Raul's Redux

Toasting an old venue, and a new one.

It was a small, well-behaved crowd of about 25 that gathered at the Texas Showdown at 2610 Guadalupe on Saturday, Jan. 26. We looked more like casual shoppers at Whole Foods than remnants of Austin’s first generation of punks in the late 1970s, but among us were one-time members of the Huns, the Offenders, the Chickadiesels, the Explosives, Cold Sweat, Sharon Tate’s Baby, the Hostages, Toxic Shock, and the Negroes as well as bonafide scenesters like Music Awards Presentation Chief Dayna Blackwell and me.

We chose the West University drinking establishment because thirty years ago, it was called Raul’s and was the scene of Austin's first punk show, a post-Sex Pistols-fueled event featuring the Violators (with Dylan guitarist Carla Olsen and future Go-Go Kathy Valentine) and the Skunks (with writer Jesse Sublett and soon-to-be Plimsoul Eddie Munoz but before Jon Dee Graham joined). The Sex Pistols show just weeks before gave Austin’s creative community permission to rebel. Not that we needed a bunch of English musicians in a group as contrived as the Monkees to lead the way. We were Texans and black leather jackets were just something to slap a cowboy hat atop.

No, the original generation of punks in Austin – a cross-section of arts and communications students at UT plus the local music lovers bored with the status quo – made their mark internationally in the fall of 1978. The Huns were making their debut at Raul’s and overeager cops tried to bust our music, man. Regrettably, I wasn’t there but Chronicle publisher Nick Barbaro was, and got famously handcuffed facedown on the sidewalk outside Raul’s. The Huns bust not only made local and state headlines, it made Rolling Stone and NME and suddenly, Austin punk had as much street cred as London (which was pretty amusing considering there were maybe two dozen local punk bands at the time).

Whenever a cool new venue for us fiftysomethings pops up, I get excited. Venues for people like us are different because at our age, we’ve lived in bars for decades and we want a little comfort and good parking. Voila, here’s the Moose Lodge at 2101 E.M Franklin Avenue between Manor and Airport. I'm thrilled to report it won’t be hip anytime soon but we’re having a grand old time over in East Austin.

So grand, in fact, that the Moose Lodge hosts a benefit 3-10pm on Sunday, Feb. 10 for sax player Ed Vizard, who recently broke his hand. Ed’s been playing a good long time around Austin, much loved by many and deserving of the attention and money. In any case, it’s a good excuse to hear Larry Lange & the Lonely Knights, Carolyn Wonderland (with a new CD out, Miss Understood), Joanna Ramirez, 3 Balls of Fire (who also have a new CD any moment, Jet Set Guitars), Ponty Bone, the rarely-seen Spencer Thomas, whose Voodoo Dream was a favorite CD of mine last year, and many more, all at the Moose.

Sorry, the grand poobah will not be there!

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