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Friday, September 30, 2016

Solo show, good show

I was not sad to be hanging up in Pflugerville, Texas for an evening. My time here waiting for my wife let me chill at this cool little spot on the side of IH35 called Wagner's Backyard ( Super cool place with room indoors, outdoors, or out on the deck. Wagner's is not hard to find, but it is a little tricky. Located behind a small used care dealership and tucked away in the front corner of the theater parking lot is where they make their home.

The bar itself, on the inside, is the home to a lonely pool table, some hi-top tables, bench tables, and a decent size bar right in front of you on the back wall as you walk in. Wagner's also houses plenty of TV's to catch the game. As you step outside onto the very nice deck, you will find more seating as well as some more TV's. Down the steps you go and out into the yard.

As you go down the steps you can't help to notice the really big stage. This is pretty impressive for the location. The arrangement of the stage and the seating in the back yard is great. Plenty of picnic style seating, logs, stumps, benches all allow ample area to sit and enjoy the music. Of course you can't help but notice the sand volleyball court right there as well. I only question the actual square footage and the body's they can add if it wasn't there. But this is only weighing the ability to put more people back there for bigger acts. It is possible.

There is also a nice bar in the very back. It is stocked well and the bartending staff is killer. So here is where I planted my ass to enjoy the conversations around me and some good whiskey poured by my friend. It wasn't very long before for I was drawn to what was happening on the stage. A single figure, standing there and doing his damndest to entertain the early Saturday crowd.

I try to write about the crowds reaction to a performance, but Jacob Essary ( was on early and there were distractions in the yard. Not me! I was captivated. Jacob was doing his covers of country favorites, old, new, and some a little off the beaten path. He even casually was tossing in some of his originals. He was great. For one man and his guitar he was holding my attention well.

As the sun went down, the evening grew longer, my wife dropped in. As soon as she got her drink she asked me "Who's this guy?" She was intrigued and entertained. She is the country music fan more than I, and she had high praise. "Oh my God! He is so much fun." It wasn't to long after that when I noticed that Jacob had taken on the crowd. All though the applause grew after each song, it was not too long before it was over.

Look Jacob up. Check him out for a happy hour show. Hell!, we might even get lucky and get to see him down in way south Austin for later evening performance. This was good stuff. I am happy Jacob Essary took some time away from me and left me with an impression.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

no need to start a war

This is part of the thrill I have about the music scene in Austin, sharing it with someone. My wife joined me this evening for a great double bill. After checking out the first band for the evening we took a 45 minute drive and headed BACK into Austin for some super bad ass late night sounds.

The venue is the One2One ( Built for sound, built for the show. The One2One is the premier small venue in Austin. Located just 3 minutes from the electricity of the downtown entertainment district, The One2One is located on S. Lamar in an unassuming little strip mall. But boy is this place anything BUT unassuming. Owners Gregg and Destinee Ware have built what many local musicians praise as the legacy to The Austin music scene of old (think Steamboat - if you don't know you don't get it don't worry about it). Just pick any night and you are sure to be thrilled by a performance and the great sound.

I didn't just randomly pick this night. Oh No! After seeing two of this bands members do a small acoustic set, I knew I had to check out the whole package. And not only am I happy I had the opportunity, but doubly thrilled my wife could join me. The band…ahhh well they are The Warplanes (

Walking in the doors of the One2One at midnight and being happy the band hasn’t started might seem like an oddity to you, but you are just going to have to come to Austin and see what this is about.

The Warplanes dove onto the stage minutes after midnight. The music is ridiculously hard to pigeon hole, much like many other bands in town. If you are not straight up country or rock/metal or rap then you have that “Austin Sound”. The Warplanes embodied this with the group of guys on stage. A lead guitar, an acoustic guitar wielding lead singer, a keyboard/rhythm guitarist, bass, and drums. It wasn’t quite country, it had a kind of rock edge to it, sweet harmonies, and a front man with attitude. Yes Sir! The Warplanes are pure Austin.

They were exciting to watch. They were fun to listen to. The crowd was entertained and fixated, and the crowd stayed for the whole show - a super hard thing to do for a band playing that midnight slot. The Warplanes had all of us dancing at one point. On command the lead singer had us clapping along. The lead singer was playing to the crowd and enjoying it like a little kid on Christmas...all smiles. He was climbing on the drum riser, jumping, and singing. It was amazing fun for a late night out.

With my wife, with some friends, with family, or solo, I will attend a Warplanes show any chance I get. Guess you should too. Look them up.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016


I received a call to check out several bands down at The Lucky Lounge ( on 5th St in Austin, Tx.

The Lucky Lounge is a shotgun type of set up. When you enter the club street side you are in a very small lounge. Tonight it was the pre staging area for band equipment due to the number of bands performing. Once you step in from the entry way you are looking down a long hallway and see the stage at the opposite end of the club. As you walk down the hallway the bathrooms are to the right and the stairs to go up to the VIP are on your left.

