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Friday, December 26, 2014

Whew!



2014 wrap up. I thought it was a quiet and slow year for Live Music In Austin, which looks to be slowly expanding to be Live Music In Texas....YAY!!! But I started to
review and here is what I found...




















I saw 80 bands in total. 70 of them I have never seen before. The other 10 are bands that I will always make a point to go see and support here in Austin.






I wrote 42 blog posts. 33 of them were performance review based. The rest were multi part reviews, an album review, and a video post. Doesn't sound like much until you realize that is a show I am going to every 1.5 weeks!



Of all of my trekking around, 13 new venues were explored and talked about. Just a guitar string more than 1 per month.

















So the best I can do (without getting crazy with hash tags and photos) is just a few photos from '14. In no particular order or reason, randomness. I will see you in 2015!





Laters

Thursday, December 18, 2014

'Que Divertido' in any language means FUN

In a city far, far, away. In a time not that long ago, stands a small restaurant on the side of the road. Not unlike that of many other Tex-Mex food stops, El Rincon (http://www.elrincon.biz) shines like a neon, blue stop sign for the hungry.


Ha! Way to damn dramatic. El Rincon is on Pecan St., located in Pflugerville, Texas. No, the food is not mind blowing or stunning, but it is good Tex-Mex fare. The margaritas ARE pretty damn good though. El Rincon is a somewhat small, unassuming restaurant from the outside. Inside is about the same. The nice part is an enclosed patio to your left as you walk in. Roomy enough for a band, a couple of large parties, and still have tables for couples and groups of 3 or 4 spread around the area. There is a bar to the backside of this area as well.


I had the wonderful surprise to get home early this particular evening and was told "We are going out. You are taking me on a date, and here is where we are going." Well alright Ms. Cruz! Just about an hour later we arrived - yes AN HOUR drive. Damn well better believe I was thinking 'this better be good!' Nope! The night was better than good, it was F A N T A S T I C!!! We had an order of beef nachos and started on the 'ritas, all while enjoying some really good, wide ranging music.





Son De Rey (http://www.sonderey.com) was camped out this particular evening from about 8 - 11pm. It was a marathon set and they played everything. From Tejano oldies, cumbia favorites, pop and rock covers, their own originals (of course), and even taking some of those covers and re tooling them into stunning pieces. Billed mainly as a latin band, the label does little justice to the wide berth of music Son de Rey can perform well.



Son de Rey is a well rounded band with male and female lead vocals. A frighteningly bad ass keyboard player that does percussion as well. Credit also goes to the guitar player who strummed through all the genres like it was no big deal (really...from 'The Killers' to 'Santana', and 'Grupo Mazz'). The rhythym section of bass and drums was just as solid and had to be to keep up.









Son de Rey kept the patio area packed. As I sat, listened, and watched, it didn't take long to realize there were very few tables available and NO ONE was leaving. I am very glad we got our little spot when we did. The music was fun and lively. The grand mix of music and genres kept the entire crowd happy. There was some crowd participation on songs. There were folks getting up and dancing (and there was no damn space so the dancing was up with the singers) to other songs. All the while the charismatic lead singer Luis, smiled and charmed his way through the entire set. Even going so far as taking song suggestions from out of the crowd. He even had a laugh when the band was called out about the number of songs they had performed by one particular band they were covering. It was wonderful fun.


















For a date night I would so do this again. Another, long and fun set by Son de Rey. In a location where  the crowd stays happy and dances and sings the night away. Go see them, enjoy yourselves and we may see you there.


Laters







Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Flattfest II

I believe that I haven't had the pleasure of stopping by the One2One bar/venue since the 10th anniversary. Not because I haven't wanted to, not because there hasn't been kick ass music, and not because...just because. The beautiful thing about walking into the One2One is the pure home you feel here.


It is the great set up of the stage. The arrangement of the bar, the stage, and the seating. It is all complete. For the start of your night and your musical adventures in Austin. To spend the whole evening here enjoying hours of great music and musicians. Or simply like the way it happened for me this evening, just stopping by at the end of the night to top it off with the best Austin has to offer.


Flattfest is a hella birthday celebration for one of Austins most talented and well rounded young musicians, Kevin Flatt. But it is not just about his birthday, it is the gathering of some of the finest talent in town. Of course we don't need an excuse to have a party, but it sure helps when it is around the talent of someone like this.

He sings, plays, trumpet, guitar, and writes his music. I have been thrilled to have seen Kevin perform  as a piece to many of Austins finest bands. Doing just that, tearing shit up on trumpet with one band, doing lead guitar or rhythm for another, and singing his ass off the whole time.








This particular evening was the first time I experienced Kevin Flatt as the band leader. The front man of his band, but center of attention. He might have been center stage, but his quick to let the talent of those around him shine on and shine through. It was pretty stunning being in a crowd and a room filled with such a mind numbing amount of talent, yet they were all here to celebrate this young mans birthday. And the best thing is that humble or not, Kevin blasted through like the bright light he is. Just an amazing talent.

Pick up his CD, and keep an eye out for him around town. Though it may not be his own solo project, if you are lucky enough to see him onstage with the numerous acts he plays with, it
will be treasure enough.


































MC Overlord capped off the evening after Kevin Flatt wrapped it up. It was interesting hearing Overlord moan and lament going onstage. Not because he didn't want to, but because the night and music was flowing so well it seemed like a crime to stop, reset, and start again. He did, and it was killer. With Kevin Flatt joining him onstage, the party just rolled on.


What I don't think Overlord grasped (but probably knows) is no one was really was sad the set changed. It was just an exciting change of gears. And I believe there are more people than one can count on there hands that owe much of their career to MC Overlord. So Flattfest II may have been the celebration of Kevin Flatts birthday, but it was with great pride and joy we get to see Overlord mount the stage and do his award winning performance as part of the whole gig.














