Snapshot: Threadgill’s Last Rodeo Show

Musicians and fans gather to say goodbye to an Austin institution

"This is the end of affordability," said Threadgill's owner Eddie Wilson on Saturday afternoon, during the World Headquarters' Last Rodeo show on Dec. 1, which featured local acts Cotton Mather, Fastball, Van Wilks, Jackie Venson, Sarah Sharp, Michael Fracasso, Monte Warden, and Guy Forsyth, with all proceeds assisting employees soon to be out of a job. "I don't own the land," Wilson said. "Otherwise, I wouldn't be leaving."

Though bittersweet sentiments like those from Wilson – also the head honcho of the restaurant/live music hub's predecessor, Armadillo World Headquarters, which veritably put Austin's music scene on the map from 1970-80 – abounded throughout the afternoon showcase (more notes via this week's Playback, plus full photo gallery online), "Snapshot" searched for parcels of positivity on the solemn day, asking each performer, "What favorite memory from either Armadillo or Threadgill's World Headquarters illustrates the legacy it will leave behind?"


"I got to see my hero, Leon Russell, here," said Fracasso, who likened the experience to watching the legendary musician/songwriter in his own backyard. "Places like these have a charm to 'em that really speak of Texas. You can't have a club like this in New York City, no matter how hard you try." (photos by David Brendan Hall)


"In 2013 [guitarist Slim Richey] was hit by a car, and everybody rallied to help him," said Sharp (right), who was in Richey's band. "Everybody played that night ... that's typical of Austin. Everybody rallies. Like today, helping the people who work here in hopes that they get a little bit of a cushion before they have to adapt and duck and dodge and weave like the rest of us as this city grows."


"[Armadillo World Headquarters] taught us how not to fall down on a big stage ... to give people their money's worth," said Wilks, who frequented the seminal spot in the Seventies with band Fools, which featured bassist Tommy Shannon before he joined Stevie Ray Vaughan in Double Trouble. "It was a community [that] ended up pulling music together. Because of that past is why we have now, and because of what we have now is why we'll have the future."


"One night, I played [a benefit] here, did a couple Bob Dylan songs, and all my friends were around me, so some people got up and sang with me," said Fastball's Miles Zuniga (second from left). "That's what it really is. The music community here is still really strong ... a big, extended family – it's those kinds of nights I cherish."


"We put out a record in 1997 that put us on the map," said Cotton Mather's Robert Harrison (second from left), "and we did the 20th anniversary show here. It was a magical night, one of those experiences when we all were a little bit high afterwards. There's more going on than we see, and whatever those little fairies and light beams are that exist on this property were in full force that night. I felt it, and it wouldn't have been the same somewhere else."

Want to pitch an event, happening, idea, or person for "Snapshot"? Email the author/photog: dhall@austinchronicle.com.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Threadgill's, Threadgill's World Headquarters, Eddie Wilson, Last Rodeo show, Cotton Mather, Fastball, Van Wilks, Jackie Venson, Sarah Sharp, Michael Fracasso, Monte Warden, Guy Forsyth

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