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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Ray of sunshine

TV food personality Rachael Ray has made a temporary home here in Austin for the last several years. Usually around the second or third weekend in March. The line to get in for her Saturday festivities (called Rachael Rays Feedback - borders on infanity (yes, you read that correctly)! Starting a 6 O'clock the evening before, fans of all ages start the wait outside of Stubbs. The food, the drinks, the frivolity, all lead to an afternoon of truly epic proportions. I was thrilled to have been at the event previously to shoot photo and talk all about the extravaganza that only Rachael Ray could put her stamp on. With her small stature and H U G E personality, there is no wondering why people wait for hours just for the opportunity to be a part of this. Even more thrilled to be able to do it again, and this time with my beautiful wife supplying some of the great camera work.

But did you know there is another event that is a 3 day lead up that culminates with the Saturday fun that is the Rachael Ray Feedback!?

It is called the Feedback House. Generally reserved for special guests and press. It takes place in a secret location. So sorry, I can't, and won't tell you about the location, but will divulge some of the beauty of this very small and intimate 3 day party.

The food is all Rachael Ray, just like the big event on Saturday. A special menu dreamt up by Rachael and her staff. There are beverages to enjoy. And this year, OH MY GOD, this year there was peanut butter! Lots of it! It quote Rachael..."DELISH!" It was Peter Pan - Simply Ground. I am not a food critic. I will leave that to the professionals, but I do love me some peanut butter, and the peanut butter pretzel sticks with white chocolate chips was the BEST EVER!

Ok, the music.

Hundred Hounds ( rocked the stage at the Feedback House while I was there on one particular day. It was a stellar performance. In my opinion, way more deserving of a big stage on the Saturday event, but no worries, Hundred Hounds tore into the crowd at the the Feedback House like a pack of hungry wolves. I even overheard someone exclaim "Rachael's husband must have picked out this band." No matter, it was not good. It was EXCITING, ENERGETIC, GREAT, ELECTRIC, AND REVITALIZING... all at once.

Hundred Hounds took the small stage in front of only 50+ people (remember these all invited guests and press) and just pounded out some bad ass rock and roll. The lead singer was a charmer all to himself. Of course he has to be, he is the front man. He came out as an emcee to introduce the band, stepped off the stage, only to return a split second later as the lead singer who thanked the emcee for the introduction. At this moment, I knew Hundred Hounds were absolutely about the performance. Which is just what they did. Listening and watching them drive through their set was a blast. It really did energize the hot crowd. Hell it was exciting enough to make me miss another gig I had planned to shoot.

The only bullshit drama on this piece, as I write it, is Hundred Hounds hail from the upper east coast - New York area. Like most local bands the reap their fame at home. Hopefully the opportunity opens up for Hundred Hounds to lead their pack back Texas way and see how a crowd of a few hundred would bite into their style of rock.

As for Rachael Rays Feedback on Saturday, just stay warmed up listening to some funkadelic tunes to prepare for that review.


Monday, May 30, 2016

No membership dues

Dead Love Club (

I actually have caught this band twice. Once with some out of town family, the second at an after party show.

The first time was at the Dirty Dog. It was a jaw dropping, pants down kind of performance. The Dead Love Club is quite shocking in the party sense of the word. They are unexpected, tongue in cheek dirty, wear your leather chaps and put on your most scandalous lingerie. Whips, chains, and other miscellaneous accessories  optional. The crowd was completely excited and ready for the rest of the night once Dead Love Club bump and grinded their way through our ears.

The Dead Love Club is an eighties throwback band. Your favorite party tunes set up with that live sound which is an eyeful. The male and female lead vocals are exciting and energetic. The live guitar and drums, along with the keyboards and DJ setup ensures the music doesn't stop at all.

The second time I saw the Dead Love Club was at an after party at The Mohawk for a touring band. And the crowd was totally into this performance. I am telling you, there were people in the crowd dressed in the most outrageous costumes. Celebrating the music like I haven't seen in a while from a crowd and with a sexy performance by the female lead singer, it was hot enough to warm your leather chaps! The mash-ups the Dead Love Club do of some of the greatest party songs ever, along with their own originals, is what you would want and need on any Friday or Saturday night. Because if you see this party band on any other night of the week, plan on staying late and feeling great, but not so much the next morning.

Remember, there are no membership dues for this club. All are welcome.


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Willards got Skills

Pflugerville has really started to pick up the live music scene recently. With the new additions and remodels, PTown is offering more options for the locals to catch some good music almost any night of the week and every weekend you can definitely find something worthy of driving up the road from Austin, or out your front door if you live there.

Wagners Backyard ( is one of these places. Not only providing a pretty damn outdoor area to hang out in, but play some yard games and card games. With a very respectable stage outdoor you would almost not realize there is a stage inside also. Just as you walk in the front door of Wagners, the stage is immediately to your left. Although it would be great if the stage faced towards the back yard or was arranged in a slightly different fashion, it still provides humble little spot for a band to kick it and a few folks inside to enjoy.

My wife and I purposefully wandered in this particular evening to catch the Zach Willard Band ( I believe these guys hail from the Cedar Park area. We were surprised and pleased they were hanging out and playing some music this evening. With an extremely pleasant, large, building sized doorman working and chatting with us, The Zach Willard Band provided the music for great evening.

The Zach Willard Band is a 4 piece with Zach doing vocals and guitar work, he proved to be an entertainer. There was a large group sitting at the table in front of the stage and having a great time. It was great how Zach worked the crowd and made this show special and unique. Obviously I can't say if the band has performances like this every time they hit the lights, but I will tell you to go find them and enjoy this style of uptempo country music.

For me, the thing which left the biggest impression about the show was one little portion, where front man Zach Willard was soliciting info from the crowd. He the crowd to  several different things to him. Location, events, sports get the idea. He then proceeded to weave together a song right in front of the crowd. It was fucking awesome!

Stop by Wagners Backyard, drink a beer, play a game, watch a game, and if you plan it right enjoy and support live local music.

Look up the Zack Willard Band and have a fun time, sing along, and make memories.