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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Mushroomhead 2017

with special guests Slop Musket, XIII, Ventana, and Unsaid Fate.

I have been to this venue a couple of times already. I actually went there a few times before it was this particular incarnation. But this night was the first time I walked through the door with the brand on the outside, proudly displayed for all to see...Come and Take It Live! (

There is plenty of parking all around the building. As you walk up to the entrance there is a large fenced in area for smoking and enjoying some grub from the food trailer to the right. As you walk in there is the ticket counter immediately in front of you and the large main bar to the right of that. This is where it gets interesting. As you face the bar from the entrance, the large stage is to the far back left of the bar, bathrooms are to the right behind the bar and there are some steps to your left that lead up to a second level viewing area and a merch sales area behind that. As you walk up the steps, to your left and almost behind you is a flight of stairs that goes up to the next level.

Up here is another bar to you left, in front of you, as you reach the top of the stairs. There is a VIP lounge area back behind you that has sofas and some additional seating and overlooks the stage. Where the bar is has a long halfwall that allows you to look down on the stage and the crowd below. There are also a couple of very nice Jack Daniels pool tables. There is also a hidden room that is called the 'Skybox'. This sweet little retreat is actually over the top of the stage on the side. This  allows for some pretty good views of the onstage antics. The skybox can seat about 5 people comfortably, and more if you are comfortable with the crowd.

In all, for its quirky, different levels and areas, Come and Take It Live allows for a great view from just about anywhere in the house.

On the bill for this night of music were two Austin bands opening for three road bands. Slop Musket ( was up first to open the night. Of course it always has to be a tough spot to be the very first. Not everyone has arrived. The crowd is just starting to get their drink on, it's just generally tough. There was about 25 or 30 people down on the floor when Slop Musket took the stage. With their different style of rap and rock, Slop Musket powered through their short set. As entertaining as they were, it was super difficult to get a grasp on their set in general...and there was just not a whole lot of feedback from the crowd. I am sure I will run into them again and hopefully be able to give a proper review for their set.

XIII ( was up next. Tell you what, the crowd had swelled enough to pay attention. And it took all of 35 seconds from the start of XIII's set for the small, growing crowd to react with cheers. Although they opened with a cover song, it was still a pretty fucking epic and ballsy jump off. The great thing is their sound and set didn't change much. Rolling into there originals XIII kept it high energy and exciting for the crowd and myself. Credit to the band for doing a great job of hyping themselves and their upcoming CD release show. It was musically bad ass enough and interesting enough that I made plans to attend their event.

Ventana ( was the first of the three road bands to hit the stage. Costumed and on point, Ventana laid into the now warmed up crowed. Here was another band with an energetic front man and dueling lead vocals to make the crowd start to break into a sweat and start a circle pit. The little snippets of sound intros to a couple of their songs where quite charming as I caught myself laughing at some in the crowd who didn't know it was a recording or didn't get the joke and poke at politics. Of course if you have not seen Ventana live you wouldn't know. The solution...go see Ventana, for the love that is All-American, Apple Pie, and all that other fucking shit.

Unsaid Fate ( came out onto the stage with a pretty much packed house and ran with the set. With the vocals by the show stopping Jackie LaPonza, Unsaid Fate just blistered the crowd. even greater than the musical part of the show was how great Jackie was in being completely interactive with the crowd down in front. At one point she even snagged a fans phone who was filming and ran around the stage capturing the magic from the stage perspective. All in good fun of course as she handed the fan back his phone when she was done. There is a souvenir that goes down as once in a lifetime. Unsaid Fate powered through their set barely giving the fans time to rest or catch their breath. It was just perfect. To build on what had come before, and prepare the crowd for what was about to happen, Unsaid Fate definitely has a new fan here!

Mushroomhead (! YES! This is my fourth time seeing them. It is absolutely worth it EVERY SINGLE TIME. The stage production is always different. The set list changes and stays fresh, but keeps some of the great tunes in a different order than the last time you saw them. In all, Mushroomhead puts on the show of all MuthaFucking shows! It's loud, it's bright and flashy, and completely non stop energy. Even when the did a little homage to Prince by doing a super clean and tight opening of 'When Doves Cry' the crowd never stopped screaming. Mushroomhead pounded us with the sound and presence for over an hour and when they were done....they were done. No need for an encore if you kick it to the crowd like Mushroomhead does!


Thursday, September 21, 2017

You ain't Know?


MC Overlord ( has been wrecking the live music scene in Austin for a hot minute. The players he has walked with are stellar. The list of musicians he has influenced, worked with, performed on their stage, our shared his with, is mind blowing. He is humble about what he does and how he does it and he defends his friends, musical compadres, and the music scene with an  attitude and vigor that gives people a reason to be scared. A decades worth of music awards and a lifetime achievement award under his massive arms gives you a reason to pause and listen when he speaks, musically or literally.

The new, WAY over due disc by MC Overlord - 'You Ain't Know' (available on all platforms) is a thing to behold. Better than the rest and a definitive departure from his previous 2 efforts. You Ain't Know may prove to be his crowning jewel. With VMG behind this and a funky attitude and approach to the new music from the Legendary DJ Crash Da Scratcha (, it should be a great source of enjoyment for anyone who touches it and listens to it. There is an intensity in this disc that out weighs the previous efforts. I can't put a specific finger on it, but it's there. Now, let me take the approach that you are unfamiliar with MC Overlords prior music, never been to a live performance, and don't know the accolades.

This is a hip-hop CD in it's purest, greatest form. It is head bobbing, in the car, turned up to 11, slipped down low in the seat, hip-hop music! The first time through provides some of those smile inducing moments as you listen. A chuckle for some of the song outros and some of the skits in between tracks. Then you listen to it, again. You play it again, and you listen to it, and again.

The production and the little samples and loops of some OLD O L D School funk reek of DJ Crash. It adds to the comfortable sound, wraps your ears around something that you think you have heard before, and makes you play it again. Then you hear it again, and realize the lyrical content, the storytelling, fun, funky, challenging, and ballsy is pure Overlord. Still and always clean, but a little on the edge of scandalous.

Then you realize the overall polish on the disc is only a finishing touch which is a VMG stamp. The players, guitars, and co conspirators on this disc is ONLY topped by a live performance.

I purposefully and willfully am staying away from talking about the individual tracks. I have some definite favorites and a couple that make me scratch my head. I can appreciate the talent that pours out of the speakers from everyone involved in making this one finally drop. I hope you enjoy and put it in your rotation.

If you haven't seen him live, and don't have a previous disc, the last line is simple to write..



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

HAAM ing it up

I think there are plenty of people around town that can sing the praises of HAAM (Health Alliance for Austin Musicians). In contrast there are too many people that know Austin is the live music capital of the world, they know there is music any night of the week, but the response of "What's HAAM?" while I am wearing my HAAMbassador volunteer shirt is striking.


Trying to do my part by using the internet to get folks to visit bands when they come to Austin or locals to take one day a month to go to a venue is very hard, unfulfilling work. But the great pleasure and smiles of taking 6 co workers and meeting friends to listen to music while actively collecting donations on HAAM Benefit Day 2017 was so worth it all.

Staging ourselves at Whole Foods - Domain was fantastic. The smiles on everyone's faces, the crowds as they trickled in and out enjoying the music, and dropping donations in the boxes here and there, was electric. The great music from Shy Beast, Julieann Banks, and finally The Rubilators, while we hung out for a few hours, was exhilarating. Even as the temperature climbed ever so slightly, it just warmed the heart.

Glad we were there and part of it for 2017.

Remember, HAAM Day is everyday for our population of musicians.

Monday, July 31, 2017

A Will Away

From the upper east coast, during the hottest part of the year, these four guys turned it up a notch at the indoor stage of Stubb's (

This sweet little venue is at the bottom of the stairs from the famous restaurant, or behind the stage of the outdoor amphitheater, depending on which way you enter. The venue is a fairly snug little room with a nice sized stage, a low slung ceiling, and a bar at the back of the room This provides Stubb's indoor stage to be the perfect setting for an intimate road show performance.

A Will Away ( wasted no time in firing up the crowd in the 90+ degree at 8:30 at night. plowing through the first several songs and a couple of guitar changes before hearing from the lead singer. Telling the crowd about their journeys on the road and this tour, A Will Away perfectly mixed that spot of levity with the well crafted songs.

Although it is possible the oppressive heat had the crowd a little down, A Will Away proved to be an amazing and energetic start to the night. The greatest point was bringing the crowd in on their performance with 'Pay Raise'. No way you can not answer their questions or cheer the song, but singing along and seeing the crowd lift up at this point in the show proved A Will Away deserves their spot headlining...

and soon!


DLC...Hot and Bothered

Down in way south Austin, Texas is a very small and inconspicuous bar, Indian Roller ( Set off of Manchaca Rd and down a little driveway sits this small, unassuming bar. With a fairly decent amount of parking out back, you can enter by the beautiful back yard. A small deck/stage, some varied seating, a patio, and small bar greet you. Entering the bar from the back you pass by the restrooms on your left and a pool table to the back right corner lead you right to the main bar.

With a varied and eclectic amount of seating it is easy to maneuver around in the bar area. Working your way past the bar there is small open area with a stage. Here in this little nook is where the naughtiness happened on this night.

Dead Love Club ( The smoking hot sexiness and excess of the 80's is poured out on display. Dead Love Club is fronted by the vocals of Johnny X and Ferocious E! This band just oozes sex and scandal! With some really fun originals to their smoking hot versions of 80's dance and club greats, The Dead Love Club is not for the young and definitely not for the prude.

Take your girlfriend and hold her...where you please. Take your boyfriend and hold his hands close to your chest... It wont be long before your beating heart and the heavy beats of the music will work up a steamy good time with Dead Love Club!

You can not deny the throwback tunes done right and the sexy hot originals will blow you away. What is more is the performance. The spot on Hot, sexy performance...and it is a performance! The type of show and performance Dead Love Club puts on is worth the money at the door EVERY SINGLE TIME!

UPDATE: A second full performance at my favorite Austin venue, One 2 One ( A club built for performances and sound. Dead Love Club was electric and exciting again. With a wealth of 80's and 90's music to do it's always a new performance. This particular night was different than the previous experience by the jam packed dance floor. What an amazing and fun band.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What's Her Face - an EP review

Not my normal comfort zone, but I was asked. Even harder is knowing these guys that hand that EP off to you and ask for an honest ya go.

From the opening piano chords of this EP to the surprising crunch of the guitar moments later, I felt it was nothing compared to the voice of the piano playing lead singer, Jeff Norby. 'Naive' is probably the best way to describe your impression of this EP by the first song.

Rolling into the second track it took all of 45 seconds to flash back to a time of musical genius that was the 70's. Unquestionably, the guys that make up The Soap Boxers ( are lost souls from that era whom have found each other here.

The Piano and voice of Jeff are the pure essence of Neil Diamond. With a modern guitar and solid back line, it makes there song 'Maryanne' a comfortable classic. If you're not old enough to remember, you've still experienced this sound in the movies and tv shows around you all your life.

The 3rd track 'Monster' seemed more aggressive with the guitar work, but here again is Jeff's voice and piano work settling you right back into that groove.

Pretty hard to deny the theme of broken hearts, scandolous love, and many women running throughout the EP, but DAMMITT, by the time 'Julie' fired up, I felt like Mary Tyler Moore or Laverne and Shirley were going to bust in the door and start dancing.

Listening to the final track 'Alice' only solidified my belief of these guys being reincarnated musical souls from the 1970's right to our doorstep in 2017!

overall, the chords, mixes, and guitar work make 'What's her face' a memorable EP.

Check them out online and get the EP at a live performance!


Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Rebellion lives

Dozen Street ( is located on...Well...12th St. On the corner of 12th and Chicon in Austin, Texas. As a tourist I don't believe you would wander in here unless it was purposeful.

Dozen Street Bar is located in a row between a couple of other businesses and is a Shotgun style bar. As you walk into the narrow room, heading towards the back, you pass a couple pool tables and the restrooms on the right. The wall on your left is an interesting collection of 12x12 tiles of all different sorts which have to see in person to appreciate it. As you progress farther into the club, the bar is also on your right past the bathrooms and the stage is to your left in the back corner with a seating /lounge area directly in front of it next to the bar. The is also an out door area for smoking or relaxing away from the music of you so choose.

This night's musical selection was a two piece out of New York, SIRSY ( Comprised of Melanie on Drums and vocals, as well as backing herself up on bass and flute... Yes! You read that correctly. The band is rounded out with guitarist Rich Libotti, who does bass as well. They tour constantly and traverse the U.S. like champs.

The first thing I noticed about SIRSY is Melanie's beautiful smile! It is absolutely infectious and fantastic. Smiling and laughing throughout the entire performance. She just makes you happy you are there.

SIRSY's music is pop/rock based. Libboti's grooves and guitar work is uncompromising! Mixing his pedal work with his rhythm and lead solos are solid. The frightening thing is how great Libboti's work is and it takes back seat to Melanie and her performance work. By the way, the title of this blog is a nod to Libboti's guitar itself - go see them perform and you might get the back story! 

Although it was a small intimate crowd, SIRSY'S performance was even more stellar than the first time I saw them on a short set and large crowd. Every single person in the house tonight laughed with the band, cheered, clapped, and danced in their seats or across the small space in front of the stage. Although they did play a cover or two, the crowds enjoyment came directly in response to their amazing originals. It was an exciting performance to behold and for just two people to pour their hearts, souls and sweat out for this crowd like they did, I can't imagine you having a better time than a SIRSY performance!

Oh my God... And that smile!


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

in the garden of good music

The Oak Garden at Guero's Taco Bar ( on South Congress is a must do on any one's list. On a nice Saturday in downtown Austin, Texas you will always find some great local music starting at around noon. The Oak Garden is located right next door to the restaurant. With plenty of parking street side or in the parking garage behind the garden, there are only good times to be had. Under the beautiful oaks with plenty of seating, people watching with a nice cold beverage and great music is the back drop to a perfect Austin weekend and life!

On two separate occasions I have had the joy of taking in amazing local music with family and friends. Nothing but love and joy in my heart because this is what it should be like all the time.

At one point in the recent past I caught The Brew ( here at the Oak Garden. Nothing but masters at their craft, The Brew can do nothing but inspire your feet to move with their Latin infused rhythms and sounds. Whether it is acoustic, unplugged, a jazz set, or with guest singers, The Brew never cease to amaze and put smiles on the faces in the crowd. This particular Saturday afternoon was no different as it was again the stellar guitar work of Michael Rodriguez making pulses pound and feet move. Young and old, The Brew will always be a must see. Whether you are an Austin resident or visiting from out of town, with their many residencies around the city your are sure to find The Brew... and have a great time!

Yet on another occasion, I found myself purposefully and willfully at the Oak Garden on a gorgeous Saturday for Jelly ( Fronted by rock guitar virtuoso and vocalist Jonathan Ellington and backed with a stellar crew, Jelly always knocks it out of the park with his brand of bad boy blues and rock! Having seen many Jelly performances, it never gets old. Taking your father to a Jelly performance and watching the excitement grow on his face as Jelly just owns every piece of every song. Covers and originals, watching someone else enjoy this young rockstar is even better than seeing him a dozen times. Here is another faithful and wonderful performer you can gaze upon, evenings in Austin, just about anywhere. Look Jelly up and enjoy the jams!


Friday, March 31, 2017

Let's talk about love

Back at my close to home hangout, Moontower ( 21 and up, ID upon driving in - and the bartenders will still card you if they want - Crazy amount of parking, and loads of space to play and have fun. With the tiny little house that represents the bar, a pool table, bathrooms, a couple of TVs, and some tables. Step outside onto the deck with another outside bar, a large TV, and more seating. Attached is also a smaller deck that acts as the stage. Out into the insanely huge yard that has tables, fire pits, food trucks, washer pits, more bathrooms, sand volleyball, another deck, and loads of fun.

But this particular nite hosted not the normal 1 band from 8 - 11, but 3 bands. NICE!

Opening the evening was Austin's darlings, and multi- award winning U-18 band, the          Tiarra Girls  ( With their personal stamp and flair for the latin/rock genre, the Tiarra Girls completely rocked the yard, taking to school the two bands that followed, and that - I promise you - is not easy. I have had the pleasure of hearing them for the last 3 years and watch them grow as talented musicians and band. Crisp, confident guitar licks and solid vocals to a super tight back line (with one of the best and only female drummer in the Austin Music Awards top 10) is how these young women do it. So I really don't know how to say this any other way, but anyone that has the confidence to bust out bells and a clarinet during a rock show performance is worthy of your time and money. Enjoy the Tiarra Girls here in Austin now because they are on a trajectory that is soon to take them beyond us!

The second set was Evening Optimist ( Brand new to my ears and well placed in this set. Follow up the previous could have proved daunting to many other bands, but these Austin rock veterans had no trouble moving the night on. The crowd swelled in front of the stage, hips were moving, and drinks were flowing. Evening Optimist had that rock/pop/punk sound that was super enjoyable on this cool evening. The four piece which comprises Evening Optimist entertained us with the blazing lead guitarist and cool as ice lead singer, but the eyes seemed to be on the exciting bass player as he was the wild man! It was all fun and with a solid performance, you would definitely be happy you took the time on any night out and run into these guys on a stage here in Austin!

