The Dead Zone

Sony sponsors Red 7 for SXSW

Red 7's inside stage
Red 7's inside stage (by Raoul Hernandez)

Three years ago, January 2009, Red 7 celebrated the New Year with a makeover from Stalin. Free Week coming and goings now find the live music venue's propagandist murals eradicated by a coat of prison gray primer. Meet ground zero of a future South by Southwest trend.

Hungover from the holidays isn't just for retail outlets suddenly bereft of Christmastime. All businesses feel the winter pinch through January and February in the wake of binge spending the previous months. Free Week, a now SXSW-like matrix of local venues stacking mostly local music talent while locals go from club to club, was born – ingeniously so – out of non-existent bar sales this time of year. Red 7, from the Transmission Entertainment umbrella of clubs, solved its annual dead zone dilemma in a manner other corporate entities are certain to note.

Sony, unveiling its new portable PlayStation device on 2.22.12, PlayStation®Vita, has essentially become the club's “sponsor” through the end of SXSW, confirmed Red 7 owner Jared Cannon last night near his inside bar. The club's front room, wiped clean of pool tables and booths, becomes the Vita Lounge beginning January 16, hosting promotional acclimation to its hand-held gaming console, while the outdoor stage – its walls also scrubbed – conducts business as usual.

Sony has fixed Red 7's plumbing, some electrical issues, and made obvious cosmetic adjustments, basically paying Red 7's rent through March in order to get a jump on SXSW. Cannon was looking forward to their sponsoring tech giant going all out for the Interactive portion of Austin's annual media Olympics.

Heather Go Psycho, meanwhile, outside at Red 7 Wednesday, looked a lot like a fellow all-female rock trio from San Antonio: Girl in a Coma, which had a line out the door and around the corner at Frank last night for Free Week. Heather's punky rough stab at Prince and the Bangles' “Manic Monday” made perfect soundtrack to the dawn of every new year in Austin, its point of horizon – Manic March.

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