Once you walked down the hallway the club itself opens into a slightly wider version of the hallway. Hi-top tables along the wall to your left the bar on the right and a raised viewing area above the bar, against the right wall.

This particular event was an all ages show and the venue had a very decent crowd. The crowd was definitively mixed from the under age to the older parents of those, and all ages in between. Everyone was smiling talking and enjoying the music. Down in front of the stage though, that is where the fun was.

Although I was running a little late I still caught the last 3 songs of the first band up, Gold Steps  ( Fronted by female vocals, this band unquestionable had that Pop-Punk sound. It was fun, energetic and the crowd was enjoying it. Although there was no stage diving or mosh pit happening, Gold Steps had the attention of everyone, including myself. Gold Steps hails from Austin, Tx and most definitely is a good band to check out if you get a chance. With that comfortable sound that seems familiar, Gold Steps will have no problem with pulling a crowd soon enough.

Next up was Forever Starts Today ( I love their name and if you are familiar with lots of the Scream-O, Pop-Punk bands you can appreciate this name as being pretty kick ass. The nice thing is that FST has the talent and sound to back up the name. FST is fronted be female vocals. This young woman was very energetic and had the crowd wound up by the second song. The crowd was jumping along and following the lead singers every breath and word. FST was some pretty powerful stuff. With a brief, emotional moment from the lead singer dedicating the show to a recently passed fan, it seemed very evident this young front woman can control a crowd.

This next band is/was the reason I love going out to check out live music in Austin. Something new and exciting. A band or a performance that provides you that "Holy Shit!" moment. Chernobyl, The Secret ( The whole performance, from start to finish was just pure bad ass. The lead singer was just energy. Living the music, being the music, performing the music, energy. The audience new it and felt it. That pent up rage just exploding throughout the crowd. Chernobyl the Secret was just adrenaline fueled mayhem and everyone was in on it. The photos here and what the band have are just lucky shots between me getting pummeled and trying to save my camera. Didn't matter though, I loved Chernobyl the Secret  just as much as the crowd did.

Drown The Coward ( mounted the stage next and just kept the crowd going. Their sound wasn't as dark as the previous band, but Drown the Coward was just as hard hitting. Drown the Coward had another front man who was a beast with the vocals. The performance was just the perfect amount of creative rage and energy to keep the crowd pulsing around and forming another circle pit in the small space.

From Temple, Texas came Isonomist ( Supporting their recently released CD, these guys were just a little different sound of crazy then the previous two bands. Isonomist was very technical and had what seemed to be a tuned down sound. The front man towered over the crowd with command and the band roared through their set. Realizing how good this set was made me wonder how much more the crowd could take. Isonomist just plowed through their set and with the vocals and guitars, and just pounded the shit out of the crowd... it was accepted with sweaty, smiling faces.

And then there was the king, Call Me King ( The final band of the evening. Hailing all the was from Austin. They proudly announced to the crowd this was the last home show as they were about to hit the road on tour. Well, if I thought everyone was wore out, Call Me King fueled the crowd with their announcement and then lit the match. Everybody was jumping on command of the lead singer.

With the most surprising vocal harmonies of the evening, I hope this part of this Call Me King's performance didn't escape the notice of the young crowd. Call Me King was the most electric performance of the evening. It was the fill between fun and energetic, and fast and crazy. Call Me King was in the right spot to end the evening.


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Two guys and a guitar

It's been a while, but I feel like I have some performance reviews to share with you.

On the request of a friend, I went to a local sports bar called Doc's Backyard ( It is a nice sports bar with seating inside and out, and of course plenty of televisions. The food is good and the prices are to be expected for a sports bar, but the food is very good! Outside, the seating is mainly near the bar. However there are some tables farther away from the bar, near the very large playground. That's right! Bring your pets AND your kids. Watch the game, have some good eats, and let the kids run, play, and wear themselves out.

In a small area, just between the table seating in the bar area and the table seating by the playground, is stage. Quite unassuming, if no one is up there using it, but perfectly placed if there is entertainment.

This particular early evening was Aric Garcia and Issac Routh. Two of the four members of a local band the Warplanes ( Doing a little set with Isaac on guitar and lead vocals and Aric on percussion, harmony vocals, and working the board. These two guys filled the air with fun and great sounds.

Even though a large part of the crowd dancing and having a great time were under 4ft tall, there was no doubt the great tunes and harmonies from these two guys and a guitar were resonating through everyone listening. Aric and Isaac rolled through many familar songs with their own slight twist and flavor. and the originals were as electric as you can get without the full band experience.

Aside from all of the love the kids gave Aric and Isaac, this was not a kids show. It was just the perfect music for a beautiful Friday evening during Happy Hour! No questions about it. Look these guys up on Facebook or under the whole bands name, The Warplanes. Seek them out and find them around the town. GO see some GREAT, inspiring, live and local music. Without a doubt I will make a point of finding them doing this type of set up again and I hope to enjoy it with you. I plan on sharing it with my wife and my dad next chance I get.

For a small taste check out this small clip of Aric and Isaac doing a mind, blowing and stunning acoustic version of Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd.