Follow Live Music In Austin

Sunday, November 29, 2015

They wish

I'll get to that in a minute

Threadgills (http://www.threadgills.com) South is both wonderful outside (weather permitting) and interesting inside. The food is fantastic, and the ambiance is pure Austin,Texas...y'all. It is home to the remnants of the famous Armadillo World Headquarters (look it up) an establishment that helped establish Austin with the title of 'live music capital of the world'.

I will withhold my normal description of the venue as you really have to see it to understand. BUT...the inside stage is in the 'Threadgills Saloon'. You have to walk through the restaurant and smell the good food to get to it. Oh yes, you can order food in the Saloon as well. It seats about 90. Tonight was beyond standing room and it was glorious! The crowd was great and the music...well that's what I want to talk about.


The Cuckoos (https://www.facebook.com/thecuckoosaustin/) are a 3 piece. Vocals do the keys, there is a guitarist, and a drummer. With a packed house, these 3 young men made their way onto the stage and with little warning laid into their first track. It seemed to get oddly quite from the crowd once they started playing. Yes, there was the normal murmur, but it was mostly people saying "WHOA!", "Wait! Who is this again?" and of course the overwhelming tone I heard was "Oh my God!". Yes they weren't just that good. They were stunning. 


Once again I have designs on going to see one particular band and am blown away by something completely unexpected and sensational. The Cuckoos were just that. Everybody loved them. Though the house was packed for the headliner, I saw and heard no one exclaim anything other than joy at the sound of The Cuckoos. I even had a friend task me with hunting them down so that we could go to their next gig with less distraction than this evenings headliner.



Here is the obvious and needed comparison. WHICH I DON'T DO! I have said this before, a lot! I don't compare because what I hear and you hear would not be the same thing. I wouldn't want to jade you from seeing something you think is wonderful. These kids sounded like The Doors. Yes, if Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek had a child it would have been the lead singer and keyboard player of The Cuckoos. The sound, the voice, the keys. It was eerily bad ass! As for the Doors, THEY WISH they had a guitar player like this. I don't care what you say about The Doors guitarist, with The Cuckoos, the guitar was not buried behind they keys and the vocals, he was just as much the star, and damn impressive at that.

Much love, respect, and future/ongoing success to The Cuckoos. Do you part, feel nostalgic for that sound from a by gone time, go see The Cuckoos. Want something that is different from that 'Austin Sound' go see The Cuckoos.




Enough of that! Let me tip my hat in grand respect to the man of the hour. Van Wilks (http://www.vanwilks.com). I can't say I don't like writing about artists over and over again, I love talking about good music. This, though, seems to be different and ever evolving each time I see him. Van Wilks has been doing his thing in Austin for a long time, but just doesn't seem to get the love here as he does in, say,.....FRANCE! 



I am glad Van calls Austin, Texas home and you really should get out and see him if you haven't. On a good night, there may be a stunning list of guests who make it onstage with him or sit with you in the crowd. If not, then you are in for just a bad ass guitarist with some fantastic blues/rock music. 








Not needing to prove himself with a new album, Van Wilks has definitively grabbed a hold of that guitar throne and declared himself King of the "21st Century Blues"(http://www.waterloorecords.com/UPC/678572221743/Van-Wilks_21st-Century-Blues). It is not just the stunning guitar work on the new album, but it's his ability to be more impressive live. Not the familiar sound we know, but the sound we love. It is comforting to know that level of talent and Vans respect for where he came from musically, is for all of us to share on the new album and see in his live performances. 





















For the show this evening, it brought special guest guitarist Josh Smith onstage. Beautiful to know Van Wilks, as a guitar man, has no ego about sharing the stage. Oh yes! Legendary vocalist Malford Milligan stepped onstage for two songs. Charming, humble, and still the most notable of blues/rock vocalists and distinctive voices pretty much anywhere.





They wish they had a set list and guest list like this. They wish!


Laters





Happy Birthday to Austin PubCrawl, William Tompkins. Got a photo of him, his daughter, and Malford Milligan.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Open letter to Moontower

Moontower Saloon (https://www.moontowersaloon.com/) stands on the far south edge of Austin. Located in Awesome, Texas, Moontower has become the standard to which any other outdoor venue in Austin should strive to be. Not all can accommodate the sheer amount of acreage this place has, so it would be impossible for everyone to copy the Moontowers winning recipe. They should all try though.




