with the brand on the outside, proudly displayed for all to see...Come and Take It Live! (

There is plenty of parking all around the building. As you walk up to the entrance there is a large fenced in area for smoking and enjoying some grub from the food trailer to the right. As you walk in there is the ticket counter immediately in front of you and the large main bar to the right of that. This is where it gets interesting. As you face the bar from the entrance, the large stage is to the far back left of the bar, bathrooms are to the right behind the bar and there are some steps to your left that lead up to a second level viewing area and a merch sales area behind that. As you walk up the steps, to your left and almost behind you is a flight of stairs that goes up to the next level.

Up here is another bar to you left, in front of you, as you reach the top of the stairs. There is a VIP lounge area back behind you that has sofas and some additional seating and overlooks the stage. Where the bar is has a long halfwall that allows you to look down on the stage and the crowd below. There are also a couple of very nice Jack Daniels pool tables. There is also a hidden room that is called the 'Skybox'. This sweet little retreat is actually over the top of the stage on the side. This  allows for some pretty good views of the onstage antics. The skybox can seat about 5 people comfortably, and more if you are comfortable with the crowd.

In all, for its quirky, different levels and areas, Come and Take It Live allows for a great view from just about anywhere in the house.

On the bill for this night of music were two Austin bands opening for three road bands. Slop Musket ( was up first to open the night. Of course it always has to be a tough spot to be the very first. Not everyone has arrived. The crowd is just starting to get their drink on, it's just generally tough. There was about 25 or 30 people down on the floor when Slop Musket took the stage. With their different style of rap and rock, Slop Musket powered through their short set. As entertaining as they were, it was super difficult to get a grasp on their set in general...and there was just not a whole lot of feedback from the crowd. I am sure I will run into them again and hopefully be able to give a proper review for their set.

XIII ( was up next. Tell you what, the crowd had swelled enough to pay attention. And it took all of 35 seconds from the start of XIII's set for the small, growing crowd to react with cheers. Although they opened with a cover song, it was still a pretty fucking epic and ballsy jump off. The great thing is their sound and set didn't change much. Rolling into there originals XIII kept it high energy and exciting for the crowd and myself. Credit to the band for doing a great job of hyping themselves and their upcoming CD release show. It was musically bad ass enough and interesting enough that I made plans to attend their event.

Ventana ( was the first of the three road bands to hit the stage. Costumed and on point, Ventana laid into the now warmed up crowed. Here was another band with an energetic front man and dueling lead vocals to make the crowd start to break into a sweat and start a circle pit. The little snippets of sound intros to a couple of their songs where quite charming as I caught myself laughing at some in the crowd who didn't know it was a recording or didn't get the joke and poke at politics. Of course if you have not seen Ventana live you wouldn't know. The solution...go see Ventana, for the love that is All-American, Apple Pie, and all that other fucking shit.

Unsaid Fate ( came out onto the stage with a pretty much packed house and ran with the set. With the vocals by the show stopping Jackie LaPonza, Unsaid Fate just blistered the crowd. even greater than the musical part of the show was how great Jackie was in being completely interactive with the crowd down in front. At one point she even snagged a fans phone who was filming and ran around the stage capturing the magic from the stage perspective. All in good fun of course as she handed the fan back his phone when she was done. There is a souvenir that goes down as once in a lifetime. Unsaid Fate powered through their set barely giving the fans time to rest or catch their breath. It was just perfect. To build on what had come before, and prepare the crowd for what was about to happen, Unsaid Fate definitely has a new fan here!

Mushroomhead (! YES! This is my fourth time seeing them. It is absolutely worth it EVERY SINGLE TIME. The stage production is always different. The set list changes and stays fresh, but keeps some of the great tunes in a different order than the last time you saw them. In all, Mushroomhead puts on the show of all MuthaFucking shows! It's loud, it's bright and flashy, and completely non stop energy. Even when the did a little homage to Prince by doing a super clean and tight opening of 'When Doves Cry' the crowd never stopped screaming. Mushroomhead pounded us with the sound and presence for over an hour and when they were done....they were done. No need for an encore if you kick it to the crowd like Mushroomhead does!


Thursday, September 21, 2017

You ain't Know?


MC Overlord ( has been wrecking the live music scene in Austin for a hot minute. The players he has walked with are stellar. The list of musicians he has influenced, worked with, performed on their stage, our shared his with, is mind blowing. He is humble about what he does and how he does it and he defends his friends, musical compadres, and the music scene with an  attitude and vigor that gives people a reason to be scared. A decades worth of music awards and a lifetime achievement award under his massive arms gives you a reason to pause and listen when he speaks, musically or literally.

The new, WAY over due disc by MC Overlord - 'You Ain't Know' (available on all platforms) is a thing to behold. Better than the rest and a definitive departure from his previous 2 efforts. You Ain't Know may prove to be his crowning jewel. With VMG behind this and a funky attitude and approach to the new music from the Legendary DJ Crash Da Scratcha (, it should be a great source of enjoyment for anyone who touches it and listens to it. There is an intensity in this disc that out weighs the previous efforts. I can't put a specific finger on it, but it's there. Now, let me take the approach that you are unfamiliar with MC Overlords prior music, never been to a live performance, and don't know the accolades.

This is a hip-hop CD in it's purest, greatest form. It is head bobbing, in the car, turned up to 11, slipped down low in the seat, hip-hop music! The first time through provides some of those smile inducing moments as you listen. A chuckle for some of the song outros and some of the skits in between tracks. Then you listen to it, again. You play it again, and you listen to it, and again.

The production and the little samples and loops of some OLD O L D School funk reek of DJ Crash. It adds to the comfortable sound, wraps your ears around something that you think you have heard before, and makes you play it again. Then you hear it again, and realize the lyrical content, the storytelling, fun, funky, challenging, and ballsy is pure Overlord. Still and always clean, but a little on the edge of scandalous.

Then you realize the overall polish on the disc is only a finishing touch which is a VMG stamp. The players, guitars, and co conspirators on this disc is ONLY topped by a live performance.

I purposefully and willfully am staying away from talking about the individual tracks. I have some definite favorites and a couple that make me scratch my head. I can appreciate the talent that pours out of the speakers from everyone involved in making this one finally drop. I hope you enjoy and put it in your rotation.

If you haven't seen him live, and don't have a previous disc, the last line is simple to write..



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

HAAM ing it up

I think there are plenty of people around town that can sing the praises of HAAM (Health Alliance for Austin Musicians). In contrast there are too many people that know Austin is the live music capital of the world, they know there is music any night of the week, but the response of "What's HAAM?" while I am wearing my HAAMbassador volunteer shirt is striking.


Trying to do my part by using the internet to get folks to visit bands when they come to Austin or locals to take one day a month to go to a venue is very hard, unfulfilling work. But the great pleasure and smiles of taking 6 co workers and meeting friends to listen to music while actively collecting donations on HAAM Benefit Day 2017 was so worth it all.

Staging ourselves at Whole Foods - Domain was fantastic. The smiles on everyone's faces, the crowds as they trickled in and out enjoying the music, and dropping donations in the boxes here and there, was electric. The great music from Shy Beast, Julieann Banks, and finally The Rubilators, while we hung out for a few hours, was exhilarating. Even as the temperature climbed ever so slightly, it just warmed the heart.

Glad we were there and part of it for 2017.

Remember, HAAM Day is everyday for our population of musicians.