Festivals Archives - 365 Things to Do in Austin, TX
Austin, Texas festivals are always a huge draw for people who live here and visitors alike. Austin festivals always provide the best in food and music!

Santa Fe-based immersive art collective Meow Wolf left quite an impression yesterday at their Fractallage party when the organization made their first foray (outside their origin film release this week) into South by Southwest (SXSW). The group spent most of the night Monday evening transforming Empire Control Room and Garage into a Meow Wolf satellite installation complete with visual art, immersive activities (tube dating by Tinder for example) both inside and outside the venue while a roster of exceptional DJs entertained the crowd and set the mood for a surreal (and completely satisfying) experience.  

We entered the venue through the Seventh Street side gate to find a bevy of tapestries and colorful banners artfully arranged over the exposed to the air space outside the Garage where Gold Room was performing. The chill-wave sounds being produced perfectly set the mood as fans slowly bopped along to the infectious beats while warm sunlight streamed into the garage and onto the languid audience milling about Empire’s backyard. 

 

A post shared by j.smith (@bildings) on

The backyard was an entirely different story albeit, fit nicely alongside the performance space adjacent to the decorated patio that featured Tinder Tube Dating (yeah, we don’t know either) using “Experience Tubes.” The exercise pokes fun at how we connect on social media versus real life. Light blue carpeting had been laid over the ground with colorful pillows and foam-stuffed couches to create a kind of chill-out area from space is the only way we can describe it. EVERYONE was smoking pot out there. 

 

A post shared by Greg Ackerman (@g_ack) on

 

Inside, an indoor exhibit had been set up. A man in a captain’s uniform stood near three oversized buttons inside the foyer to the Control Room. He explained (while in character) that the buttons controlled the lighted serpent affixed to the ceiling. Folks were invited to press the buttons to change the lighting sequence and music being piped into the room. Actors in costume milled about portraying sentient beings from another planet trying to suss out people and their actions while visiting the mysterious Earthlings. Costumes included LED lights that responded to the music being played. A giant, fantastic lighted “barnacle” held up the far wall of the Control room and held flowers in which touching the metal wire stamens activated the glowing lights in the display. High tables and seats along the wall allowed visitors to sit and absorb the peaceful environment Meow Wolf created. 

 

A post shared by april (@fest_bestie) on

 

We sat outside earlier chatting with staff who talked about working with the organization and their aggressive growth plans (which includes Austin.) Danny, a gentleman who works with sound and audio for Meow Wolf stated he’d been working for the New Mexico trendsetters since 2014 and felt blessed to be a part of something so cool. He was exceedingly kind as was each staffer who arrived in Austin with the collective as if a directive had been handed down that said Meow Wolf employees can only project happiness upon the world. Perhaps that is the credo of Meow Wolf? To project happiness. We know the perma-grin plastered on our faces while we were at Meow Wolf’s Fratallage installation was about as real as you get. Meow Wolf is pure joy. 

When most music fans talk about the Austin scene, South by Southwest (SXSW) and Austin City Limits Music Festival are what comes up usually. But there’s another, smaller music festival that has been taking place for over ten years in Austin, Free Week. Launched by Graham Williams (Margin Walker Presents) at the old Emo’s on Sixth and Red River, the event has mushroomed to most of the Red River venues Williams’ booking company works with and then some. The event runs through Sunday, Jan 7. 

Aside from Mohawk, Barracuda, Stubb’s, Cheer Up Charlie’s, Elysium,  The Sidewinder, Beerland, Swan Dive and Empire Control Room and Garage (all located on Red River or Seventh Street) The Sahara Lounge, Hotel Vegas, Volstead, Spiderhouse Ballroom, The Belmont, The Blackheart and more venues are also participating.  You really have no excuse to miss Free Week even if school nights are out, there’s a ton of shows to see Friday and Saturday. Free Week is here. 

There are more quality shows booked than we have room to recommend to you. For a more complete list of Free Week shows we like check out our author’s Do512 page. Incidentally, Do512 put together a fantastic all-female fronted band roster on Saturday. Details are below. On to our top picks listed by day beginning with tonight’s performances. 

Jan 3

Tonight’s lineup by The Loyalty Firm and Pull String Events at Barracuda is a doozy. Hard rockers, The Well, Residual Kid and The Ghost Wolves join our favorite post rock outfit my education, The Human Circuit, Built By Snow, Chill Russell, Cartright and Honey and Salt. Acts will appear on both the indoor and outdoor stages. 

Doors are at 7 p.m. with music starting at 8 p.m. The good news is temperatures are getting warmer today but you might feel the chill tonight so dress warm and if that doesn’t help, try the hot toddies at the outside bar. They kept us warm Monday night when we caught Semihelix to kick off Free Week. 

Room: INSIDE
830pm-9:10pm The Human Circuit
930pm-10:10pm Built By Snow
10:30pm-11:10pm Residual Kid
1130pm-12:20pm my education
1240am-1:40am The Ghost Wolves

Room: OUTSIDE
8pm-840pm Chill Russell
9pm-940pm Cartright
10pm-1040pm Honey and Salt
11pm-12am The Well

Other shows: 
Red River Cultural District and Heard Presents Ringo Deathstarr, The Halfways, Coattails, Teevee at Empire Control Room and Garage 7:30p

Tinnarose, Otis the Destroyer, Darkbird, Good Field, Hard Riffs at Hotel Vegas 9 p.m.

Jan 4

There are a raft of great lineups Thursday. It was difficult to choose a single show to feature but  Red River Cultural District and Heard Presents lineup is pretty hard to beat. The Garage roster alone with Whiskey Shivers, Sailor Poon, Booher, Poly Action would be worth braving the cold for yet, Otis the Destroyer, Megafauna, Leevees, Holy Knives, Hard Riffs and Rival Waves will all be inside the Control Room with a lot of loud guitars and energy.

