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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fader in effect

SXSW is always a great time of year. The sheer number of bands that come into Austin, Texas is astounding. Bands from all over the globe, here for just a few days, trying to play as many shows as possible, and hoping for that lucky break. For the music lover it is prime pickings. To see a new band you have never heard of, see that band you have been hearing about, or run into a favorite. With amount of free shows going on night and day, it really is indie heaven.

A skillful person can go on line usually about a month ahead and sign up for many of the 'invite only' free events. You can VIP yourself for so many shows and events you wont be able to do them all. Then there is simply walking from one event to another and experiencing even more music that it is hard to not get side tracked and lose your sense of time. You just get pulled in by the fun you see and hear.

I was so very lucky enough to get press access to The Fader Fort presented by Converse ( Located this year just off of IH 35 on 5th St. it was a blast! With special sponsors like Dell, Jack Daniels (oh man was that awesome after 5pm), and Mazda there was always something happening and something to see or experience. Even hanging out was an experience. One of the days it rained and yet the spirits of those in attendance were not even close to being dampened.

The music, oh yes the music. For me the highlight was Big Sean, but there were several others I enjoyed along with the thousand or so in attendance.

I normally post about the performances in my blog, but I will share with you the photos of the time I spent there. Just take this blog write up as a helpful hint and a glance forward at the excitement next years SXSW. The Fader Fort did lots of things right. From crowd control, access, the lines, and security. It was inviting inside the Fort with special guest Converse artists and Dells lounge. It was social and fun outside with a giant chalkboard by Mazda, a really phenomenal outside lounge area, and Jack Daniels being the social lubricant to make it all work.

The stage and light set up for the performers was bangin' along with the sound. Those outside that had to wait their turn to get in were at least kept entertained by the performances inside. It is with no doubt I now understand the long lines to get into this event with the music and mix The Fader Fort presented by Converse hot ticket!


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Like water

When it's that near perfect mixture of music, crowd, and flows like water. The music is just right for the crowd. The mixture of rock, country, Americana, and originals just come together perfectly...and the crowd loves it. The drinks flow like water. The social lubricant of our adult lives keeps the good times rolling. Time. The time just moves on with a seamless performance so the next thing you know...3 hours have gone by in a blink. It all flows like water.

 The unexpected Friday night performance is always fun. I wanted to stop by, but didn't know if it would really happen. It did! The stop was in the pouring rain in Pflugerville, Texas. The place was Uncle Gary's Bar. The band was American Gypsy Band.

Uncle Gary's Bar ( is on the side of the highway at the far back end of a parking lot. I was looking for it while I was in the parking lot and still didn't see it until we walked right up to it...then it was 'Oh! This is it.' Understand it was 8:30 at night and raining like Hell so the description of the outside is definitely tainted. A modest porch out front was crowded as Hell, all the smokers were doing their thing and trying to stay dry.

As you walk in, the venue is the size of a small house. The bar is immediately to your left, the stage is at the back in the right corner. Bathrooms are past the bar on the left and next to the stage. There are some stairs that lead up to a small balcony and seating area above the floor. Apparently there is an area out back too, but it was to wet to go out there and I didn't care 'cause I don't smoke.

The house was jam packed this evening and everyone was having a great time with the American Gypsy Band ( doing their thing on stage. My title paragraph should really bring home the sentiment and crowd loving fun of this band. A four piece with the lead singer doing some acoustic work occasionally. Their mixture of cover tunes spanned a huge swath of musical genres to the delight of the crowd. There was no dance floor and it was packed with girls and couples dancing to almost every song. The crowd was singing along (appropriately, not annoyingly) and there were not to many moments where folks were just sitting. American Gypsy Band spectacularly wove their originals in with the covers to the point that you couldn't tell and didn't care.

As far as a performance goes and for a crowd pleasing time. You can't go wrong with a night of American Gypsy Band. Check them out, look then up, and plan on it. is a cool ass video of them performing some Bob Marley (


Thursday, April 9, 2015

bachelor party weekend pt 2

Just having realized that my last Saturday as a bachelor was gonna spent with INsite Austin Magazine editor Sean Claes and long time, live rock video enthusiast, and documentor of all things metal and awesome in Austin - Dave "Dave TeeVee" Prewitt, I might as well review some shows.

We went down to the Red Eyed Fly on Red River in Austin, Texas. Pretty much in the heart of the entertainment district. There were 2 bands performing on their nifty outside stage this nice evening.

As you walk in the Red Eyed Fly ( there is a wall that immediately greats you upon stepping in the entrance. As you walk around it to either side you discover a very decent sized bar area. Lots of tables and seating and a long bar on the wall to your right. As you walk through the club to the back, the bathrooms are to your right also. Out back is where the magic happens. A large stone area with a stage set directly in front of you and another bar to your right. It either stays very cool out here in the fall and winter time or humid as hell the other 11 months of the year, as the bar backs up to Waller Creek.

