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More Free Week? Yes, please: Austin original expands

Staff Writer
Austin 360
The French Inhales play Jan. 4 at Red 7 during Free Week, which begins Sunday. The week has grown since it started eight years ago.

A lot has changed since Graham Williams first came up with the idea for free week eight years ago. Then, Free Week ­­­­- free shows by mostly local bands from Sunday to Jan. 8 ­- was limited to Emo's, where Williams was the booker. After he moved to Mohawk and co-founded Transmission Entertainment a couple years later, Free Week gradually expanded to other clubs, first to Red 7 and Club DeVille, and eventually to most of the live music venues on Red River Street and some on Sixth Street.

Now, the original Emo's is gone (after Friday) and Free Week has expanded across town - west to Antone's and Frank (yes, the hot dog place) and east to the ND and Scoot Inn - but Red River remains the focal point.

"It's almost become like a locals-only SXSW," Williams says. "There's stuff to go to up and down the street. It's a great way to introduce local bands that you haven't seen or you've heard about and haven't seen, and for a lot of bands it's great exposure."

The growth of the event, which is more or less a festival at this point, happened organically. Williams would let clubs owners and bookers know when it was scheduled, and they would book their own shows if they wanted to participate. "When we started it, I did it just to fill up the calendar at Emo's," Williams says. "When no bands are touring through, there are tons of local bands and people are off for school and work, it was just a sort of fun way to get people in the bar and have shows."

With impending development putting the future of Red River venues in jeopardy, Free Week and its lineup bursting with Austin-based bands playing within walking distance of one another is a reminder of the area's importance.

- Peter Mongillo

Free Week picks

Jan. 2

Mr. Lewis and the Funeral 5 at Red 7. Demon-freak circus rock from Austin, with a bill that might make it tough to wander around Monday night, including Automusik, Starlings TN, Mandible and Moonlight Towers. 8 p.m. 8 p.m. 611 E. Seventh St. www.red7austin.com.

- Peter Mongillo

Also playing: The Soapbox Spellbinders, White White Lights, Little Radar & Royal Forest at Swan Dive; the Eastern Sea, My Golden Calf, Federal State Local, Danny Malone at Mohawk; Distance Runner, Reagonometry, the Nouns at ND; JD Clark, Hello Caller, Loblolly Boy at the Beauty Bar.

Jan. 3

Coma in Algiers at Beerland. An evening of horrible and less horrible noise. Coma in Algiers are due for another album of primitive mind-erasure, ST-37 have been playing psychedelic rock since the Reagan administration, Air Traffic Controllers is Gerard Cosloy (Matador Records, 12XU Records) and JJ Ruiz of Naw Dude making horrible noise, while openers Rhett and Dean have become one of Austin's gnarliest duos. 9 p.m.

- Joe Gross

Also playing: Maneja Beto, Este Vato, Manzana Malas, Son De Rey at the Swan Dive; Bike Problems, the Gary, the Midgetmen, the Blistering Speeds at Red 7 (inside); Floating Holidays, Rings Band at Red 7 (outside); Crooks, Guns of Navarone, Whiskey Shivers at the Mohawk; Mike and the Moonpies, Franny and Zooey at the Mohawk; Mary Ann and the Revival Band, Wild Child, Chase Weinacht at ND; Downfall of Gaia, Vestiges, Dead to A Dying World, Boars at the Scoot Inn; Leatherbag, Mayeux and Broussard, Tarred and Feathered, Bob Hoffnar at Skinny's Ballroom.

Jan. 4

Quin Galavis at Beerland. Galavis, frontman for dark post-punk outfit the Dead Space as well as Nazi Gold -a new trio consisting of Shearwater/Swans drummer Thor Harris and Flesh Lights bassist Jeremy Steen - puts the songs front and center in his solo project. 9 p.m. ­

- P.M.

Also playing: Equals, Oh-Look-Out, Stereo is a Lie, Boyfrndz, Residual Kid at Antone's; Killa Kyleon, Gerald G, Worldwide at the Mohawk; Rocketboys, Shivery Shakes at the ND.

Jan. 5

The Energy, Cruddy, the Best at the 29th St. Ballroom. A (long) night of frantic punk rock. The Energy hails from Houston, blending post punk and garage thud. Cruddy's "Negative World" is one of the best Austin punk records of 2011, while the Best is a new crew with two OBN IIIS, Flesh Light and a Bad Lover. With Gospel Truth, Nazi Gold, whom you should check out if you didn't see them Wednesday and Naw Dude, which is still the best band name in Austin.

- J.G.