Both Otis and Megafauna are perfect for fans of old school, hard charging guitar rock. Whiskey Shivers put on one of the best live shows in town. You can’t beat their energy. Sailor Poon’s Saturnalia Festival set was enough fun that we want more as soon as possible. If you make it early enough you’ll be wowed by Ray Garza’s Poly Action who kick off the festivities at 8 p.m. 

Garage

8 p.m. Poly Action
9 p.m. Booher
10 p.m. Sailor Poon
11 p.m. Whiskey Shivers

Control Room

9:15 p.m. Rival Waves

10:15 pm. Hard Riffs
11:15 p.m. Megafauna
12:15 p.m. Otis the Destroyer

1:15 a.m. Holy Knives

Other shows: 

The Void Martial Arts presents Riverboat Gamblers, American Sharks, Eagle Claw, Billy King and the Bad Bad Bad at Barracuda 8 p.m.

RRCD and C3 Presents Jackie Venson, Mobley, Melat at Stubb’s Inside 8 p.m. 

Jan 5

 

Sahara Lounge is entering the Free Week fray with a damn fine lineup Friday at 7 p.m. presented by High Brew Coffee and The Cosmic Clash. Headliner, BLXPTN might be one of Austin’s more underrated bands. The former duo of drummer and vocalist TaSzlin Muerte and guitarist, singer, and synth player Jonathan Horstmann added drummer Jeremy Kivett to the lineup recently, adding heft to an already formidable band that plays an amalgam of punk and electronic industrial with a politically-charged commentary. 

We caught Como Las Movies for the first time at Mosaic Sound Collective. They have a Latin-based sound that incorporates various styles. Similar to Money Chicha (some songs feature Cumbia) but a different arrangement with a four-piece band that gels together cohesively. Some songs sound like a film soundtrack hence the moniker. 

The rest of the lineup is just as solid with Major Grizz, Sometimes a Legend, Dead Recipe, Sun June and The Midnight Drive. There will be a limited supply of free High Brew Coffee available. Food truck Pakal will offer healthy Mexican specialties. Bonus: plenty of free parking.

Dead Recipe 7:15p

Sun June 8:15p

BLXPLTN 9:45pm

Como Las Movies 10:45p

Major Grizz 11:45p-12:30p

Sometimes a Legend 12:45a

The Midnight Drive 1:35a

Other shows: 

RRCD and Side One Track One presents Los Coast, Emily Wolfe, Otis the Destroyer, Palo Duro, Marmalakes, Growl, Lola Tried at Mohawk 8p

Holy Wave, Diamond Center, Hidden Ritual, Leather Girls, Teevee at Cheer Up Charlie’s 10p 

Jan 6

Do512 put together a stellar all-female fronted band lineup at Valhalla (Red River bet. Seventh and Eighth St.) Saturday. Our shoegaze/psych rock favorites Moving Panoramas will be joined by Lowin, Go Fever and Vonne. Speaking from experience, you’ll really enjoy this show if you make it out. 

Leslie Sisson of Moving Panoramas is a true talent as her appearance at the Texas State History Museum with Invincible Czars and an 80-person choir behind her demonstrated. The version of her song, Harmony that was presented left even Sisson in tears. 

Lowin and Go Fever represent more great rock created by women. Sara Hauser of Lowin has long been a part of the local scene. She’s making great new music. We caught Go Fever’s Acey Monaro solo at the Project ATX 6 Gala. The Australian rocker is really fun to watch with her entire band too. We’re looking forward to this one. 

Other shows:

Quiet Company, Day Shifters, Super Thief, BLXPLTN at Barracuda 8p

RRCD and Penny Loafer PR presents Calliope Musicals, Darkbird, Whiite Walls, Megafauna, Meanswell, A Sinclair, etc at Mohawk 8p. 

Tonight is the kickoff party for Saturnalia Festival in Austin. Naturally we were just as curious as you as to what Saturnalia means but the lineup comprised of mostly national and local psych-rock, alternative and world music standouts is worth checking out. We think it’s a cannot miss scenario for local music fans. Austin acts Golden Dawn Arkestra, The Octopus Project, Hard Proof, Christian Bland (The Black Angels), Money Chicha, Annabelle Chairlegs,  Bushwick Bill (The Geto Boys) and Ringo Deathstarr will join out-of-town performers Allah-Las, Crocodiles, Cosmonauts, American Sharks and Sam France (Foxygen) at four locations in Austin. View the entire lineup on the festival site or poster. 

The Electric Church and Hotel Vegas will host pre-parties tonight and December 1 (tomorrow). The actual festival will take place Saturday and Sunday at Webberville Road Baptist Church and the adjacent Sahara Lounge. By the way, Saturnalia is a traditional Roman holiday that celebrates the coming Winter while honoring Saturn. We don’t really need an excuse to enjoy a lineup this good but we’re happy organizers have put in the effort to book the event during a time of year when there’s typically not much going on in the local live music scene. 

The Sahara Lounge and The Electric Church folks have partnered on this event to bring fans this out-of-box, small-format festival lineup oozing with talent. It doesn’t fix the fact that SOS Festival was cancelled last minute but it certainly helps ease the pain. What’s more, the festival has hired light show masters Bob Mustachio (The Black Angels), Esther Wave, Fever Dream, Astral Violet and Weird Destiny to accompany the talent at four locations in Austin over the entire four days of festival performances. 

Food vendors include Eastside Kings, Southside Flying Pizza, Juiceland, Wunder Pilz, Archie Dove BBQ, Pakal, Neon Rainbow and Laced With Romance. There are plenty of trailer and sit-down retaurant options near all four venue sites as well. Check Eater Austin’s East Austin page for dining recommendations. 

