Residencies and Roky

Something old, something new

Residencies and Roky

The only thing that made me miss my favorite new band from last year, the Iron City Soul Shakers, opening for the Arc Angels at Antone’s on Saturday was my mother’s 80th birthday and a load of relatives in town.

ICSS is fronted by Kristi Johnston, hands down one of the best soul vocalists in Austin. She can do that skinny-leg hip shake like Lou Ann Barton, but where Lou Ann loves Jimmy Reed and Slim Harpo, Kristi loves Ike Turner and the Memphis Horns. If this were the mid-1970s, she’d be rivaling Paul Ray & the Cobras for a weekly residency, but it’s another time and millennium, and residencies aren’t what they used to be.

I’ve been thinking about band residencies since last week, when I had lunch with a group of kids in their late teens, many of the ones I spoke with for my story. “Antone’s,” I told them, “was very interested in supporting young bands.” They looked at each other. “Antone’s is an old club,” they informed me.

Hmmph. I tried to look unflappable and agreed that yes, it's been around a long time. When that club started, I pointed out, it was the refuge of young musicians not a whole lot older than them. They played music outside the mainstream and when Antone’s came along, it was the saving grace for that scene, which would spawn national groups in 10 years’ time. But at their age, 10 years is half their lives, maybe more.

Ah, well. They're a very intelligent, thoughtful, and committed group that included Colin Jenkins, Zoe Cordes Selbin, Ricky Valenzuela, and Aaron Miller, among others. I’m giving notice that these names – somewhere down the way – will be attached to the future of Austin music.

Meanwhile, Roky Erickson’s birthday bash at Antone’s on Wednesday is part of the club’s annual monthlong anniversary celebration. He’s in fine form these days, performing with a new band that includes Kyle Ellison (Meat Puppets), Matt Harris (the Posies), and Kyle Schneider (Ian Moore). The Riverboat Gamblers and Golden Boys bask in his glow as openers. Here’s Roky and the band in Tromso, Norway last week doing “Stand For the Fire Demon."

And happy birthday, Mom.

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Roky Erickson, Antone's

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