And on to the headline performance. I have talked about them before, they were the headliners for a reason, and they are a band EVERY SINGLE other band should take performance notes from. Yes! Vallejo ( rocked our faces off. With the massive amount of talent in front of them, Vallejo only had one way to finish out the night, and that was like every other other performance they have EVERY SONG WAS A FINALE AND IT WAS THE END OF THE WORLD. Brothers AJ, Alex, and Omar, along with Alex and Bruce comprise the ultimate Latin/Rock musical experience of fun that can be had! To top it off they were joined onstage by the Amazing Kelly Green of the Texas K.G.B. (, just goes to prove you can't miss a show because you never know what will happen!

With over 2 decades of performing and hit songs there is absolutely no question Vallejo remains top of the food chain when comes to The Austin Live Music Capitol of the World and MUST see bands!


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Smash this

So I received a message there was going to be a CD release party at Elysium. What the fuck, I must attend. Not really knowing or caring who was on the bill, I had to go and give my respect to Austin music.

Elysium ( is located on Red River between 7th and 8th St in the downtown entertainment district of Austin, Tx. Painted all black on the outside with an outdoor patio/smoking area, the club seems very ominous. As you step into the narrow opening and pass to the right, the club opens up it to a fairly large room. Divided in half with the left half representing the dance floor, DJ booth, and stage and the right half representing the lounge with a large, long bar running against the right wall. The bathrooms are located to the far back right with a pool table. Yes, the bartender has been there for 15 plus years, knows his shit, doesn't take any shit, and is super fucking cool.

For this evening there was a nice gathering of juggalos, as well as other fans of the Austin rap scene. Initially, like on any given night, it started out kind of quiet and the opening act delayed their start by almost 30 minutes. At that point, Pyskodynamix took the stage and kicked the evening off with there style of rap. The 3 guys on stage were in the right frame of mind. Putting on a show with the performance for the early crowd. It didn't take long before Psykodynamix had all of the early risers in front of the stage and enjoying their set.

Next up was Dubb Sicks (, and this performance was sick! The man rolled up into the club minutes before the first performance, set up his merch table just in time to take the stage. Dubb Sicks was captivating. This muthafucka took complete control of the crowd. He was drawing everyone in and using the crowd to drop his flow. I was inspired by how bad ass he was and how much fun he had just simply fucking around with the crowd. Off the stage he jumped, into the crowd he crept, soliciting info from one of the females, and back onto the stage for the next song. Fan of rap or not, if it is about the show and the performance Dubb Sicks is the Odessa, Kung-Fu, Lone Ranger champion!

On deck next was SHSM ( They rolled up to the mics with their brand of hatchet music. With that Juggalo love, it was pretty easy to enjoy this duo. I can say this as I go way back to some of the origins of what a juggalo is. SHSM handled the theme and style like champions. It was a fun set and they were super intense. For the show bill with the other bands, there was not a better band to have in this spot.

I never, expected, swear I didn't see him on this list, and was stunned when he took the stage. Austin Hip Icon Smackola ( took control of the crowd, took control of our minds and proceeded to raise us up. Smackola was fresh on the stage with material from his new album "The Thomas Brookz Project" and handled the crowd and his performance like the lifetime showman he is.  Although I can't swear there were many in the house in tune with his level of rhymes and story telling, he still elevated us to the top of the Glass Sky. You can't leave a Smackola performance without questioning the world, the media, and your beliefs. It is beyond entertainment, it is deprogramming with heavy beat and rhymes to match!

Ahhhh and then SSB - Super Smash Bros 512 ( commanded the stage. This was their show and they came out with every intention and the mad skills to show us why they owned the night.  I had the opportunity to catch SSB WAYYY back in the beginning, several years ago. This was not that band. This was years of experience, confidence, and hustling their trade and craft. This was a tight performance that flowed. They worked off each other like a well oiled machine. It was flawless and at the same time loose and fluid. The album "More Stories To Tell" ( is out and available for purchase. Find Aray and Hack on the web, but don't just pick up a copy of their new disc ... check these two men out at a show, listen to the underground, and don't be surprised when Austin, Texas produces the next big thing in Rap and it is out own SSB!

The full photo album is located here


 and how do you end your party....