Listen to Austin 360 Radio

New series takes off at Billy's Rooftop

Peter Mongillo, Music Source

Staff Writer
Austin 360

When the people behind the new Uncle Billy's Rooftop Over Lake Travis the 850-capacity venue contacted Austin promoter Marsha Milam to fill its calendar with music, Milam immediately thought of the other long-running series she books, KGSR's Unplugged at the Grove.

"I love KGSR," Milam says. "Their audience is music fans, hardcore music lovers; they were the first call I made."

That call led to the creation of a new KGSR series, "Lakeside Live." Sunday nights at the Rooftop fans of Austin music can hear local bands including T Bird and the Breaks (July 8), SPEAK (July 15) and James McMurtry (July 22). Joe Ely, Guy Forsyth and Carolyn Wonderland performed earlier this year.

Though it's not exactly walking distance from Austin, the venue offers a vacation-like escape from summer in the city.

"The stage, the backdrop is the sunset, and it's just really cool," Milam says. "You've got a great breeze up there. It's about 10 degrees cooler than in town. How lucky am I that I get to present music in a venue like that."

The Rooftop opened up in a big way during this year's South by Southwest with ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons (Milam did not book that show), and has been rolling along since. Last month the venue hosted an even bigger booking, with British ska band the English Beat and the Romantics.

Milam says she'll return to those bigger bookings from time to time. "I think what we want to do is just periodically present something that's unique and out of the ordinary that you're not going to find any place else."

Other nights at the Rooftop visitors can hear a fairly wide variety of other music, including rock (Vallejo played last weekend, Whiskey Myers plays Friday), Latin-tinged rock fusion (Del Castillo, July 21), Sunday gospel brunches and Texas country (Jason Boland plays a free show July 18 as part of a "Free Texas Country Nights" series).

"The beauty of Texas music is that it's multigenerational," Milam says. "I've been at a Robert Earl Keen show and seen a grandmother, a mother and a daughter right up against the stage. That's the beauty of that genre, and the music is perfect for out there."

Oh No Oh My goes single. Austin rock band Oh No Oh My is following last year's well received album "People Problems" with a series of singles. "Why wait anymore? From now on we will be writing, recording, and releasing our songs as standalone singles directly to you ("you") the listener," the band writes on its website. They'll celebrate the release of the first in the series with a show Saturday at Antone's. On "You Can Have It If You Want It," the group does what they do well, offering up melodic pop against a song about overwhelming love. Moonlight Towers, Tacks the Boy Disaster, Burgess Meredith and the Frank Mustard Project also play.

In brief: Vallejo will release its first new album in four years, "Brothers Brew," on Aug. 21 with a release show Sept. 1 at Antone's ... The Christmas in July show scheduled for Thursday at Threadgill's has been postponed; no new date has been announced ... ACL Live added a second performance by Lyle Lovett and his Large Band on Sept. 9. Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. through acl-live.com.

Contact Peter Mongillo at pmongillo@statesman.com; 445-3696