The first band on stage was Austins own Burn Ban ( A local 2 piece punk band with all the balls needed to make you believe. Although the crowd was ridiculously small for a Saturday night, I can tell you it had nothing to do with the band. Burn Ban was fun. You couldn't see the drummer but you could hear him. The vocalist/guitarist was definitely running the show. Nothing flashy about these guys...except for the singers socks. This is punk as punk should be and sometimes is. Short 2 minute songs. Fast paced, loud, and harsh. With lyrical content the may or may not e something to laugh at (e.g. - their song 'Suck My Dick' is not what you think it is about....or is it?).

The second band we saw was Whiskey of the Damned (, and Damned fine these guys were! I would have so loved to seen this performance on St Patrick's Day with a crowd of 2000 drunken revelers enjoying the performance. They are an Irish band from Wisconsin(?), Celtic Rock for real though. This was another one of those shocker performances you dream about. When it was over you looked around and realized that the hundreds or thousands that should have been in attendance just missed out on something they will never aurally be able to experience again.

Whiskey of the Damned was about as kick ass and fun as you can get. A touring band that Austin got lucky enough to have stop here, and sad enough because a promoter fucked them over. It was fun, it was entertaining, it was a down in the crowd experience. If you have ever been to a St. Patrick's Day celebration with one of THOSE fun rock bands everyone seems to love and enjoy....they wish they could be as great as Whiskey of the Damned. I usually like to talk about how much fun the audience had at a show. Seeing as the crowd was made up of their roadie, some wives or girlfriends, the bar staff, and some riff-raff that writes about will just have to settle for my experience.

THEY WERE GREAT! The drummer came out and played drums on an empty keg. They rotated guitarist/drummer/singer/bassist. They were all over the place in the most fun and chaotic fashion. And it all circled around some absolutely great music.

Sorry everyone missed this. Look them up and I will see you at the show next time they hit Austin.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

A very metal bachelor party

My last weekend as a bachelor and I get the call from INsite Austin Magazine ( editor, Sean Claes, to join him for a band review he was invited to do.

We jumped in his car and on the way to the show the conversation rolls around to it should, HA! We realize that this particular Saturday was my last Saturday as a single man. The following Friday (03/13/15) I was to be married to Ms. Cruz, and damn well looking forward to it!

The first stop was to The Dirty Dog ( As you well know, one of my favorite spots to catch music in Austin on 6th St. The band on the review bill was none other than Southern Front. Now, at first I didn't realize it, but I had seen and reviewed them ( I actually didn't snap to this fact until after the first band had finished insulting our ears and sense of what a decent performance should be. I saw the lead singer to Southern Front setting up. As Sean and I went to the stage to say 'Hi!', it was then I realized she they were.

Lets talk about The Dirty Dog real quick. It is located right in the heart of the entertainment district, on 6th St., just a few blocks West of IH 35. The club is home to  some nice street side seating with large windows to people watch.  A very large U shaped bar in the middle and a long bar on the right hand side towards the back. Plenty of room on the floor in front of a decent size stage for enjoying any type of performance. Rock, Metal, Americana, Pop, Latin, Hip Hop, I have seen it all there and enjoyed it the bar each and every time.

The first band of the evening was Momentous ( They were not! It was a two piece, guitar and drummer. No vocals but lots of balls. The drummer was located towards the front of the stage, but facing stage The guitarist just ran back an forth on the stage, as near as I could tell, masturbating with his guitar. I can say that because it was not really in the realm of playing.

The drummer was another story. He was actually quite amazing. And I mean, shockingly, surprising, holy crap! kind of awesome. But he was just as disturbing as the guitar player. Not only was he sitting sideways and playing towards a wall, he just seemed to stare off into the distance and just spent the whole performance counting. BUT HE WAS FREAKING AMAZING. Like, technical, fast, and just great. I think the crowd stood in somewhat confused silence as they performed. The only cheers seemed to come from friends or family that were in the crowd.

Southern Front ( was up next. Damn fine performance. The crowd had built up and pushed forward ready for the start of this. Southern Front is metal in the best sense of the genre. Just guitar grinding, drum and bass pounding, lead singer screaming in your face metal. If this is what you cam to see, you got it. The crowd loved it I will tell you this, first time I saw Southern Front, the lead singer scared the hell outta me as a super intense guy. After meeting him and saying hello pre performance, it was a totally different perspective. Still extremely intense, but it was way more enjoyable and fun watching the show and enjoying it in it's entirety this time.

You have to get out and see and enjoy Southern Front soon. From the looks of the press it seems like some of Austin's local metal is getting great attention.

photos of the show are here:

courtesy of Sean Claes from INsite Austin magazine.

Coming soon is the story of the The Dirty Dog and the 10th anniversary on 6th St Austin, Texas.