Also playing: Dikes of Holland, Crooked Bangs at Beerland; Hard Proof Afrobeat, Hundred Visions, Smoke and Feathers, Zlam Dunk at Red 7 (outside); Grand Champeen, A Giant Dog, Elvis, John Wesley Coleman at Red 7 (inside); Boy, Daniel Francis Doyle, the Sour Notes, One Hundred Flowers, Burgess Meredith at the Mohawk (inside); Maneja Beto, Lemurs, My Education at the Mohawk (outside); Feathers, Ricky Jean Francois at ND; the Couch, the Baker Family, the Noun at the Beauty Bar; the White White Lights, Black Books, Les Rav at Stubb's; Steady Legend, Cadillac Muzik, the LaRaue at Flamingo Cantina; We'll Go Machete, Tow the Line at the Scoot Inn; Lord Buffalo, Salesman at Skinny's Ballroom; Oh No Oh My, Leslie Sisson at Antone's.

Jan. 6

OBN III's, Pharoahs, Golden Boys, Church Shoes at Beerland. In the true spirit of Free Week, there are too many other good shows on Friday to really choose one, but Beerland is a good place to start. 9 p.m.

- P.M.

Also playing: Eagle Claw, Fleshlights, Woodgrain, Not in the Face, Dikes of Holland, Este Vato at Red 7; Total Unicorn, How I Quit Crack, Technicolor Hearts, Silent Diane at the Mohawk; Calm Blue Sea, Missions, Clouds Are Ghosts, Octopus Project DJs at the Mohawk (outside); Phranchyze, Zapata!, the Hour Band at Antones; Kay Leotard, Schmillion, World Racketeering Squad, the Scarlet Effect at Skinny's Ballroom.

Jan. 7

Tia Carrera at Red 7 inside. This is another night jam packed with stellar bills (see also Mohawk), but tonight I have to go with the very first band I ever saw in Austin: psychedelic power trio Tia Carrera, who have kept on keeping on. 2012 is the band's 10th anniversary; I am down for 10 more. With Wo Fat, Dixie Witch, Skycrawler, Mindless, the Boiling Sea. 8 p.m.

- J.G.

Also playing: OBN III's, Grape St., A Giant Dog, Ghost Knife, Shivery Shakes at the Mohawk (inside); the Hi-Tones, the Boxing Lesson at the Mohawk (outside); Quiet Company with the Pons, Stereo is a Lie at the Swan Dive; Fire from the Gods, Prey for Sleep, Wake the Colossus at Red 7 (early show, 5 p.m.); Salesman, Baker Family at ND; Ringo Deathstar, Sundress, My Education at the Beauty Bar; What Made Milwaukee Famous, the Happen-Ins at Antones, Dynamite Boy, Cruiserweight, Riddlin' Kids at Emo's East; Guns of Navarone, Western Ghost House at the Scoot Inn; Art vs. Industry, Eyes Burn Electric at Stubb's; Megafauna at Flamingo Cantina; Bell Riots, La Snacks, the Cocker Spaniels at Skinny's Ballroom; Broken Teeth, Federation of Horsepower, the Heroine at the Red Eyed Fly.

Jan. 8

Boy + Kite at Red 7. One of the more interesting rock bands to spring up in Austin in awhile, with a noisy, fuzzy sound reminiscent of '80s indie rock including the Pixies. With La Migra, Church Shoes, the Wolf, Psychic Palms. 8 p.m.

- P.M.

Also playing: Broken Gold, Bremen Riot, Gentleman Rogues at the Mohawk; the Derailers at Antone's; Hot Rod Radio, Superlite Bike, Melissa Bryan, the Bang Bang Theodores at ND; Scorpio Rising, Lux Divon, the Triggermen, Parking, Kill City at Red 7; Cause in Effect, the Bye and Bye, Little Emily Warfield, GoGo Beware at Beauty Bar; the French Inhales, Stuffies, the Restrooms and Come And Take It at Beerland.

Participating clubs

One of the great things about Free Week is roaming from club to club. Below are clubs with free shows all week; more might be adding shows for single days or even the whole week. Updates at austin360.com.

Mohawk

912 Red River St.

www.mohawkaustin.com

Red 7

611 E. Seventh St.

www.red7austin.com

The Beauty Bar

617 E. Seventh St.

www.thebeautybar.com/austin

Stubb's

801 Red River St.

www.stubbsaustin.com

Beerland

711 Red River St.

www.beerlandtexas.com

Swan Dive

615 Red River St.

swandiveaustin.com

Skinny's Ballroom

115 San Jacinto Blvd.

skinnysballroom.com

Flamingo Cantina

515 E. Sixth St.

www.flamingocantina.com

The Scoot Inn

1308 E. Fourth St.

www.scoot-inn.com

ND at 501 Studios

501 Interstate 35

ndvenue.com

Antone's

213 W. Fifth St.

www.antones.net

Frank

407 Colorado St.

hotdogscoldbeer.com

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct when and where the French Inhales, Stuffies, the Restrooms and Come And Take It will be playing.