MC Overlord is not only the God Father of live hip hop music in Austin, he is the instigator for some many bands and the blueprint for an exciting stage show. Much for people to learn around him all the time. Judging by the showmanship the Kevin Flatt had onstage with Overlord and on his own. It seems fitting the night ended with this performance and the many people that contributed and joined in made it a special way to end a great night.







Flattfest III is now less than a year away. Hope it comes fast. Can't wait to drop in on this one again. No doubt that Gregg and Destinee's kick ass venue One2One will remain the home for this and should be the home for much more.


























Laters


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Battle weary, War torn, Wretched few

Back home at the Dirty Dog (https://dirtydogbar.com/) on 6th St in Austin, Texas. If you must travel to 6th St to get that Austin downtown vibe, you really should make this a stop. If it is a music night with a touring band (or bands) you may have to pay a steep cover to get in. However, there are plenty of nights during the week which allow you to just stroll in, sit in the dirty photo booth and take some scandalous shots. Most nights you can get lucky and listen to some local music at no charge, watch some sports on the many TVs or sit at the bar and have a good, old fashioned conversation with a real, down to earth bartender.


The layout of the Dirty Dog is pretty simple. Walk into the door to a street side lounge area, complete with a pole. The large "U" shaped bar curves around from the street side lounge area to the stage area on the opposite side. The Stage is a fairly decent size with an impressive sound system. Towards the back as you continue throughout the bar are the bathrooms to the left and another bar to the right.

This particular night featured 3 touring bands on the 'Winters Warriors' Tour - War of Ages, Wretched, and Battlecross. The show was kicked off by 2 local Texas bands, Imminent Descent - from  San Antonio, Texas and Southern Front as the hometown boys from Austin, Texas.


Imminent Descent (http://www.imminentdescent.com/) from San Antonio, jumped right into their set with an energy and excitement that the already large crowd ate up. Putting out their originals and a lot of energy, this 5 piece did a masterful job at reigning in the restless crowd and entertaining the crap out of us. With good, solid music, and performance, this band could make a nice little comfortable spot for themselves out of the San Antonio metal scene. The stage has been set by others before them, and the ever growing popularity of one particular burning band, Imminent Descent needs only a little fine tuning to push on through. The crowd seemed to agree as these guys wrapped up their short set. My only cringe worthy moment was the lead singer trying to hit some of the squealing high notes....dude not your forte...don't do it. Trick us and use one of the lead guitars to fill in that register as you go for it.






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Southern Front (http://www.southernfrontmetal.com/) was scary impressive. This band is fronted by a rather large and aggressive looking lead singer. Now he may be nice in person, but he was all business up onstage. Southern Front definitely played for the hometown crowd and played it up for the hometown crowd as well! As I stood to the side of the stage taking in the raving mosh pit that started, someone in the crowd behind me commented "Holy shit, these guys are fucking Awesome! This is why I came here." Hometown love and support in the house for sure. And it was a great performance. The crowd had grown larger and was definitely hungry for this as they ate this performance up. The lead singer did a very respectable job in thanking the headliners for the spot, the promoter, and the venue. This is definitely appreciated to hear a band working this hard onstage as an opener be so very grateful.

















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War of Ages (http://warofagesmetal.com/) was my shocker and surprise of the evening. This was not who brought me out to the show this evening, but this is who made me very happy I came out to rock out. War of Ages crossed over ever so slightly into the electronic medium, but had no bones about smashing our eardrums with the vocals and guitars. They got my blood pumping and had me screaming "Fuck yeah!" with everyone else in the crowd. War of Ages brought out a stunning live performance with all the bad-assery and gut-you-like-a-fish power that is what every metal fan wants and EVERY DAMN PARENT is scared of. Bravo for the Winter Warriors tour knocking it out of the park...and this was just the start.








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Wretched (https://www.facebook.com/wretchednc/timeline) had some tough stage shoes to fill after that prior performance. The problem is that Wretched didn't just fill those shoes, they blew them out. What seems like a fairly benign group of guys onstage turned out to be a raging, cannibal when they started their set. With the lead singer shedding his shirt and pounding the audience with his ferocious vocals to the lead guitarist letting down his dreads and appearing like some type of beast trying with tentacles trying to rip your face off, Wretched was definitely feeding on the audiences energy and screams. At one point during the performance there was no safe place to stand in front of the stage, as the mosh pit became a writhing mass of limbs. Get to damn close and you get pulled in and pummeled just like the music and performance of Wretched. I was satisfied for now I am blessed with a 'Cranial Infesstation' of their music and performance in my head. That which I had missed at Mayhem 2014, had been redeemed.









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Battlecross (http://battlecrossmetal.com/) capped off the night with a wicked performance. With the lead singer cursing Austin and Texas for our bullshit winter weather (it was shorts weather on 12/05/14 in Austin, Texas - and he was just kidding around), Battlecross launched into a stunning performance. Like I said earlier, this is such a well rounded and amazing line-up, it is beyond worth going to see...it's worth living, hearing, and doing it twice if you have the chance! The lead singer changed right before our very eyes. As the music started he became this shrieking like a banshee wrapped in a demonic growl that no one this evening had done before him. The entire band took center stage throughout this performance. Although there was a lead singer, everyone (save for the drummer locked beyond the massive kit) took turns being the front man and it was just mind blowing. Battlecross, ran through their set with such ease and commanded the audience so well, we were all stunned to see the performance end. And happy so that we could breathe.






















Thanks to Anthony form Come and Take it Productions
Lena at Victory Records
Adam from Wretched - for taking a few moments to talk with me
and Ben and the staff of the Dirty Dog for hosting, yet again, another kick ass night.

Laters