One Night in Austin: Soaking up sounds from the Live Music Capital
"One Night in Austin" is our occasional video series sampling some of the music happening around town on any given night in the Live Music Capital of the World.
On a hot but breezy Friday evening, we stopped in at a new outdoor music series, two storied South Austin hangouts, a downtown showcase venue and a new East Side private club. The evening allowed us to catch up with some of our recent Austin360 Artists of the Month (Jaimee Harris, Western Youth and Pat Byrne), along with grant recipients from the local music patron group Black Fret, a new Austin band with a ringer of a singer-guitarist, and a Welsh band that's namecheced in a Ray Wylie Hubbard song.
6 p.m.: Black Fret Summer Series at the Long Center Lawn & Terrace. We caught early sets from Harris and the trio of Sydney Wright, Kalu James and Graham Wilkinson, before the show continued past sunset with Superfonicos and Trouble in the Streets. One more of these free Black Fret shows remains, on Sept. 6.
8 p.m.: Freedonia at El Mercado Backstage. Formed last year by veterans of Austin's jazz scene plus 1980s pop star Christopher Cross — the only Austinite who's won Grammys and an Oscar — Freedonia is powered by a triple-saxophone attack at center stage. They played songs from their two releases to a crowd dining on Mexican food; the group also has been performing every few months at Parker Jazz Club downtown.
9 p.m.: Pat Byrne & Rich Brotherton at the Saxon Pub. Our Austin360 Artist of the Month in April of this year, Byrne plays the Saxon most Sundays, teaming with fellow Ireland native Andrea Magee and others for mostly traditional Irish tunes. On this night, though, Byrne's own songs shone bright in stripped-down acoustic format with former Robert Earl Keen guitarist Brotherton as his sole accompaniment. He weaved in a few covers too, including Guy Clark's "Dublin Blues" with Brotherton playing cittern.
9:45 p.m.: The Alarm at 3Ten. Closing a 1980s throwback triple bill that also included Modern English and Gene Loves Jezebel, the Welsh group led by Mike Peters had a packed house rocking out to old favorites such as "The Stand" and "Knife Edge" as well as newer material. We tend to focus these "One Night in Austin" roundups on local acts, but the band has an odd local connection: Central Texas troubadour Hubbard's song "Snake Farm," which he played earlier this week on the Grand Ole Opry, mentions the band.
10:30 p.m.: Our one logistical snafu of the evening: We'd attempted to catch some of Mississipi's renowned Rising Star Fife & Drum Band at Antone's as part of the club's 44th-anniversary celebration, but parking difficulties and other mishaps meant we arrived right as they were finishing. Still, it was a pretty grand finale, with the band members having strolled out into the audience, carrying drums and pounding away with enchanting rhythms. Antone's Record Shop owner Eve Monsees, who'd opened the show, marveled at the band's ability to adapt classics such as "Wild Thing" to a fife-and-drums arrangement.
11 p.m.: Western Youth at the Pershing. An east side warehouse that's been converted into a private club, the Pershing has recently begun hosting more events that may be available on occasion to non-members. Lots of this roots-rock band's ardent fans flocked there for a show that served as a fitting "One Night" finale, especially since Harris, who'd opened the Black Fret show hours earlier, sat in with the group as a backing vocalist.
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