Little Big Town tour with Kacey Musgraves, Midland coming to Austin

Country music superstars Little Big Town are set to hit the road next year and a February 9 show at the Frank Erwin Center is the second stop on “The Breakers” tour. Kacey Musgraves and Midland will be along for the ride.

Little Big Town

Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. and will be available at or by phone at (512) 477-6060 or 1-800-982-BEVO (2386).

More Harvey benefits in Austin: Musicians continue relief efforts

Beat Root Revival is among the acts playing a Harvey relief benefit at Donn’s Depot on Sunday, Sept. 17. Peter Blackstock/American-Statesman

This week’s announcement of the Sept. 22 “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas” concert at the Erwin Center is the 800-pound gorilla of hurricane relief benefits, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still a lot of smaller fundraiser continuing to be presented around town by local musicians who want to help. Here are a few on the immediate horizon:

Friday, Sept. 15: Play It Forward at Blackerby Stage & Studio. The staff at Blackerby Violin Shop is hosting a benefit concert and instrument drive for Houston area music students affected by Hurricane Harvey. The program features the Blackerby staff performing music composed by native Texans including Joseph Shuffield, Luke Ellard and Mother Falcon; Benjamin Britten’s Simple Symphony; and Beatles songs led by the Eggmen’s John Burgess. Blackerby is working with Houston Arts Partners, an organization that aims to provide resources, communication and support to arts programs in the greater Houston area. Funds collected will go directly toward purchase of new instruments and instrument accessories. $20 suggested donation; also accepted are gently used instruments, music stands, strings, metronomes, tuners, shoulder rests and the like. 7 p.m. 1111 W. Anderson Lane. More info.

Saturday, Sept. 16: Helping Har-vacuees. East 12th Street venues team up to raise money for charities working on Harvey relief efforts including  ShelterBox USA, Emancipet and Unicef. Dozen Street kicks off the day early with a free brunch at 2 p.m. with bands performing all day and night including a special set from Foot Patrol at 3 p.m. The Big Easy begins their benefit with a blues jam at 6:30 p.m. and  Full Circle Bar is donating all the proceeds from every Skee-Ball game of the night to the efforts. $10 cover gets you into all three venues and each of the clubs, plus food truck Red Wraps are donating 10% of Saturday net sales. Neighboring bars Rio Rita and King Bee are also contributing to Harvey relief efforts. More info.

Saturday-Sunday, Sept, 16-17: Harvey Flood Benefit at Moontower Saloon. Musicians including Texiana Bluez, Whiskey Rebellion and Jukebox Heroes will play from noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Donations of water and canned foods will be accepted for the Central Texas Food Bank, along with cash that will go to the Austin Disaster Relief Network for those in need after Hurricane Harvey. 10212 Manchaca Road. More info.

Sunday, Sept. 17: Hurricane Harvey Help at Donn’s Depot. Roots musicians including Beat Root Revival, Ernie Durawa with Will Knaak, the Drakes with Redd Volkaert, the Mike Cross Band, the John Gaar Band and Charles Thibodeaux will perform. Donations of requested items such as chainsaws and paper products will be accepted along with a suggested donation of $10 to $20, with all collected items and cash going to the Austin Disaster Relief Network. 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. 1600 W. Fifth St. More info.

Sundays, Sept. 17 and Sept. 24: Bands With Vans benefit for Harvey relief at Spider House. One novel way for musicians to help is to work with Bands With Vans, which teams bands up with venues working as drop off locations in Houston collecting supplies. Walker Lukens did the first one last week; they’re following up with a country show Sept. 17 featuring Mayeux & Broussard, Ricky Espinoza and the Band In Black, followed by a Latin/brass-band dance party on Sept. 24 with Superfonicos, Minor Mishap Marching Band, Continental Drift and Wache. $7 suggested donation. 7 p.m. 2908 Fruth St. More info.

Monday, Sept. 18: Fastball at Chet’s Livestream Concert. Austin pop band Fastball is teaming up with comedian and Unpopular Opinion Network podcaster Chet Wild to play a set at Wild’s home in Los Angeles that will be livestreamed for those who donate. All net proceeds benefit the Center for Disaster Philanthropy Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund. More info.

Planning a Hurricane Harvey benefit that’s not on this list? Drop us a line.

Six fall music festivals in Austin (that aren’t ACL Fest)

Like fall temperatures, fall music festival season comes later to Austin than it does to much of the country. The big behemoth, Austin City Limits Festival, featuring Jay-Z, Chance the Rapper and Red Hot Chili Peppers is set for  Oct. 6-9 and 13-15 at Zilker Park. Sound on Sound Festival, the indie shindig that rose from the ashes of Fun Fun Fun Fest ,  doesn’t kick off its second year at Sherwood Forest Faire with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Grizzly Bear and Iggy Pop until Nov. 10. But never fear, this is Austin and if you can’t wait two months for a day-long multi-band binge, we’ve got you covered.