Tickets to Saturnalia Festival are still available. The VIP option includes access to a climate-controlled Saturnalia Lounge. Fans have the option to purchase an a four-day or daily wristband. Tickets to individual shows can be purchased “a la carte” directly from venues in advance or at the door.  Grab tickets here


FULL SCHEDULE

Thursday, Nov 30th – The Electric Church


1-Continental Drift

12-Christian Bland and The Revelators
11-The Nymphs
10-Trance Farmers

Friday, Dec 1st – Hotel Vegas

Outside:
7- Peyote Coyote
8- Teevee
9- Ringo Deathstarr
10- Octopus Project 

Inside:
7:30-Count Vaseline
8:30-Lola Tried
9:30-Al Lover
10:30-Hollow Trees
11:30-Think No Think
12:30- Bushwick BIll

DJ SLIMY STEVE

Saturday, December 2nd – Sahara Lounge & Webberville Road Baptist Church

Outside: 
2:30 – Croy and the Boys
3:30 – The Halfways
4:30 – Big Bill 
5:30 – The Sun Machine
6:30 – American Sharks
7:30 – Cosmonauts
8:30- Golden Dawn Arkestra

Inside:

2- The Hermits

3-Rattlesnake Milk
4-Flower Graves
5-Greenbeard
6- Lochness Mobsters
7- Vockah Redu
8- Mafaro Marimba
8:20- Kupira Marimba
9:15- Crucial Prophet
10:15- Money Chicha
12 – Zoumountchi

Sunday, December 3rd – Sahara Lounge & Webberville Road Church

Inside:
2- Lasertusk
3- True Indigo
4- Fogg
5- Billy King and the bad bad bad
6- Whit
7- Glaze

8 – Acid Carousel
9 – The Millbrook Estates
10- Sam France (of Foxygen)
11-Hard Proof

12- Palm Daze
1- Amplified Heat

Outside:
2:30 – Crypt Trip
3:30 – Pearl Earl
4:30 – Sailor Poon
5:30 – Crocodiles
6:30 – Annabelle Chairlegs 
7:30 – Morgan Delt

8:30- Allah-Las

The first Friday of ACL Festival was bittersweet because it was when we learned Fun Fun Fun Festival offshoot, SOS Festival had been canceled due to a major investor pulling out. Word got around that SOS Festival organizers Graham Williams and Johnny Sarkis went right to work the day they had to throw in the towel rebooking as many previously scheduled bands as possible in downtown Austin clubs November 10-12.

While there’s not actual jousting or axe throwing this year at SOS Fest, booking company, Margin Walker Presents did an admirable job salvaging the mess into an exciting weekend of performances from the likes of The Shins, Grizzly Bear, Japandroids, Washed Out, Cannibal Corpse, Boris and Ariel Pink. For those who don’t mind a drive down I-35, Ministry is slated for The Majestic Theater on Sunday. Not bad for a last-minute bill. 

Our biggest disappointment in the rebooking process was the absence of Austin acts who were on the original festival bill. Margin Walker has begun addressing that issue by announcing Twin Peaks with ATX’s A Giant Dog on November 15 at the Mohawk this week. CAPYAC, an Austin electronic duo and electro-punks Octopus Project were the only acts included in the original rebooking announcement. CAPYAC play Friday at Emo’s with Washed Out. Octopus Project will share the stage with french dance act, Yelle late at the Mohawk on Saturday. We’re hoping more local acts will be confirmed for performances yet to be announced. 

When asked about the potential for additional artists to be added to the schedule Williams had this to say: 

“Maybe a couple small things, but as for the stuff Nov 10-12, those are all the artists that were routed through and we made homes for. everyone else were flying in, so we’re working on other dates to bring them back. Can’t say for sure that all will play, but I do think most will confirm for make up shows.”

That means there’s still hope Margin Walker will bring in the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, Iggy Pop and Blood Orange at some point later in the year or early next year. It’s not a full-blown festival but for those who head out to the shows it will be a good time much like last year’s hastily salvaged LEVITATION festival which also rebooked into clubs following the event’s cancellation due to extreme weather. 

Complete schedule: 

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 10

ACL Live: Grizzly Bear ($45 / $55 mezzanine seats)

Mohawk: Doors 8:00 p.m.: Cannibal Corpse,  Power Trip, Blanck Mass ($25)

Empire Control Room and Garage: Doors 5:30 pm.): Citizen, Hotelier, Sorority Noise, Alex Napping, Great Grandpa, Oso Oso ($23.50)

Emo’s: Doors 7:30 p.m.): Washed Out, CAPYAC ($35)

Cheer Up Charlies: Doors 9:00 p.m.): Lindstrom, Juan Maclean, Cap’n Tits ($25)

The New Movement: Naughty Bits, Sure Thing

 

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11

Mohawk (Matinee Show Doors at 3:30 p.m.): The Story So Far, Turnstile, Drug Church ($25)

Mohawk (Late Show | Doors at 9:30 p.m.): Yelle, Octopus Project ($20)

Emo’s (Doors 7:30 p.m.): Japandroids, Cloud Nothings ($32.50)

Cheer Up Charlies (Doors 7:00 p.m.): The Frights, Hockey Dad, Vundabar ($13)

Scoot Inn: Doors 7:00 p.m.): Noname, Arima Ederra ($25)

The New Movement: Sandbox, The Neighborhood: 7 Year Anniversary, Part 2

 

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12:

Mohawk (Doors 6:00 p.m.): Boris, Endon, USA/MEXICO ($20)

Empire (Doors 8:00 p.m.): Snow Tha Product, Castro Escobar, AJ Hernz, Kydd Jones & Tank Washington ($20)

Emo’s (Doors 7:00 p.m.): The Shins, Baio, Girlpool ($59.50)

Cheer Up Charlies (Doors 7:00 p.m.): Ariel Pink, Growl, Mild High Club ($25)

Vulcan Gas Company: Doors 8:00 p.m.): Hot Chip (DJ set), Tim Sweeney, Lovefingers, Flying Turns ($25)

Individual tickets can be purchased at the SOS Festival site. Follow SOS Festival and Margin Walker on Twitter to get the latest updates. 

