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No wristband? No problem at Ditch the Fest

In its second year local ACL-alternative festival expands to 4 clubs

Peter Mongillo

With the Austin City Limits Music Festival, Fun Fun Fun Fest, South by Southwest, Pachanga, Chaos in Tejas and Psych Fest saturating the Austin festival market, you might think there wouldn't be room for more. You'd be wrong. Enter Ditch the Fest Fest, now in its second year, which on Sept. 17 will offer an option for music lovers who can't or don't want to shell out that $165 for a pass to the other thing happening that weekend. Taking place across four clubs Cheer Up Charlies, Red 7, Club Deville and Beauty Bar the event offers a lot more of what ACL Fest doesn't: local talent from different scenes around town.

Bands playing this year's fest include singer-songwriter Dana Falconberry, local post-punk vets Pong, rising garage rockers the Nouns, La Snacks, the Sour Notes, psych rock group Rayon Beach and dozens more.

Last year's free event drew such a big turnout and so much interest from bands that festival founders Naomi Cherie and Joseph Salazar, who book shows as Lucy the Poodle Productions, decided to expand to four clubs. This year isn't free; you can get into any one club all day for $2, or pay $5 for a bracelet to get in all the clubs.

Like its much bigger counterpart, Ditch the Fest Fest is a live jukebox of sorts. Instead of touring bands, the lineup offers a sampler of some of the local music happening in town. Musicians performing represent many genres, including rock, pop, electronic, folk, country and jazz. Cherie and Salazar also made a point to try not to book the same bands as they did last year in order to keep it fresh and get more groups involved.

"We just tried to pick what we considered the best Austin indie talent," Cherie says. "We want to keep it very eclectic, a little bit of everything to keep it something that old people and young people and all kinds of music fans could enjoy."

Despite the title, which is meant to be a bit of a joke, both Cherie and Salazar made it clear that they are not against ACL. Last year's event did draw a few people sporting ACL wristbands, but the goal is to offer something for those who aren't going to ACL for whatever reason.

"This event gives people a chance to see some bands that are a little smaller, are working really hard, have great ideas, great sound," Salazar says.

More on the fest and lineup at lucythepoodle.com.

Live last week. Austin Psych Fest held a miniature version of the Black Angels' annual weekend of mind-bending music at the Mohawk on Friday . The bill included Seattle psych rockers the Night Beats, Mark Sultan (aka BBQ of King Kahn and the BBQ Show), a two-person acoustic set by Los Angeles indie rockers Dum Dum Girls (think goth Indigo Girls) and Austin's Shapes Have Fangs. The highlight was the debut of UFO Club, a collaboration between Black Angel Christian Bland and Lee Blackwell of the Night Beats. Like the Angels, the UFO Club speaks the language of '60s-era psych rock, but more unhinged and at times pointed toward an earlier time, as evidenced by their cover of the Ronettes' 1963 classic "Be My Baby," which can be heard on a split album the band recently released with the Night Beats.

Briefly: Country star Miranda Lambert will play the Cedar Park Center Oct. 1. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday. "Austin City Limits" announced that Coldplay would tape an episode in September, joining other ACL Fest acts Arcade Fire and Randy Newman.