At the big festivals everything happens on a larger scale, from the stages, to the artist names to the massive crowd you rock with at Zilker Park. These smaller events offer an opportunity to get up close and personal with artists and do some in-depth musical exploration.

Sept. 2: Pennyfest at Empire. Does a single-day event really count as a fest? It might be stretching the definition, but we’ll let it slide for this one for its solid offerings of top notch indie rock. Gigs by San Antonio outfit Girl in a Coma have been rare over the last couple years as lead singer Nina Diaz focused on her solo career, but they kick off a national tour later this fall and they’ll be in Austin to headline this shindig. Also on the bill, presented by Penny Loafer PR and 101X Homegrown Live, are Emily Wolfe, Ghost Wolves, Darkbird and many more. More info. 

Jai Malano plays the Titos Handmade Vodka Stage at ACL Fest weekend on Sunday October 2, 2016. Dave Creaney/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Sept. 9-10: Eastside Kings Festival. Dialtone Records founder Eddie Stout has made preserving the heritage of gospel and blues music in Central Texas a lifelong mission. This is the fifth year for his signature festival, which jump starts the heart of Austin’s historic blues district on the Eastside. The event features over 30 bands at eight venues with a big stage in the Mission Possible parking lot at Twelfth and Chicon. Featured artists include old school greats like Sonny Rhodes and Blues Boy Hubbard alongside some of the hottest new acts on Austin’s soul scene like Jai Malano and Tomar and the FCs. New events this year include a kickoff party at Antone’s and an after party at Justine’s Brasserie.   More info

RELATED: Eddie Stout grows Eastside Kings blues fest to 9 clubs in East Austin

Sept. 12-16: Austin Music Video Fest. Now in its third year, this festival explores the intersection of Austin’s music and movie-making communities and celebrates the music video as a form of short film. This year’s event includes world premieres from local artists Golden Dawn Arkestra, Sip Sip and Walker Lukens, retrospectives from Spike Jonze and the Flaming Lips, local artist Christeene and local label Holodeck Records (which includes members of Survive). There will also be a Video Swim Bike and a Video Bike Night –a bike-in movie theater, and the annual Austin Music Video Awards. More info.

Sept. 14-16: Sonic Transmissions Festival.  The self-proclaimed “pioneering improvisational music festival without boundaries” presents a diverse cross-section of sounds from experimental punk noise to psychedelic cumbia and free jazz. Featured artists include jazz multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee, Norwegian jazz bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Colombian cumbia group Carmelo Torres y Los Toscos and more. Events take place around town at Kick Butt Coffee, Kenny Dorham’s Backyard, Barracuda and the Victory Grill. More info.

Sept. 22-23: Red River Family Festival at Barracuda. Like it loud? Local label Red River Family Records presents two days of metal madness with Inquisition, Uada and Volahn and more. More info.

Sept. 23-24: Pecan St. Festival . The biannual art and music festival takes over Sixth Street for its 37th fall edition. The event features free music on several stages and the lineup includes rising blues artist Jackie Venson, back from a couple summer stints supporting Gary Clark Jr. on tour, and Louisiana act Royal Teeth. The Peligrosa DJ collective, who are celebrating 10 years fusing hip-hop funk and Latin sounds this fall, will make an appearance alongside local acts like Moving Panoramas, Kay Odyssey, Kiko Villamizar and more.  More info

WATCH: Jackie Venson performs with Anderson.Paak, Mac Miller on Colbert

Austin club ranks No. 1 in Yelp’s top U.S. music venues list

East Austin club, the Skylark Lounge has placed first in a Yelp list of the top 50 music venues in America. The folks at Yelp say you should go to the local dive bar for “A piece of old-school Texas music and pretty good pizza.”

The Texas Eastside Kings play Skylark Lounge. American-Staesman

The club has a rich history, that current owner Johnny LaTouf shared with us when we caught up with him in 2014, about a year after the venue opened.

RELATED: Skylark Lounge creates warm homage to East Austin heritage

“I walked into this bar and I felt the history,” he says. The space was a lumber yard before becoming the Airport Bar and Grill, a neighborhood hangout for black folk, and later a lesbian bar called Bernadette’s. LaTouf decided to “grab it and try to preserve it.”

He was determined to create a space that caters to both sets of the bar’s former clientele. He wanted to fill a vacuum for East Austin natives alarmed at the way black and Hispanic entrepreneurs were being pushed out of the neighborhood, watching the local culture “getting obliterated off the map.” He also wanted to welcome the area’s newer transplants and tourists looking for an authentic Austin experience.

