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Austin clubs, businesses, bands pull together for SXSW Cares benefit

Deborah Sengupta

Editor’s note: This article was originally published April 7, 2014

The SXSW Cares Big Benefit is a nine-day long extravaganza from April 12-20 that takes place in over 19 clubs and businesses around town. Most venues are programming one or more nights of music with cover charges dedicated to the SXSW Cares fund established to aid victims of the crash on Red River St during South By Southwest 2014 that left four people dead and 20 injured. Last week we chatted with Cheer Up Charlie’s owners Tamara Hoover and Maggie Lea who are participating in the benefit. Their club was front and center on the night of the crash, an experience that Hoover described as “devastating” and “horrifying.” They’ve programmed a night of local music on April 19 with Hikes, Gloves and Shrines followed by a DJ party with Ronnie Heart, who recently split from Neon Indian. A $5 cover will go to the SXSW Cares fund established to aid victims of the crash. For the Cheer Up Charlie’s show the bands will be paid a percentage of the bar, and Hoover and Lea also plan to contribute some sort of matching funds.

Cheer Up Charlie’s is also hosting an early benefit tomorrow (April 8) with Digital Wild. Again, a $5 cover will go to the fund and the club will match the donation. It was the band’s idea to support the fund. “Those guys offered to donate all their (money) to SXSW Cares and we thought that was great. A lot of artists have been doing that,” Lea said. That certainly seems to be the case. Down at the Mohawk last Thursday hip hop artists LNS Crew hosted their third annual SXSW Hangover show — another early benefit for the fund. From the stage, standout rapper Kydd Jones declared his intention to donate all of his earnings from the show to the fund and urged the crowd (which, incidentally, included low-key local hip hop fan Gary Clark Jr.) to give till it hurt.

In addition to shows programmed specifically to benefit the fund, some businesses are exploring other fundraising angles. ACL Live plans to donate 100 percent of venue merchandise sales and their portion of band merchandise sales from three upcoming sold out shows with the National on April 21-23. Pelons Tex-Mex restaurant, which is also located in the crash corridor, is donating 10 percent of lunch sales from April 14 to 16. Hotel Vegas’ standout show on Sunday, April 13 featuring DJ Andrew McCalla and Elvis Tribute band King Pelvis features not only performances but a raffle promising “exceptional goodies” donated by local businesses, artists and talents. For that show $10 cover buys you entrance to the show plus one raffle ticket.

Here’s the current list of benefit shows. We will update this list as more shows are added.

Saturday: Billy Taylor with Will Taylor at Strange Brew; Team with Hydra Melody at Stubb’s

Sunday: DJ Andrew McCalla and King Pelvis (Elvis tribute band) at Hotel Vegas

Monday: The Stand Alones, Residual Kid at Red 7

April 15: Authority Zero at Stubb’s; Scary Mondelos at Red 7

April 17: Austin Hip Hop Cares at Flamingo Cantina; Dawn and Hawkes at Lamberts

April 18: Black Pistol Fire at Stubb’s; Possessed by Paul James at Holy Mountain; Foxtrot Uniform at Lambert’s; Shivery Shakes at Spider House Ballroom

April 19: Umphrey’s McGee at Stubb’s; Ume, Megafauna (album release) at the Mohawk; the Roosevelts at Lambert’s; Hikes, Gloves, Shrines and DJ Ronnie Heart at Cheer Up Charlie’s