Next week the 16th edition of Austin City Limits Music Festival (October 6-8 and 13-15) kicks off with a new slate of headliners. Jay-Z, Solange, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Killers will all make appearances at Austin’s Zilker Park amid a cacophony of  exciting acts listed in the middle of the bill. While it’s a no-brainer to catch top hip-hop artist Jay-Z on the opening night of the festival, there are plenty of homegrown acts and buzz bands you should add to your schedule. It’s the bands scheduled earlier in the day and on peripheral stages that offer a chance at real music discovery. With nearly 200 acts slated to perform, finding new bands to fall in love with should be a priority for true music fans. 

Yes, like everyone else we want to know if Beyonce will make an appearance. After all, her husband, Jay-Z and sister, Solange are both playing the festival. It is probable the current queen of pop will be there. Will she appear on stage? That is the big question festival ticket holders are asking. There’s so much more to the event which will feature Austin-bred acts Spoon, The Black Angels, Lukas Nelson, Mobley and The Wild Now at the festival this year. 

Find a break-down the first weekend of the festival listed by day and learn which acts still have Late Night Show tickets available below. Our focus is on Austin bands because these local artists make some of the best independent music in the country along with a few bands that should be on your radar we think you’ll like. 

Included in the list of recommendations are links to official Austin City Limits Music Festival Late Night Shows. Grab tickets to those performances for a less crowded, headliner version of each artist’s festival set. 

Friday, October 6

The Wild Now – Miller Lite Stage – 11:45 a.m.

The Wild Now, an Austin duo comprised of vocalist, Taylor Baker and guitarist, Drew Walker make their first ACL Fest appearance first thing on Friday. While listening to Baker sing beautiful pop melodies along with Walker’s impressively intricate guitar work you’ll notice the couple is also easy on the eyes. Not a bad way to kick of the festival in our humble opinion.

If you’re one of those folks who set up camp chairs when the gates open, posting up at Miller Lite for the day might be a good way to go. Besides catching these up and comers, the Barton Springs Beer Hall is adjacent to the Miller Lite stage. Willie Nelson’s son Lukas and his band play later in the day before petulant indie songwriter, Ryan Adams. 

Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real – Miller Lite Stage – 5:15 p.m.

How good is Lukas Nelson and POTR? They were Neil Young’s backing band on his 2014 tour and album. Nelson is the Willie Nelson offspring most like his father in terms of musical ability. That doesn’t mean he’s the next outlaw country star. The guitarist likes to play Americana-tinged rock with abandon, often leaping into to the air with his axe. After ten years of POTR he knows how to entertain an audience. He’s also got decent pipes like his iconic father. 

You’re going to thank us for this recommendation later, especially after you learn his ACL Festival Late Night Show at Antone’s  Nightclub on October 11 already sold-out. 

Bonobo – Tito’s Vodka Stage – 6:15 p.m.

After watching Lukas hype up the crowd, you’ll be ready to get your dance on with DJ Bonobo doing a full live set at the Tito’s Vodka Stage. While we’ve seen Bonobo perform solo, we’re excited about the cutting edge DJ’s full band performance. Bonobo’s given name is Simon Green. Green got noticed with his second album “Dial M for Monkey” (2002) becoming one of the “new downtempo pioneers” in the process. We’re curious how the live arrangement will play in a sundowner festival setting. Betting it’s going to be a crowd pleaser. 

Fans have a second chance to catch this London-born, LA-based DJ at Emo’s on October 7 with Jeremy Sole during his ACL Fest Late Night Show.

Saturday, October 7

Mobley – Miller Lite Stage – 11:30 a.m.

Since we love Austin acts so much, pop singer Mobley should be the first artist you should see on the second day of ACL Festival. This singer might the be hardest-working solo act in town. The man wrote, produced and played every instrument on his debut album, “Fresh Lies.” The singer defies categorization, drawing a number of styles to create his music. After committing to music full-time his career has begun to take off as evidenced by his first ACL Festival slot and non-stop touring with Phantogram, JUNGLE, Mute Math (also on the festival bill) and Robert Delong. He’s an entertaining performer who should jolt you awake Saturday morning if you’re struggling after partying on opening day. 

Mobley performs with BADBADNOTGOOD on October 7. Get tickets here

Car Seat Headrest – Honda Stage – 2 p.m.

We first caught Pitchfork Magazine darlings Car Seat Headrest at SXSW a couple years ago. While we were impressed with the young Will Toledo (he was 23 at the time) at the helm of his solo act-turned full band, it wasn’t until CSH’s appearance later that year at Primavera Sound Festival that we were drawn into the cult of Car Seat Headrest like their huge online following and corresponding writers at Pitchfork, Rolling Stone and Paste Magazine. At only 25 years-old, Toledo and his band have years of great music ahead of them. 

Car Seat Headrest sold-out their ACL Festival Late Night Show on October 12 at The Mohawk if that tells you anything about the band’s popularity.

The Black Angels – Barton Springs Stage – 5 p.m. 

