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Page Two: GrulkeFest

Local bands play loving tribute to Brent Grulke

By Louis Black, Fri., Sept. 7, 2012

There is no better way to celebrate someone's life than honoring their passions and achievements. GrulkeFest: A Celebration of Brent 1961-2012 not only does this, but also offers a healthy slice of great Austin music along the way, as well as important musical history. The event takes place on Saturday, Sept. 8, at ACL Live at the Moody Theater (310 W. Willie Nelson Blvd.) beginning at 6pm (doors at 5pm). Tickets are $20, $25, or $35 with all proceeds going to the Graham Grulke Education Fund.

In the mid-Eighties, a scene – that Jesse Sublett somewhat sarcastically labeled "New Sincerity" – grew up around a local venue called the Beach. The core bands of that scene will be playing at GrulkeFest alongside other artists that Grulke loved and/or with whom he worked.

Emphasizing guitars and songs, the New Sincerity bands featured some terrific songwriters whose work is still regularly played. Reuniting for the event are Doctors' Mob, Glass Eye, the Reivers, True Believers, the Wannabes, and Wild Seeds. Alone, these bands would offer an evening of great music, but joining them will be Fastball and Sixteen Deluxe.

Time, we are told, heals all wounds – but first it tends to make them deeper. I'm still dealing with Brent Grulke's death a few weeks back, and the loss hasn't sunk in entirely. I was friends with Brent for more than 30 years; we saw each other regularly but weren't that tight in recent years. Still, he was a good friend, an important business partner, and a great, warm, life-affirming presence. South by Southwest won't be as spectacular and fun without him. The healing hasn't begun because the shock is far too present – but this show should be a crucial step in the entire process.

Music is the most honorable, noble, and logical way to remember Brent. This concert will be a celebration of his extraordinary life and all things Grulke. It is being co-sponsored by The Austin Chronicle, SXSW, Miller Lite, and KUT-FM.

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