Last week singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins made her first US tour stop in Austin at Antone’s Nightclub. The reinvented legendary blues club was the ideal spot for the chanteuse to umm… reinvent herself as a neo-soul singer in support of her Mowtown-esque new record, Goodnight Rhonda Lee. The first time you hear Atkins sing you know her voice is special. We thought so the first time we caught the singer sporting a moody indie-rock vibe and working out of Brooklyn (she’s from New Jersey). But seeing the woman sing in a format that features her voice was truly special. Folks walking by on Fifth Street heard her singing and impulsively purchased tickets. Yeah, her pipes are truly golden.
After an impressive two-man performance by The Midnight Stroll, a sober and genial Atkins and her Nashville-based band took the stage and presented songs from all four of her albums. She rolled out new single co-written with Chris Isaac, A Little Crazy early in the set showing off her Patsy Cline chops. The song features her velvety voice like it should. Another stand-out tune was a cover of Bowie’s Heroes. We’ve seen the song played by a number of artists since the legendary rocker’s death but none surpass the emotion lent to it by Atkins.
The old-school, early 60s vibe of title track to the new record felt like a crowd-pleaser too. A glance around the room revealed a fairly age-diverse crowd of music fans all with big smiles as she worked through the tune with a great band.
We spoke to her guitarist Stephen who mentioned the band had just gotten back to the States after a whirlwind European tour. He said he was happy to be in Austin as he’s from Texas but now works out of Nashville as producer and touring musician. He was excited about the upcoming American leg of the tour despite jet lag and fatigue. It’s that much fun to tour with Atkins according to the affable musician.
The road ahead looks rosy for Nicole Atkins. The one-time drinker has tamed her demons, gotten married, moved to Nashville and put out a fantastic new record that allows the listener to better hear the amazing talent that lay in her voice. The indie rock recordings she’s made are better than good, she wouldn’t have such a devoted fan base without putting out quality material, but the new direction has given her a fresh stage presence and vitality while Atkins shed’s her bad girl Rhonda Lee persona for a more stabile, happier future.
Atkins continues her tour in San Francisco, followed by dates in Portland and Seattle. The nearly non-stop schedule ends in South Carolina next April.
It’s December and we are officially going crazy for Christmas in Austin. Ring in the season at this free, family-friendly event that celebrates the arrival of the holiday season and the joy it brings. Enjoy live music from local favorites like Riders Against the Storm, Jane Ellen Bryant, Charlie Faye and the Fayettes, Gina Chavez, and more.
They’ll also be a ton of great activities for the kids like face painting, ornament making, carnival games, and gingerbread decorating! Plus the big guy will be there—all the way from the North Pole.
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.
Thursday, Nov 30th – The Electric Church
12-Christian Bland and The Revelators 11-The Nymphs 10-Trance Farmers
New Jersey songstress, Nicole Atkins returns to Austin Thursday at Antone’s Nightclub in support of her new record, Good Night Rhonda Lee that takes a sharp turn away from her indie-pop sound to a traditional soul recording complete with Fort Worth’s Niles City Sound Team who turned Leon Bridges into an overnight sensation. The Midnight Stroll (Aaron Behrens of Ghostland Observatory) and Thayer Serrano open the show.
Atkins’ new approach to her music spotlights the singer’s golden pipes which lay somewhat obscured by the indie-rock slant of her last album, 2014’s Slow Phaser. After being married, moving to Nashville (from NYC) and getting sober, Atkins found the material she was writing was deeply personal and introspective. She found the ideal vehicle for those compositions in Soul and R&B. The genres magnify her considerable vocal talent. It doesn’t hurt to have friends like Chris Isaak to lend a hand collaborating on the lead track, A Little Crazy after encouraging her to change her musical style,
“Atkins, you have a very special thing in your voice that a lot of people can’t or don’t do. You need to stop shying away from that thing and let people hear it.” -Chris Isaak
Listeners will identify the song as an instant classic, highlighted by vulnerable lyrics and Atkins’ apologetic tone for revealing the raw emotions swirling around her transition to a sober lifestyle, marriage and a new home. Frankly we’re eagerly anticipating how well the song translates to the Antone’s stage. The legendary Blues emporium is a the ideal spot to introduce a Soul record that takes the listener back to the Motown pop of the 1960s.