If you’re a fan of psych-rock then you cannot miss neo-psych pioneers, The Black Angels on Saturday. The Austin band that reinvented psychedelic rock for the new millennium is one our favorite local acts. The DIY group has their own music festival, LEVITATION (formerly Austin Psych Fest) and their own unique style of psych-rock that features guitarist Christian Bland’s sublime work along with Alex Maas’ heavily distorted vocals. Drummer Stephanie Bailey might be the area’s most underrated percussionist. 

Take a listen to their latest, “Death Song”  released earlier this year. It may be The Black Angels’ best effort yet. We recommend grabbing tickets to their Emo’s Late Night Show on Thursday, October 5 for full visual effects by TBA visual expert, Bob Mustacio. Psych rock pioneer Roky Erickson opens. 

Ice Cube – American Express Stage – 6 p.m.

No one could have predicted whenIce Cube broke into music with the debut of N.W.A in 1986 with Dr. Dre and Easy E, the rapper would become a staple in major films like “Boyz in tha Hood” and “Friday” to this year’s movie “Fist Fight” but there he is appearing on screens everywhere.

Less often O’Shea Jackson performs as Ice Cube, after leaving West Coast gangsta rap pioneers, N.W.A. in 1989, which is what makes this set intriguing, particularly amid less established performers like Chance the Rapper and red-hot duo Run the Jewels. In three short years, Ice Cube was on his way to becoming an icon of American culture which makes him relevant despite his waning musical output. His first three solo records were huge hits beginning with 1991’s controversial “AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted,” cementing Cube into the annals of great hip-hop artists. 

Spoon – Miller Lite Stage – 7 p.m.

We love that C3 Presents booked two of our favorite Austin bands, the aforementioned Black Angels and hometown heroes, Spoon nearly back-to-back on Saturday. Spoon has played the festival before but gets a coveted evening slot on the Miller Stage this year on the heals of Matador Records release, “Hot Thoughts” and an ongoing world tour to promote the record. 

What is not to like about the kings of Austin indie rock led by Britt Daniel (vocals, guitar) and Jim Eno (drums)? The band has been putting out incredible albums for over 20 years culminating in a return to the label they started out on. Not only does the album signal a homecoming of sorts, it’s a great listen

Grab tickets to Spoon’s Late Night show on October 13 at Stubb’s while you still can. 

Sunday, October 8

Middle Kids – Miller Lite Stage – 1:15 p.m. 

Australian three-piece pop-garage rockers, Middle Kids impressed last March at SXSW where we saw the band play before Spoon’s Waterloo Records show. When we spotted this Sydney act on the bill we knew we had to see them again. Led by Guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Hannah Joy, Middle Kids represent a world-wide trend of female-led acts similar to Austin’s Moving Panoramas and A Giant Dog. 

Following SXSW, Rolling Stone named the group one of ten bands to watch, confirming their buzz act status. Catch Middle Kid’s Late Night Show at Antone’s on October 12 with Austin’s Summer Salt. Tickets are still available

BADBADNOTGOOD – Tito’s Vodka Stage – 6:15 p.m.

Besides having an unforgettable moniker, BADBADNOTGOOD presents unconventional, free-form jazz in a way that appeals to young and older fans alike. The trio that is now a foursome hails from the wintery confines of Toronto. BBNG’s collaborations with Wu-Tang’s Ghostface Killah and Kaytranada have thrust the group into the forefront of the modern jazz/hip-hop trend best reflected locally by Brownout’s occasional performances with Ghostface’s bandmate and ringleader, GZA. 

Their latest album IV is on regular rotation at our office for good reason, the album is refreshing, employs multiple styles (elements of kraut rock, & futuristic hip-hop are present).  It’s a really great listen. If you’d rather see the group headline their own performance versus seeing them during the day at ACL Fest, grab a ticket to their Mohawk show on October 7.  Austin act, Mobley opens the show. 

Girl Talk

Picture 1 of 62

All Photos: Andrea Dane

In it’s fourth year, blazing hot Float Fest near San Marcos at Cool River Ranch graduated from small festival of primarily Texas acts to an expanded slate of popular national acts. Bigger acts, Weezer, Cage the Elephant, Mac Miller, MGMT, Girl Talk and more attracted enough interest to sell-out the event.

Organizers doubled down on the layout of the grounds, increasing the size of the festival footprint while spurning the permanent stage at the east end of the property for a larger Sun stage positioned near the front gates, further from the main Water Stage located near the back of the property. The new stage set-up was big enough to hold Matt Schultz (Cage the Elephant) and his band in front of the weekend’s largest crowd. Carnival rides from last year’s event returned to entertain fans between performances. Overall, Float Fest 2017 was a hit.

While most of the attention over the weekend focused on headliners, Texas acts turned in stellar performances . Yes, Arianna Grande showed up for her boyfriend Mac Miller’s set but Sweet Spirit, Wild Child, Walker Lukens, Neon Indian and Heartbyrne all delivered great performances despite the 100-degree weather and high humidity.

Talking Heads cover band Heart Byrne kicked off music on the Sun Stage Saturday with a deep cut set list that ended with 1979 radio hit, “Take Me to the River.” Sporting matching day-glo green outfits, Heart Byrne turned David Byrne’s funky, eclectic legacy into a bonafide jam. Fans who want a Talking Heads experience by a group that plays music to the strength of their ensemble will love how tight this act is. Heart Byrne regularly plays Austin. Catch them next at The Mohawk August 12.

Denton’s Neon Indian took the Sun Stage just prior to Mac Miller. The band is led by Alan Palomo who also performs solo. The indie-synth-pop act took the opportunity to showcase songs from their latest effort, “Night School.” Stream the new album on Spotify to get a feel for the set list. The heat and humidity during the warmest part of the day may have put a damper on the audience but Neon Indian never faltered, offering an impassioned set that was a treat for hardcore and new fans alike. The band will begin a West Coast and South American tour mid-August.

