Wu-Tang’s GZA returns to Austin Sunday, August 20 reuniting with local Latin funksters Brownout at Empire Control Room. We’re giving away a pair of tickets to folks who tag 365 Things Austin and share this preview on Facebook or Twitter. Fans will have another chance to win tickets on our Instagram page. The rapper also known as The Genius (Gary Grice) first collaborated with the Grupo Fantasma spin-off in 2012, performing his 1995 solo masterpiece Liquid Swords with the group during South by Southwest (SXSW). It was a seminal moment for the founding member of Wu-Tang who stated after the performance, “The chemistry is amazing. Expect more shows from us.”
Following the collaboration’s debut the show travelled to Brooklyn and other locales, most notably Bonnaroo Music Festival. We caught subsequent performances at ACL Live and Utopiafest. Both were exceptional shows. GZA’s smooth flow and intelligent rap pairs well with Brownout’s improvisational jazz/funk rhythms. The Grammy-winning artists instinctively leave musical space for The Genius to lay his urban wisdom on the audience. Even fans not familiar with Wu-Tang or GZA’s solo material will find the show compelling.
The project was a precursor to GZA’s bandmate Ghostface Killah working with Toronto’s BADBADNOTGOOD (BBNG) to produce Sour Soul early in 2015. The jazz trio subsequently worked with Kaytranada on an album. The hip-hop/jazz collaborative trend is similar to the 1990’s when hip-hop/jazz partnerships began cropping up, starting with A Tribe Called Quest’s Low End Theory (1991) to Guru’s wildly popular Jazzmatazz series, finally winding down the decade with The Roots classic 1999 record, Things Fall Apart. Leave it to an Austin act and GZA to bring back the trend and up the musical ante.
Brownout drummer John Speice confirmed the set list for the upcoming show will be similar to previous performances stating they’ll play “Liquid Swords and a few Wu bangers.” Surely there will be a few choruses of “Wu-Tang clan ain’t nuthing ta f’ wit” right?
Don’t forget to share this post on Facebook or Twitter and tag 365 Things Austin for a chance to win tickets to the event.
Watch GZA and Brownout play Liquid Swords at Bonnaroo.
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.
Much like January’s Free Week, Hot Summer Nights are a series of free concerts hosted by music venues located in Austin’s Red River Cultural District. Running July 13-16 at various clubs in the area, the performances will feature popular local acts White Denim, The Octopus Project, Magna Carda, Matthew Logan Vasquez (Delta Spirit), Golden Dawn Arkestra and Moving Panoramas among others. Similar to the Free Week programming, there is a national act included, Andrew Savage of Brooklyn’s Parquet Courts. The event is a chance for Austin music fans to discover local bands in a small geographical area. Club hopping is not only allowed, it’s encouraged.
Hosted by the Red River Merchant Association which formed in November 2016, the purpose of the event is to promote local venues in an area threatened by downtown development and at the same time give back to the community which supports it.
“The Red River District itself is a true cultural icon here in Austin and we want to do everything we can to see the area not only survive, but thrive in the years ahead,” said Stephen Sternschein, RRMA board member and owner of Empire Control Room & Garage. “These HotSummerNights events are meant to serve as a way for our team to give back to residents here in Austin, as well as provide amazing musicians and artists an opportunity to directly interact the local community. We can’t wait to kick off these first HotSummerNight events, which will be the first step of many to come for RRMA, and reveal additional plans for the district in the near future.”
While we love all the bands participating (because they’re Austin acts) several lineups stand out among the huge list of performers:
Friday – White Denim – Cheer Up Charlie’s
This show is opportunity for White Denim fans that doesn’t come along everyday. Since their lineup shake up in 2015 when White Denim lost two members to Leon Bridges’ band the James Petralli-led outfit has not performed often. The indie-rockers shifted from a prog-rock bent to more of a blues-rock oriented act with the new formation, inserting Petralli side-project Bob English members into the roster. The results are as entertaining as ever. The support bill includes Deep Time, The Stacks, Go Fever and Tyler Jordan and the Negative Space. RSVP via Facebook here.
