Q: What do you get when you combine the Continental Club, Trophy's, and the Rome Inn? A: C-Boy's.
The times they are a-changing for Trophy's. Owner Dave Sprauer has partnered with Continental Club honcho Steve Wertheimer to turn the five-star dive bar into a modern day juke joint. The South Congress fixture of 20 years will shut down in the coming weeks as it undergoes what Sprauer calls a "total face-lift," which, beyond an outside patio upgrade and a desperately called for bathroom rebuild, will include decor evocative of Sixties soul, funk, and R&B. The new bar will be called C-Boy's, honoring Wertheimer's friend, the late C-Boy Parks, who ran the legendary Rome Inn here in an era far, far away. "He made a huge impact on Austin," Wertheimer says of Parks. "C-Boy was there for all the great musicians to cut their teeth." Wertheimer and Sprauer have signed a 10-year lease on the property at 2008 S. Congress. As for local bands, don't think of this change as a subtraction. C-Boy's will host acts on the weekends and Sprauer has immediate plans to open a new Trophy's farther south, though still in the 78704. "We're not going to kick live music in the teeth," Sprauer says. "I don't want to be the guy closing a venue. It's all I've ever done." The impending transformation has left the Trophy's schedule wide open, so if your band wants to play there, write Sprauer at firstname.lastname@example.org. You have about two weeks.
The South Austin Museum of Popular Culture is honoring poster artist Lindsey Kuhn with an art exhibit displaying 20 years of his work. If you're not familiar with Kuhn's surreal, colorful screenprints, check out his book Lure of the Swamp: The Screen Printed Posters of Lindsey Kuhn (see "Sheet Music," March 12, 2010) or simply go into the bathroom at Emo's. The show opens May 5, 7:09pm, at the SAMPC headquarters next to Planet K on South Lamar. Museum Director Leea Mechling credits Kuhn as being one of the Nineties artists who broke from established styles and created a new look for gig posters in Austin. Kuhn shrugs at his artistic legacy, saying, "I've always just looked at screening posters as a good way to keep out of trouble and not get a 'real' job!"
My favorite yearly musical event isn't South by Southwest or the Austin City Limits Music Festival or some high-profile reunion show in a small club. It's the final moments of the drum circle at Eeyore's Birthday at Pease Park. I'm no hippie, nor an advocate of drum circles, but I like the racket of 200 buzzed-up Austinites sloppily banging away at anything that resonates. With a topless grandma to my right and a cross-dressing nun to my left, I was in postcard Austin last Saturday, this city that encourages conduct most wouldn't tolerate. Not that I'm so partial to the event's daytime festivities. It's when the sun is setting and the families are marching back to their minivans that it gets good. Specifically at 8pm. That's when cops and volunteer security rush in with flashlights and make everyone stop drumming. Some wide-eyed djembe drummers on mushrooms might flee at the sight of authority, but most stay to finish the jam. It sounds like that cop just said: "The park is closed. Go home everybody!" but it's hard to hear him over these maracas. We're many and they're 10, so we finish the jam in a defiant crescendo of drum rolls, screams, and whistles. Two minutes after the bum-rush, we're done. We had nothing to prove. We just wanted to finish the song.
Austin Psych Fest 2012 was a success. The crowds were big, the performances were good, and spirits were high on- and offstage. In the corridor running between Emo's East and the Beauty Ballroom, which at times had the flow of an I-35 traffic jam, I met people from faraway lands like Ohio and Canada who'd never been to Austin and came only for the festival – a testament to the quality of the lineup. The pinnacle was Saturday night's performance by Black Lips. They shook the crowd out of a haze with a high-energy set that elicited crowd-surfing and beer showers. Their banter was a refreshing contrast to the generally introverted stage presence of the night's performers, jokingly sponsoring Coors Light as they handed them into the crowd, "Take one sip and pass it. I mean it." As a constant barrage of streamers and toilet paper flew through the air, they partied through material old ("Dirty Hands") and new ("Modern Art"), all of it sounding better than it does on LP. "It's not perfect. It's rock & roll," exclaimed guitarist Ian St. Pé after fucking up a progression. The chords may not have been perfect, but the energy was immaculate.
• Mark McCoy, bassist for the Austin-based red dirt band Micky & the Motorcars, died on the Salmon River in Idaho Saturday, April 21. McCoy was fishing with a friend when their raft hit a log and they were forced into the water at night. His body was found four days later. McCoy recorded five albums with the band, including 2011's Raise My Glass. He left the band amicably late last year and moved back to the Motorcars' homeland of Stanley, Idaho.
• Ringo Deathstarr has successfully funded a new album through PledgeMusic, a website where fanatics can back projects and get personal rewards. Singer/guitarist Elliott Frazier says the new album, already in production, will sound less processed and more like a live band than last year's Colour Trip. Meanwhile, Follow That Bird has secured $2,291 of its $3,500 goal with 46 days to go on Kickstarter. For a $250 pledge, the wailing garage rockers will write and record a song about you or a topic you choose, while $500 gets you a producer credit on its first full-length.
• Today, Thursday, May 3, local blues-rock duo Black Pistol Fire will stash 100 CDs in public areas around Central Austin. Four will include golden tickets granting the bearer free merch, tickets to its EP/LP dual release show on Friday inside at Stubb's, a free meal, an hour of yard work by the band, and a garbage bag full of Willie Wonka candy.
• Michael Crawford's Rock Garage imprint is releasing a live album by local dance-rock cosmonauts Pong. The limited-run vinyl Live at the Continental Club was cut in 2009 and features a great performance capturing Pong's triumphant oddity. The band returns to the scene of the crime for a record release show on Saturday with Li'l Cap'n Travis and Churchwood.
• Sham 69, the Oi! pioneers who wrote the sloganeering punk classic "If the Kids Are United," canceled multiple upcoming stateside performances, including June's Chaos in Tejas, due to an illness in singer Jimmy Pursey's family. They're being replaced by the nearly equivalent (Seventies, British, Oi!) Cockney Rejects. Other additions to Chaos include Agents of Abhorrence (killer Aussie grind-punk), A Place To Bury Strangers, Japanther, and Chelsea Wolfe.
C-Boy's, Steve Wertheimer, Dave Sprauer, Austin Psych Fest, Black Lips, Eeyore's Birthday, Lindsey Kuhn, Micky & the Motorcars, Ringo Deathstarr, Follow That Bird, Black Pistol Fire, Pong, Chaos in Tejas