Free Week Friday at Mohawk, Jan. 11. Free Week needs no explanation, but the assembly of talent on that Friday night — Riverboat Gamblers, East Cameron Folkcore, American Sharks, Bobby Jealousy, the Ugly Beats — was stupefying. From Gamblers singer Mike Wiebe jumping from the outdoor railing to the indoors lineup offering a two-hour endorphin rush, this was one of those time capsule moments visitors to Austin wind up wishing they could see.
Uncle Doug’s Chili Dog Fest 4 at Side Bar, March 17. The day after SXSW, a couple dozen of Austin’s best punk bands crammed into this close-to-perfect dive bar for 14 noisy hours. Another freebie show, the event brought together the tight-knit community of underground music boosters put off by the festival’s branding bonanza.
Bill Carter, “Unknown.” Carter’s been a prolific songwriter-for-hire for decades, but “Unknown” was his first widely released solo album. That is a shame, because the guy’s a master of honest, vivid and stirring rock that would fit in perfect between Warren Zevon and Lyle Lovett cuts on a Sunday-morning mixtape.
Bad Sports, “Bras.” Because there are days when listening to the Buzzcocks-on-speed cut “Washed Up” 10 times in a row is the only option. Also, it’s juvenile fun to Google “bad sports bras.”
Reignwolf at Continental Club, Oct. 8. When Alejandro Escovedo plays first and ends with a brain-melting run through Neil Young’s “Like A Hurricane,” you have a lot to live up to. Precocious guitar hero Jordan Cook met that challenge, turning the historic club inside out with his metallic blues rock for something like an hour and then doing the same to ACL Fest crowds the following weekend.