It is a 21 and up venue, but I think there is a money way for them to optimize that crowd slightly, other outdoor venues are doing it with success. Something there for Moontower to learn from. The parking is ridiculously plentiful. There are sand volleyball courts off in the distance, but not to far from the bar. A snazzy little outhouse to keep you close to the action...without having to walk through the crazy packed, small little farmhouse that is the indoor bar. A H U G E covered patio with an outside bar. Food trailers on the perimeter along with some horse shoe and washer pits an the far backside of the seating area for the stage and socializing. 

The stage is a small fare that is attached to the indoor bars building. Big enough for a 4 piece and a tight fit for most anything else. The seating for the crowd out from the stage allows for a small area to dance, if the music moves you, and lots of seating. With picnic benches lined up THE RIGHT WAY to allow folks on both sides of the table to socialize and watch the bands. Fire pits are scattered around with seating around them to keep warm and be social as well. A large deck springs up just off of stage left and is private from the masses, but still right there in the mix. 

In all Moontower Saloon has hit on the formula for out door music, fun, and people!

This particular musical evening was an accidental beauty. I went to see the crowd pleaser Bobby Bookout and was blown away by the phenomenal Robert Johnsons Soul!











Dear Moontower Saloon,

I am sorry that you double booked this particular evening. I know and understand that shit happens. Bobby Bookout (http://www.bobbybookout.com/) is one of Austins young guns that is blowing people away with his song writing and singing ability. Nice to have someone this young be able to respect the blues this well and have a band that bad ass back him. Looking forward to his new album coming out in 2016.




Robert Johnson's Soul (http://www.rjsoul.com/) is the epitome of "WOW!" and "What the hell did I just experience?" His talent with a guitar should not be surprising looking at all. The talent that Austin has had and is still cultivating, shouldn't be surprising, but Robert Johnson is! His mix of the rock covers are electrifying and his talent to pull out that blues rock is inspiring. Can't wait to catch another set from him and his devil be damned band.




But Moontower...you DOUBLE BOOKED! Take it from me and make this a lesson learned...
HOORAY FOR YOU MOONTOWER SALOON! Your accidental eff up was joy to all in attendance. I know this because I listened to all around me. The old and the new.

The fans from far away and close by. Robert Johnson's Fans were thrilled to see him...and when they asked about Bobby Bookout, they stayed, appreciated, and enjoyed. They found something new. The fans of Bobby Bookout asked, "Who the hell is this?" Then they shut up and listened when Robert Johnson's Soul began to play. The found something new!

So how about it Moontower Saloon? The Moontower Music Series sounds like a bad ass deal to me. Maybe you should try this more often...except without pissing off the bands with this type of surprise. Two bands with similar styles. Split the 3 hours...(because if you ask them they will say they can do 3 hrs, they will say they want to, but give them the option of a shared bill with some other amazing talent to showcase themselves and gain a new fan base...now that is very appealing. This is what the fans of the Austin music scene would love! And at a place where it is comfortable and easy to stay for 4 hours or more....

If you listen you can hear us lining up.



Laters





To the Wormhead in you


This is more than another post, this is a heads up. If you are in a band and you are trying to move to the next level, you will want to follow me on this.


I did a blog post about The Dirty Wormz at Spinners Live a while back. I believe it was actually for Smackola of The Dirty Wormz supporting a new song and the newly produced video starring Boxing champ Roy Jones Jr. (http://livemusicinaustin.blogspot.com/2014/03/spin-this.html).

This post isn't about becoming a fan of The Dirty Wormz (although you should) it is about Smackola of The Dirty Wormz approaches, believes in, and sells The Dirty Wormz brand (http://dirtywormz.net/).

First about the performance. Spinners Live (https://www.facebook.com/spinners.live.73) is located on the Southbound side of IH 35 as you are entering the Austin City Limits from the north. Unassuming and located in a little micro strip mall, if you don't GPS it and don't look, you will miss it. The venue contains two sides, the sports bar & grill, and the live side - for parties and live shows. The live side is pretty much a long rectangle. The bar is immediately on your left when you walk in and runs a third of the way down the wall. There is a stage immediately to your right when you walk in door that takes up the majority of the short end of the rectangle. As you look all the way down the venue, it is pretty much open with a mix of tables, chairs, and sofas spread out and along the walls. The bathrooms are located all the way to the back.