Friday – The Octopus Project – Empire Control Room
If you haven’t witnessed the astounding visual spectacle of a show by The Octopus Project this is a perfect opportunity to see the UT Film School grads play their hybrid of electronica and power pop. Besides being one of Austin’s hardest-working bands, the group features the unusual addition of a theremin to the mix. Their recent show at Barracuda last month was a reminder The Octopus Project never disappoints. RSVP via Facebook here.
Saturday – Magna Carda – Cheer-Up Charlie’s
Hip-hop / jazz fusion act Magna Carda’s 2016 release “Cirqulation” was one of the best local albums to drop in Austin last year. The longtime duo of Megz Kelly and Dougie Do added what basically amounts to a jazz/funk trio to back them and the results were magical. Megz has the kind of flow that makes even casual hip-hop fans sit up and take notice. Doug provides the sounds and effects while their crack band ties it all together.
The supporting acts are no slouches. Get to Cheer-Up’s early to catch My Empty Phantom, Obscured by Echoes and Lord Buffalo. RSVP via Facebook here.
Saturday – A. Savage (Parquet Courts) – Barracuda
While we were in Spain last year for Primavera Sound Festival we caught Andrew Savage’s Parquet Courts on the Pitchfork Stage. The Brooklyn rockers style is hard to define. They played a high-energy show that featured elements of punk, alt-country and indie rock. Naturally we’re curious about Savage’s solo act. US Weekly and Alex Dupree round out the lineup. RSVP via Facebook here.
To see the entire roster of bands and stay up-to-date on the latest lineups visit the official Hot Summer Nights Facebook Event page. Despite the event kicking off tomorrow, there’s still some surprises ahead such as the special guest to be announced at Sidewinder on Saturday.
There are a ton of great restaurants in this city, but nothing beats the ambiance of the glorious outdoors in Austin. That’s why we’ve compiled the ultimate list of places to picnic this summer. And to save yourself the hassle of actually packing a picnic, we’ve picked our favorite UberEATS treats to pair with each location. All you gotta do is bring the blanket and the booze!
Mount Bonnell 3800 Mount Bonnell Rd.
Views don’t get anymore breathtaking than this. For maximum enjoyment, go either at sunset or sunrise.
Ah, the holy grail of Austin zen. The ultimate summer staple. As John Muir once said, “Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods.” Well Barton Springs isn’t exactly the woods but it will surely restore your soul.
Summer in Austin means infinite things to do. If you’re bored, than you’re not reading our website enough. ‘Tis the season for the free Summer Musical at Zilker. This year’s production is The Wizard of OZ.
On select Wednesdays during the summer, you can find Sound & Cinema happening at The Long Center. They show classic flicks with live music before the screening. Every Sunday they host a free concert series with the Austin Symphony Orchestra that is always the perfect way to wind down the weekend. Both are great excuses for a picnic and to watch the sunset over Downtown.
Calling all Pinterest fans! Wanna show off? Plan a picnic at this giant art installation/picnic table in the new Seaholm district. Your picnic will be all over Instagram. We’re basic and we don’t care.
Austin is a weird place, and that’s part of the reason it’s such a well-loved place. If you’ve lived in Austin for some time, you’re likely already aware of some of these unique Austin quirks. If you’re new to the city, get ready for a quick rundown on the in’s and out’s of some of Austin’s most confusing and endearing personality traits, or as we like to call them, Austin-isms
It’s harder to find somewhere without live music on the weekends than it is to find somewhere with it
It’s pronounced man-shack, not mahn-CHA-cah
Some of the best food in town can be found in trucks
360 loop isn’t actually a loop
Neither is Loop 1. Also, Loop 1 is called Mopac not Loop 1
You can eat some variety of tacos for every meal of the day
You’ll probably see more dogs than kids when you’re out and about
Guadalupe is pronounced gwah-dah-LOOP not gwah-dah-LOO-peh like you would think
You can’t beat the views here. If you’re moving to Austin, be sure to let your real estate agent know if a view is on your “must have” list
FM 2222 has so many different names. At any point along the length of its reach, you’ll hear it called Koenig, 2222, Allandale Rd, Bull Creek, and/or Northland Dr.
