Iconic downtown blues club Antone’s usually celebrates its anniversary in July with several weeks of special shows, but that’s out the window with the pandemic this year. However, the venue recently brought in zydeco accordion master C.J. Chenier and his Red Hot Louisiana Band for a no-audience performance on the club’s stage that was filmed and will air at 7 p.m. Wednesday via the club’s Facebook page.
Chenier is an ideal choice for the occasion because his father, Clifton Chenier, played the very first show at the club’s original Sixth and Brazos location on July 15, 1975. It’s not the first time Antone’s has enlisted C.J. for a special occasion. When the venue reopened in its current 305 E. Fifth St. digs on Dec. 31, 2015, after two years absent from the local club scene, Chenier christened the new stage.
There’s also a 45th-anniversary poster to mark the occasion, featuring artist Noel Waggener’s depiction of many artists and characters that helped turn Antone’s into Austin’s "home of the blues." The website of Big Henry’s Vinyl & Gifts, the store attached to the venue, is now selling 20-by-26-inch Satch Grimley screen prints of the poster for $45.
Antone’s also continues to accept donations at gofundme.com/Antones-45-for-45 for supporting the venue’s employees an musicians during the coronavirus pandemic. More than $50,000 has been donated so far. Donors who contribute $100 or more will get one of the anniversary poster screen prints.