This night onstage brought 2 openers and the headliner, George Vondoom and Nubia Emmon. With Special guest, DJ Versus keep the crowd entertained, The Dirty Wormz know how to do it.

DJ Versus (https://www.facebook.com/djversus512) had the lights going, the video projection, and of course, the music. Once the house music switched off and went to DJ Versus, you could tell the vibe changed in Spinners Live. From everyone standing around kind of ho hum, to everyone now moving...we had waited long enough. It seemed like DJ Versus was doing the video music, as the projections looked to be the artists videos. Spinning a wide variety of tracks from old school rap to brand new cuts, everyone was getting ready. I thoroughly enjoyed the mixing and fill that DJ Versus provided. However I did have one gripe. It was also echoed by the bartender that I was hanging out with...why all the PG versions of the songs. The show was 21 and up, but it appeared the tracks were either edited or radio versions. It wasn't bad at all, it was just very weird not to hear Jay Z tell us he had 99 problems but a       ain't one. I will assume there was a reason. Otherwise i have always said, play to the crowd, play for the crowd.




George Vondoom (https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010396653591) was the first act up. The two guys rolled right into their set with a very interesting intro. It was attention getting for sure. The crowd looked like they were into his set and there definitely appeared to be more than a few fans in the house. If I have to criticize, I have to. With the crowd enjoying the set, it seemed off by just a little. Nothing that I saw anyone around me getting pissy about. It was a fast set and there was no bullshitting around on this.


I know there is a talent in writing and performing the music, but when you are singing, rapping, or playing over your own track, even with a live mic...it seems like a let down to me. The unfortunate truth is I know the huge amount of work it takes to put on a live production, with that, I give George Vondoom huge props.













Nubia Emmon  (http://www.nubiaemmon.com/) was the slam dunk moment of the night. I knew something was up when when local super producer Ter'rell Shahid (https://www.facebook.com/terell.shahid) was in the house with his beautiful wife. Nubia Emmon was a stunner with her voice and to the edge of the stage performance for the crowd. Although she sang to tracks, she definitely did it live. There was nothing to hide here. It was all voice. The crowd new it and felt it. The stunned silence the crowd stood there in was only broken by there swaying back and forth. It was a mesmerizing performance.













When I saw Ter'rell after this performance. I exclaimed with eyes wide open and jaw gaping "You knew about her?" With no words, Ter'rell simply nodded his head yes and smiled a very big smile. Son of a bitch, what a smoking hot find in Nubia Emmon. Go see her preform and wrap your head around this woman doing it with a live band...and there are only a select few players that could back this girl well!






The Dirty Wormz (http://dirtywormz.net/). What can I say about this band that I haven't said before...probably alot. So let me make this quick. On the rare occasion, The Dirty Wormz are to appear with a full band...it is a MUST SEE production! Like several other bands here in Austin, this group is balls out, 'Top of the Food Chain' (https://youtu.be/bbAg_-ELjsQ). Sorry for the corny ass reference, but if you haven't seen them live, you don't know and you don't get it. So you need to get it!






This performance was with the core members, Smackola, DJ Crash, and Mr. Swift. The lights, the performance, and the music. Here is where I start preaching to anyone and everyone reading this that is in a band trying to make a name for themselves. This shit was rehearsed, rehearsed, and then rehearsed again. This was not a rehash of every performance they have done for 20+ years. It was a new mix, a new set list, and just new. Take note, listen, and learn.




Here is the summary of what I mentioned in the intro. I will be doing an interview with Smackola very soon. This will be an Epic interview and will be released in several parts. The discussion will range from the state of the Austin music scene today, where we see it going, what you the fans and the players can do. We will also discuss brand and image. THIS, my friends, is what can make you. Local, national, world wide! Listen to the worm and learn.











We will start promoting this video very soon. Watch for it. Until then












Laters

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Marcus is NOT an idot

My son and I were eating lunch one day and he said "Dad, you've got to hear this! This guy, his name is Hopsin. He is amazing, like, his style, how he raps, and the shit he talks about. It is awesome!" So I listened and I liked. I recognized Hopsin's ability to go out of the box - the box you watch, the box you're told you have to live within, the box you are reading this on, with his words and themes. Some very high level stuff, brought down to a level the masses can appreciate. I am not saying everyone will get it. Get the inside joke, get the point, understand the message. Some will just laugh and exclaim "OH MY GOD DID YOU HEAR WHAT HE SAID ABOUT...?"