Atkins is doing it right. She hired the hottest soul producers (and musicians) in the country to back her in Joshua Block, Austin Jenkins and Chris Vivion. We suspect her newfound personal clarity will take an already seasoned and entertaining performer with an established, devoted fanbase and transform the singer into the kind of performer that gains new fans who marvel at the intimacy and emotional impact of her shows. Listening to Goodnight Rhonda Lee reveals her potential for greatness. Those may seem like heady words but if you watched Atkins’ Roadies clip above you’ll find it difficult to refute that bold claim. The album title is both a farewell to the singer’s older, self-destructive incarnation and an introduction to her new approach to making music.
Tickets are still available from the Antone’s website. Grab them before they’re sold-out. This show is one you’re going to be glad you attended.
It’s the big one! Tonight, the Christmas season officially kicks off in Austin with the lighting of our beloved Zilker Tree. Enjoy local entertainment, food, live music, and more tonight for this special occasion. The tree stands 155 feet tall and is made of 39 streamers, each holding 81 multicolored, 25-watt bulbs—totaling 3,309 lights.
The tree will be on display nightly from until December 31 from 6 p.m. – midnight. Don’t forget that area roads will be closed as thousands visit the Trail of Lights. It’s totally worth the trouble, but make sure you plan ahead!
Fans of Deer Tick may have not known what to do with the roots rockers’ latest release, companion albums, Deer Tick Vol 1 & 2. The first is an all acoustic effort and the latter rocks out like 2009’s Born on Flag Day. The band never takes itself too seriously as the album art suggests. Their 2017 issue is no exception. The artwork on the cover of the new records are ketchup and mustard to signal the records go together. Tomorrow evening, the boys from Providence return to the Mohawk to present the new material in the wake of John McCauley’s (lead vocalist and guitarist) sobriety and new family. Always a compelling live act, Deer Tick have clearly transitioned from a party band into something more.
Expect separate acoustic and electric sets as the albums are presented if you head to this show (and you should). McCauley has lived with inevitable comparisons to Kurt Cobain (he looks like him). He’s even embraced the similarities, playing Nirvana covers under the moniker, Deervana. The stringy-haired singer tends to look and sound like (raspy voice) a musical train-wreck a la Cobain as well. Knowing he’s sobered up and righted his life leaves us both apprehensive and excited about tomorrow’s show.
McCauley is now married with a child. The new domestic arrangement seems to have tempered the volatile performer. We’re just thankful his relative peace still produces beautiful music as his band transitions from beer-soaked party band into something more substantial. McCauley has always been a good songwriter but his newfound clarity has produced poetic lyrics as in opening track, “Sea of Clouds.”
“Somewhere in a fog/Of a million pleasantries/I kept my secret safe inside,” whines McCauley.
He reminds listeners although he’s righted his personal life, demons still haunt the singer as he navigates his new life. The tone of the two records is cautiously optimistic, a sea-change from Deer Tick’s previous release, Negativity (2013) that focused on the trials of addiction and hardship. The rest of the songs are a great listen too. If you didn’t click the link to grab some new Deer Tick flavor, we suggest backing up a minute and taking a listen. We’re certain you’ll be glad you did. After all, it is a rare contemporary musical act that knows exactly who they are and seem comfortable with that. Deer Tick’s authenticity is one that has served them well. We’re glad to see McCauley and the rest of the group has kept artistic integrity in place while expanding his musical boundaries.
Tickets are still available, grab some from the Mohawk website and join in the fun this weekend.
Circuit of The Americas (COTA) has just announced a new holiday tradition and festival with—get this—a million lights, camel rides, and hot air balloon rides! The holidays in Austin just keep getting better and better. Winter Wonderland will run from December 1 – 30, open daily from 6 -10 p.m., and 6 – 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Tickets are on sale now.