While popular rapper, Mac Miller attracted hordes of young fans to his performance on the Water stage, an equal number of fans arrived early at the Sun Stage to get a good spot for a set by Girl Talk (Greg Gillis) which followed his show. Although Miller primarily sings original songs, the rapper and producer could learn a few stage tricks from Gillis who specializes in DJ mashups and sampling. As Girl Talk, Gillis displays non-stop energy, inviting fans to dance behind him on stage while inflatables, a confetti cannon and stage hands propelling toilet paper into the crowd via customized guns enhanced the party atmosphere. Typically we find similar DJ sets at festivals lacking something but Girl Talk somehow overcomes those obstacles to induce an hour of sheer bliss that is shared by the performer and his audience. With the sun going down along with the temperatures at Float Fest, there was not a better act to put in that time slot. Girl Talk has only two dates listed on his tour schedule currently.

The first day of Float Fest concluded with shows by Passion Pit and Zedd. Sometime after those performances Passion Pit frontman, Michael Angelakos announced via Twitter he would not be pursuing commercial music work while he focused on development of his The Wishart Group, an artist support organization Angelakos created to help musicians maintain mental health while pursuing a career in entertainment. He made a statement to Pitchfork to clarify he is not going on hiatus and new material would be forthcoming but would be concentrating on his project in the wake of suicide by peer, Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. Angelakos has previously made public his own challenges in dealing with mental illness which led to his creation of The Wishart Group.

Sunday, following Walker Lukens‘ vocal gymnastics on the Sun Stage, red-hot Austin glam/indie-rockers Sweet Spirit played for a modest crowd while many fans were still in the water tubing. That didn’t stop bandleaders Sabrina Ellis and Andrew Cashen from powering their group through a slate of of fantastic songs. They led off with new single, “The Power.” Ellis punctuated drum beats by thrusting her hips forward, setting an aggressive tone for the show. The group soldiered on with fan favorites, “Baby When I Close My Eyes” and “If You Wanna.” The former song’s sound evokes Spoon’s influence on the band. Austin’s KUTX had the tune in heavy rotation after it was released. Drummer, Danny Lion once mentioned he moved to Austin because Spoon made it here.The group has since toured with Spoon as frontman, Brit Daniel is a fan. Sweet Spirit might be the next great Austin rock act to make it nationally like their idols. The band just announced a surprise show at Barracuda in Austin on Thursday. Tickets will be available at the door.

Celebrated Central Texas act, Wild Child appeared on the Sun Stage with an expanded lineup featuring seven players including an electric violin backin Kelsey Wilson (lead vocals/violin)  and Alexander Beggins (vocals/ukulele). The pair share songwriting duties. After shifting from a raw, folksy sound to a more polished approach with their last album, “Fools” (2015) Wild Child is poised to gain more prominent national radio play with their amalgam of folk, rock and Americana. Fans who made the trek to Float Fest were rewarded with a one-off show by the band who just announced their only upcoming show is at Utopia Fest in late September. Beggins told us the group has been spending most of the year working on their highly anticipated new record and expect to begin touring again this fall. View the set list here.

An expectedly trippy set by MGMT took place on the same stage an hour later. The dance/psych-rock outfit led by Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser powered through the hot weather accompanied by psychedelic visuals on the screen behind them. We were struck by similarities between MGMT and Australia’s Tame Impala both of whom have implemented a fair amount of electronic beats and effects into their approach, pushing neo-psych in a more accessible direction for young fans. See the full set list here. The group has a handful of festival dates upcoming including Panorama Festival (New York) and Life is Beautiful Festival (Las Vegas).

The most energizing set of Float Fest belonged to Cage the Elephant and their tireless vocalist, Matt Schultz. Older fans might draw comparisons to the Rolling Stone’s Mick Jagger while watching Schultz cavort non-stop across the stage while his band laid down familiar riffs you’ve heard on the radio. Schultz’s brother, Brad, (rhythm guitar) ventured into the audience a few times, amping up an already elated crowd. Ubiquitous song, “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” garnered a big reaction as did hits, “Too Late to Say Goodbye” and ballad, “Cigarette Daydreams.” Pyrotechnics were employed as four columns of flames blasted fans late in the set.

An obviously warm Matt Schultz even joked he took drugs before the set and might have a heart attack. Nothing terrible like that took place as the frenetic singer closed out the set list with “Come A Little Closer” and “Teeth.”  A Texas music manager called Cage the Elephant the best working rock band touring in a social media thread. It’s hard to argue that any band lends more energy to their work. See the complete set list here.

The festival closed with 90s rockers Weezer. Rivers Cuomo appeared on stage wearing a rainbow colored shirt and stark white pants. He later donned a matching sombrero as he led the group through hit song, “Beverly Hills.” See fan-generated video of the song on Instagram. Weezer threw in a cover of Outcast’s “Hey Ya!” midway through the set then invited a tireless Matt Schultz on stage to sing “Island in the Sun” with the group. Whatever Schultz uses to fuel himself on performance days must be strong.

Weezer finished the show with “King of the World” and “Say It Ain’t So” then returned for an encore to cheers for hit “Buddy Holly” and fireworks over the Float Fest site. The complete set list can be found here. Weezer will continue their national and European tour in support of their tenth studio record, “Weezer” also known as the White Album.

SpringFest, the annual event put on by the Lake Travis Chamber of Commerce, is always a blast—and now, with the lake full for the first time in ages, there is really something to celebrate! The 9th-annual festival, presented by St. David’s Emergency Center, will take place on Saturday, April 30 at the Hill Country Galleria. As they like to say in Lake Travis: “It’s the biggest time in the smallest town!”

