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Friday, December 21, 2012

Drastik IV - Elephant in the Room

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Sunday cocktail (or two)

A little Sunday evening cocktail at Icenhauers ( ). Located on Rainey St., in the ever expanding down town entertainment district, sits a row of quiet little bars. A newly revitalized area that stands in stark contrast to itself. The east side of Rainey is predominantly occupied by renovated homes turned into drinking establishments, some with nice little backyards designed to accommodate a stage. The west side of Rainey has a few newly renovated homes but the stark contrast is the homes that still exist and are occupied by the home owners (I think there is a story in that as well and might just explore that in the near future.) Icenhauers has a nifty story on their website and some really great before and after pictures. It does make me smile and feel good that even though life, progress, and developers have encroached upon this little corner of Austin, they are doing well in preserving it also!

The bar has been described previously as a simply gorgeous, small little house. A very nice seating area out front. The entry has two modest sized rooms to the left and right with seating and televisions for watching what sport is on at the moment. A little farther in and you hit the main area with a well stocked bar to the left and access to the back yard. Floor to ceiling windows let you observe the festivities from inside.

The musical flavor for this late afternoon was provided by The Nightowls ( ) with Ryan Harkrider sharing the vocal leads with his attractive co-vocalist Autumn ( ) The music has that Motown sound with that black tie appeal. No doubt about labeling this band, as they will admit the sound they are going for is in fact Motown. The alternating vocals from male to female are fun and great, and the sound from the band was distinctly better than the last time I saw them at another venue (I will leave unnamed.) This switching keeps it entertaining and allows them a wide variety of tunes they can pull off with great respect.

It was a beautiful evening with perfect weather and a friendly crowd. Everybody definitively had a great time socializing. The Nightowls do it perfectly! With the ability to be great background music to any good conversation as well as performing those favorite tunes that do make you stop talking and listen, they are a great dinner/happy hour/out-for-a-few-cocktails type of band. They do play frequently around Austin so look them up and go.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Caught up in the moment

So it happens, I totally missed a write up of a local performance. More damning is that it was the debut performance of another Austin original.

So here I am again at Stubb's ( ). I said it in a previous post ( ), I love this inside stage. Takes me back to the garage, basement shows I saw in my late teens, early twenties in New Orleans, La. Very dark inside with the exposed ceiling. Bar to the back and bathrooms tucked away in almost impossible to find locations, BUT understand this is better because it is Stubb's. Access to the outside for you smokers from a door just to the side of the stage, a solo pool table cordoned off in another room and most importantly an A_M_A_Z_I_N_G view from the balcony/restaurant above the stage. The stage is well lit and the sound is great.

The Roosevelts ( ) had their debut performance at Stubb's inside. The band is fronted and founded by James Mason and Jason Kloess, formerly of EPMB fame (and more recently the cover band The Good Nights.) Well, no more cover songs here. With a whole new set list of originals, this band is ready to break out and breakthrough! The Roosevelts have that definitive "Austin sound". If you are from around here you know the sound can't be described. If you are not from around then do some music searches on the web, you will find those Austin bands and you will hear and feel that Austin sound The Roosevlets most adeptly keep to. The band also employs the standard arrangement of rhythm and lead guitars, bass and drums keeping tempo, but the keys really pull it all together.

The Roosevelts have melodies and lyrics that are both fun and moving. You hear the songs and are instantly drawn into them like you've heard them before. You are singing the hook two bars in. By the end of the night you will have picked out your favorite tune and will look forward to seeing this band again. I managed to be the outlaw, and against the venues 'strict' "NO VIDEO" soup nazi command at the door, I did capture and record the majority of the show. Watching it afterwards, shows the brilliance these two young men posses. Not just in writing the music and weaving the stories, but in the fun they have on stage! My girlfriend has a stupid band/musician crush on the lead singer and managed to sit and watch all of the video clips like she was at the show AND she has already picked out her new favorite misery...a track about a lady in white or a white dress. Very cool story told in song form, listen for it when you go to a show! Nonetheless my point is that she DID NOT attend the performance, but was still captivated by it. My friends, that is some powerful shit for a new band!

All of these things went through my mind as I watched their performance again on video. It was a VERY large crowd draw for a debut performance. James and Jason can say they have a devoted following. This is not bewildering for a new band, but amazing and admirable.

p.s. - because I was so busy bootlegging the show, I didn't take any photos. So I had to pull stills from some of the video.