“The other bar people in town told me ‘Are you crazy? You cannot have a bar that is going to have gay people, African-American people, Hispanic people and white people coming to it. You need to figure out what your demographic is and you need to go for it,’” LaTouf says. But he was committed to the diverse vision.

These days, the club, a dimly lit haunt with candles on the tables and a regular roster of classic blues musicians onstage, does brisk business. A diverse  mix of old and new Austinites flock to the Eastside hideaway for an intimate musical experience with an authentic old Austin feel.

Five free summer music events for the whole family

School’s out for the summer and it’s time to educate young Austinites on why we call their city the Live Music Capital of the World. Here are five family-friendly events where you can introduce your kids to live music.

Music Under the Star. The Bob Bullock opens up the Lone Star Plaza in front of the museum for a run of three free Friday concerts in July, headlined by James McMurtry, Mother Falcon and Tameca Jones. The concerts kick off at 6 p.m. each night and food trucks, beer and soda are available on site. Worth noting: the main event takes place on plaza in front of the museum, but there’s a stretch of grass away from the action where little ones can play and you can still hear the tunes. Also, parking is free. More info.

» RELATED: Five pro-tips for enjoying outdoor summer music events with your kids

Credence Cooke, 2, plays in bubbles at KGSR Blues on the Green at Zilker Park Wednesday June 22, 2016. Thousands attended the free concert that featured local artists Wild Child and Max Frost. Blues on the Green is a free summer concert series that is in its 26th season. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Blues on the Green. The long-running free summer series sponsored by radio station KGSR is the granddaddy of Austin’s beer-in-the-park events. The bad news is the 8 p.m. concert kickoff is a bit late for the littlest of littles, but the good news is a sunset start time means a much more bearable experience for everyone old enough to stay awake. Round up a group of friends, spread a blanket in the grass and make it an outing. The next installment, a June 14th performance by Austin’s own Grupo Fantasma offers an opportunity to introduce your family to one of the finest Latin music ensembles in the world.  More info.

Daybird music series. What do we want? Free music! When do we want it? During the day! Where do we want it? Inside! So much summer music happens outside. On the one hand, it’s great to get the kids out and run them around. On the other hand, Texas summer heat can wilt the spirit of even the most die-hard music lovers. Thankfully many of the concerts in this new free music series hosted by the City of Austin take place in the air-conditioned comfort of downtown music venues like 3Ten and Antone’s. Concerts take place from 1 to 5 p.m.  each Saturday in June. More info.

» RELATED: Take the kids to see a movie for free or very little in Austin

Sound and Cinema . Prefer your music with a side of movie? This series at the Long Center has you covered. Each installment pairs a family-friendly flick with a local band. This year’s events kick off on June 21 with “The Princess Bride” paired with Cake cover band Icing.  Later in the summer The Quaker City Night Hawks play before a screening of “Raising Arizona” and garage rock champs, A Giant Dog set up “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.” Concerts kick off at 7:30 p.m. with the movies starting at sunset (around 8:45). Food trucks and a full bar are available on site. More info.

Unplugged at the Grove. Big concerts too loud for the little ones? This series presents acoustic music on the pecan-shaded patio of the Shady Grove every Thursday night at 8 p.m. all summer long. There is no cover charge, but yes, this is a restaurant and if you plan to occupy a table for any length of time, plan to order some food and drinks. More info. 

’90s hip-hop heads rejoice: Ms. Lauryn Hill and Nas joint tour coming to Austin

Here’s a solid bet for fans of lyrically fierce ’90s hip-hop: Two pillars of that era, Ms. Lauryn Hill and Nas are embarking on a joint tour this fall. The show hits the Austin360 Amphitheater on Sept. 30.

Lauryn Hill performs in concert at Stubb’s Bar-B-Q on May 2, 2016. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

Tickets run $31.50 to $131.50 and go on sale Friday at 10 a.m.

Over the past decade Hill’s performances have been notoriously inconsistent and frequently tardy. The last time we caught her, in the final moments of the final Fun Fun Fun Fest in 2015, she was brilliant, transcendent. Her set had a hard curfew of 10 p.m. and she actually started a couple minutes early.

The last time she played Austin, when her “Diaspora Calling” tour hit ACL Live last fall, she was reportedly good, but quite late to hit the stage. Fans who caught recent performances from Hill in Pittsburgh and Atlanta fared worse.

Nas, who headlined Fun Fun Fun Fest in 2014, is, and has always been, “half-man, half amazing.”

Nas. Photo by Tammy Perez/For American-Statesman.



Remember Gregg Allman with this 1995 ‘Austin City Limits’ broadcast

Classic rocker Gregg Allman died today at age 69. According to his publicist he “passed away peacefully” at his home in Savannah, Ga.