Then I get the text from my son some time later letting me know that Hopsin was going to be in Austin, Texas on the Funk Volume Tour. He would be performing at EMOS with DJ Hoppa, Dizzy Wright, and Jarren Benton. My thought is  - 'Let's do this!'

Emos (http://www.emosaustin.com/) is located on Riverside Dr, just south of downtown and the popular entertainment district. It is not far enough outside the area to make it inconvenient if you want to be downtown before or after a show here. The parking sucks, but the venue is worth it.

As you walk in the entrance there are a row of ticket windows in front of you. If you have already got your paper, then simply proceed to your right into the venue. The stage stands against the wall to your right. It is a very large stage. This set up could house just about any touring act from small to large. The sound board is in the middle of the floor and there are bleacher style seats against the back wall, to the left as you stand there, to your back if you are looking at the stage.

There are 3 bars, two to the left and right side at the back of the venue, and one to the left of the stage as you look at the stage. The bathrooms are next to the back left bar and there is an outdoor smoking area. In all, it is set up perfectly for any general admission show that would roll through town. In this night there was a large black curtain that cut the venue in half. Hanging from the high ceiling to the floor directly behind the sound booth. I later found out this is done when a show does not sell past a certain number of tickets.



There was a local DJ on stage doing his thing and two local acts performed prior to the touring part of the show made it out onstage. I couldn't tell you about the first group, but the second guy was
Kenny G (also referred to as KG). This guy was legit for a local. Don't know how he got on this tour, but his originals were good, you could understand him (he wasn't trying to deep throat the mic) and the music was definitely the perfect set of beats to hype the crowd.








Each of the main acts all had some very amusing  video to introduce them as they came out onstage. It was hilarious, but it was also brilliant. Not just the introduction for the act and entertainment for 5 minutes, it built the anticipation and made the crowd go crazy when each performer stepped out.


Jarren Benton (https://www.facebook.com/JarrenBenton/) from the FUNK Volume Tour, was the first act up. There is no doubt the crowd loved this man and his performance. It was energetic. He had a live drummer that was every bit a part of the performance as Jarren's rhymes. Jarren Benton did more than his part in pumping up the crowd, he turned up the heat and left or ears pounding. I can't say anything about Jarren Benton before this night or performance, but I can tell you after the fact...he was smart, funny, and wicked cool for all his weight in weed. Jarren Benton is the cement foundation for FUNK Volume like an 808.
























Next out was DJ Hoppa (https://www.facebook.com/deejayhoppa/) as an intro for Dizzy Wright. My son spoke very highly of DJ Hoppa and it seemed like the reaction from the crowd, when he came out after his video, they all agreed. DJ Hoppa did some mixing and scratching for just a couple of minutes before Dizzy Wright had his intro and came out.


Dizzy Wright (https://www.facebook.com/DizzyWright) came out onstage with his partner in rhyme and carried on, and took us even farther than Jarren did. As a true MC, Dizzy commanded the crowd with his hands and his words. The audience jumped, bounced, and moved at his words and commands. At one point in the middle of his set the crowd seemed to lull, but Dizzy had everyone break out their lighters, and within moments he set off the crowd once again. Dizzy knew his spot on the roster. He was the hype man in the 'get the crowd going' spot for Hopsin. Dizzy Wright could've ended the performance there (memories of Fort Collins) and the crowd would've left breathless and excited.







But it didn't end there...


































Hopsin (https://www.facebook.com/hellohopsin/) made his appearance after a hysterical video, of which words can not describe the gross hilarity that was the intro for Hopsin. With the crowd screaming at my back (as I was in the photo pit) it was not hard to tell all of the build up and hype had just paid off. Hopsin smiled and glared into the crowd as he tore into his first two songs...and then he spotted "HER" in the crowd. After calling out the young man for his beautiful date being a fake, Hopsin launched into 'Ramona'. Not even skipping a beat, Hopsin just rolled through his set, with little talk, but lots of performing, he moved across the stage. Edge to edge he made everyone in the crowd feel like it was their performance.


















I like Hopsin. I can appreciate what he does. The tongue in cheek manner at which he educates the masses. The smile on his face as he knows and understands...he is an entertainer.

































Laters









special thanks to scoremoreshows.com and C3