Almost every restaurant has a patio
Your 2-mile commute might take 40 minutes. Or it could take 5. It’s anybody’s guess really.
Most people in Austin aren’t from Austin. And the people who did grow up here are often referred to as “unicorns” now
There’s no shortage of outdoor activities
There’s no place quite like ATX
What are some of your favorite perks and quirks about Austin?
Join us on a guided experience through the streets of Downtown Austin on an insider experience of Austin’s best kept secret bars. We’ll sample the best craft cocktails the city has to offer—mixed up by the most creative mixologists around. You’ll also learn cool facts on the history of the craft cocktail and of the buildings themselves.
SXSW is already everywhere, but if you aren’t ready to jump into the melee just yet, here’s an event that will warm your heart and make you fall in love with this city all over again. Mobile Loaves & Fishes invites you to a free movie night at their Community First! Village. Grab chairs and a blanket, bring family and friends, and enjoy this special screening of The Dark Knight.
If you’ve never been to this amazing place, it’s a 27-acre master planned community that provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for the disabled, chronically homeless in Central Texas. Come early to explore, pick your spot, and enjoy your favorite movie snacks. Hot dogs, s’mores, popcorn, candy and drinks will be available for purchase (cash preferred). Concession sales and tips help our Community First! friends who will be serving you to earn a dignified income.
And be sure to stop by the Community Market and check out all the beautiful art and handcrafted products that residents make in our various micro-enterprise programs at the Village. Residents keep 100 percent of the profits from their sales, and get to do what they love!
When: Today, March 10th
Time: 6-10 p.m. *The event begins at 6, movie starts roughly an hour later.
Cost: The event is free, however a $5 donation would be highly appreciated.
What: A rundown building? A hidden door? A red light? Things are not always what they seem. Whether you’re just visiting Austin or consider yourself a local, we’re willing to bet that there are some bars you never knew existed. Shhhhh.
What: If you live for the smokey stuff, as most of us do in Texas, don’t miss this chance to see and taste some of the best in the state. At BBQ Austin cities from all over Texas send their Champion BBQ Teams to compete in the Invitational Division for the title of “State of Texas BBQ Grand Champion.” Additionally, all teams compete for the title and purse of “BBQ Austin Grand Champion.”
What: Austin’s most infamous St. Patrick’s Day party is back and better than ever with a day-long festival! On Friday, March 17, hundreds of green-clad, day-drinking warriors will flock to Fadó Irish Pub.
What: South By San José returns to the Hotel San José and Jo’s parking lot with live music, local vendors, and good times. Music starts at noon each day, and the party is always and forever free to attend.
In Austin, there truly is a festival for everything! Here’s three days of juggling, workshops, games, vendors, and shows in the heart of the city’s So-Co district.
Celebrating its 24th year, Jugglefest features (you guessed it!) juggling, unicycling, and related circus arts. Everyoneis welcome to come on down to pick up the basics, learn some new tricks, meet some crazy people, or just chill out and watch.
When: Today, February 24 – Sunday, February 26th
Time: 5-10 p.m.
Location: Texas School for the Deaf
1102 South Congress Avenue
*TSD has a great gym, plenty of parking spots, and it’s close to a ton of delicious restaurants.
It’s a rainy Valentine’s Day in Austin, Texas! Grab the umbrellas, put on the rain boots and head to Catch Air’s Austin and Round Rock indoor play places to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Stop in anytime today, February 14, 2017, for all day crafts and cookies (while supplies last). The cookies and supplies for crafts are included in the cost of admission, drinks are available for an extra fee.
What: Valentine’s Day Craft & Cookies When: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 Time: 10 am – 7 pm Where: Catch Air Round Rock (1401 S. IH-35) and Catch Air Austin (13450 N. Hwy. 183) Cost: Infants are free with paid child’s admission; Children 1-2: $10; Children 3-16: $14; Two 17+ Adults: FREE (per ever 1 paid child); Additional Adults: $7