Stroll and shop unique artisan vendors, let the kids run wild in the KidZone, and check out kid-friendly performances and live music all day in the amphitheater. With all of that water in Lake Travis, be sure to stop by the BoatExpo to see the latest and greatest in watercraft. And check out the popular Craft BrewHaus and WineStomp where you can sip local and regional craft beers and wines.

Bruce and Kelly looking at each other

When: April 30,  10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Where: The Hill Country Galleria in Bee Cave

Cost: Admission and parking are totally free!

And here’s our advice: Make the most of the fest and stay for the weekend. Visit LakeTravisSpringFest.com for overnight accommodations more information.

For updates about the event, like and follow the fest on Facebook at facebook.com/LakeTravisSpringFest.

 

The Texas BBQ scene is vast. One could spend a lifetime wandering the state in search of a BBQ king. Some of the most amazing meats can be found between Llano and Lockhart, but that’s just a 100 mile stretch of this massive state. From cities as small as Sweetwater to the metropolis landscape of DFW, every Texas community has a spot they claim has the best brisket…. and sausage, and ribs, and sides, and so on…

Sponsored by Texas Monthly, this BBQ extravaganza brings the magazine’s list of “The 50 Best BBQ Joints in the World!” together under one roof for a day of smoked meat heaven.

TMBBQ-Austin-1

From hometown favorites Franklin and La Barbecue to institutions like Llano’s Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que and Spicewood’s Opie’s Barbecue (a personal favorite!), this a veritable taste of Texas that BBQ lovers can’t miss.

Every year, TMBBQ selects a “Newcomer” to join in on the fun. This year, Austin’s own Freedmen’s joins its peers under the Long Center roof. In a city known for its competitive smokehouses, Freedmen’s manages to stand out thanks in part to its creative smoked menu items like jalapeño pimento cheese, and house made sausages. Joining the ranks of recent “Newcomers” including Franklin, Deep Ellum’s Pecan Lodge, and Pearland’s Killen’s, Freedmen’s is an exciting and welcome addition that can’t be missed.

TMBBQ-Austin-3

This year has another newcomer—desserts! Treat yourself to a selection of treats from some of Texas’s favorite confectionaries. Choose between donuts from Gourdough’s, gelato from Tèo, Crown Royal Whisky mini-cupcakes, chocolates from Katherine Clapner’s Dude, Sweet Chocolate, and tiny pies from, well, Tiny Pies. Wash it all down with libations provided by sponsors Crown Royal, Don Julio Tequila, and Shiner Beer.

If the food isn’t enough to draw you in, fun activities including giveaways and interactive festivities by sponsors Central Market, Texas A&M University, and YETI Coolers will be there to entertain as well. There will also be live performances by Flaco Jiménez Y Su Conjunto and LaTasha Lee and the Blackties.

Other featured BBQ joints include:

Snow’s BBQ Lexington

Louie Mueller Barbecue Taylor

The Original Willie’s Bar-B-Q

Tyler’s Barbeque Amarillo

John Mueller Meat Co. Austin

Lamberts Downtown Barbecue Austin

Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew Austin

Miller’s Smokehouse Belton

Fargo’s Pit BBQ Bryan

Brooks’ Place Cypress

Lockhart Smokehouse Dallas

Austin’s BBQ and Catering Eagle Lake

McMillan’s Bar-B-Q Fannin

Cousin’s Bar-B-Q Fort Worth

Longoria’s BBQ Fort Worth

Cranky Frank’s Barbeque Company Fredericksburg

Leon’s World’s Finest In & Out Bar-B-Que Galveston

Meshack’s Bar-B-Que Garland

City Meat Market Giddings

Bartley’s Bar-B-Q Grapevine

Bob’s Bar-B-Que Henderson

Gatlin’s BBQ & Gatlin’s BBQ & Catering Houston

Virgie’s Bar-B-Que Houston

Billy’s Old Fashion BBQ Jasper

Joseph’s Riverport Barbecue Jefferson

Buzzie’s Bar-B-Q Kerrville

Hitch-N-Post BBQ Livingston

Black’s Barbecue Lockhart

Kreuz Market Lockhart

City Market Luling

Whup’s Boomerang Bar-B-Que Marlin

Hutchins BBQ McKinney

Kirby’s Barbeque Mexia

Hashknife on the Chisholm Peadenville

Cowpoke’s Pearsall

Pody’s BBQ Pecos

Hatfields BBQ & Blackjacks Beer Garden Rockport

The Granary ‘Cue and Brew San Antonio

Two Bros. BBQ Market San Antonio

Hays Co. Bar-B-Que and Catering San Marcos

Zimmerhanzel’s BBQ Smithville

Corkscrew BBQ Spring

Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue Tyler

Mumphord’s Place BBQ Victoria

Big Boy’s Bar-B-Que – Sweetwater

TMBBQ-Austin-2

Get your tickets at TMBBQ.com

$80 for general admission, $145 for VIP, and $10 for children 5 and under.

Location:
The Long Center
701 W. Riverside Drive
Austin, Texas

The Texas BBQ scene is vast. One could spend a lifetime wandering the state in search of a BBQ king. Some of the most amazing meats can be found between Llano and Lockhart, but that’s just a 100 mile stretch of this massive state. From cities as small as Sweetwater to the metropolis landscape of DFW, every Texas community has a spot they claim has the best brisket…. and sausage, and ribs, and sides, and so on…

If you’re about to break out the calendar and begin planning your Texas tour, we have a simpler solution. Clear your schedule this Sunday, November 1st for the Texas Monthly BBQ Fest, held here in Austin at the Long Center.