Like we said, a million lights will illuminate the Circuit’s Grand Plaza, which will also include Santa’s workshop, a petting zoo, a human snow globe, holiday movies on the lawn, a walking light trail, and the the Tunnel of Lights! Guests can also purchase tickets for additional offering like the hot air balloon float up to 100-feet high, Santa’s train ride for kids, a giant skating rink, camel rides, carnival rides for both children and adults, and souvenir photos with Santa. Families who donate a book to the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program at Winter Wonderland will receive one complimentary ride on the COTA Express. Guests can also hear their favorite stories read daily by Mrs. Claus at Reading Hour in the Grand Plaza. And the adults can enjoy a frosty beverage and friendly games in the Bud Light Friends Chalet after walking the .8 mile Circuit of Lights.
Entertainment throughout the Winter Wonderland will include performances by Austin school district ensembles and local artists. Plus there will be food trucks, hot cocoa stands, and other holiday-inspired beverages at Winter Wonderland. Last, but not least, you can do your holiday shopping at Go! Games—a giant pop-up shop featuring games, toys, and books—and the charming Bavarian Village with local vendors selling handcrafted goods in an enchanted setting.
Purchase tickets at the Grand Plaza Box Office or right here. Discounted group ticket sales, as well as options for corporate and private parties are also available. For information regarding special bookings or Winter Wonderland at the Circuit, click here.
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.
Vintage Market Days is an upscale, open-air vintage event that goes all over the country and now for the sixth time they are coming to Austin! “Hello, Fall” will be held at the Lakeline Mall area in Cedar Park from October 27-29. This is the perfect girls weekend or early holiday shopping trip. Let’s get way ahead of the ball, shall we?
Come out and shop original art, antiques, clothing, jewelry, handmade treasures, home décor, outdoor furnishings, consumable yummies, seasonal plantings, and a little more.
Fun fact: Vintage Market Days was named by Country Living as one of the “7 Flea Markets & Barn Sales You Won’t Want to Miss.”
Friday – Early Buying Event – $10 with pre-purchased tickets or paid entry at the gate. Shoppers will have first shot at all of the true vintage items, enjoy live music, food trucks, and have a chance at winning a custom farmhouse table and matching bench.
Saturday & Sunday – General Admission – $5 with pre-purchased tickets OR paid entry at the gate. Shoppers will have access to all of our vendors, enjoy live music (Saturday only), and food trucks.
Once admission has been paid, shoppers can return as many times as they would like. Children 12 and under are free. ATMs will be on site. The event is pet-friendly and handicap accessible. Parking is free and on asphalt. The event is rain or shine!
Via 313 has made Austin a better place by serving up the most amazing Detroit-style pizza, and now the sky has opened up and the angels are singing and they’ve announced that they are bringing us brunch pizza starting this Sunday at their Craft Pride location.
And not just that, Craft Pride has created a signature beer cocktail menu to compliment this deliciousness.
Here’s the list of cocktail/pizza pairings so you can ready your appetite for the big day:
Martin House Brewing Company True Love is the base for this mulled brew. Flavors of fall spice combine with a Raspberry sour ale to produce a sweet and sour treat. Dressed with a cranberry rim and garnished with an edible hibiscus leaf.
Pairs excellently with B.B.E: A Detroit Style French Toast Pizza
Cherry Lime Sour
Independence Brewing Co. Redbud Berliner-Weisse gives life to a cherry limeade made just for adults. Packed with real cherry and a bright lime flavor reminiscent of the drive-in treat. Garnished with a dried cherry wrapped in a fresh petite mint leaf
Pairs excellently with The Austinite: Cheese and Over-Medium Eggs are layered on a Hashbrown crust and crowned with a Salsa Verde.
A drink inspired by the Mexican Cerveza Preparada tradition. Our take is spicy, savory, and just a little sweet. Made with Dallas Blonde from Deep Ellum Brewing Company and garnished with chile lime dusted salami and a Spanish olive.
Pairs excellently with Pepper Adams: Calabrese and Over-Medium Eggs on every slice and topped with Fresh Arugula and Shaved Parmesan.
When: Sundays starting October 2nd
Time: noon – 3:00 p.m.
61 Rainey St
Austin, Texas 78701