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Patagonia Rocks

Sportswear store inhabits the former Vulcan Gas Company
William Harries Graham, 9:07am, Tue. Jan. 22, 2013
photo by William Harries Graham
The Eastern Sea performing at the site of Austin’s former Vulcan Gas Company, now Patagonia, 1.11.13
Looking for more all ages shows? Maybe an unusual place to catch some live music downtown before, during, or after a date? How about an all ages happy hour the whole family can enjoy? The monthly Patagonia music series fulfills all those criteria.

The outdoor apparel chain grabbed my attention while making headlines with its infamous “Don’t Buy That Jacket” New York Times ad on Black Friday last year. Known for sportswear designed for alpine climbing, Patagonia steps outside the box in Austin by supporting local bands with an ongoing music series.

I caught a concert a couple of Fridays ago when the Eastern Sea played. Music reverberated through the nylon, cotton, and wool threads filling up the racks in the long, rectangle store. For the Congress Avenjue location, ATX booking agent Roggie Baer of RajiWorld has booked bands as celebrated as White Denim.

“The series is really special,” enthuses the longtime music vet. “It feels like a house concert with fantastic sound and a romantic vibe. [Since last year], we’ve had Dana Falconberry, Billy Harvey, Suzanna Choffel, and many more.

“We’ll be having parties for South by Southwest. Our next show is on Valentine’s Day with Feathers,” adds Baer.

She also notes that the building in which Patagonia resides was once a psychedelic vanguard venue, Austin’s famed Vulcan Gas Company, where Roky Erickson's 13th Floor Elevators once played. After the Vulcan, it became Duke’s Royal Coach Inn.

“In New York, Patagonia just bought CBGB,” points our Baer.

Patagonia’s Yvon Chouinard founded the organization 1% for the Planet, which donates that percentage of its sales to the environment. That’s exactly the sort of store that fits Austin’s personality.

“Patagonia really believes in community,” emphasizes Baer. “It’s a sustainable store that donates back profits to various [environmental] organizations.”

Stop by, have a refreshment, listen to some music, and buy a sweater you’ll still be wearing when you retire.

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