Sponsored by Texas Monthly, this BBQ extravaganza brings the magazine’s list of “The 50 Best BBQ Joints in the World!” together under one roof for a day of smoked meat heaven.

TMBBQ-Austin-1

From hometown favorites Franklin and La Barbecue to institutions like Llano’s Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que and Spicewood’s Opie’s Barbecue (a personal favorite!), this a veritable taste of Texas that BBQ lovers can’t miss.

Every year, TMBBQ selects a “Newcomer” to join in on the fun. This year, Austin’s own Freedmen’s joins its peers under the Long Center roof. In a city known for its competitive smokehouses, Freedmen’s manages to stand out thanks in part to its creative smoked menu items like jalapeño pimento cheese, and house made sausages. Joining the ranks of recent “Newcomers” including Franklin, Deep Ellum’s Pecan Lodge, and Pearland’s Killen’s, Freedmen’s is an exciting and welcome addition that can’t be missed.

TMBBQ-Austin-3

This year has another newcomer—desserts! Treat yourself to a selection of treats from some of Texas’s favorite confectionaries. Choose between donuts from Gourdough’s, gelato from Tèo, Crown Royal Whisky mini-cupcakes, chocolates from Katherine Clapner’s Dude, Sweet Chocolate, and tiny pies from, well, Tiny Pies. Wash it all down with libations provided by sponsors Crown Royal, Don Julio Tequila, and Shiner Beer.

If the food isn’t enough to draw you in, fun activities including giveaways and interactive festivities by sponsors Central Market, Texas A&M University, and YETI Coolers will be there to entertain as well. There will also be live performances by Flaco Jiménez Y Su Conjunto and LaTasha Lee and the Blackties.

Other featured BBQ joints include:

Snow’s BBQ Lexington

Louie Mueller Barbecue Taylor

The Original Willie’s Bar-B-Q

Tyler’s Barbeque Amarillo

John Mueller Meat Co. Austin

Lamberts Downtown Barbecue Austin

Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew Austin

Miller’s Smokehouse Belton

Fargo’s Pit BBQ Bryan

Brooks’ Place Cypress

Lockhart Smokehouse Dallas

Austin’s BBQ and Catering Eagle Lake

McMillan’s Bar-B-Q Fannin

Cousin’s Bar-B-Q Fort Worth

Longoria’s BBQ Fort Worth

Cranky Frank’s Barbeque Company Fredericksburg

Leon’s World’s Finest In & Out Bar-B-Que Galveston

Meshack’s Bar-B-Que Garland

City Meat Market Giddings

Bartley’s Bar-B-Q Grapevine

Bob’s Bar-B-Que Henderson

Gatlin’s BBQ & Gatlin’s BBQ & Catering Houston

Virgie’s Bar-B-Que Houston

Billy’s Old Fashion BBQ Jasper

Joseph’s Riverport Barbecue Jefferson

Buzzie’s Bar-B-Q Kerrville

Hitch-N-Post BBQ Livingston

Black’s Barbecue Lockhart

Kreuz Market Lockhart

City Market Luling

Whup’s Boomerang Bar-B-Que Marlin

Hutchins BBQ McKinney

Kirby’s Barbeque Mexia

Hashknife on the Chisholm Peadenville

Cowpoke’s Pearsall

Pody’s BBQ Pecos

Hatfields BBQ & Blackjacks Beer Garden Rockport

The Granary ‘Cue and Brew San Antonio

Two Bros. BBQ Market San Antonio

Hays Co. Bar-B-Que and Catering San Marcos

Zimmerhanzel’s BBQ Smithville

Corkscrew BBQ Spring

Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue Tyler

Mumphord’s Place BBQ Victoria

Big Boy’s Bar-B-Que – Sweetwater

TMBBQ-Austin-2

Get your tickets at TMBBQ.com

$80 for general admission, $145 for VIP, and $10 for children 5 and under.

See y’all there!

If you’re dying to celebrate the harvest season at the number two Oktoberfest in the country as voted by US Today, you’ve probably already made plans to attend Wurstfest this year. From November 6th through the 15th, people from around the state will gather in New Braunfels to celebrate German culture, and to party like crazy.

Attendees will sample German-style fare, dance to the live bands, and take in the various Alpine and Bavarian style shows that celebrate the fall. The Wurstfest grounds are in New Braunfel’s Landa Park, but there are various other events and activities going on throughout the town and Comal County.

The best week in sausage brings some of the best German fare right to Austin’s backyard and chances are you’re going to want to wash it all down with a beer… or four. Needless to say, a designated driver is a must.

Photo by Reddit user: svartorn

Photo by Reddit user: svartorn

We’re partnering up with Austin Tour Company this year to make sure you make it to the fest and back in one piece. We’re offering round-trip transportation on our sweet party busses for only $40 per person. Parking for Wurstfest is actually offsite, so you still end up taking a bus from the parking area to the grounds if you decide to drive yourself. Our busses pick up in Austin and deliver and pick up to/from the front gates of the fest. Your first beer on the bus is on us, byob for the rest.

Additionally, the $40 doesn’t just cover the ride; it gets you into the festival! We get the party started early with fun music and the hilarious movie Beerfest to entertain you on the ride home. We also provide a little education (we promise, it’s not boring!) on the history of the festival and why it’s so significant in Central Texas.

Once we’re at the Wurstfest Grounds, you have three hours to enjoy the festival to your heart’s desire. Then we’ll be waiting for your group at the entrance ready to safely bring you back to Austin. It’s as easy as that.

Wanna learn more? Check out the Wurstfest official site for more information about the sausage party and book your spot on one of our Austin Tour Company party buses here. It’s a small price to pay for a time you won’t soon forget… if only you could remember.

gettickets black

Cover photo courtesy of Do512 Family.