In this May 6, 2016 photo, Greg Allman performs at the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Catoosa, Oka. On Saturday, May 27, 2017, a publicist said the musician, the singer for The Allman Brothers Band, has died. (Tom Gilbert/Tulsa World via AP)

Allman’s health had been precarious since last year, when he was forced to cancel some tour dates. On Aug. 5, he announced, that he was “under his doctor’s care at the Mayo Clinic” due to “serious health issues.” Later that year, he canceled more dates due to a throat injury. Then in March of this year, he canceled the rest of his performances.

Remember the Allman brothers with this full broadcast of their 1995 “Austin City Limits” performance.

Miles Zuniga of Austin’s Fastball remembered the late Allman on Saturday in a Facebook post about how the music legend might actually have played a small role in Fastball becoming a band.


Blink-182 brings nostalgia and new tunes, shows love for Austin in tour kickoff show

Blink-182 really hates Dallas.

Newly appointed co-lead vocalist Matt Skiba made sure the fans at the Austin360 Ampitheater Wednesday night knew that, spewing praises for the Austin crowd (saying performing there was better than performing in Dallas, “and f*** Fort Worth too!”) and shouting out Gourdough’s, Austin’s beloved doughnut shop.

Blink-182 with special guests The Naked and Famous and Makeout perform at Austin360 Amphitheater at The Circuit Of The Americas in Austin, Texas on March 22, 2017 – Photo Credit: Scott Moore/for American-Statesman

The group totally acknowledged the irony of being in town just days after South by Southwest, too:

RELATED: Weezer, Smash Mouth, Hanson; SXSW 2017 was heavy on the nostalgia

The band, fresh off the heels of last year’s “California” (the reunited group’s first album without former lead vocalist Tom Delonge), sprinkled in tracks from the new album to their nostalgia-inducing set, filled primarily with songs from 1999’s “Enema of the State,” 2001’s “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket” and the band’s self-titled album in 2003.

When the band launched into set opener “Feeling This” followed by “The Rock Show,” they knew what they were doing: The olds in the crowd, who loved the band back in middle or high school but couldn’t quite believe they were attending a Blink-182 show in 2017, loved it. The band even played “Anthem Pt. 2,” with the disclaimer, “We haven’t played this one live in about 12 to 13 years, so let’s not f*** it up, people,” beforehand. Jury’s still out on whether “people” meant the band or the crowd.

PHOTOS: Blink-182 at Austin360 Ampitheater on March 22

If you saw Blink-182 for the nostalgia, you got what you came for: “First Date,” “I Miss You,” “All The Small Things,” “Dammit” and “Stay Together For The Kids” all made it into Wednesday’s show (before announcing the melancholy “Stay Together For the Kids,” the group joked with the crowd: “Who’s having fun? That stops now.”). And the crowd didn’t seem to miss Delonge—Skiba does a good Delonge imitation, and the vocal differences were minimal (except on “I Miss You,” which includes a little more singing and a little less yelling than some of the other early hits).

Blink-182 with special guests The Naked and Famous and Makeout perform at Austin360 Amphitheater at The Circuit Of The Americas in Austin, Texas on March 22, 2017 – Photo Credit: Scott Moore/for American-Statesman

Skiba’s been with the group for two years—the former Alkaline Trio singer and guitarist was recruited two years ago, after Delonge left the group (for the second time, by the way) in January 2015. And it was the crowd’s reaction to post-Delonge songs like “Cynical,” “Bored to Death” and “Built This Pool” and the age dichotomy in the crowd (20- and 30-year-olds who knew the words to the oldies, and teenagers who screamed every word to the 2016 songs) that begged the question: Are there new Blink-182 fans in the world? Are there people who listened to last year’s “California” and thought, “Hey, this band is kind of great”?

For a band that was so huge during the late 1990s and early 2000s, it’s hard to imagine anybody younger than 25 or so becoming a new fan of the pop-punk group’s kick-drum heavy compositions and often-melancholy lyrics, but those people surely exist, and they made up most of the pit at Wednesday’s show. But the band’s songwriting hasn’t evolved much over the years: “California” included a track called “She’s Out Of Her Mind” (which was on the setlist Wednesday night) with the lyrics: “I’m in deep with this girl but she’s out of her mind / She said babe I’m sorry but I’m crazy tonight / She got a black shirt, black skirt and Bauhaus stuck in her head / I’m in deep with this girl but she’s out of her mind.” Compare that to 1999’s “Dysentery Gary”: “Life just sucks, I lost the one / I’m giving up, she found someone / There’s plenty more, girls are such a drag.” Just because those types of lines worked on teenagers 15 years ago doesn’t mean they work when written by 40-year-old men (despite the fact that drummer Travis Barker seems to have miraculously not aged over the past 20 years), but the younger people in the crowd begged to differ.

Well, I guess this is growing up.