Jun 222012
 

 

by Stephanie Groves

Last weekend, I was thrilled to be invited to cover a seemingly new band from Houston called The Tontons. I arrived in the middle of Wild Child, the second opening band following Emily Wolfe, which was a great folky vibe reminiscent of the late 60′s. The harmonies of the lead vocals were a perfect match and had the shoulder to shoulder crowd dancing and singing.

During the short intermission my friend and I rushed the stage to grab the perfect spot. Suddenly, the crowd parted and I looked over to see lead singer Asli Omar walking through in a 60′s styled beige short dress, 5-inch wedge shoes and the most rockin’ Afro I had ever seen. She is a picturesque vision of a lead singer and even in her infancy, already knows how to make an entrance.

They rocked the house and arose such a commotion with the crowd, I had a crazy mustached man screaming in my ear during KUT’s song of the day “Golden” and had an entire glass of wine spilled on my shoes by a pushy photographer hogging the stage. Despite the obstacles, I was still able to enjoy the show and watch as the music seemed to consume and possess her. The Tontons have a special soul-infused indie sound that was surely entertaining and was truly the highlight of my evening. A definite must-see new and upcoming band!

Jun 162012
 

Movies

Rock of Ages – Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin star in this  off-Braodway play that hits the big screen. Featuring the Fate of intersecting lives between a small town girl and a big city boy in the height of hair metal on the Sunset Strip. PG-13

That’s My Boy – Andy Samburg and Adam Sandler star in this comedy about the reconnection between dead-beat father and unwilling son.  R

Music/Other

Friday

Stubbs (indoor) – Houston-based band The TonTons are not just some fly by night, straight off the cuff indie band. With the smooth and sultry voice of lead singer, Asli Omar, you can sense that this band has a groove all its own. Listen to the KUT song of the day “Golden” here. With Wild Child and Emily Wolfe. Doors 9pm/Show 10pm

Erwin Center – The legend of Micheal Jackson lives on with the amazing theatrics of The Immortal World Tour by Cirque Du Soleil. 8pm

Beale Street Tavern – Funky and Off the Wall band Muchos Backflips! play tonight at 8pm

Hotel Vegas – The blues and the out-of-this-world groove of The Greyhounds take on Hotel Vegas Again! 9pm

Saturday

Austin Convention CenterFormula Expo is revving up and comes to the Austin Convention Center on June 16 & 17. It will be an exciting and interactive way to experience how the most advanced race cars and elite drivers come together to create the world’s most popular motorsport, and what this will mean for Austin as the host of the 2012 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix! 9AM.

ACL Moody Theater – Ginger Leigh is one of Austin’s most tireless performers! This is a great venue for her. Starts at 8 PM.

Red7 – Crazy Instrument inventor Mr. Quintron and puppeteer/songstress Miss Pussycat come together for some far-out, totally obscure, electronic swamp-tech mixed with outlandish clothes, small explosions and puppet stories. Thinking of doing something different tonight? Well, you got it baby. 9pm

Antone’s – Gabriel Kelley at 9 PM!

Hotel VegasHell Fire and Scorpion Child bring the old school rock tonight at 9pm

Sunday

Uncorked Tasting Room and Wine Bar – Come drink some wine alongside an event to benefit local author and artist(s) Francois Pointeau and Kimberly Brady’s book publishing. An Afternoon in Provence: A Fundraiser for Francois and Kimberly happens at 3 PM. More info here.

Z’ Tejas – Tres from 6 to 9:30 PM (so not exactly three hours, but close enough).

Eddie V’s – The Sunday/Monday residency of Kris Kimura continues. Starts at 7 PM.

Continental Club – Texas blues guitar legend Jimmie Vaughan! Backed up by Steve Bernal’s Zodiac and the Mike Flanigin Trio. Doors at 8 PM.

Elephant Room – Trevor LaBante Trio at 9:30 PM.

Mar 212012
 

My SXSW 2012 started before the official music festival got underway. As a native Austinite, I felt that was somewhat mandatory. On March 10th I made my first trip downtown for what would be a thrilling, jam-packed, leg-taxing, ear-rewarding week.

Immediately one is thrust into the maw of “where do we park?!” no matter where you go. If you’re south of 45th street, you’re gonna be looking. The first intended destination actually had little to do with any official SXSW business and more with taking advantage of the many specials available throughout Austin’s bars and clubs. I was off to Molotov Lounge to take part in a special offer put together on behalf of iPhone app TabbedOut. I was aware of the whole thing through AME’s good friends at Do512. Although the prices at Molotov aren’t exactly the best I was most worried that the app offer wouldn’t actually work. So many people were trying to use it (even in the mid-afternoon!) that it was hard to connect. I was relieved (and impressed) to finally pay my tab without having to step up to the uber-crowded bar. With five bucks off, let’s-party dance music pounding and conversation from friendly outside-ATX visitors, it was a choice start to the festivities.

Then I met some colleagues at Bikini’s (no special SXSW event there, just dinner; I never have gone inside so I didn’t realize the staff wore such incredibly skimpy outfits) and we headed to the Driskill Hotel. The main entry room and bar were already filled with media professionals. There was no time to look around for celebrities, of course, because I was back to playing parking space roulette. The revised parking meter times on Saturday make sure someone on a day-long SXSW sojourn will have to make at least two return trips to his/her vehicle to feed the meter. Because you don’t want to risk not having a parking place again.

When I got back to the Hotel, I didn’t even get to have a drink at the bustling Driskill bar. It would’ve taken 10 minutes, anyway, and I wanted to get over to the other free party I had RSVPed to. Trover‘s multi-day graffiti party at the East Side Drive-In was the place to be for the artistically inclined on these early SXSW days. I arrived just as the place was shutting down, but I still managed to see the finished results of Trover’s event: an entire Volkswagen Beetle covered in that thick, eye-popping graffiti paint, finished, multi-artist murals and graffiti slingers so multi-colored from their work that they looked, in their damaged artist’s digs, like the living dead. The next few days at Trover would feature other crazy sights like an entire graffiti-festooned bus and fire eaters. Honestly I wish I had spent more time at the event.

After a quick drink at Shangri-La, I got a text from a colleague that Quiet Company was playing Stubb’s. It was a free show (one of the last before the proper festival was under way), officially called the Girl + Guy Party, so plans to go home we scrapped. Sadly, we missed Austin’s indie anthem-rockers, but after getting some more drinks we were able to see The Tontons. The Houston rock quartet is noticeable for its sensuous rhythms and punchy delivery, but lead singer Asli Omar is what makes the band special. She moves around the stage like David Bowie and sings with a vocal incantation that recalls PJ Harvey. Members of the crowd could be forgiven for not being able to recognize the other three members, because The Tontons’ first impression is all Asli. Check this band out here.

I was further saddened to realize I’d also missed Wild Moccasins on the same all-Texas artist bill. SXSW was already proving one of its oldest adages: you can’t see everything you want. Austin’s noisy Ume was the closer at Stubb’s, but the group I was with had already decided to hightail it back to the Driskill. We paid $10 for parking and got in to see a line leading out of the Driskill’s bar trailing into the main lobby. So we changed our plan and went to Sixth Street’s Recess Arcade Bar. I had never been inside here, either. Frankly, the events from arrival at the bar on out are a little hazy, but major plans were made for the upcoming week (more on that later) and some nasty aliens were shot down in cheesy first-person classic Area 51. I would’ve gotten further, but one of the guns was out of order! They better get that fixed.

I didn’t get back to SXSW until next Tuesday. I had to make festival preparations/recommendations and tell ya’ll about them on here! Things start for real then.

Mar 122012
 

 

The following is a list of several local artists that Austin Music + Entertainment loves, and what they’re doing for SXSW. Plenty of options here, people!

The Frontier Brothers

One of Austin’s most energetic bands seems to have found a regular fourth member to play bass, and there are plans to release their second full-length, Live In Fiction, this Summer. They’ve got a few things to look out for:

Monday March 12, 10 AM, KVRX  - The Frontier Brothers will give an interview and an exclusive preview of Live in Fiction.

Tuesday March 13, Midnight, Trinity Hall - The band’s official showcase blasts off at 1 AM.

Quiet Company

We’re a little late on this, because Austin’s enormously talented, nearly-famous, anthem pop-rock outfit played a stellar free show at Stubb’s with Wild Moccasins, Ume and The Tontons last night on March 10th. But there are ton more chances to see them, so don’t worry!

Tuesday March 13, 10 PM, The Main - A mid-week show for the first day of SXSW Music Festival.

Wednesday March 14, 7:10 PM, Austin Music Hall – A special performance at the Austin Music Awards, where Quiet Company will appear alongside Alejandro Escovedo, Christopher Cross, Carolyn Wonderland, Ruthie Foster and more.

Saturday March 17, 10:45 PM, Chevrolet Sound Garage – The band closes out its SXSW 2012 with one final show.

La Guerrilla

The swirling mix of latin, gypsy rock and funk practiced by the hard-working La Guerrilla is already having a big SXSW with inclusion on two festival-related compilation albums. Their ethereal hit “High” will open the Tito’s Vodka Austin Mixtape 2012 and “Ganas No Me Faltan” is on Austin Music Volume 11. Here is the performance schedule:

Thursday, March 15, 10:30 PM, Sahara Lounge - Another hot night, only this time the crowd will be huge because SXSW Music will be in full bloom.

Friday, March 16, 5 PM, Austin Convention Center – A short acoustic set will accompany interviews with La Guerrilla.

Friday, March 16th, 7 PM, Aussie’s Bar and Grill - A full set, right next to Auditorium Shores. In case The Cult isn’t really your thing.

Check out SXSW’s website for a complete list of local and national acts playing the festival this year. Up next for AME: national act recommendations!